Day 16: Saturday 29th September : West Virginia, home of twisty roads

With nowhere particular to go, and a lot of time to get there, we start the day for the first time without a real plan, apart from heading south-west-ish on twisty roads. As has been the case too often recently, breakfast consisted of oatmeal made with hot-water (no hot milk or microwave available), but it still set me up for the day nicely.

We rolled out of the car park at 8:45am and straight onto twisty, well-surfaced roads that rose up and down hillsides and mountains through forests of green. Before too long we took a road that turned to dirt as it got further up the hillside, and with road tyres and a lot of water in the lower valleys there was inevitable sections of slippery mud. We also encountered a couple of rocky river crossings, and it was in the second of these that I hit a rock and almost lost my balance, stamping my foot down in knee-deep cold water which immediately filled my right boot. All caught on both my helmet camera and Dean’s phone for posterity. But the important thing is I survived without falling off, damaging Mira’s bike or hurting myself, so all is good. Back on tarmac we saw a hot-rod festival in a field, with lots of old Ford cars and pick ups queuing to get in and parked in the field, but we didn’t stop, preferring to keep riding. A short while later there was a flurry in the field of long grass to our right and a deer ran across the road right in front of the car in front of us, which was unable to avoid clipping it. The poor thing fell over, then jumped up and had to hop-and-jump back to the field, obviously suffering damage to its hind leg. It bounded across the field, but I fear it won’t survive too long with what must have been a broken leg.

Riding as cautiously as ever for the rest of the day, we rode on with just 2 stops in 250 miles, one to admire the view over “German Valley” and the other for fuel. At each stop we just stood in quiet contemplation of how great the riding was, smiling knowingly at each other before saddling back up to repeat the cycle of leaning left-right-left-right as the road took us on an endless roller-coaster of a journey.

I’ve had many really good riding days in my relatively short motorcycle career (nearly 28 years since I passed my test) and today has to rank as one of the top 10. West Virginia just has some fantastic riding roads with hardly any traffic (we saw more motorcycles than cars today, which is another indicator of just how good the riding is).

When we finally stopped at the Holiday Inn in Roanoke we had covered 250 miles in 7 hours of riding. A quick shower and an Uber taxi to a highly recommended Mexican restaurant for dinner topped what has been a great day. Back at the hotel having eaten at just 6:45pm also gave me time to bring the blog up to date whilst Dean (who I’m now sharing a room with) attends to our laundry!

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