Because the mountain roads to the north of me still have so much gravel spread by the Highway Department during the winter snows, I decided to head south.
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It was nice to be out but the first couple of hours were overcast and cold. The streams were over their banks and there was water in the road in low lying areas. The mountain passages had both gravel and mud washed in by the rains.
It got better once I hit Maryland and I wove in a few stretches I hadn't ridden before. Boonsboro Mountain Road was especially nice.
Once I got to the little town of Sharpsburg--scene of the Antietam Battle during the Civil War--the sun broke through. Temperatures hit the 50s and then the 60s. I began shedding layers of clothes, stowing my fleece overpants and jacket in my side bags.
Sharpsburg is a cute little town and I stopped just long enough to snap a couple of pictures.
I then scooted across the Potomac and stopped for lunch at a nice bistro in Shepherdstown. (I normally eat German at the Bavarian Inn when in Shepherdstown, but wanted something different).
Berkeley Springs. This is a fun road with some nice twisty sections. But I kept getting stuck behind "fun thieves" in trucks and minivans waddling 15 or 20 miles below the speed limit. When I did hit the twisties full bore, I was quickly reminded that I'm not in mid-season form. It will take a few rides to get my mojo back. I nearly scraped a peg on a tight climbing turn, but didn't quite make it.
During many winter rides, I'd be the only motorcycle on the road. But with things warming up, they were coming out of hibernation. I saw one masochist on a Harley wearing only a tee shirt when the temperature was still 45 (yow!). Another Harley rider with straight pipes cranked his bike up next to me at a convenience store. It was loud enough to cause physical pain even though I was wearing ear plugs. Then I passed a couple of future organ doners riding over 100 MPH in tight formation on sports bikes. They're probably not long for this world.
After Berkeley Springs I crossed the the Potomac at Hancock, Maryland and slid back into Pennsylvania. I spent some time on routes 655 and 30. Both are great roads, but I again hit gravel and fun thieves.
My last pit stop was in McConnellsburg, one of the hundreds of cute little historic towns in Pennsylvania. As I was entering the burg, I noticed a hand-painted sign that simply said, "Watch Glenn Beck" so I was afraid I'd ridden all the way to The Land That Sanity Forgot. I quickly guzzled a Red Bull and moved on.
Cutting back through Perry County, Pennsylvania on routes 75, 274, and 850 I passed the location where a house fire killed seven Mennonite kids a few days earlier. There was a huge crowd for a chicken barbeque to raise funds for the family. The house itself, which was right off of my route, had already been demolished.
I then turned south back toward home on the wonderful Route 74, but again was robbed by a fun thief crossing the mountains. It ended up being a very pleasant ride though, of about 240 miles.