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346 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
3 Burgmans, a BMW GTR1600 and a Canadian Wee-Strom Invade Smoke Hole

26-27 October 2014

(Part 1)

The weather was looking GREAT for a few days (70 degrees and sunny in late October!) so I emailed a few riding friends and we all took off Sunday afternoon for Petersburg. Our plan was to ride down to my grandparents' old farm (where my parents live part-time) and take off exploring on Monday morning.

After church, I hurried home and had lunch, then finished packing the bike. John stopped by on his nice BMW GTR1600 and we were soon on our way. Next stop was Kingwood to pick up Ben and Lesa on their Burgmans. Then it was off to Petersburg via back roads, preferably exploring new ones. John took us east to Terra Alta, then we headed south on the Aurora Pike/Terra Alta Road (CR 53).

I was too busy trying to keep up to stop for photos on this first leg of the ride.

Here is a FILE PHOTO of a previous ride on the Aurora Pike/Terra Alta Road (CR 53).

Once we reached Rt 50 at Aurora, we continued south on Stemple Ridge Road (CR 112), a paved but narrow path that winds through the mountains and farms of southern Preston County. Just after passing into Tucker County, we turned off onto Location Road (CR 5) which took us into St George. Again, a narrow and winding road (great for motorcycles!) with nice views along the ridges. After going through St George on Holly Meadows Road (CR 1), we turned east on Sugarlands Road (CR 25). I will have to go back to this road to take photos of the beautiful stream and small waterfalls running alongside the road. (It is best viewed heading eastbound from St George)

Shortly afterwards, we came out on Rt 219 by the huge wind turbines west of Thomas/Davis.

Quite an odd group - 3 Burgman scooters and a powerful BMW GTR1600 Six-Cylinder.

It's OK - he did a pretty good job of keeping up.

From Davis, we headed east on Rt 93 and saw the progress(?) they are making on Corrider H. It will be nice to have easy access to Virginia, but they sure are tearing up a LOT of pristine wilderness.

We had a great time descending Rt 42 from Bismarck down to Scherr.

First one down the mountain was John on his BMW GTR1600.

Next came husband and wife team Ben and Lesa on their Burgmans.

At Scherr, we detoured through Greenland Gap on CR 3/3 past Knobley Road and on out to

Patterson Creek Road (CR 5). Then we turned left and did a small counterclockwise loop around

Belle Babb Road (CR 2) which brought us back out to Knobley Road and Greenland Gap.

It's a nice loop through some old farmland. Very scenic - narrow but well paved.

We were running close on time, so I did not stop to take photos in Greenland Gap this time.

Here are a few file photos from an earlier trip, though.

(FILE PHOTO - Greenland Gap)

(FILE PHOTO - Greenland Gap)

(FILE PHOTO - Greenland Gap Road near Medley)

(FILE PHOTO - Belle Babb Road (CR 2) near Medley

Back to the current ride:

We reached our home base just as the sun was setting.

My grandparent's old farm is near Petersburg, and my parents live there part-time now.

Since there is a creek crossing and a steep gravel road up to the house, we parked at our neighbor's.

Just a short walk up to the house.

Of course, the swinging foot-bridge over the creek was popular. (To the RH side of photo)

From Left to Right:

Me (kneeling), John (standing), my Mother and Father, Lesa, and Ben.

Mom had sandwich stuff ready and some good side dishes. Mmmm.. Thanks, Mom!

The evening was spent talking about various topics like who's bike is fastest, which branch of the military

is the best (go Air Force!), and other profound topics.

To Be Continued.....

346 Posts
Discussion Starter #2
Part 2


After we all had a good night's sleep, we awoke to the smell of scrambled eggs and breakfast.
Then we took a short walk up the mountain road to see the farm and stretch our legs before riding.
We were also waiting for the sun to come up and warm up a bit. Thermometer said 30 degrees.

In the morning, the bikes were covered in frost. Except John's covered BMW.
He wasn't too concerned about the cold - with a bike cover and heated seat and grips.

Not very inviting, is it?
The sun came up and melted most of the frost, so we were on our way about 8:30.

Next stop was McDonalds to meet David, a Canadian Rider who saw our notice about the ride and asked to join us.
I brushed up on my Canadian language skills (eh!) so we were good to go.
David was staying in Petersburg for a few days and riding out on days trips to see the area.
We are going to show him some good back roads and sights today.

We started out of Petersburg on Rt 220 south but took a detour at the edge of town.
This is South Mill Creek Road (CR 9) southbound near Mozer.

