Author Topic: Motorcycle Grand Tour of Virginia  (Read 2482 times)

Offline W14

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Motorcycle Grand Tour of Virginia
« on: April 08, 2012, 10:14:32 am »
The Motorcycle Grand Tour of Virginia is a great opportunity for motorcyclists (residents and non-residents) to travel to 80+ locations throughout Virginia.  What is great about the Tour is that it gives you destinations to visit throughout the April -October 31, 2012 time period. Upon paying the $25 registration fee, riders will receive a tour passport, featuring destinations and tour sponsor locations.  You collect tour stamps in your passport as you visit the locations and qualify for prizes at the end of the tour.

I completed the Tour in 2010, covering 5,600 miles over the summer and fall.  It was a lot fun and a great adventure.  I discovered most of the great roads Virginia has to offer.  I took 21 separate trips, mostly by myself, averaging 270 miles/trip, the longest being 950 miles.  Memorable rides include:

- The tunnels and bridges of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel,
- Getting stuck behind a tractor and trailer for hours in 90 degree heat, on I-95, outside Fredericksburg VA,
- Seeing a deer-crossing sign on Route 35 between Petersburg and Courtland, VA , only to be nearly run off the road by a giant buzzard,
- The road worker in Gloucester VA giving me the motorcycle wave,
- The moonshine still at Breaks Interstate Park at the border of Virginia and Kentucky,
- The scenic views from Route 21 between Independence and Wytheville, and Route 340 between Waynesboro and Luray,
- Getting a big rush when crossing Lover’s Leap in Patrick County at the top of Route 58,
- Experiencing the true Southwest VA at the Poor Farmers Market in Meadows of Dan,
- Visiting Booker T. Washington’s birthplace in Bedford Co, and
- The twisties of Route 116 between Roanoke and Burnt Chimney.

Get more information on the tour at www.vamotorcycletour.com

Ride On!

Darknesses

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Re: Motorcycle Grand Tour of Virginia
« Reply #1 on: April 14, 2012, 08:48:37 am »
Score!  I just moved to NoVA and I brought my bike with me. I have been searching for some good riding to get out of the city.

Offline VirginiaJim

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Re: Motorcycle Grand Tour of Virginia
« Reply #2 on: April 14, 2012, 09:05:20 am »
It's all good riding once you get out of NOVA...
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Offline W14

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Re: Motorcycle Grand Tour of Virginia
« Reply #3 on: April 14, 2012, 10:25:30 am »
If you are new to Virginia, the Grand Tour is a good way to discover most of the great roads in Virginia. I don't know much about the NoVA roads...I try to stay away from there, but nice traffic-free roads between Fredericksburg and Richmond include: Rts 1, 301 and 360. I also like Rt 17 in the Fredericksburg area.  These roads are not twisties but there is not a lot of traffic on them. Roads in central and southwest VA are particularly enjoyable, including: Rts 5, 6, 10, 15, 33, 60, 58 (longest road in the state, covering the whole southwest), 360, and 460. Virginia also has the northern portion of the Blue Ridge Parkway (BRP) as well as Skyline Drive.

I have not travelled it, but I recently heard about a route called the "Back of the Dragon," Rt 16 between Marion and Tazewell, VA. Some compare it to the NC/TN's Tail of the Dragon. Both, the "Back" and "Tail" as well and as the 467-mile BRP are on my bucket list.

Offline VirginiaJim

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Re: Motorcycle Grand Tour of Virginia
« Reply #4 on: April 15, 2012, 06:34:45 am »
Route 40 crosses the state from east to west and shows the scenery from near the coast to the mountains.  I've run it a few times.  I've done the BRP many times and it's actually the less traveled of the scenic drive.  My advice, is to take it during the middle of the week in peak summer.  Less rangers are on it as well. 

The Northern Neck (where I live) has some good scenic roads.  I was on them Friday evening.  Virginia is such a wonderful state for riding.

In fact, why don't we let this thread be about Virginia rides in general?  Up to ya'll of course but what the hey...

Here's my two cents....VA has many scenic byways.  Here's the linky...

http://www.virginiadot.org/programs/prog-byways.asp
« Last Edit: April 15, 2012, 09:06:22 am by VirginiaJim »
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Offline W14

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Re: Motorcycle Grand Tour of Virginia
« Reply #5 on: May 20, 2012, 05:30:31 pm »
This is my update on the Motorcycle Grand Tour of Virginia, specifically a story about my ride of the Southeast/Hampton Roads portion of the Tour completed on May 18, 2012.
 
