Cass WV Rally – Memorial Weekend

As the week went along and the weather reports worsened club members started bailing on the trip to Boyer, WV.  It had been a number of years since we were in the area and we wanted to ride those roads again so we left after work on Friday.  Since it was a holiday weekend we had a room waiting for us on the west side of Columbus.  Saturday morning, after a quick breakfast at the hotel, we started south.  It was cold but the electric jacket liner and heated grips were comfy.  It was cool enough that Archey put on gloves and an extra layer – most unusual!

From the Columbus area we road south on OH 33 which took us down through the Hocking Hills region of OH.  It was a beautiful morning with heavy mist drifting over the fields and clinging to the hills.  Good pavement and smooth sweepers all the way to US 50.  Note to self – schedule a long weekend in this region, include a blast up OH555.  We’re overdue for re-riding the “triple nickel”.  We used to explore this region on a regular basis when we went to the flat track races in Parkersburg.

This 80 mile stretch on US 50 has to be the prettiest section of that road – such a contrast to its “loneliest road” reputation out west.  Crossed over the Ohio river at Parkersburg continuing east on US50 until we started drifting south on I-79 then back east on US33.  Stopped for a late lunch at a Biscuit World (unique to WV) in Buchannan.  Started watching the signs carefully now because all of the roads go by  multiple designations that don’t always jive with Garmin.

From US 50 we veered off onto US250 aka WV92.  Keep watching because then you veer south on WV 92 aka WV 28.  Don’t blink because you might miss Boyer.  Did I mention the roads get a little confusing.  It’s worth it though because that last stretch is almost heaven and yes I couldn’t get that John Denver song out of my head.

Even with frequent 3 gas stops and a meal stop we made Saturday’s 300 miles in good time, had the campsite setup and were sitting around the communal fire well before dinner.

There were 126 attendees and I think only 3 from west of Ohio.  Judging by the license plates and accents there seemed to be a lot of folks from Pennsylvania, Virginia, Maryland and NJ.  Of course, the majority of bikes were BMWs but it’s really an all-brand rally including even a couple of barely street legal dirt bikes, Wings pulling trailers and several brand X sport touring bikes.  Saw one other Indiana plate but we never did identify who was the owner.

It was an unusual rally for us because we didn’t know a single soul.  Yes, we were the only Indy club members in attendance.   With knowing no one at the rally it took awhile to feel welcome.  It underscored to me how much fun we have when camping with the club.   We turned in really early Saturday night because our sleeping bags were warmer than the communal fire!

Sunday we stayed in the sleeping bags as long as we could because of the cold.  Had a leisurely breakfast at the restaurant fronting the campground.   We then took off on a 270 mile loop and were back in time for some great chili provided by the rally.

If you have never toured this area don’t wait for the rally.  It really has some great roads and wonderful scenery.  Lots of side trips could easily turn a weekend stay in the area to a 4-5 day vacation.  Boyer’s campground or motel would be a good hub for day trips to Snowshoe Mountain Ski area (and it’s super road to the summit), Spruce Knob (highest point in WV), Seneca Rocks,  Cass Scenic Railroad, touring the cold-war era bunkers at the Greenbrier and the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (one of two large radio telescope arrays in the nation.)   Because of  NRAO there is no cell service at the campground so it was a relaxing no-electronics zone!

Monday we got on the road quickly.  The first couple of hours were cold, so cold I was up to 6 layers of clothes under and over the Gerbing.  The heated grips were running full blast and I almost stopped to pull out my Aerostich insulated mitts.  I don’t know how Archey did it with just 3 layers and no electric liner.  He’s the tough one in our household!  Thankfully it was dry most of the way.  The rain held off until we crossed I-465.  It rained hard but not enough to wash off the road.  I had a pucker moment when my back tire slid over on diesel or oil while heeled over on a ramp right before the I65/I70 exchange.

All in all it was a great weekend.  By the way, did I mention it was cold?  The following picture is my bike on Sunday morning covered in thick frost:

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