Saturday, April 15, 2017

Greenbriar River Trail - Day 3

One of the challenges with riding the Greenbriar River Trail (GRT) is that there are few road crossings. This is why I'd felt like I had to do such a big mileage day yesterday, so I could break it down into sections to work through it.  My original plan had me completing the entire north half in 3 days of riding! The trail is 80 miles long and I'd turned around on Monday at mile 40 so exactly halfway.  Last night I was checking out the map and saw that there was a road crossing I'd missed at Clover Lick.  You had to drive down Laurel Run Road - Road 1/4 - for 4.2 miles but it said there was horse trailer parking, so I figured it would be RV friendly-ish. Despite the fact that it's route number was a fraction, I was hoping it would be a real road, in West Virginia you never know! From there it was 5.5 miles to the bridge and tunnel I'd attempted to ride to yesterday.  And 7 miles from there to where I'd turned around. So, I could complete the section, and just have a few miles at the end to complete. 

It rained overnight, but it never got really cold! I was too hot sleeping with socks on! It was still cloudy and cool when I left the campground this morning.  The sun was predicted to come out later, but it was only going to be in the 60s today.  Much nicer than nearly 90 from yesterday! 

I drove back to Marlinton on 219. 219 runs almost parallel to the rail trail, only it goes over a few mountains in the 10 mil distance! There were two big descents - one 10% grade and one 7% grade and many "KYA" or "kiss your ass" turns.  Seems funny to me that the rail trail is a flat straight trail yet all the roads around it are really hilly! Wonder why they didn't build the road next to the railroad tracks? 

I quickly got through Marlinton and headed up 28, through Seneca State Forest and found Road 1/4 and headed down it.  It was very narrow, one lane, but it was paved! It was a nice easy drive and soon I was at the trail parking area at Clover Lick.  There were 2 people sitting on their front porch enjoying the morning and their very friendly lab mix, Buddy, was running around.  He and I got aquatinted and he wanted to play, but I rode off! 

This section was another pleasant section of the trail! It all looks very similar, but it's also all unique! The tunnel was big and kinda scary! Very dark! I ended up walking the bike through it because I couldn't see a thing inside and there were rocks and stuff on the trail surface! The bridge was a regular bridge, nothing special.  

I decided not to press on to complete the last 1.5 (3 RT) miles of the section.  My body was definitely reminding me that I'd biked a lot over the last few days and while it felt good to get out and do more I knew that shorter was better today.  My Map My Ride app calculated my mileage at over 6 miles from Clover Lick so I'm not sure if the map was off or my app. I decided I was ok with not finishing every inch of the section and headed back to the van! 

After a quick lunch and a few chapters in my book I drove back out Road 1/4 and headed into Cass to check it out.  

Turns out Cass is seasonal and this isn't its season.  Nothing was open and the town was deserted. Now what? The campground I was planning to go to, Seneca Shadows near Seneca Rocks, was only an hour away and I knew there wasn't much to do there.  I decided to take the scenic route to the campground past Snowshoe, up 219 to Elkins and then down 33 to Seneca Rocks.  I was hoping to find some hiking along the way and maybe take a quick trip into Kumbrabow State Forest. 

My grandpa used to take my uncles, and later my Dad and my aunt, to Kumbrabow for "Turkey Hunting" trips. Only no one was allowed to shoot turkeys, so it was more "Turkey Stalking" or just an excuse to spend the weekend hiking! I've been to Kumbrabow twice and we have more pictures of it than we have pictures of each other! Since I was so close I thought I'd go wander around, maybe walk out to everyone's favorite spot in the creek and get some pictures. Dad had warned me that I wouldn't like driving Roxy on the road in because of the bumps.  It's been more than a decade since any of us have been there so I decided there was a chance the road had been improved. 

The first part, almost a mile, of the road was paved! It went straight up with many hairpin turns, but it was paved! Then it turned to dirt. Not many bumps, certainly smoother than the road to the Catherdral Lake Trailhead near Aspen! But it was very narrow, with a sheer drop off on one side and it was continuing to climb and twist and turn. I did see a turkey! Came right out about to cross the road! I didn't get a picture.  More troubling was that I didn't remember even one bit of driving this road.  The last time I'd been to Kumbrabow I'd driven and this wasn't matching up at all with my memory of the drive, not was it at all familiar. Since I had no idea where I was or where I was headed and the road didn't look like one I should be continuing down without knowledge of my destination I decided to turn around.  Easier said than done. I did find a wide spot in the road where I could do a 4 point turn without backing over the edge and turn around.  Once I got turned around I picked up my phone and noticed that I had full cell & data signal! No way! So I checked google maps, I was right on the edge of the green area labeled "Kumbrabow State Forest", so I might have been almost there, but I was already turned around so down I went. And, I'd seen a turkey so technically my turkey hunting experience was compete! It was so steep going down that 1st gear wouldn't hold it! I had to keep braking to keep my speed under control! 

Next stop was Elkins, where I went on a mini ice cream bender! When I got into town the first place I saw was Dairy Queen and thought I'd get a treat, since I didn't get DQ yesterday. But before I committed I decided to search and see if there was anything local.  When I searched "ice cream" one of the hits was The Custard Stand. That rang a bell, I think it was featured in a list my mom sent me of 101 places to eat in West Virginia.  When I clicked the link however, I learned that they are famous for their chili. Apparently they make some pretty amazing chili, both hot dog chili and soup chili.  Who knew those were two distinct types of chili? (Hot dog chili is a topping for your hot dog.)  The reviews mentioned 50 some flavors of soft serve though so I decided to give it a try. 

Navigating to the location was more complicated than I expected but I found it, wedged the RV into the tiny parking lot and headed in.  They did offer many flavors of soft serve, but it was with syrup poured over the ice cream so I opted for a basic chocolate.  It was pretty awesome! Thick and chocolatey and just enough in the small cone! While I was eating my ice cream at the counter I was reading the rest of the menu and noticed that one of the sandwich toppings they offered was Miracle Whip! I'd never seen that on a menu before! My mom was and still a Miracle Whip fan. In fact, I don't think we ever had mayonnaise in the house until fairly recently.

After The Custard Stand I went over to Kroger because I suspected I might need cash for the campground so I figured I could buy something and get cash back.  Only I didn't really need anything.  Ice cream still sounded good, so that's how I found myself in the ice cream section of Kroger where I realized that Kroger sells Greater's! I briefly debated black raspberry chocolate chip vs mint chocolate chip and went with the black raspberry.  I even remembered to get cash back.  But, I only got $20 which ended up not being enough for an electric site! Oh well, I did have enough for a dry camping site and I'm very glad I thought ahead to have cash!

By now it was after 3 and I decided it was time to head over to Seneca Shadows! Seneca Shadows is a very nice forest service campground right off 33 in Seneca Rocks. It's about 2 hours from Front Royal where I'm meeting Kathy for lunch tomorrow and about 3 hours from home.  There aren't very many people here tonight. I'm surprised by how deserted all these places are during Spring Break! I spent some time reading and fixed dinner then took an evening walk around the campground.  It's not very walking friendly. The two dry camping loops are separated from the tents and electic sites and you have to road walk. The other section has great views of Seneca Rocks, which are really neat at sunset (when I was out walking!).  Wishing I'd gotten $40 rather than $20 because I could have been over there! Oh well! It's dark now and all the sites have the same view after dark! 

No comments:

Post a Comment