Day 2
August 15th, 2002
Near Princeton, West Virginia

Morning dawned hazy and cloudy.  It was going to be a warm day by mountain standards.

I had slept really well, and was slow getting up, but I finally stirred out of my tent around 6:30am and started packing.  There was little other activity in the campground.

I strolled over to the wash house and brushed my teeth and washed my face, on the way back I saw 2 girls rolling their sleeping bags.  They spent the night out in a open field sleeping under the stars.  They were walking back to their parents camp site when I saw them.  I guess teenage girls have some high level conversations that necessitates privacy.

I fired the engine a few minutes after 7, and eased out the campground.  I saw a doe leap across the road, before I left the park, reminding me to be careful.

My stopping point for today will be State College, Pennsylvania.  Spending the night with fellow STer and bbs member Peter Menard.  I met Peter last spring at the TTT, we hit it off, and have been in contact ever since.  He has just returned from the Cabot Trail, and will be offering advance recon for me.

I returned to SR 20 and proceeded on a northwest course.  It was a great morning and the road was challenging.  West Virginia as a whole offers great riding.  Smooth roads, lots of curves and elevation.  A great place for a long rider to visit.  The state has many, many scenic and sport oriented highways to traverse.  I rank this area in the top 5 in the country for riding.

Near Hinton, I take SR 3 and things start to get serious. The road weaves and bobs slinging me in and out.  The surface is good, but narrow.  The switchbacks are tight, and its hard to keep the revs up, 3rd seems to be the gear of choice for this road.  The loaded ST is a little sluggish, but the brand new tires feel really sticky.  The bike is really tracking well, and each line I take is good.

The highway is totally unfamiliar, and as a result lean angles are conservative.  I intend to keep my safety record intact, so play it safe.

SR 3 deposits me onto US 219, one of the finest Federal highways for a long rider to find himself on.  I remember this road from ski trips 12-13 years ago to Snowshoe.  I said I was coming back one day on a bike to sample it, and today is the day.

What a great road this highway is.  It will go on the favorite list.   Lots of challenge, and interesting things to see along the way.  The only drawback is the traffic near the villages.

I have the leather gloves on.  I wear them as much as I can because I like the protection they afford, and they make me look faster then I am.  Notice, a flashy colorful glove makes a guy look fast, as opposed to just black boring gloves.  Take a look the next time you see a squid with colorful gloves or leathers, even at 30 mph he looks like he is hauling ass.  Compare that to a cruiser guy with black leathers, and thick black gloves, looks like slow motion when he rides by.  The same principal applied to white cleats and black cleats on a football player.  Black looks SLOW.

The riding is good, and I take my usual 100 mile break in Lewiston.  I snack on beef jerky and sip coke.  I called my son and checked in.

I get back on the road and continue north.  US 219 follows the valleys through the Monongahela National Forest.  Over creeks, streams and lakes I ride.  

Near Renick I pass what looks to be a old drive in theatre, so double back for a closer look.  Here, I find a memento of the past.  Drive ins were once an American staple.  I have many fond memories of those teenage lust pits, but alas, I don't know of any that still exist in Alabama.  Prattville's drive in closed down about 25 years ago, and 10 years ago it was bulldozed for a by pass.

But, here, the skeleton remains of a long closed down drive in can still be seen.  It sits on a narrow strip of land between 219, and a hill.  So close to the highway in fact, I don't why anyone would have paid money to see the movies, just park on on the road.  The snack bar is still standing, and the contours that angled your car up can still be seen.  A rusted, busted pick up sets off in the distance.  
​The Drive In near Renick.

I picture a playground near the screen where children once roamed and climbed, their voices echoing off the nearby hills, the flickering of the projector on the green leaves on the nearby trees.  Patrons slapping mosquitoes on warm summer nights, and those corny intermission songs with cartoons touting the snack bar.  In a time long ago, this place was the weekly highlight for these simple mountain people. 
Finding such places, and having such thoughts, are the reasons I ride motorcycles.

I make a U turn back into the northbound lane and continue my ride.

I get behind a white van, taking the twisty road at a fast clip.  He is local and knows the road well, easily evidenced at the rate of speed he is traveling. 

The towns I pass through are compact, and nestled between the highway and creeks.  Towns such as Mill Creek, Slaty Fork, and Buckeye are nothing more then a few dwellings and a general store.  Appalachia is poor section of our country and these forgotten towns reflect that.

