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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Or There and Back Again.

On Monday the 20th I took off for weeks ride to the 2012 Mates From Down Under Tour gathering in Frackville, Pennsylvania. This was pretty exciting for me as it was a good chance to meet many of you on this forum. For those who missed it, hang your heads in shame. Be sure to show up for the next gathering.

I left at dawn, under a light drizzle and 70 degrees, out Hwy 43 to 481 to I-20 at Morton. This was a fast day making tracks up to Knoxville, Tennessee. The only detour was getting off the interstate on TN 30 over to Decatur to catch a couple new counties. Meigs County and TN 58 was a very pretty valley but traffic got busy the closer I got to Knoxville. I checked into my motel after travelling 539 miles for the day.

The only picture for the day was the Meigs County Courthouse.
 

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I would have been there if not for
my wife got sick
I had to take the dog to the vet
Kids needed shoes
Had a flat battery and dead tire (australian)
etc
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
On Tuesday I left again with the dawn, clear skies, mid 50’s, on my big tour day. I first headed toward Cumberland Gap National Park. It was a pretty ride up TN 33 to Tazwell and then north on US 25E. Stopped at the Park visitors center and then rode up to the Pinnacle lookout. Be on your toes going up and down that road. It is very twisty and narrow. What an excellent view of the Gap. Fog was spilling through the Gap from the Tennessee side into the Kentucky side. Then I headed out into Virginia on US 58 and US 23 into Kentucky. It was a beautiful mountain highway with sweeping curves and great views of the mountains. As I was approaching the Ohio River dark clouds appeared to the west. I got to I-64 and went into West Virginia and crossed the river at Huntington. The ride up the river in Ohio was scenic and I stayed ahead of the rain the whole way. I did see a lot of river traffic and a lock and dam at Eureka. As I was approaching Marietta, OH there was a big dark cloud just about right where I was headed. It was hard to decide whether to speed up or slow down. I decided to slow down a little and for once that was the right choice. The rain ended at the motel just before I arrived. I covered 430 miles for the day.

Pictures;
Tunnel on US 25E under Cumberland Gap
View from Pinnacle Point, fog from the Gap and into Kentucky
A rock formation at the Point, for Vanessa
View from Benge's Gap along US 23 Virginia
Barn along OH Hwy 7
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I would have been there if not for
my wife got sick
I had to take the dog to the vet
Kids needed shoes
Had a flat battery and dead tire (australian)
etc
My policy is to just say "my big toe hurts", one excuse is as good as another.
 
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Sorry for the interuption Mark, starts to look good.More pics and stories pls .I 'll shutt the hell up till you finish.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
On Wednesday, I once again headed out at dawn under foggy conditions and mid 50’s for a ride up OH 26 to see a few covered bridges along the Little Muskingum River. This road deserves another run by me and next time I'll do the whole length. The first bridge, Hill’s was built in 1878. The next was Hune, built in 1879 and you can drive across it, which I did. (For future reference, it leads to a Forest Service campground, which looked pretty good.) The last on this road was the Rinard bridge and built in 1876. It was on a road that went to OH 260 which made for a good shortcut through the farm country and back to OH 7 along the River. Just a short piece north and I crossed the River at New Martinsville and took WV 2 to Moundsville, WV. This would be a good spot to go back to, the town looked very pretty and US 250 that I took east was just spectacular. It ran up and over ridges where the views were the best of the whole trip. But it was a narrow, twisty road and there was no place to pull off and take a picture. (Maybe next time I’ll have a co-rider who can help with that.) I got off that on a little road that took me into Pennsylvania and PA 21 which was also pretty interesting riding. At Uniontown I took US 119 north to a turn at Pennsville that lead to PA 31 and then to the Turnpike. It was time to cover some ground so I used the Turnpike for 100 miles to PA 75 that took me up a very pretty valley to PA 274 through some state forest land to New Germantown. Here I stopped to drive across another covered bridge. This one was built in 1891 to cross Sherman Creek. There were two more just north of this one but I found a thunderstorm to ride through right there and I didn’t see the turns. It cooled me off nicely and I continued up to Blain and took PA 17 to the Susquehanna River. I crossed it at Sunbury and headed in to Frackville, arriving at 5:00. Those who were there met up at the Cracker Barrel for dinner and socializing. A 422 mile day for me. Meeting a Hoon, and even better his wife Vanessa, was all I ever thought it could be. There is a voice in my head to go along with his posts now. Also meeting for the first time; the lovely JaNICE, Doc and Pete.

