Vita Rara: A Life Uncommon

West "By God" Virginia


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For business reasons I needed to go to Fayetteville, WV last Friday, August 11. So, I loaded up the R1200GS and headed south.

I departed on Thursday, quite late, around 11:20 AM. My goal for the day was Staunton, VA. I accomplished that easily, got a motel room, dinner and a bottle of wine. (I must say I like the conversion to screw caps, they travel well on the bike.) In talking to the lady at the wine store I outlined my plans for the next day, and she said, "I would ride over four mountains in forty miles." Woohoo! Ooh la la! My kind of roads.

Well, I headed out US-250 from Staunton and road over those four glorious mountains. Great twisties, sweepers, small Appalachian towns, valley views, pastoral landscapes... what more could one ask for.

This trip served several purposes for me. First, business, I had to go to Fayetteville. Second, a solo get away. I've only done one in the time that Sylva and I have been together. That's one in two years, which compares to about ten in the year prior to our getting together. It was good to get away. Third, I needed a break. Business has been good, but hectic and with a lot of pressure. I needed to blow out the cobwebs, and West Virginia seemed like the best means at hand.

From US-250 I headed south on US-219 to SR-15 west. US-219 was just more pastoral county road goodness, and SR-15 rose up into the mountains with twisties riding right along a mountain ridge. The only thing it lacked was great views, as the tree cover was heavy.

Next came SR-20 south and a few switch backs, some towns and signs of civilization. Then I headed east on SR-55 into the National Forest. Ah... the blessed peace of a forest road. A river runs along the road with its gentle sweepers. The road leads down a valley between two ridges lending it a nice feel of isolation from the outside world. A few minutes into it you know you're out in nature.

The final leg of my ride for the day was US-219 south to US-60 west into Fayetteville. Unfortunately I got rained on then over heated when it stopped raining, then got passed by a construction vehicle, and we swapped back and forth as I donned rain gear, then needed to take it off a time or two. US-60 is an awesome road though, with great mountain crossings, twisties, elevation changes, in short everything a rider could want. I look forward to riding it again.

After concluding my business in Fayetteville Saturday I headed north on SR-16. Just north of Fayetteville until your reach Gauley Bridge this road is like a roller coaster. Great twisties with perfect on camber pavement, reasonable sight lines, a river running along side it. Just superb. After Gauley Bridge the road turns into sweeper after sweeper interspersed with Appalachian town and villages. I highly suggest this road for a little motorcycle R&R.

Here's to the next time. I'm looking forward to getting back to West Virginia soon.