Fall Colors Ride – Oct 2012
Seneca Rocks – Petersburg – Moorefield – Wardensville
New and Old Rt 55
With two days of nice weather in the forecast, I decided to head east to the mountains for an overnight ride. My first stop was Sugar Grove Naval Station for a new base sticker for the new V-Strom. From there, I headed north to our farm near Petersburg to mow grass at my parents’ farm. My plan for the next day was to get up and head east through Moorefield and explore the old Rt 55, which was replaced with a 4-lane several years ago from Moorefield to Wardensville. I remember driving the old road many times years ago, and I wanted to see if there were any recognizable sections. After a quick ride into Virginia to visit a friend (who wasn’t home – so much for that surprise visit!), I headed back towards Clarksburg on the new Rt 55. There is a new section of the 4-lane that just opened this year, so I wanted to see where it goes. I knew it now ended somewhere near Scherr and Greenland Gap, but none of the maps (even online) show the new section. Oh well – I have two days to explore. Let’s go!
After leaving Clarksburg around 11am Tuesday, I headed over the mountains towards Seneca Rocks.
This photo is coming east on Rt 33, just after the summit of Allegheny Mt. The town of Onego is just ahead.
Turning south on Rt 33/28 at Seneca Rocks. This is a nice relaxing ride with lots of great scenery.
I took a little detour at Riverton (about 6 miles south of Seneca Rocks) to go up on Horse Ridge Road.
This view is east looking over Germany Valley.
Same location on Horse Ridge – Looking southeast into Germany Valley.
And one more photo from Horse Ridge looking north towards a rock formation that overlooks Riverton.
I love this view!
After stopping at Sugar Grove Naval Base for my new base sticker (see it on my front fender?), I headed north through Franklin to our farm.
When I arrived (about 3:30pm) it was about 60 degrees – perfect for mowing grass.
My grandparent’s old farmhouse. My folks live here a good part of the year.
That night, it was crystal clear outside. I tried to get a photo of the bike and the stars.
Look very closely and you can see some of the stars. (15-second exposure)
The next morning was beautiful, but cold! I decided to wait for the sun to come up and thaw things out a bit first.
Frost on my motorcycle seat. Brr!
While I was waiting for sunrise (and some warmth!), I decided to walk around and take some early morning photos.
A neighbor (Bobby) rents some fields from us, and these are some of the hay bales he has ready for winter.
I walked up on the hill above the house and looked back over towards Rt 220.
Everything on this side of the gravel road going out to the highway is our farm.
Same location above the house, just looking to the right a little bit. These fields out to the highway are also our farm.
My grandparents had two milk cows (Jerseys) and this was the milk shed, located just above the house.
Every morning and late afternoon, they would milk the two cows and put the milk
in ceramic jugs in the cold water trough running through the milk house. Next morning, the cream had risen to the top.
They always had fresh milk, and made their own butter and cottage cheese. Mmmm.
This area in the foreground was one of my grandmother’s three gardens.
She raised lots of food (carrots, tomatoes, lettuce, beans, potatoes, strawberries, melons) and did lots of canning.
This is the view up the mountain road from the entrance to the farmhouse.
This gravel road snakes for several miles up and over the mountains, ending back in Smoke Hole at the South Branch Potomac River.
I hiked the road back to Shook Gap earlier this summer and filed this report on my personal website: Click Here
View of the mountain road just a little farther up, as it enters the woods.
I’ve walked this road a thousand times.
And another view of the mountain road from up by the old barn.
The first ridge of mountains is visible in the background.
Even thistles have a certain beauty in the early morning frost.
View of the house from up by the barn yard.
An old gate post by the barn yard.
This swinging bridge is the only way in or out when the creek is up (after a heavy rain).
As you walk across, it swings from side to side about 6 inches – which is how it got its name.
Although there are thick wire hand rails, I’ve learned to walk across carrying arms full of stuff and not holding on.
By 9am, the sun had worked its way down the mountain to the house, and the bike was thawed out.
Time to pack up and head east to explore Rt 55 – old and new.
After a quick stop at McDonalds in Petersburg for my Egg-McMuffin fix, I was preparing to leave when this gentleman approached me
and introduced himself. I had noticed the Veteran plate on his car parked next to me. Mr Donald Scible (pronounced “sigh-bel”) served in the
US Navy during WWII aboard the USS North Carolina, the first battleship to enter Pearl Harbor after the attack. He is getting ready to
celebrate his 88th birthday – and still has his pilot’s license and has been riding motorcycles for over 60 years. He currently rides a 2006 Harley-Davidson Fat Boy!!!
Mr Scible is a very articulate, very sharp, and very interesting gentleman who has obviously found the secret fountain of youth.
I wish we had had more time to talk, but we both had places to go. He did show me a photo he had of himself on his first motorcycle – see the next photo.
