The Poverty Tour

We decided to make another run down to Tennessee to see our Dad before our big summer trip. This would be our first trip of any length on our new bikes. I was concerned how I would like my new less than plush (when compared to the Venture) BMW. This would be the first test.

Day One - Cincinnati to Mountain City, TN

We decided to take a different route to Mountain City. It was difficult to find a new way to go, having gone every conceivable way over the last 30+ years. We chose to ride down the Double 'A' Highway in Kentucky, hook onto I-64 for a short time, and wind down through West Virginia. The Double'A' is always a good choice, nice scenery, but the road is fairly straight. It is possible to make good time on the road provided you are on two wheels. Once we got through Huntington WV on I-64 we exited and began a southerly course down state route 10. I didn't know it when I plotted the course, but we had embarked on somewhat of a poverty tour. The conditions of the towns we traveled through were nothing like we had seen before, truly some impoverished areas. State Route 10 south of Logan is a narrow two-lane road not in the best condition. The scenery was not bad, but too much attention to the poor road conditions made the ride less than desirable. As we got closer to Virginia the roads and economic conditions in the surrounding areas improved. After turning on St. Rt. 80 just west of Mallory we continued to Gilbert where we picked up U.S. 52. We stayed on U.S. 52 until we were a few miles short of Welch, there we turned due south onto St. Rt. 16 towards Tazewell VA. Once through Tazewell, we climbed over the Walker Mountain range, across I-81 and into the heart of Mount Rogers National Recreation Area. Once in Mt. Rogers Rec. Area we turned west on St. Rt. 603, and rode through one of valleys in the area. We had finally found some good twisties. St. Rt. 603 leads right into U.S. 58 and into Damascus VA. Mountain City is only a few miles down St. Rt. 91 (TN); one of my favorite roads.


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Double 'A' stop Stop along St. Rt. 10 Stop along St. Rt. 16 in VA
View of St. Rt. 16 Stop on St. Rt. 603 in Mt. Rogers area Stop along U.S. 58
View of U.S. 58    

MPEG of me on TN St. Rt. 91

Day Two - A Teaser for the next day

We visited on Saturday, and stayed around the house. But after dinner in Boone NC, we were taking the long way back and happened on the Blue Ridge Parkway. We rode the Parkway for a short time, but as darkness was falling we knew we had to head back. We went back by riding U.S.221 to Jefferson NC where we turned west on St. Rt. 88. This road is absolutely fantastic riding; nothing but twisties. This road rivals anything east of the Mississippi. We turned the volume, and rode like we never had before. At this point I was definitely glad I had purchased the BMW. It had been so long since I felt this kind of exhilaration (at least on a bike). The bike handles beautifully; the braking is exquisite. It allows me to dive hard into the corners, and the low-end torque pulls you out like no Japanese bike can.


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A brief stop on St. Rt. 88 Steve on the Parkway Ken on the Parkway

Day Three - Our little side trip

After a taste of the Parkway the previous night, we decided to ride a little more of it on Sunday. We rode over to Blowing Rock NC jumped on the Parkway, and rode about 60 miles down to Linville Falls. We gassed up, and rode back the same way. I could really live down here if for no other reason than the wonderful roads to ride. Imagine being able to ride the Parkway every day!

The approach to Lincove Viaduct The Lincove Viaduct The Parkway off in the distance


Day Four - Mountain City to Cincinnati

The day started in rain; need I say more. We had to alter our trip since we did not want to ride back roads in the rain. We went the usual way back home. At Abingdon VA we jumped on I-81 down to Morristown TN, and up over Clinch Mountain on 25E. This road takes you through Cumberland Gap, and its new tunnel. The rain stopped as we got to the top of Clinch Mountain. We have been this way so many times it was rather boring. Once we got through the tunnel at CG we noticed a side road that leads up to Pinnacle Overlook. Since we had never been there before we decided to take a look. It was worth the trip. A very nice view of the valley awaited us at the top. Steve noticed a side way back to Middlesboro, and we took that road which put us back on 25E. Once we were back on 25E it is a short distance to Corbin KY, and back onto I-75.

Pinnacle Overlook Another View Clinch Mountain


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