We took a little overnight camping trip in West Virginia with the bikes this weekend.
The weather was just too nice not to ride, and we had a few flimsy excuses for taking an overnight trip, so we didn’t hesitate to skip work on Friday afternoon to go play. (That’s Babcock State Park in WV in the above pic btw. We stopped to take a quick break there before heading to the campground).
Excuse number one is that we haven’t been camping with the multistrada yet, so we had to make sure the packing and luggage set-up would work as desired. A new bike and new hard bags meant the old packing system no longer applies, so its best to make sure everything fits and works, and that things that claim to be waterproof actually are. We wrapped up everything that had to get done Friday morning, and were packed up and on the road right after lunch. After zipping up the highway to Roanoke, we crossed the border into West Virginia riding the absolutely fantastic Rt 311. Excuse number two is that we hadn’t ridden this particular road before, and were happy to find that it lived up to its reputation. West Virginia in general is full of great motorcycling roads, so we were pretty happy to have a perfect sunny afternoon to ride a few of them.
Whenever we are in the area, its always worth a few extra miles to eat at the famous Dirty Ernie’s Rib Pit, in this case, excuse number three for heading this direction. Their website said they had just opened for the season, but we were disappointed to arrive only to find the doors closed. Too bad, I guess we’ll just have to come back later:) Since we had food with us, we decided just to head to the campground and eat dinner in camp.
March is really early in the year for us to go camping, and I discovered that the public campgrounds aren’t even open for the season yet. No problem really, since the commercial places are often open year-round. Fortunately, we found a place that is about as nice as commercial campgrounds get: they have nice soft, grassy spots for the tent, the tent spots are well away from the RV spots, and they have a nice clean bathroom (with included hot showers). Plus, since the recent rains had made a lot of their tent spots pretty soggy, and they weren’t crowded, they offered a free upgrade to a spot with water and electric hook-up (which was located on higher, non-soggy ground). This meant we didn’t even have to walk anywhere to fill our water bottles, and we could charge the cameras, phones, and laptop. Oh, and they have free wi-fi. It’s not exactly roughing it.
On Saturday morning we were on the road by about 9am. It was dark and gray and threatened to rain most of the morning and early afternoon, but we mostly stayed dry and had dry roads. We braved urban riding in Charleston to get to the KTM dealership, which was excuse number four. I am idly considering getting a new motorcycle, and this dealership had a particular model I wanted to actually sit on. As predicted, the bike is too tall for me. Most of the coolest bikes are. It might be possible to lower it enough without adversely changing the handling characteristics too much, but that will require more investigation. There’s also another bike I’d like to test ride, so I’ll wait for the verdict on that before putting any more effort in. I still like my current bike pretty well, so unless I can get all the improvements I want in a new bike, I’ll just stick with what I have.
The sun came out in the afternoon, and Kevin managed to find some back roads to enjoy. One in particular was not even a secondary road, but more of a single lane paved path; the kind of road you expect to suddenly turn to dirt, which at one point it did for a little while.
It was slow going, but a really fun part of the adventure.
Eventually, we had to find our way onto some faster pavement, as our exploring slowed our pace and we had to ride the last hour or so home in the dark (I really try to avoid riding at night). It was completely worth it for the rest of the trip. I have no doubt we’ll be back.
Trip Stats: 580 mi, 1.5 days