Still on South Mill Creek Road (CR 9) coming into Kline.

At the south end of South Mill Creek Road, we ended up in Upper Tract.
From there, it was just a couple of miles north to the south entrance of Smoke Hole Road.
The sun was up and it was already warming up - maybe 40 by now. It felt good!

Enjoying the views along Smoke Hole Road - northbound near Eagle Rock.

What a nice ride up Smoke Hole Road.
It used to be gravel, and they paved it about 15-20 years ago.

Smoke Hole Road follows the South Branch Potomac River for a while.

Scooters invade Smoke Hole Road - Hide the women and children!
Here, Ben comes around one the endless series of curves on his Burgman 650.

Right behind him is his wife on her Burgman 400.
BTW - She made that 400 move! We did not have to slow down for her at all.
In fact, I had to work hard to keep up with her on the twisties!

Next came David on his V-Strom 650. I think he was having a good time! (Eh!)

And bringing up the rear (for now) was John on his BMW GTR1600.
He had his GoPro video camera attached to his helmet.
He maneuvered that 800-pound bike around these narrow roads like a bicycle.

And then there was me.
That's OK, I have photos of me on this curve.

Just before reaching the north end of Smoke Hole Road, there is a nice photo op facing east.
I've taken photos at this spot several times over the years and love to see the changes.

Near the north end of Smoke Hole Road looking towards Knobly Mountain.

Same view over the fence without the bikes.

Next Stop - Seneca Rocks

To Be Continued....


346 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
Part 3


Our next stop was Seneca Rocks.
Ben and Lesa had to head back home, so we parted ways here.
Several other riders out enjoying the nice day. It was now sunny and over 60 degrees.

One of the riders at Seneca Rocks had this very nice 1976 BMW RS90.
Truly a classic!

This BMW RS90 was not a "Garage Queen", but was ridden regularly. Quite regularly!

After our bathroom break, it was south to Riverton to find John Dahle's gravesite.
He is the namesake of Dolly Sods, as he was one of the original settlers in the area.
This is Horse Ridge Road that runs up the mountain southeast of Riverton.

Continuing on Horse Ridge Road about 3 miles to John Dahle's grave.

More beautiful scenery on Horse Ridge Road.

John Dahle's gravesite. Cemetery is up the hill about 200 yards.
David elects to pass on the hike to take photos of a nearby cabin.

John and I walked up the hill to the cemetery and enjoyed this nice view back over the mountains.
You can see our bikes to the left.

There's David riding out to take photos of the cabin.
We turned and continued our trek up the hill to the cemetery.

Under this old tree lies the graves of John Dahle (to the right) and his wife (to the left).

John Dahle's gravestone.

We soon caught up with David at the old cabin.

To Be Continued....


346 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
Part 4

PART 4 (Final)

After talking with a couple locals (who are riders themselves), we went back a different way.
We turned south on Bland Hills Road (CR 5/8) to come out on Rt 33.

John having a good time on his BMW.

We made a few friends along Bland Hills Road. Very friendly cows!

Shortly afterwards, I came around a corner to see.......

.... this old DeSoto Powermaster. My best guess is 1954 - give or take a year.
I saw Steven King's "Christine", so I kept a safe distance.
(Yes, I know that was a '58 Plymouth Fury)

I wonder how many offers they have had on this car?

Can you feel the power?!

The interior might need a little work.

Tail light.


Love these old hood ornaments.

OK, time to move on. Shortly, we were out on Rt 33 and turned left to go up to the Germany Valley overlook.

Just a few colors remaining at Germany Valley. Still a beautiful view, though.

This little guy wanted to tag along - he was just getting ready to climb up on my bike.

Next, it was lunchtime. After a quick meal at the Gateway Restaurant, we headed up the mountain to Spruce Knob.

Top of West Virginia - looking east towards the Virginia border.

The obligatory photo by the Spruce Knob sign.

Coming down off Spruce Knob, we stopped at this overlook.
Riverton and Horse Ridge Road are down by those rocks just ahead.
Germany valley is just beyond them.

John enjoying the twisties on his BMW.

At the bottom of the hill, it was time to head home. We said goodbye to our Canadian friend
David, then turned north. John took me through Jordan Run Road, which runs north from
Smoke Hole Caverns up to Maysville. Surprisingly, I've never been on that road! It was nice riding.
We enjoyed another blitz up Rt 42 from Scherr to Bismarck, then turned through Thomas, Oakland MD, and Kingwood.
We arrived back in Morgantown just as the sun was setting.
Great riding - Great new roads to explore - Great meeting new friends.



