Author Topic: MPFB roads, weather etc.  (Read 4388 times)

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Offline HawkGTRider

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Re: MPFB roads, weather etc.
« Reply #15 on: August 25, 2014, 01:02:37 PM »
Not being sure I'd be able to attend, I didn't make much in the way of plans to attend the MPFB, but I got a hall pass Thursday. I quickly created a new route for getting from East Tennessee to Southeast Ohio and a different one for coming home. I'd been wanting to visit the Red River Gorge area southeast of Lexington, KY, and it was close enough to justify going that way. I included enough interstate to knock out some quick miles since it was obvious many of the miles were going to be really slow (ie CURVY). I left my house around 7:30 a.m. and headed north. I wasn't disappointed by the route I had selected...the area southeast of Lexington really is nice! But since I always over-estimate how much I can do, I had to depart from my route and jump on the big road for the last 125 miles or so.
I showed up in Marietta around 5:00 p.m. (I didn't want to miss dinner) without being pre-registered and no room. First things first, I registered and asked if they knew of anyone looking for a roommate. If anyone was looking, they didn't know (maybe a board where such things could be posted could be set up in the registration room).
Anyhow, the hotel had one room remaining (!) and I scarfed it up. It had a single king bed, so maybe that was the reason it was available. During my trip to STAR this year, I shared a room with 2 other guys for a couple of nights. That was ok to save on expenses. I'm ok with using a little floor space, but I'm done sharing even a queen sized bed with anyone other than my lady.
Now registered for the event and the hotel, I was golden. The burgers and dogs at dinner that night were just what the doctor ordered. An aside...If someone would rather not pay a registration fee for a weekend get-together (see another thread associated with this event), I've got news. By the time you pay for 2 dinners (Friday and Saturday nights), your registration fee is darn near a break even situation. Another few bucks for maps, give a few dollars back to the club, and so forth, and I'm convinced our regional rallies are the best deal going.

On the trip to STAR, I started collecting stamps from the various National Park Service locations in their "passport" program. During the trip to STAR and on to Alaska, I bagged at least one stamp for every state I visited except Minnesota and several in some states (a BUNCH in Alaska). So with that in mind, I checked out what might be available in West Virginia.
The closest NPS facility that might have stamps was the New River Gorge National Park, and there turned out to be 4 different visitor centers. It's not always the case, but it's pretty common for each visitor center to have at least one unique stamp, so I selected a route that would include a number of curvy roads and headed south with plans to visit all 4 visitor centers. Two of them are open year around, but two of them are only open for a few months each summer June or July through August. My timing was impeccable. I first visited the Canyon Rim VC, and they had 4, yeppers, that's 4, stamps. Jammin'! A detour down through the gorge and back up the other side was an absolute necessity (a repeat of what Randy Logan and I did a couple of years ago). It's steep, narrow, and pretty darned cool.
Next on the list was one of the seasonal centers, so off I went to Thurmond. It's at the end of a narrow little road (nothing wrong with that!). The town was built on the banks of the New River and was a major facility for the railroads coming through the area to move coal out of the many mines along the gorge. Being a part of the history of the gorge and the effects of the coal industry, I'm glad the NPS bough the property. They jacked up the train station, put in a new foundation, completely refurbished the entire station, and made it into a visitor center. And what's not to like? Now you can ride a motorcycle to what's left of the town, see some very cool old buildings, watch people white-water rafting by just a few feet away, and even see an occasional train going by. And to top it off, this center had 2 unique passport stamps that are not available anywhere else. I call that a win-win-win-win.
From there I went on down to the other seasonal visitor center which is at the Grandview location. This portion of the park is open year around, but the visitor center is only open during the summer. The main view, only a few hundred yards away from the VC is spectacular. And the VC did, in fact, have their very own stamp. 4 stamps at Canyon Rim, 2 at Thurmond, 1 at Grandvew, and still one visitor center to go. This is a good day, but the slow going is really eating up the day.
Another few miles down the road and I got to the Sandstone Visitor Center, the second of the year around centers. The floor of the VC depicts the entire watershed of the New River...very cool. They had one unique stamp for their center and had 3 duplicates of what I'd seen at the Canyon Rim. But by golly, that's a total of 8 stamps. That's a very good day.

I wanted to be back to Marietta by around 5:00 to have time to shower and such before dinner, it was almost 3:00 p.m., and I had nearly 200 miles to get back. Once again, I utilized the big roads to get back. My goal of 5:00 was spot on, and that gave me time to have a long soak and shave before dinner.

The folks at the MPFB have always been generous when it comes donations for the Ride For Kids, and this year was no exception. Planting myself near the head of the food line, I was pleased to accept a total of $740 for the 50/50 to benefit the Ride For Kids. And it wasn't JUST a 50/50. Jon Campbell Sr ( are the MAN!!) donated an MSTA banner and a banner that was displayed at STAR this year featuring the Rock Stars logo based on Mount Rushmore. So the winner would not only get some cash, but also his choice of the two banners. Art Smith, from North Carolina had the winning ticked and was tickled to choose the MSTA banner. But the fun wasn't over. We auctioned off the other banner with a winning bid of $110. So by the time Art donated part of the cash back to the cause (thank you Art!), the total amount we'll be sending to the RFK was nearly $600. That's exceptional for one of our regional events and is probably a record amount for one of them.

The southbound ride home Sunday was back through the Red River Gorge area but on completely different roads than the trip north. I continue to be impressed with how good the riding is in that area, and I'm going to go that way whenever possible. There were a BUNCH of really nice roads with little if any traffic and decent to good pavement.

I got home around 9:00 p.m. Sunday evening. It was a good one, and I want to add my thanks to the Ohio crew for volunteering their time and efforts to continue organizing this event.
Geoffrey Greene
MSTA Ride For Kids Coordinator
MSTA Secretary
TriSTAR Coordinator
Difficult roads can lead to beautiful destinations.