Region 6 Winter Meet


Friday, January 4th

SWRiverstone (Scott) on STN had put together a Winter Meet in Berkely Springs, WV, and I was hoping the weather would be decent enough to attend. Luck was on our side, as the weekend was forecast to be dry, but getting off to a cold start. I woke up Friday morning to temps of 16 degrees, but it got warmer as the morning went on. By the time I was ready to leave this is what read:


Time to bundle up. Bicycle shorts, thermal long-johns, two pairs of hiking socks and boots took care of the bottom half. Long-sleeve t-shirt, heated jacket liner and my TourMaster jacket (with liner) on top. Heated gloves for the hands, and a just-purchased-the-night-before balaclava for the head under the helmet. Dang that's a lot of gear. Hit the road at 11am.


Gassed up and then hit the WaWa for a bite to eat and to adjust some things. About 2 miles into the ride I had a stray thread from the balaclava tickling my face right around my right eye. Not good.

Almost got tagged in the WaWa parking lot by some SUV flying in from the road as I was pulling away from the pumps. Stayed on 40 to the Delaware Memorial Bridge, where my EZPass didn't register - "UNPAID - GO". Great. I-95 south for a bit, got off on 272, took 274 to 273 then cross the Susquehanna River at Conowingo. While not the prettiest bridge in the world, it beats the super-tall and gusty Havre de Grace I-95 crossing hands-down. It was also somewhat nostalgic, since this was the way I went on my first ever big motorcycle trip.


From there I wound my way on two-lane through northern MD. I don't recall the exact route in this section. I know I crossed through Westminster at some point. Gassed up there, and grabbed some junk food for lunch.


Rolled through Boonsboro, Sharpsburg, and into Martinsburg. I saw only 2 other riders all day. There were a couple of options to get over the mountains to Cacapon, and I chose the thinnest line on the GPS. It started out pleasant enough, but as the altiture rose the pavement started deteriorating. I was taking it very slow, as the road was super narrow and in bad shape.

A pretty section on the downhill. Sun's starting to set. Not good.

About 0.6 miles from my connection with 522 I came across the road below. Thick ripply ice across the whole lane, extending for a couple bike lengths. I parked the bike and thought about the situation for a few minutes. The left side, including the ditch, was covered in ice so that was out. The ditch on the right was pretty deep and full of soggy gunk, so that didn't look like a good idea. I nearly fell on my ass walking across the ice in the middle, so that also seemed like a bad idea. I ended up inching the bike backwards up the hill to get it turned around. Backtracked about a mile and a half to the closest intersection, and eventually met up with 522 and up to Cacapon.

The resort was nearly deserted except for us biker-folk. I was greeted by Scott as I pulled in, as he was trying to get some cell service outside. I was just in time for dinner - I unloaded the bike, checked in, and grabbed a seat at the dinner table.

My lowly room (Scratch33 had gotten the only Honeymoon Suite, complete with Jacuzzi - ha!)

Dinner was (as usual with STN'ers) a lively affair, with lots of funny stories. TomsFZ1 joined us about halfway through - he had arrived an hour earlier but didn't see us in the restaurant. Some of got lucky with the food, some not (don't order the horse steak). Scratch33 was trying very hard to get lucky with our waitress, who only had about 30 years on him. After dinner we sat in the lounge for a bit watching the weather channel report on the mega-storm in California, and watch some car slide under a stopped truck on the ice about 5 times. Back to the room around 9:30.

(photo by SWRiverstone - yes, he's in the picture) L-R: SWRiverstone, Cablebandit, KenDenton, JamminJere, TomsFZ1 and Scratch33 - SLK50 was taking the picture

The route for Friday's ride to Cacapon

Saturday, January 5th

We met for breakfast at 8, all of us taking our assigned seats at our "usual" table. Eventually we wandered outside to start getting ready to ride. The weather was looking fine, much better than you should expect for early January. A couple new guys arrived for the ride, ZZR Rob on a - surprise - ZZR, and CRFJohn on a BMW K12GT. Scott handed out incredibly detailed routesheets, which promptly went inside the tankbag :-)

Kickstands up about 9:30

I couldn't include Scratch33 in most of my pictures because he would throw the exposure off. Even pictures don't do the brightness of that Hi-Viz suit justice.

TomsFZ1 found a way to show how bright that thing is.

First stop of the day, a 3-state overlook on Route 9. The roads were fairly gravel-strewn, for the center in the most part. No problem, just pretend the road is 1/2 as wide and pick which part of the lane to stick to. Some of the slower corners (posted 10 or 15mph) were completely covered in gravel, which was no fun. The 'alpha dogs' up at the front didn't seem to care, but Tom and I were taking a more cautious approach.

Sign says "Don't cross if bridge is flooded". Duh. The Oldtown Low Water bridge.

Waiting while Scott snaps some pictures of us.

Scratch33 was nice enough to cover our tolls

A rare sight on this ride - the whole group together!

A much more common sight - Tom and I on our own happy ride in the back.

Our next major stop was in Bedford County, PA at the Hewitt covered bridge (c.1910).

This cute dog ran up to join us.

I tried to get some decent pictures of people crossing the bridge, but my focus was a bit off (pretty sure the focus switch was set to the right-hand crosshair instead of centered. The D40 can't lock that selector pad like my D200 can). Here's our fearless leader Scott coming over the bridge.

And me going the other way, with Scott at the camera controls.

A pretty decent shot of me on the bike, if I do say so myself.

I was well into reserve by the time we got to Breezewood for gas and lunch. I think it was 140 miles from when we left Cacapon. A light rain had just started to fall when we got gas, but it didn't look like it was going to get bad. Lunch at the truckstop was pretty good, and Scratch33 was working the waitress (as usual).

(photo by SWRiverstone)

(photo by SWRiverstone)

Heading back, Tom and I fall into our usual slot.

We got back before dark, and Scratch33 ran out to fetch some beer (good man!). We hung out in his room for a while (taking advantage of the sauna) watching the Redskins lose, then headed out to the porch for a bit. It wasn't actually too cold out there since a giant exhaust vented right onto us.

Dinner back at our usual table (with assigned seats) - conversation was even more hysterical this time around. JamminJere told the flat-out funniest tale I've heard in a long time. I won't be asking to borrow his pocketknife anytime soon.

After dinner it was back to the lounge for a few hours. It was at this point that I noticed I wasn't feeling too well - my throat was getting scratchy and I had a slight fever. Thankfully it did not get worse for the long ride home the next day.

Sunday, February 6th

Met downstairs around 8. It had rained all night, but was clear at the moment. The Weather Channel showed scattered showers, mostly to the South and West. We all said our goodbyes, and Scott and I headed out to get to Marlinton.


A nice ride over the moutains (well, nice enough once I stopped to plug in my electrics) got us to Marlinton where we split ways. Scott gave me a route suggestion to get to Thurmont, which I took (I-81 to 64 to 77).

This is a very fun road when it's open.

From Thurmont it was 15 to 97 to 194 into Hanover. Then on 216 for a bit. On JamminJere's advice I sought out PA851 to cross lower PA. Nice road! Took that to near Graceton, MD, then went over the Conowingo bridge and reversed the route I took on the way out. I skipped I-95 though, and stayed on 273 into Newark, DE.

I was overdue for lunch, and tried to find a Quizno's. My GPS said there was one about 5 miles in the other direction on a different road, but when I got there it was boarded up. Went to the Arby's on 13 by the New Castle Airport, then headed home. I was in my driveway around 2pm. Never hit a drop of rain.

Big thanks go out to Scott for organizing this.