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I awoke without much of a clue as to where I was riding to. Nor did I have much “GIDDY-UP-GO”. A few weeks ago, I read with interest the destination of a group of riders I like to follow and ride with, (Southern Cruisers: Club #77). They took US-23 from Weber City VA. into a town in Kentucky. I wanted to follow that route as well; although I knew darn well I wouldn’t be able to go the entire way to the town they rode to. Instead, I told myself I would ride north on US-23 until 1 PM: at which time I should find another route back home. I like to be home by 4 or 5 PM to fix dinner for my family.

I rode out of Johnson City TN. on I-26 to Weber City VA. where I-26 ends and the road becomes US-23. I stopped at a gas station with 32 miles on my gas tank: not to fuel up, but rather to assess the oil spew problem I had noticed. I just cleaned the bike and I figured I would be able to detect where the oil was coming from. I had my suspensions. Common sense tells me it can’t be from the crankcase breathers; way too much oil collecting at the base of the lifter blocks and not enough oil soaked road grime collecting around the carb.



Now with the right side of the engine and cases clean, I figured I’d be able to see what’s going on. The oil is coming from the rear push-rod seal at the bottom. Sucks. Just this spring they were in there and these seals are new…remember when they replaced the rollers? I do. Slow burn, cuz I know the shop won’t recognize their culpability in this mess. I decide to keep an eye on the oil level and continue the ride. I’ve ridden that bike with the lifters bleeding so badly by the time I got from Dothan AL. to Vero Beach, FL. I had oil spray from my shoulders to my ankles. I kept the T-shirt as a reminder.  I did have to put 1/3 of a quart in before the ride was over.

My 1st sightseeing stop was at Benge’s Gap in Virginia, very close to the Kentucky state line. The gap was formed by an ancient creek, flowing southward, which cut through the land being pushed up to form the mountains. The gap was used by Native Americans and migrating animal herds. Later, when the white men came it was a highly contested area that was eventually named by the whites after a Native American chief who fought diligently to defend it.

Overlook at Benge's Gap in VA.

Overlook at Benge’s Gap in VA.

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Overlooking Benge’s Gap

My next stop was in Norton VA. I needed a quart of oil. It’s a quaint town, but the most interesting object for my camera I came across was the Cocoa Cola sign and clock.

old Coke sign and clock found in Norton VA.

Old Coke sign and Clock Norton VA.

I think the next little town I passed through was Jenkins. Its downtown was busy and very vibrant. I think they once heavily depended on coal, perhaps they still do.  I saw homes that reminded me of the “company store” homes I’ve seen in coal towns all across West Virginia.

Downtown Jenkins, VA.

Clock at Downtown Jenkins

In Jenkins, I realize the time is almost 1 PM. It’s time to figure out what to do. I look at the map and realize I’m in Kentucky. As I scan about for possible roads of intrest, I find I’m very near The Breaks State Park in VA. I’ve wanted to see this area for a couple of years. No time like the present. I map my way to Breaks, Va. It’s a good day and a better ride. Thoroughly enjoyed everything about the ride so far. I have stopped at a few places along the way to The Breaks, but when I saw this sign I was relieved. I was hungry as hell. Here I got good food at reasonable prices. You will too.

Please stop here for a bite to eat. Good food, good prices

Snack Shack

Leaving the Snack Shack, I scared the piss outta myself. I checked the roadway for oncoming traffic…I checked it three times as I always do. When I started to pull onto the road to join the lane opposite of the place I was sitting at, I discovered I was riding out into oncoming traffic. I did the only thing I could. I corrected my steering to put me riding the outside of the lane…riding in the same lane as the oncoming car (I was facing him). But I at least was safe, he had room to swerve from my stupidity and I could move onto the berm if need be. All was good. He adjusted and didn’t kill me…how sweet.

I arrived in good order at a overlook of the gorge. It’s wonderful. You must stop here!

Looking down into the gorge

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Leaving the overlook, I feel something that reminds me of my rear wheel being tugged at or bouncing over something. I’m wondering for a bit what the hell it was. I decided I must of rolled over wild life. It happened once more as I was turning into The Breaks State Park in VA. This time, I was thinking it felt like a tug. I then got a mental picture of one of the leather thongs I use to tie my bags on. I remember the rear set looked a bit loose at my last stop. I neglected to attend to the knots. When I got off to pay the attendant at the park entrance, I knew what it was. I felt very lucky for the second time that day. Man, any more stupidity will surely kill me…right? Whew.

I didn’t have time to fully explore the huge park. I only stopped at one easily accessible overlook and I’m telling you: You MUST plan a full day there. If you’re a hiker…well what’s to say? So many great trails leading down to the gorge. There is camping or cabins and the park also offers wonderful lodging accommodations. There is horseback riding, a swimming pool and so much more! Be sure to come prepared for a weekend of fun!

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State Line Overlook at The Breaks

A look at the road I came here on. That's KY back there.

A view of the route in from KY.

Looking over the gorge to the mountains beyond.

Looking over the gorge to the mountains beyond

After leaving the park, I headed for a little town on the map called Haysi. This is a very small town whose downtown deserves more than just rolling through. But that’s all the time I had… I did stop to photograph this mural covering the side of the local food market.

Mural in Haysi VA.

Mural in Haysi Va.

Oh, I found myself on a road that I wasn’t supposed to be on. As I rolled down it, directly in front of me about 50 feet…a full grown deer jumps out of the bushes on my left: bounding to the other side and up an embankment to the woods. He was handsome. Lucky again.

I’m about 90 minutes from home, I stopped to capture this old abandoned house. When I see these huge homes, I wonder how in the world they managed to heat a home like this. YIKES… I know there was some mighty cold spots in that house in winter.

Heating this house must of been quite the chore back in the day...

I’m almost home now. I’m riding East toward home on I-26 when I notice my shadow is out racing me home.

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That’s it girls and boys. I’m home…and this is what I got… YOU LIKE?


  1. >Was the clock in Norton,VA Coke Sign working? Pappy

  2. >No Pappy, it wasn't. Even the neon tubes were gone.

  3. >Lets know what the problem was with the oil leak hon as we are interested to know what it was? Another great ride and story ….loved itChristene

  4. >I more than liked….I loved it as usual.

  5. >Awesome! My favorite: The shadow pic. =D

  6. >Loved those views from the state park. As someone who likes to hike, that would be a fantastic place. Thanks for the ride! I held my breath reading about that first mis-adventure. whew!

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