Saturday, June 21, 2008



Bikes or Trailers-they both travel well! Now, the date on this blog entry says June 21st but the actual date of our last trip was the end of May. Now let me explain-

The week after Memorial Day, we climbed on the bike for it’s turn at running the roads and the trailer stayed home for a while. We were going to retrace our tire tracks from a trip we made years ago on Harry’s 750 Yamaha when we used to carry everything needed in a rolled up orange bundle on the back of the bike. Times have changed. The big red bike that we ride now is a 1984 Yamaha Venture and has carried us across the United States from Maine to California and from Florida to the states of Washington and Oregon. On a normal bike trip we usually pull a trailer with all our camping equipment in it but the plans for this short weekend trip was to motel it.

We headed southeast across Ohio on a pretty spring morning but as we crossed into West Virginia the temperatures began to climb, just as we climbed the rolling green lush hills of coal country. We revisited the areas of Gauley Bridge and took many new pretty pictures of the rapids, the mill and lake nestled below the historic old town. We took refuge in the quaint old lodge at Hawks Nest State Park and enjoyed the view looking down into the gorge as we ate our dinner in the restaurant there. Friday morning we explored the New River Gorge area that now has a one way, one lane, narrow, blacktopped, road that winds back and forth like an extremely wide piece of rick rack, down to the bottom of the gorge, across the new low level bridge at the bottom and zig zagged back to the top again before crossing over “THE BRIDGE”. The New River Bridge was built in 1977, is 3030 ft long and is 876 ft above the New River. It is the largest steel span and the second largest bridge in the United States. In October there is a festival and we are told there are those folks who are brave enough or dumb enough to bungee or parachute from the bridge.

We continued south to Beckley in hopes of finding a route to Matawan, the site of the coal miner’s massacre back in 1920. Harry and the guys had been down in the area a few years back, riding their 3 wheelers and quads and found the town. This day it was my turn for a history lesson. We found a bench by the railroad tracks and a plaque with a recorded message that told of the terrible fight that day and of all the people that were killed. There on the wall were also 3 bullet holes from that attack.

By now the temperatures were steaming in the high 90’s and we crossed into Kentucky looking for a cool place to park the bike for the night. The young lady at the motel where we stayed said that she saw 101 on a meter. Way too hot for 2 old people on a motorcycle. The weather forecast that night projected more of the same for the entire next week. We headed for home the next day, cutting our trip short a day or two.

Unfortunately, when we arrived home there was a message on our answering machine that Harry’s Aunt down in Del Ray Beach Florida had passed away. Two days later we were on our way south again, but this trip will not be so much fun.