No, I didn't get to sleep with Doc.

Pictures;
Hills covered bridge, 1878
Hune covered bridge, 1879
Rinard covered bridge, 1876
The Mason Dixon Line, in West Virginia along Hwy 2
New Germantonw covered bridge, 1891
 

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You dont see barns painted like that anymore.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Sorry for the interuption Mark, starts to look good.More pics and stories pls .I 'll shutt the hell up till you finish.
Who says and old dog can't learn new tricks? Sorry, I'll stop the abuse now and continue.......
 

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Mark, what was your total mileage for the trip?
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
On Thursday I attended Fossil’s Frackville Area Expedition, the reason I made sure to be there early. Bill set up a tour of the local area that was real cool. We went by a local strip mine and coal breaker, where they process the coal. Then up to an overlook to see the other side of the mountain. One side has industry and coal mines and the other is all farms. Then we headed to Centralia to see the coal mine fire that dislocated a town and is still burning. We took in a coal mine tour and steam locomotive ride.

Pictures;
After breakfast and pre-ride, Vanessa, Eric, Gordo, Bill, Charlie, and Doc
St. Nicholas coal breaker and our tour director being safe
Ringtown Valley overlook
Lee's phone call interupting our Centralia mine fire tour
Would you let this man operate your train?

to be continued......
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·

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OK Mark, that settles it the next time the Westies have a meet and greet you gotta come and be the official Picture Taker and Narrator:D

And drag the rest of the crew along:rolleyes:
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
To continue the Frackville tour;

After a stop at Duncan Donuts for lunch, and a donut for me as I haven't had one from a DD in 30 years, we headed out PA 125 for a twisty ride through the country. At the end of that road I wanted to turn around and do it again! Instead we headed back to the Johnston headquarters for a trip to the St. Clair Fossil Bed. We all became involved in finding rocks and determining if they contained fossils. Many good examples were found and taken home as trophies. Later that evening we gathered for pizza and wings, and scheming.

Pictures;
I'm still trying to figure out how they knew he was coming...
Duncan donut stop, Doc, Gordo, Bill, and Charlie. Love that color of Doc's bike.
Eric and Vanessa on Bluey
Shamokin, PA
PA Hwy 125, great twisties, sweepers, and countryside.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
OK Mark, that settles it the next time the Westies have a meet and greet you gotta come and be the official Picture Taker and Narrator:D

And drag the rest of the crew along:rolleyes:
I will endeavor to persevere. I would love to come west and plan to in the not too distant future.
 

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Wow!! Great pics Mark....you should really do a blog. I know you have plenty of time. Great stuff.....
 

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I love those bridges too Mark as you'll seem them also in New Hampshire. Hey Doc, I like the look of your GW too. The hilly countryside looks like a very nice place to ride.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
On Friday was the official Mates Meet-N-Great at the Johnston headquarters. Eric had an idea to great the incoming Virginia contingent with the signs that were made up. So he and I set ourselves up at the entrance with some empties to make the appearance that we were starting early and eagerly awaiting their arrival. I can’t tell you how disappointed we were when they rode right by us! I just couldn't figure that out, here was the guy they were coming to meet! But we all gathered up for some incredible food prepared by Janice and her helpers, and got to know many of the people I have been corresponding with on the forum. We sure had an excellent time. There are plenty of descriptions on other threads so I will let that be so as not to rub salt in the wounds of those who couldn't make it since their big toes hurt.

Pictures;
Eric's idea in motion
My view of them JUST RIDING RIGHT ON BY!
Alabama refreshments, Phil, Lee, Doc, Eric, Jim, Myself, oh so good.
Embrace the look!
Gathered in front of headquarters is Bill (Fossil92), Mark (Crownfire), William (DetDocBuzzard), Jim (Sr71), Eric, Don (not in forum), Lee (Chopin114), Mike (Rapier), Gordo (GrumpyGordo), Phil (Efinref), Charlie (TwoWheelThing), Pete (Goldendragon1329), and Mark(W1ngin1t).
 

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