I passed by the motel near Marlington, where in 1988 myself and 8 other firefighters were packed in 1 room for 3 days while on a ski trip. 

I stopped for gas at a Exxon station near the ski resort of Snowshoe.

In Elkins I went in for a chicken nugget lunch at a McDonalds.  I called Peter Menard, and secured final instructions for our rendezvous point.

A manager was cleaning tables and asked me where I was from, and what kind of cell phone I had.  She says most fail to get a signal in the area, because of the hills.

I get back on the road and its more of the same.  Great roads and scenery.  I am leaning so much, I feel like I am back in East Oregon.

I reach a valley run out, and ahead of me I see a long rider.  I quickly close down on him, and see he is riding a red VFR with a duffle bag strapped on the seat, and Ontario plates.  I fall in behind him, and follow him in the curves and twisties.  He could easily leave me in the dust, but he doesn't, and allows me ride with him.

When we reach Oakland, I motion for him to pull into a parking lot.  When he takes his helmet I am shocked to see a man in his 70s.  He is on his way back to Canada from North Carolina, and the Blue Ridge Parkway.  His name is Barry Bellman and he is from Brantford.  A quiet, soft spoken gentleman, who says, " I wanted to ride the BRP before it was too late."
Barry Bellman, Brantford, Ontario.  Enjoying a summers
day ride in the hills of West Virginia.

We follow 219 to I-68 and ride east.  A few miles later, Barry exits, he is riding 219 as far north as he can.  I wave and give him a long rider salute.  He reminded of brother C.B. Shahan of the ST bbs. Both giving me something to look forward to when I reach my 70s.

I am in the Allegheny Mountain range now, and close to the meeting point with brother PeterM.

Riding I-68 was not too bad.  Reaching the I-70 interchange I switch over to I-70 north, and a few miles later, I take the US 522 exit and find Peter and his cranberry red ST parked out front of a gas mart.

We catch up on the news, and drink fancy water.

After our break, we jump on SR 655 and follow it north through quiet Pennsylvania farm country.  This was a terrific ride.  It is late afternoon and our shadows dance in the cornfields as we ride.  White farm houses sprinkle the land, many with American flags out front.  

Three horses look up from their grazing as we pass through, and after checking us out, return to their never ending grass chewing.

We veer off on another local highway that takes us deep into Amish dairy country.  Their farms cover the valley floor.  The green grass, and crops make for several nice pictures.  Many areas of the landscape are awash in wildflowers.
​Peter Menard on a late afternoon ride in Pa. Amish Country.
I see several Amish going about their business on their horse and buggies.

I was gliding along when a young Amish boy with a pony pulling a wagon, enters a blind intersection.  He has brothers and sisters in the wagon.  It doesn't appear he is going to pull back on the reigns and stop the pony, and I am beyond the point of no return, noway I can stop in time if he comes out.  I am not going fast, and I check the southbound lane and move over to give the pony room, but at the last second the boy sees my yellow helmet and pulls back on the pony halting him dead in his tracks.

We stop at a vista and look down into "Happy Valley." A nice view.  Although not for sure I believe we entered State College on SR 26. I let Peter do all the route work since this was home country for him.

We arrived in Peter's garage sometime in the late afternoon, after a good ride.

I meet his lovely and gracious wife Randi, and blamed my presence on Peter.

I rode 402 miles today.

Peter has a great place in State College and he shows me my accommodations for the night.  His oldest son's bedroom.  He is away at college.  It was very comfortable, and I am thankful for his hospitality.  

After we showered we jumped in Peter's new Accura CL and went to supper.

We were sitting at a light, when I suddenly hear a "beep beep."

"Dang brother a might inpatient ain't ya," that guy didn't even have time to get his foot from the brake to the accelerator when Pete gave him a reminder.

"its ok I know that guy" Peter retorts.

If you are ever in State College treat all red lights like a drag strip tree.  The instant it turns green stomp it, might be brother PeterM behind you in a car.

Peter says, "that was just a gentle reminder to get going."

We had some great oven baked pizza, it really hit the spot.  The best of the trip.  The name of pizzeria is Faccia de Luna. Check it out if you ever find yourself in State College.

On the way back we drove near the campus of Penn State, most impressive.

Back at home we looked over Peter's pictures of the Cabot trail.  Looking forward to my arrival there.
I watched a little football, and went to bed looking forward to my arrival in Canada the next day.