This was a solo ride, as are most of my rides.  I tend to like to ride by myself, allowing me to ride at my own pace and without the worry about someone else’s riding style. Friends and family often express concern about my riding alone, saying I might end up in a ditch along a mountain side, not being found for days. I don’t worry.  I just enjoy the ride.  I figure that when it is my time, the good Lord is going to take me and I am not going to have a lot to say about it.
 
The weather was great that day, starting in the middle 50’s and rising to the high 70’s later on in the day.  The trip involved a loop:  starting down I-95 through Richmond and Petersburg, down VA-35 and US-58 to Franklin Co., I-264 to Virginia Beach, I-64 to Hampton, US-17 to Yorktown and Newport News and I-64 back to Richmond – all slab, no twisties this time.  I did not need my customary coffee that morning because of the adrenalin rush in anticipation of the ride and the slight chill in the air.  I was, however, concerned about the morning rush-hour traffic through Richmond. The trick I have learned is to get in the left lane and go with the highway speed in that lane.

VA-35 to Franklin was not as bumpy as I remember from the 2010 tour. A sign saying “Deer Crossing Next 20 Miles” heightened my awareness of my surroundings, as I tensed up a bit. I had to remind myself to relax.  The last time I did this VA-35, it was not a deer but a buzzard that appeared to have a four-foot wingspan that nearly took me out. No such surprises this time. It turned out to be a great morning to be on a motorcycle, not too many big trucks this time.  It was just me, the bike, the wind, the quite rumble from the Two Brothers muffler, and a bright sunny morning.

It was now about 8:30 A.M. and the Franklin Economic Development Center, a tour sponsor/stop, was not open. So, I stopped at Fred’s Restaurant, a co-sponsor and a fixture in Franklin, VA. There I was treated with a friendly small-town atmosphere – some of the locals were wondering what a dude in biker garb was doing at their breakfast hangout so early in the morning. Anyway, I enjoyed my breakfast at Fred’s. From Fred’s, I meandered to the Best Western in Virginia Beach, another tour sponsor.   

Leaving the Best Western, my GPS let me down, sending me north instead of south on Atlantic Ave. I should have known better but I am directionally challenged.  I ended up running into military base.  No way was a hotel in there. So, a trip that should have taken five minutes ended up taking 30 minutes. What a bummer! After several missed turns, I finally found the Ramada on the Beach, my next stop.  I found solace in the fact that the staff was excited about seeing me, as I was one of their first tour participants.

From the Ramada, I headed up I-264 and across the Hampton Roads Bridge Tunnel.  Riding through the tunnel was fine. It was the gusting and swirling winds on the bridges leading to and away from the tunnel that were a challenge. Luckily, the traffic was moving at a slow pace. After I got through the tunnel, I missed my exit (perhaps you see a pattern here), couldn’t blame the GPS this time. I made a quick u-turn and got back on course.  I fell behind a group of 10 motorcyclists, followed them for about 10 miles, don’t know if they saw me.  That was fun. Sometimes the company of other bikers is not so bad, even if you can’t talk to them.  I stopped by the Hampton History Museum (Sponsor No 4), the next stop, and had lunch at a nearby restaurant on Nelson Street, spending a little money to help the local economy. Then, I was off to the Hampton Roads Harley Davidson, another sponsored stop. Boy do they have a lot of inventory, Harley’s everywhere. From there, I travelled to and stopped at the Newport News Visitors Center. The staff there was excited about seeing me.  They have been a tour sponsor since 2009.

It was now about 3:00 P.M., and I was starting to feel the pain of being on and off a bike all day. I hopped back on the bike and headed I-64 W to Richmond. 

Overall, it was a great tour, 312 miles, taking roughly 10 hours.  The Connie behaved flawlessly. Now, she is parked in the garage, looking like a panther and wondering when we are going to take the next road trip. 

Ride Safe!

Offline stevewfl

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Re: Motorcycle Grand Tour of Virginia
« Reply #6 on: May 22, 2012, 10:39:49 pm »
My favorite road thus far in VA is crazy twisty HWY 16 starting in Marion and crossing the West VA line
“The World is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.” St. Augustine