Day Five by Dave Schultheis
Friday, May 23, 2003 - Lewisburg, West Virginia
I slept well, although only a few hours. I was awake around 7 a.m. and up about 8 o'clock. I dressed and packed to the sounds of Harley-Davidson motorcycles starting at other nearby motels, echoing through the hollow. By the time I opened the door to begin loading the Road King, most of the motorcycles and cars parked near my room were gone.
I checked out of the motel at 8:50 a.m., did one last room check while warming up the engine, and departed at 9:00 o'clock, in a heavy mist, wearing my rain gear.
The first thirty minutes were very moist, although not quite raining. I stopped at the Virginia state line for a picture, and noted highway signs stating that radar, Vascar and aircraft were used for speed enforcement. I was particularly amused by the sign saying that "radar and other electrical devices" were being used to monitor speed.
"Other electrical devices"? Toasters? Hair dryers? Blenders?
The moistness turned to heavy moisture and then rain. Then there was some fog; always nice on unfamiliar roads.
I took exit 55 and turned north onto Interstate 81, where it was not raining, but the pavement was wet.
About 10:45 a.m. I took exit 213 and pulled into a Shell Station in Greenville VA. This was on Lee-Jackson Highway, otherwise known as U.S. Highway 11. There was some problem with the fuel pump, so I could not fill my tank to the top, but I got enough.
Back on the freeway, I rode for about another 100 miles, then seem to recall taking Virginia Highway 55 into Front Royal VA, and arrived at the Super 8 Motel at 1:05 p.m. I was a little surprised to see that it was a three-story building with a big parking lot, instead of a one- or two-story building with parking by the rooms. But it would do.
It would _have_ to do, as that's where my reservation was, and it was a holiday weekend!
My reservation was in order, although it was going to be $69 including tax for Room 315 for the night, and then double that for Saturday night. It was a nice room, but not that nice. I had parked in a regular parking place since the parking lot was almost empty, but I knew that when I left, I would lose the spot to a car.
After unloading the bike and making several trips from the parking lot, through the lobby, into the elevator and up to the third floor, I hung up some clothes, stowed stuff, and decided to take a little walk (!) to see about lunch.
Across the street and down a little was a Texaco Station with a convenience store and "Gyro Express" attached. Since I don't care for Greek food, I had some riiibs and green beans, mashed 'taters and something to drink. It was "good enough," and I walked back across to the motel.
Since I was going to be in Front Royal for a couple days, I put on my gear again so I could explore the downtown area. I hit the Visitor Center for a local map, then stopped at the Rite Aid Drug Store on U.S. Highway 522 to drop off some LPCs for processing.
I did happen to notice a small sign at a bed-and-breakfast near the motel and gas station. I should have stopped there and asked for a business card, so that I could contact them in case I returned to the area.
The purpose of this portion of the trip was to attend a private gathering at Topp's home, The Black Dog Ranch, in a rural area a few miles from Front Royal. I followed T.L.'s directions and arrived at the ranch (as usual, way early for a weekend party) about 4:00 p.m. It was bright but not sunny, it was cool but not cold, it was moist and the grass was wet, but it was not raining.
I met Barb ("Bawb") F., Panhead ("Ken"), Topp (who had his hands full coordinating), and his brother Glen from PA. Panhead came up with a fantastic story of taking a dirt road (short-cut) over hill & dale to explain why he arrived on a muddy black Electa-Glide Standard. I think he enjoys mudding!
As the preparations for the weekend were in full swing, others arrived on bikes and other vehicles, some I knew and some I only knew of. Ghost arrived from Michigan, on a slightly modified motorcycle, then Sam & Gail on Big Bird, Dave H. and Roach arrived from Philadelphia, Redbeard Bob, Laurel, Bill B., Ray K. from Richmond, Pete F., and Donnie B. Some would be staying in the house and others pitched tents on the lawn. Although I had a tent with me, I just wasn't ready for wet-weather camping.
Through the afternoon I had a few cans of liquid refreshment and a few snacks, walked around the property a lot, talked to old and new friends, looked at motorcycles, helped a little, but generally tried to stay out of trouble as much as possible. Around 8 p.m. I decided to return to Front Royal and began the ride back, watching closely for deer sneaking out of the woods, as I had been warned.
I stopped at the Rite Aid to pick up photos and got back to the Super 8 about 8:35 p.m., parked at the curb in front (remember the part about "permission" versus "forgiveness"?), cabled the Road King to a post and got upstairs in time to hang up my clothes and get a cel-phone call from T.L. at the Lair in the Woods of eastern Ohio. Things had come up and he was not going to make the trip. I said I'd pass the message to the folks when I saw them the next day, and we caught up with other recent events.
I made a telephone call back home, then turned on CNN, made some notes, checked the map, took a shower, looked at the photos (they all came out pretty well), set the alarm for 7:00 a.m. and went to bed.
Miles for the day = 223. Miles for the trip = 3117.
Tomorrow: wet roads, a countryside group ride, a stop at Cooter's, and more.