Five Days, Four Nights. Our major 2014 Tour will showcase the Shenandoah Valley, The Blue Ridge Parkway and the "Back of the Dragon," a wonderful ribbon of road (VA 16), featuring 262 curves in 32 miles between Marion and Tazewell, VA. If you've done "The Tail" ... if you've done the Cherohala Skyway ... then this ryde captures the best of those two right in our own back yard.
We're still hammering out details for this tour, have some options, and we will discuss between now and at our MSW Planning Brunch on April 26th. So, stay tuned, folks. With the time allotted, I've started straw-manning some routes, but they may change. Here's what I have so far:
Day 1 (Blue Ridge Day): Out of Sykesville, southwest, down the Shenandoah Valley, and the Blue Ridge Parkway to spend our first night southeast of Roanoke at Cave Spring. Total Miles: 308.
Lodging Night 1:
Holiday Inn Roanoke, Tanglewood, 4468 Starkey Rd, Roanoke, VA 24018
Room Rate: $89/night, King non-smoking (14 rooms booked). Ask for "MSW Block Rate" ***Must book by May 17th to get the group rate.***
Day 2 (Dragon Day): Out of Cave Spring, ryde southwest on picturesque and sweepy US 221 (this was the route I led a group on down to Maggie Valley in 2011). From US 221, we will angle west through the hills over to Marion. From Marion we will ryde over the Back of the Dragon to Tazewell, and from Tazewell, we will make our north over beautiful US 19 up to Beckley, WV. Total Miles: 238.
Lodging Night 2:
Quality Inn Beckley, 1924 Harper Rd, Beckley WV, 25801
Room Rate: $89/night, King non-smoking. Ask for "MSW Block Rate." *** Must book by June 4th to get the group rate.***
*** Note: Days 3 and 4 are "HQ'd" at Smoke Hole Resort and Caverns, Union, WV. See Lodging Information below.***
Day 3: (Smoke Hole Day): What's a Smoke Hole? Well, Smoke Hole Resort is a wonderful resort with lodge, restaurant, cabins, and caverns in Smoke Hole, WV, just southwest of Petersburg. This will be a two-night basecamp. Pete, George and I spotted this gem on our way back from our Ohio trip as we returned through West Virginia. The idea is to ryde up from Beckley, get there earlier in the day, enjoy the area, have a nice dinner ... perhaps ryde around a little, see the caverns. Total Miles: 190.
Day 4 (Lunatic Asylum Day): Depart Smoke Hole, WV out to Weston, WV to the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum and Tour, famous for its history and haunts!. The route will take us over the summit of the Potomac Highlands ... about 3200 feet. As Jimmy Hendrix sang in a Purple Haze, "Scuse me while I kiss this guy.. err I mean the sky!" We will ryde out, tour the TALA and then ryde back with nice stops and snacks along the way Dinner back in Smoke Hole and a relaxing evening, cuz the next day, we're headin' home. Total Miles: About 180, r/t.
Lodging Nights 3 and 4:
Smoke Hole Resort Lodging and Caverns, 5413 North Fork Highway, Cabins, WV 26855
Room Rate: $139/night, 2 person cabin; $199/night, 4 person cabin. Ask for "MSW Block Rate"
***Must book by April15th to get the group rate. 50% deposit due at time of reservation.***
Day 5 (The Voyage Home): While this is where we return to our home worlds to reunite our bodies with our day-to-day 'katras,' we'll have some fun doing it. We'll depart Smoke Hole resort and move slightly up the road to have breakfast at a plain-looking but highly-rated joint called Mallow's Roadside Cafe ... it gets 4.4 stars out of 5, for Pete Donnell's sake. We'll then move out on WV 55/US 48 to cross I-81 at Stephens City, South of Winchester, VA. From there, we'll angle north up through Berryville, then re-enter WV up to Rippon, where we might like to have the couples enjoy "John's My Pappy's Place," restaurant for lunch. It's a really quaint little place with cozy booths and all kinds of knick-knacks for viewing and possible sale. From Rippon, we'll continue north on US 340, but then break off at WV 9 and head east around to Point of Rocks. This will keep us away from Frederick and more scenic road. We'll loop up to Urbana, MD, then join MD 75, take a right at MD 80, then to Mt. Airy. At Mt. Airy we'll pick up MD 144 back to MD 97, MD 97 up to Forsythe and back into Sykesville. Total Miles: 165.
This is going to be an AWESOME Tour folks. Space is limited!
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