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Grafton – Mt Storm

 Rt 50 / 219 / 93 / 42

24 August 2008

 

It was a beautiful day, so I headed out early for a ride in the mountains.  There are a half-dozen routes to our farm in Petersburg WV. The most common route from our home in Clarksburg is to go through Philippi, Belington, Elkins, Harmon, Seneca Rocks, and Petersburg.  This summer, since moving back to West Virginia,  I’ve explored some of the southern routes, through Webster Springs, Cass, Green Bank, Monterey VA, etc.  However, I haven’t been across Rt 50 to Aurora since my Retirement Ride I, back in 2005.  At the time, Rt 50 was in pretty rough shape going up the mountain at Erwin, so I wasn’t in a hurry to go that way again.  Well, I was pleasantly surprised to find they have paved Rt 50 and it is back to being a top-notch ride.

 Hang on, you’re in for a curvy ride!

 

(By the way, I will apologize ahead of time for the poor lighting on some photos.  I was riding directly into the sun the first part of the trip,

and photos with sunlight and shade don’t turn out well on bright days.)

 

 

01 Belgium sm.jpg

Starting out on Rt 50 East, I passed through Belgium on my way to Grafton.

(You didn’t know this would be an international trip, eh?)

 

 

02 Old House sm.jpg

Just before Grafton, I spotted this fixer-upper.  Hmmm……

 

 

 

05 Rt50 E Grafton sm.jpg

Rt 50 East of Grafton.  Starting to get more interesting and scenic. 

 

 

 

06 Rt50 Bull sm.jpg

Gravel isn’t the only hazard on Rt 50. 

 

 

 

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Rt 50 near Thornton.  Getting more interesting by the mile.

 

 

 

10 Rt50 Fellowsville sm.jpg

Oh yeah!  Who needs Deals Gap when you got Rt 50?

 

 

 

13 Rt50 Fellowsville sm.jpg

Twisty enough for you?

Forget the “Almost” part of “Almost Heaven, West Virginia.”

 

 

 

15 Rt50 Erwin sm.jpg

Rt 50 East at Erwin, ready to climb the mountain.

Signs like this make motorcyclists drool.

 

 

16 Rt50 Erwin sm.jpg

Rt 50 At Erwin.  I wonder if those scrapes in the foreground were from a bike?

As if the curves aren’t challenging by themselves, throw in a 9% grade.

 

 

18 Rt50 Erwin sm.jpg

Looks like the last photo, but it’s not.

The whole mountain is a series of “S” bends like this.  Magnificent!

 

 

 

20a Aurora church sm.jpg

Aurora Methodist Church.  Beautiful stonework. 

 

 

19 Rt50 Aurora sm.jpg

The Aurora School was ready for Christmas.

(No “L”)

 

 

22 Rt219 Sm Church sm.jpg

Near Silver Lake on Rt 219.  Our Lady of the Pines.  See next photo. 

 

 

24 Rt219 Sm Church sm.jpg

 

 

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Inside the Lady of the Pines. 

 

 

23 Rt219 Outhouse sm.jpg

Our Lady of the Pines even offers guests a restroom. 

 

 

 

26 Rt219 Thomas Gens sm.jpg

Approaching Thomas on Rt 219 south, there is a large wind-powered generator farm.

I counted about 25-30 of these giants along the ridge.

 

 

 

32 Thomas Gens sm.jpg

Taking a slight detour to the Fairfax Stone,

 I passed another nice view of the wind-powered generators.

 

 

 

29 Fairfax Stone sm.jpg

Next Stop  - the Fairfax Stone.  This quiet park marks the western border of Maryland.

 

 

28 Fairfax Stone sm.jpg

The actual Fairfax Stone.  (See next photo)

 

 

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Fairfax Stone

This monument, at the headspring of the Potomac River, marks one of the historic spots in America.  It’s name is derived from Thomas Lord Fairfax who owned all the land lying between the Potomac and Rappahannock Rivers.  The first Fairfax Stone, marked “FX” was set in 1746 by Thomas Lewis, a surveyor employed by Lord Fairfax.  This is the base point for the western dividing line between Maryland and West Virginia. 

 

 

30 Tree color sm.jpg

Coming back out from the Fairfax Stone, I saw several trees beginning to turn color.

It’s only August 24th!!

 

 

 

34a Rt93 Gatzmer sm.jpg

 

After leaving Thomas, I headed east on Rt 93.

Suddenly, it’s flat (well, for WV).  We’re on a plateau at about 2600 ft elevation.

 

 

 

33 Mt Storm Lake sm.jpg

Mt Storm Lake on Rt 93.  More wind-powered generators in the background.

 

 

 

34 Rt93 Bismarck sm.jpg

Rt 93 eastbound near Bismarck WV. 

Soon, this road ends at the top of Mt Storm, a great winding road and 9% grade.

 

 

35 MtStorm Rt42 93 sm.jpg

Starting down Mt Storm toward Scheer on Rt 42/93. 

 

 

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I wasn’t the only biker enjoying Mt Storm.

 

 

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Nice mix of tight hairpin curves as well as high speed sweepers like this. 

 

 

39 Rt42 Maysville sm.jpg

Rt 42 southbound at Maysville heading toward Petersburg.

 

I headed out to our farm to surprise my folks, but they had gone to Harrisonburg VA for the day.  Oh well.

 

After this, I decided to head home to Clarksburg.  I retraced my route just because it was so fun the first time. 

Guess what?  It was just as fun the second time, too!

 

 

41 Rt50 House4Sale sm.jpg

Just east of Grafton on Rt 50, I saw this house for sale (see the sign in the lower left corner?).  I think this is one that they would say, “Has potential”. 

 

Hope you enjoyed the ride.  Rt 50 has returned to it’s previous stature as a great ride since they repaved the rough sections. 

Why bother riding all the way to Deals Gap, NC just to ride curves.  They’re right here!

 

See you on the next ride.

 

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