>Wytheville VA.: BACK ROADS RIDING
I had been reminded recently of how long it’s been since I took time to ride in VA.
Oh, I know, I’ve been riding in VA. quite a bit lately, but I mean up into Appalachia portion of VA. In order to make this part of VA. a day ride with loads of new roads, I have to ride on Interstate for 2 hours. Yes, I know, but as the roads I’ve ridden become more numerous, I have to move further and further out of the circle. Meaning: I must do some Interstate riding if I’m to have enough time in the day to enjoy the back roads I so love!
Wytheville VA. is a cool little town off I-81 and I-77. It has it’s own Harley Shop, so I made the HD shop my kick off point. Stopping in and 1st asking the girl who does the greeting at the door about a “nice little loop ride”…I get a blank look. She tells me she’s not from around here. “I just know how to get on the interstate get here and get back home.” Good God…I won’t say what I’m thinking. But I believe y’all have an idea of what it could be. The greeting gal takes me back to see the service manager. She says he should know where to go for a ride at around here.
Once again, I’m at a loss to understand how come people don’t “get it” when riders come into the HD shop asking for a great loop ride in the area to visit. JC tells me about Walker Mountain Lookout. Once he talked about it, I realized I’d been there before. It’s on US-52. I found it on my way home from West Virgina a couple of years ago. I decided not to ride up there this day…been there did that not into it today. I wanted a hot dog, and JC tells me of Skeeter’s World Famous Hot Dogs down on Main Street in Wytheville. I take the road into old downtown and find Skeeter’s. It’s really cool. I loved it! Best advice all day!
When you walk into Skeeter’s, you’re immediately taken back to a simpler time. The store reminded me of a place I would visit for ice cream and shakes when I was a kid. It had a long counter with stools facing the isle where the waitress would make your hot dog after you ordered. On the wall above shelving and counter space were dozens of photos taken over the years of people enjoying the dogs! The menu is small. Hot dogs and a few simple sandwiches (bologna and cheese!) During the right season, you can also have a bowl of Chili Beans. It was the right season and I got a nice big bowl of em. Yummy. I also ordered the “Everything” chili dog, a glass of unsweet tea and a bag of corn chips to put on my chili! Oh- I was in heaven.
I paid for my meal after devouring it, and headed out the door for US-52 west. I thought I would find Black Lick Road and follow it to a town called Rural Retreat. That’s a back road I haven’t been on before, and I was told it’s picturesque. It was. This part of VA. is hilly. Not mountainous, but hilly. Here is where you find beef cattle and trout farms. I was thrilled with the views, with the farm lands, the hills and the buildings. Let’s have a look shall we? I was amazed at the amount of snow still lying on the ground in shaded areas and depressions. This particular bit of snow reminded me of glaciers…
The ride was beautiful. After so much snow and cold, it was amazing to be riding once again. Not much could have marred this outing. If I was to let anything mess with it, I’d be a fool! My momma didn’t raise no fool!
The town of Rural Retreat is a simple and small town. Just as the name implies. I almost passed by this old rail station.
I passed through Rural Retreat, the road now becomes VA-74. If I stay on it, it will take me all the way over to US-21 and Speedwell VA. I knew I didn’t have the time to continue on this path, though I wish I did. I’ll have to save this ride for a nice warm Spring day in the future, because the map shows this to be an inviting route.
Instead, I turned off onto Cedar Springs Road, heading south.
At VA-16 I went north and headed for I-81. It was time to head home. I didn’t jump on I-81 right away, I took US-11 south through Abbingdon VA. before giving up the back roads.
It was a wonderful ride of over 250 miles. Next sunny day will see me back up here. I found some really good roads that called my name and needed my front wheel and my camera to explore them!