Mr Scible on his first motorcycle – a 1948 Indian Chief.
For those of you unfamiliar with Indian motorcycles, they were once a larger company than Harley-Davidson.
Sorry for the reflection of my jacket – I took a photo of his photo with my camera.
Soon I was in Moorefield. Instead of getting on the new Rt 55 eastbound, I turned at the light and started out on the old 2-lane road.
After a few miles, I found myself at the road’s end and had to go on the 4-lane for a few miles.
However, on the return trip, I found that I had missed a poorly marked turn that would have kept me on the old road.
We’ll look at that later on the return segment.
After just a few miles, I found the turnoff to get back on the old route.
Right away, the scenery was familiar. Like going back in time.
Not all curves – some nice gentle farmland. Very relaxing.
Near Baker – more beautiful farmland. The road was great!
One of many deserted old farm houses along the old Rt 55.
As the old Rt 55 snakes its way around the hills, the 4-lane cuts a straight line hundreds of feet above.
I love seeing the old stores like the one on the left. Too bad most are closed and empty.
Sign on the old store above.
This old stallion found her final resting place here in the peace and quiet of the old road.
Old Mustang II from the late 70’s.
Here’s one road I really want to come back and explore when I have more time – Sauerkraut Road.
Mmmmmmm…. BYOB (Bring your own brats).
Wardensville is a peaceful town about 10 miles before you get to the Virginia state line.
There are several interesting-looking diners here, ready to be reviewed!
A nice old barn photo op along old Rt 55 just east of Wardensville.
The Virginia state line.
I decided to pay a surprise visit to a friend in Front Royal, about 20 miles east. Too bad he wasn’t home.
Oh well, still a beautiful day for a ride. Time to head west and start home.
When I was in Virginia, gas was 45 cents/gallon cheaper than in West Virginia. Why???
Just two hours earlier, I paid $3.89 to fill up the bike in Petersburg.
Coming through Wardensville westbound, this sign points you to the old road.
However, this time I’m taking the 4-lane just to see the contrasts.
Deer signs are worth paying attention to around here.
This is the beginning of the 4-lane section of Rt 55 westbound from Wardensville.
One of the many tall bridges along the highway.
As much as I hate seeing mountains cut away for roads or mining, I do have to marvel at the geologic formations that are exposed.
One of many scenic overlooks along the highway.
Too bad there is not a place to pull off. The shoulder is not bad for a motorcycle, but crowded for a car to stop.
Same photo as above, but without the motorcycle.
This is about halfway from Wardensville to Moorefield.
As I approached Moorfield, I took the exit for Old Rt 55 to find the first section I had missed earlier.
Turns out, the road veers away from the first road I was on just before it reached the 4-lane.
Glad I went back to explore – it’s a very scenic and curvy 5 miles.
Another view of the first section of old Rt 55 about 5 miles east of Moorefield.
Back on the 4-lane, nearing Moorefield westbound.
The scenery is great, but I still prefer the old road.
Another view westbound. Moorefield is just over the next ridge.
This used to be the end of the 4-lane westbound until just this summer.
Now the 4-lane continues west to…. Well, I don’t know.
None of the maps (even online) show the end of the new section.
That’s OK, I’ll figure out how to get home when I get to the end of the road.
Looking back at Moorefield on the first section of the new 4-lane.
The previous photo was taken about a mile back from this one, looking this way.
The new concrete and wide road reminds me of the German Autobahns.
Think they might raise the speed limit to 130 Kilos/Hr (about 80 MPH)?
Another wide, sweeping vista about 5 miles west of Moorefield.
Lots of nice scenery along the way.
The landowners and farmers were probably not happy to have this big road come through their property.
Looking back on the Appalachian Mountains that separate West Virginia from Virginia.
Nearing the end of the new section – Lahmansville and Forman area.
Look closely, and you can see the road snaking ahead to the left.
Just across the highway from the previous photo is this great overlook.
Again, no place to pull off except the side of the road. Plenty of room for a motorcycle, though!
Just a couple of miles to the end of the new section.
End of the road. So, where am I? I’ll have to wait and read the sign ahead.
I can guess within about 5 or 10 miles of where I am.
OK, a quick look at the DeLorme Gazetteer and I have a plan.
The signs point me left, then left again at the first road (CR3). I follow it south about 5 miles and
come out on Rt 42 at Maysville. From there, I followed Rt 42 north to Scherr and Mt Storm, then Rt 50 west to Clarksburg.
Later, looking at an online map, I realized I took a long round-about. Coming off the 4-lane, if I had turned right on CR3 and
gone just a mile or two, I could have turned left onto Greenland Gap Road, a very enjoyable 1-1/2 lane freshly paved
road than meanders through a very scenic pass and comes out at Scherr. It would have also been 10 miles shorter. Oh well, next time.
Hope you enjoyed joining me for the ride. See you next time!