Road Trip Along The Ohio River By Motorcycle

Discussion in 'Street and Documentary' started by Ricochetrider, Dec 15, 2020.

  1. I raveling been wanting to ride along the Ohio River by motorcycle and recently had a few days at the end of October where the stars aligned perfectly to all me a few days away to do so. The weather was lovely, I'd just had a bunch of work done to my "big rig" BMW K1200, and I had the full endorsement from the GF for a few days away- so I was all good to go.

    Here are some shots I took in Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia and Ohio along my way. I wanted to begin down south and move upstream. As with many industrial-use rivers in the U.S., the reality doesn't tend to live up to the romantic notions I've formed over the course of my life- which is to say it wasn't all I imagined. But when all was said and done, I enjoyed myself and there was plenty to see along the way.

    All of the color shots here are from my phone, the B&W shots are all film photos.

    I zig-zagged my way out of Pennsylvania and rode down through Maryland & West Virginia into Virginia on US route 522, then rode a northern section the Skyline Drive out of Front Royal. Later in day 1, I exited the park and rode west, cutting back over into West Virginia and spent the night.

    U.S. route 30- The Lincoln Highway, maybe 50-60 miles from home.
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    A view from the SkyLine Drive in Virginia
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    I found a great old time motel the 1st night out. I had fun playing with the key fob and winning lottery ticket (only won 1$)
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    Day 2 was taking my time and riding basically west but south to the far southern corner of the state and I spent the night at Huntington on the banks of the Ohio,

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    Stooped in this tiny town for some coffee after getting some miles under my belt. Lovely sunny day, and a sweet little coffee shop with fantastic art hanging all through the place. Score!
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    Late afternoon and the air is dead still. Had to stop at this dammed up river to get some phone pix of the glass-like surface & reflections, just above the dam.
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    F-ing around in Huntington WV, trying to find some sort of mom-n-pop or locally owned motel. I failed in that particular mission, eventually doubling back to a chain motel- but there's always a minute to snap pic of something I find of interest.
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    The motel night manager was super nice in letting me keep my bike under the porte cochere for the night.
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    Next morning, I was out the door to begin my ride north along the river's edge. I began in WV, although it was only interesting for a few miles before the road moved east, away from any views of the river.

    Hillbilly Hot Dogs is upriver from Huntington at a sort of non-place named Le Sage, WV. It's a place of some local renown. Too bad I was there way too early to sample the fare, but I had fun shooting a couple pix. I love roadside gargantua and the massive hot dog display does not disappoint.
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    to be continued....
     
  2. I'm a big fan of old local theaters and always try to take a minute whenever I encounter one. This place has obviously seen better days.
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    This old theater is, in fact, "for ale", which aligns perfectly with my own life-path- as much of what I do is also "for ale"! LOL
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    Soon enough I had a chance to cross over into the Ohio side and things suddenly got a LOT more fun.
    I'd been on the road for a couple hours by now so a stop for coffee a bite to eat were in order. I joked to my friends later that I am extremely thankful for hipsters having brought expensive & foo-fooey coffee beverages to tiny towns everywhere. The River Roasters coffee shop is exemplary of this trend- and I hope the trend stay alive!


    The bustling little burg of Pomeroy, Ohio is situated right on the West Bank of the Ohio River and it's a lovely little spot indeed! I had a cappuccino and a piece of quiche while I sat outside and watched the world go by.
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    From here, my "Ohio River Ride Experience" got better by far. I stuck to the smallest roads possible, staying as close the river as I could. Love the shadows cast across this dam.
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    This barge navigating the bend in the river was a slo-mo exercise. It was a test of patience for me but was fascinating for a few minutes, well worth the time.
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    I rode as far north as I could before I got close enough the the next big city upriver, so I cut northwest, leaving the river in my rear view mirrors- to ride a twisty road I'd targeted on my map. Along the way were a couple old covered bridges, and I stopped to snap a couple shots of one of them.
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    by now, it was getting later in the day and I still had maybe 75 or more miles to go to reach my target spot for spending the night, outside of Youngstown. This would put me in a place where I could leapfrog over into the norther tier of Pennsylvania for the final day of my ride. I eventually arrived outside of Youngstown after dark and managed to find a funky locally owned motel. I'd guess that many folks would write this place off judging by its looks, but the room was clean, the owner nice AND as he had a small package store in the lobby, selling beer & wine, everyone who checks in gets one free beer! Additionally, I could pull my bike in under the overhanging walkway for the 2nd floor above, so my bike was out of any rain or dewfall. I took the final photos of the trip here:

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    I'm fascinated by signage and also enchanted by the sort of "Americana" of "yesteryear" that one finds along U.S. highways, back roads & smaller routes. Fortunately, I was able to climb the outside stairs of my motel to get varying perspectives on this group of signs- my MOTEL sign and those of the truck stop across the road. The square shot seen above is a crop of one of the photos I took, but generally I think I like the top photo best of all.

    The next day, I headed a little further north going almost into Youngstown so I could pick up I-80 eastbound, which I rode a ways into Pennsylvania before angling northward to reach the northern apex of my ride, before heading southeast. Cutting diagonally across the whole west side of Pennsylvania I had the biggest mileage day of the whole trip. I did stop for lunch along the way somewhere but for the most part it was hard charging over mountains and through the woods almost all the way home. IIRC that final day, day 4- was about 375 miles or so, most of which was riding state highways and local roads through very rural, mountains & wooded Pennsylvania.

    That wraps this up. It was a fantastic ride. The weather could not have been more perfect and the roads I found were amazing. I love to take my time and noodle around as I see fit. I had originally wanted to ride north and just zig zag all over Pennsylvania but as it turned out, there was a bit of foul weather hovering about the state during the days I had slotted for my ride. Nothing for it then, but to ride south and spend my time behind the system. I left the house not really having any real idea exactly where I was heading- other than having a vague notion that I wanted to end up at Huntington to ride the river routes. I had my phone mounted to my bike, for navigating as I went in real time and an old paper road atlas for keeping track of my rough trajectory each day. So much fun, and a surprise at every turn!

    Thanks for riding along
    Tom
     
  3. Very cool bike. I ride an R1200R.
     
  4. I don't ride anything with fewer than 4 wheels, but the Ohio Valley is underappreciated. Not for nothing did the early French call it the "beautiful river"


    Thanks.
     
  5. just catching this...that's an r1200gs in my avatar in White Sands National Park, NM.
    I've done much of that ride, including Hillbilly Hotdogs, when they were open, on my former bike, a r1200r. I do my ride reports over on advrider and r1200rforum.com and r1200gs.info under the moniker Dr. Strangelove.
    A ride report on photo.net! who woulda thunk it?
    I'm getting the urge for a long ride these days. I had a planned ride around PEI and down the St. Lawrence River valley last spring, but China had other plans...not sure if that opportunity is now lost.
    Thanks for the report, and very cool ride, like the silver and red,,,a Buckeye paint job?
     
  6. Interesting post.

    Thanks.
     
  7. I believe that the State Theatre was the same theatre I went to in early 1940s. Weekend fare was aimed at little kids. Those were the days when kids could safely go to movies alone. Town hit the skids when Mier Lansky and other mobs moved operations to Cubanand LV. Mobs strictly into gambling and prostitution, no drugs.
    Theater down the street had midnight showing of such films as Bitter Rice, Open City, etc. That’s when I got interested in movies as art.
     
    ericphelps likes this.
  8. Good stuff! Interesting documentary. Kind of answers a question I've been asking all over the place - What to take? A phone, a small film camera, and go light!
     
  9. Quite lovely, thanks. I could use a Hillbilly dog right about now :)
     

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