352 Posts
Thanks for the write up, great pictures! :thumbup:

3,142 Posts
Certainly was nice to have a guided tour.

The mad crew dropped in on Sunday....Weestrom does look wee - specially against the 1600 Beemer.

Sure is pretty country.

pretty sketchy road for the big beemer....handled gracefully tho he mentioned that was about as marginal as he'd want to do.

Couple on Burgman's sure were loaded for distance.

Lenticular clouds high about gave an indication of the wind speed tho Sunday was worse.

Looked like a solid face of coal on that cut in the hill top

gotta love the juxtaposition of wind and coal...

Lot of generations represented in the homestead Mike took us by.

If you look really close there is a bee flying into the window and you can see the rippled glass on the other side. New lens I'm really happy with.

Lot of work to cut and lay those logs and build that gorgeous fireplace without mortar.

That was two stories...

Wonder how old that original structure is. ...look how well those fireplace rocks are faced. My dad used to do work like that and much of his rock work remains in place.

I will be back for sure eh ;)

Got in last night …..only got to 27C not 30C
still 13 hours before it was sunny and chiily 7 C…then up to 27 then down 15 now - got a little wet but wind was insane in some areas….

First hours were superb....big tail wind and smooth road with little traffic....generally took 220 nearly all the way home. Set the cruise control and boogied along.

Made a navigation error later and cost myself an extra hour or more grrrr - gotta learn to trust the GPS - got way too far east on 99 and missed the turn on 80 to stay S of Buffalo....ended up south of Rochester and had to fight cross winds coming back west.

What's a little ride in the dark in the rain in deer country...:rolleyes:

Gear all worked still feels top heavy - think I will try the exact same load in the panniers and try riding with it distributed between the two and see if that helps a bit...

This was a test run for the Weestrom and new, boots, jacket, heated grips - first time I've run without a rain jacket.
Boots were great
Jacket is okay zero to 25 - iffy after that.
Not 100% on the Adventure seat but that was 13 hours of which 11 riding so a long day and feel okay the next day. Celebrex works real well :D

Bike just rock solid all the time....rider marginal at times ;)
I got enough sleep this time....Monday was brutal - not enough sleep and blistering hot - went home and crashed at 4 for a few hours.


I use a TomTom app on my iPhone for navigating
and it's Winding Roads did a great job on Sunday - many of those photos are from then. That is a unique feature, the app works entirely offline and is a one time buy. Voice Nav as well. It lets me go into an area on my own...punch in a destination and it will guide me through the twists it finds.
Tired and want to get home....hit the Route Alternative and it takes you the fastest route.
Don't like the look of a road...just carry on and it shifts forward for you. We've found riding roads that no amount of poring over maps could have identified.....some just wonderful....and I was happy it found Green Gap on its own which was a good test.

List of interesting roads it found in the area.

Leadmine Mountain Road
Stemple Ridge Road
Holly Meadows Road
Limestone Road
Sevens Iss CO HWY 72/1

Saves a lot of this


Maybe Mike can comment on each road above.

THIS however Mike claims to be one of the best in the state and it sure was "interesting" me some insight into the mild mannered piano man that he apparently takes it at speed.....
CR 3/3 Greenland Gap Road.

Winding Roads found it, crazy narrow and twisty, no guard rails, no signage and winds along a lovely stream.....if it was one way it would be a total hoot....I count myself lucky I met only one vehicle and that on a civilized portion.
Worth checking out.

Rest of the photos of this trip are here

and other travels around the world to inspire your bucket list

Just about end of season up here but then it's off to Australia for 3 months Feb...warm and wonderful. Go play in the rain forest on the spiffed up KLR.
Bit easier transition from the Wee to the KLR.

Adventure blog here

BTW the Burgman Exec is still on the road and still preferred for some things and will be more so as it gets colder.

346 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
Correction to thread title

Sorry - I wrote the wrong BMW model name in the title and can't fix it.

It is a BMW K1600GTL.

Oops! :rolleyes:

346 Posts
Discussion Starter #8


Thanks for adding your photos. It was great to have you join us.

Where was the coal mine? It doesn't look familiar.


3,142 Posts
On that road you avoid :D 48 up the mountain.

This might orient you...

A nice man came along in a service vehicle to see if I needed help.

a couple of road hazards on the way down
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