Showing posts with label Virginia. Show all posts

Summit Point Shenandoah Track Day in West Virginia


MV Agusta Edition: Gapalicious Thursday


Back on the Blue Ridge Parkway

One of the greatest motorcycle trips I ever rode was a trip down the Blue Ridge Parkway about three and a half years ago.  Back then, riding my M600 Ducati Monster, I'd attempt to keep up with two friends riding the first 899 Panigale ever imported to the United States, and a brand new Aprilia Tuono.

Day 5: 700 Miles in 10 Hours on My Ducati Monster 600

I woke up this morning around 7ish and checked the weather.  After four days of sunny skies and the temperature hovering in the 60's range, I knew I was spoiled, and of course there were scattered thunderstorms predicted, which would turn bad in the afternoon.  
I had breakfast with the boys one last time, and we decided to part ways early.  I had an amazing time with them, and I was really regretting not taking them up on their open invitation, and running off and going west, as I knew they were in for an epic adventure they would remember for the rest of their lives.
I managed to leave at around 8:15am, rushing a little bit because of the coming rain, and Google Maps told me I had 692 miles to get back to my grandmother's house in PA.  I didn't look back. In fact, I don't think I stopped for more than five or six minutes to fill up for gas or have a breakfast bar for the next 10 hours...  I was Tennessee quickly, and once I hit the Smoky Mountains it started to get really dark, veering through semi trucks and around the mountains.  After Johnson City, it cleared up and I picked up 81 in Kingsport, which I would take for most of the rest of the trip and it suddenly it got dark again began to drizzle. "Shit."  I stopped in Roanoke Virginia to put on my frog suit.
 The skies cleared once again. For the next six hours the weather rotated between hot and humid sunshine to dark, moist gloom. I didn't really intend to drive all the way, but I felt like I was outrunning the storm, and the forecast wasn't too much better tomorrow, so I kept going and going, through Harrisonburg, where I was planning on going to Rocktown Beer Festival that weekend, through Winchester and then onto Martinsburg, West Virginia.

 By the time I had gotten to Hagerstown , Maryland at around 4pm, I wasn't even sore any more. I was numb. I was the bike. I continued to Carlisle and Harrisburg Pennsylvania. When I arrived home around 6:30 (still in rain gear), I wasn't even tired and swear I could have ridden to NYC if there was enough light.


Immediately after pulling up, my brother in law snapped this photo and handed me a cold glass of Nugget Nectar. I took a long shower, and as I sat alone on my Grandmother's glass roofed porch, the sky finally opened up to a violent storm, beginning with a hail leading to a torrential downpour.  I can honestly say that sitting there was one of the happiest moments of my life.  Outrunning a storm half-way across the country, drunk off of a beer and a half, truly clean for the first time in a week, my vision cleared (my peripheral vision was still whirring by at around 70mph), while the throaty melodies of my Monster reverberated rhythmically in my head.  


© 2013 Tigh Loughhead

Day 4: Take the Blue Ridge Parkway to Asheville

I had planned on turning around and going back home today.  However, we were out a little late last night (in bed sometime after 3am, though I swore it was closer to 11:30) and got up early (7am).  I had planned on taking two days down and three days back up, but I was having a blast and the boys were trying to see how far they could get me to go...

Day 3: Best Ride of my Life - Virginia is for Lovers

Ducati 899 Panigale, Tigho's Monster, Aprilia Tuono V4R motorcycles in front Seneca Rocks West Virginia
Happy Easter! What an incredible day.  We drove less than 300 miles today, but it was some of the best riding I've ever done.  I don't think we saw more than 50 cars the whole day, the sun was shining, and the roads were incredible (albeit a bit gravelly).
Ducati 899 Panigale, Tigho's Monster, Aprilia Tuono V4R motorcycles trip on Easter 4/20/14
Here is the route today, thanks to DynastySS's Spotwalla.

Ducati 899 Panigale, Tigho's Monster, Aprilia Tuono V4R motorcycles in front Seneca Rocks West Virginia 2
Our first real stop in Monongahela National Forest was in Seneca Rocks, outside an "Indian Trading Post" called Yokums, a stunning spot that looks more like the Southwest than the Southeast. 

Ducati 899 Panigale, Tigho's Monster, Aprilia Tuono V4R motorcycles in front Seneca Rocks West Virginia panorama

Our next stop was in a tiny town called Monterey, where we chatted with a few locals and refueled.  An older guy riding a beat up old VFR750, with a box of fried chicken bungeed to the pillion.  
Ducati 899 Panigale, Tigho's Monster, Aprilia Tuono V4R motorcycles and Richard's Honda VFR750
His name was Richard, and he was a bit gruff at first, but gradually warmed up to us.  This old-timer offered to show us a few back roads, and I quickly lost the pack.  Turns out he was an AMA certified pro for several years in his younger days, and could ride better than any of us. The roads were amazing, and my buddy even let Richard take his Tuono for a spin. 
Ducati 899 Panigale, Tigho's Monster, Aprilia Tuono V4R motorcycles in George Washington National Forest
Outside George Washington National Forest.  Richard took us a little out of the way, so we were starving when we rolled up to gas station / restaurant called "Cucci's" in Hot Springs, VA around 4pm.
 Ducati 899 Panigale, Tigho's Monster, Aprilia Tuono V4R motorcycles at Cucci's Restaurant on Easter 4/20
I've never eaten at such a suggestively-named restaurant, and when we inquired delicately about the name, our poor waitress got quite flustered and turned beet red. I think she got a kick out of us though, and left a friendly note on the back of our bill.
Ducati 899 Panigale, Tigho's Monster, Aprilia Tuono V4R motorcycles at Cucci's Restaurant on Easter 4/20
This is what the roads looked like all day:
 And the scenery...
 More turns, turns and more turns....
 There was simply no traffic.  We had the roads all to ourselves.  We got a little bit nervy towards about 6pm, when none of us had cell phone reception and we got lost with no cell phone reception.
Ducati 899 Panigale, Tigho's Monster, Aprilia Tuono V4R motorcycles on Gravel outside Covington
The sun was receding behind the hills, and the roads had turned to gravel after Covington ,Va (not a very friendly looking destination), so we finally came across a car, asked for directions the nearest hotel and pushed on till we got to Blacksburg, home of Virginia Tech.
Ducati 899 Panigale, Tigho's Monster, Aprilia Tuono V4R motorcycles on Easter doing Hooptie Ride

Ready to go out, we the receptionist at our hotel couldn't find a cab service that was open on Easter, till I suggested a "Dial a Hooptie" I found on Google.

© 2013 Tigh Loughhead

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