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To the Middle of Nowhere(15 posts)

To the Middle of NowhereAllUpHill
Jun 3, 2003 11:04 AM
The other day I was reminded of a fading old town in some isolated, beautiful country just across the border with West Virginia. So on monday, with weather I couldn't pass up, I undertook a 70 mile ride to the north.

Here we go into the hills. I'm atop Brush Mtn, heading for Gap Mtn. Aside from the traffic in town and about 20 total miles spent on U.S. 460, I estimate I met or got passed by less than 5 cars all day.
re: To the Middle of NowhereAllUpHill
Jun 3, 2003 11:08 AM
This covered bridge bears the year 1916 above the entrance and sits at the foot of the first large climb of the day -- the road to Mountain Lake.

For those of you who rode MoM, I'm taking one of the other two roads leading to the summit. It's considerably less steep than the MoM finale, but also longer: about 7 miles.
re: To the Middle of NowhereAllUpHill
Jun 3, 2003 11:11 AM
More of the road to Mountain Lake.

There's a dizzying viewpoint about 3/4 up the climb. This murky photo doesn't do justice to the sea of ridges and farmland visible below.
re: To the Middle of Nowheremrrun2fast
Jun 3, 2003 11:29 AM
Thanks for the pictures. I miss riding in the middle of nowhere. In LA, I can't enjoy this life of luxury.

re: To the Middle of NowhereAllUpHill
Jun 3, 2003 11:28 AM
Mountain Lake. Much to the dismay of the resort owners, the once brimming lake has shrunk down to nearly a puddle over the past 3 years. I'd say the main factor was the ongoing drought, but there may also be a seismic opening at the bottom, slowly draining water. With this spring's heavy rain, the level is gradually rising. I think this is only one of two natural lakes in VA.

Following this shot, the road passes the lake, turns to gravel and eventually makes a long descent into some very remote country. I'm always the last one to complain about an unpaved road, but VDOT has been spreading the gravel much to thick on this one -- very fatiguing to ride.

A shot of the Potts Creek valley, not long after finishing said descent and crossing the W VA border (and the eastern continental divide). The road surface along the valley was paved but unbelievably bad.

I love this three-dimensional recession of trees on the plain.
re: To the Middle of NowhereAllUpHill
Jun 3, 2003 11:41 AM
Welcome to Waiteville. You get the feeling you've traveled back in time about 80 years. The white building is the post office, now closed, but still bearing its sign, zip code and all. I did a little research on this tiny town, and found that a rail line once ran through the Potts Creek valley and through this town. It went into service in 1909 with the purpose of transporting iron mined out of the area, but the valley's timber industry boomed and squashed out the iron cargo. With all the land cleared, the railroad was eventually taken down in 1932. Some of the buildings go back much earlier -- a church was dated 1863.

I left Waiteville by a narrow dirt road over Potts Mountain. This is the descent -- much smoother than the last one.
Gorgeous, tho' it all looks like 'somewhere' to me ;-) nmrwbadley
Jun 3, 2003 12:00 PM
Hang a left just before the white building...Ray Sachs
Jun 3, 2003 2:55 PM
...follow the road back about 3/4 of a mile, around the bend, and my brother has about 15 acres tucked up against the mountain back there. When I spent the summer there in '75, the neighbors used to bring vodka and grape neehi over in the evening for some cultural exchange. Yeah boy!

This has GOT to be the first time Waiteville has ever appeared on the internet (nice thought anyway). Thanks for the photos - I'm going to have to bring my bike down the next time I'm in Roanoke for a visit.

where do you recommendishmael
Jun 3, 2003 11:44 AM
I used to go camping/climbing at the New River Gorge at the bottom of W.V. and it was beautiful but the road were all big highways that wouldn't be nice for riding. I'm looking for somewhere that is well paved, green and hilly (if not mountainous), and has no one around. - a cyclists dream. If you know the area, tell me what's worth going to. Maybe there is a good resturant you know that's in the middle of nowhere, I like to have food as a goal.
where do you recommendAllUpHill
Jun 3, 2003 8:21 PM
I'm not too familiar with WV, if that's the area you mean. Just this tiny section (the southern edge of Monroe county) I pass through every few months. Based on what I've seen, I don't think you'll have trouble finding what you're after though.

Get a Delorme Topo Atlas for the state, browse the pages for something that looks interesting, and go check it out. That's my technique. I do a lot of ride scouting by car, as perverse as that may seem.
re: To the Middle of NowhereAllUpHill
Jun 3, 2003 12:00 PM
The road over the mountain leads to Johns Creek Valley. The beauty, stark openness, and lack of human presence gives a strange feeling when I ride through here. It's like being some place I shouldn't.

This shot should make MoM riders cringe in terror! This is Johns Creek Mtn. and the road that eventually goes over it. The climb was rated Category 2 when used in the Tour DuPont, and is really pretty tough. It's paved though, and I'm headed for a more interesting exit from the valley...

re: To the Middle of NowhereAllUpHill
Jun 3, 2003 12:04 PM
But first, a couple more fine views before we leave.

This is a resevoir build for controlling flooding. The creek has a pretty huge watershed, and as high as it was today I can imagine it would flood things pretty badly.
Reminds me of my ride in the middle of nowhere today.KG 361
Jun 3, 2003 12:21 PM
Except that it was raining =( 60 miles on the fixie in the rain. Our scenery here in PA is a lot like yours, although your mountains are a bit bigger. Nice pics! I love living where I can ride 60 miles and see fewer than a dozen cars. =)
re: To the Middle of NowhereAllUpHill
Jun 3, 2003 12:11 PM
This is a fascinating old road out of the valley. These are all "the roads less traveled," but this one is even less traveled. I'm intrigued by this crude stone retaining wall that faces down a pretty steep hollow. On the other side of the climb I'll ride through Clover Hollow, where VT holds our collegiate conference road race each spring. Then about 12 miles back to Blacksburg. Thanks for reading.
Lovely. Great narrative, too. Poetry, visual and verbal. nmbill
Jun 3, 2003 2:11 PM