Southwestern Virginia - MONDAY DAY TWO

Approaching White Rock Ridge and the Veterans Gravel Road

MONDAY
DAY TWO

We were up bright and early and heading south on US52 toward Wytheville located near the intersection of I81 and I77. Passing through town we noticed a sign for the area Welcome Center , something that has proven very helpful in identifying local places of interest on our jaunts. This particular Welcome Center was quite expansive with large parking area/grounds, a new building and large brochure rack.

Back on the road we were now on US21 heading south towards the Mount Rogers Recreational Area in Jefferson National Forest . US21 was rather mundane and didn’t get much better after entering the National Forest. Making a quick adjustment we took a right on gravel Forest Service Road 57. Several miles in we passed through a large unoccupied camping area. A few more miles and we came to Half Lake which looked like a whole lake to us. We saw no one on this six-mile gravel road.

At the next intersection we took a left onto Blue Spring Road and began seeing a few homes hidden on the edge of the National Forest. After two-miles we were back on the asphalt SR658 at Comers Rock.

Taking a right we were now heading west through some really beautiful rural areas with rolling pastures and old home places in various stages of decay. Seems like the residents prefer to build new rather than salvage the century old family homes. Coming around one bend Nancy had to herd some cattle out of the roadway. The asphalt was in fairly good condition, but this was no place to twist the throttle and drop a knee. One never knew what he might meet around the next corner.

We stayed on SR658 for the next 15 miles all the way to Grant and VA16. Here we found the 80 year-old Grant General Store for sale with an asking price of $499,000. After a Red Bull we headed north on VA16 reentering the National Forest at Trout Dale. Not having found a better place to stop we pulled-off on a Forest Service Road and sat next to a small branch to eat a quick roll-up. Back on the pavement we passed through Sugar Grove on average roads with a couple of sweepers. Hoping for something better we stayed on VA16 through Marion and past Hungry Mother State Park .

Then VA16 turned into something a little more exciting as we reentered the Jefferson National Forest . This section had some really challenging twisties on average condition asphalt.

We crossed SR42 at Black Hill and once again entered the National Forest. Here the road got even more intense as we climbed from 2400 feet to 3200 feet in just a couple of miles …. and then the downhill got really tight and technical. And then there was another uphill even better than the first. Then another downhill where we found some of the sharpest hairpins we have ever seen ….. and you had to watch for rock and sand in every corner. It was a real hoot in Nancy ’s words. The gnarlier the better for her.

This section was so good that we almost turned around to do it again, but other roads were on our GPS so we continued northward to US19. Then west on the 4-lane US19 for 8 miles to Pounding Mill. Here we made a quick Red Bull stop before turning south onto SR637 and then a quick right onto SR608 where we came around a corner to find a tree blocking most of the road. All the more reason to ride with caution on these back roads.

We took a quick right onto SR91 through Rockhouse and Maiden Spring before running out of asphalt as we neared the National Forest once more. On the gravel known as Veterans Road we climbed White Rock Ridge and were just about to stop for a photo when we saw a pick-up with a guy shooting a 22 …. hopefully at varmints. We kept going to another overlook for a photo of the valley below. This gravel road was very similar to the one we had ridden the day before coming out of Burke’s Garden. It was well maintained with many switchbacks and a couple of steep sections.

Descending the other side we came to SR42 at Broadford. We took a left and headed for camp on SR42 which turns into US42 at the county line. This road had some great sweepers, little traffic and good pavement. We twisted the throttle a little to blow the bugs off the bike. We took the fun shortcut SR621 back to US52 and then south back to camp.

SUMMARY:

TOTAL DISTANCE: 164 miles

TOTAL TIME: 7 hours

HIGHLIGHTS: SR16 from SR42 to US19 .... WOW - Made our day.
Cattle herding
Half Lake

US 42
US 42 heading back east


FR57 getting off the planned route

Old homestead
Old homestead on SR658

Herding cattle
Nancy herding cattle on the backroad
Comers Road
Rural riding
SR658
SR658 - Comers Road
SR 658
Still on 658
VA 16 - wow !!!
VA 16 .... wow !!!
VA 16
More VA 16
VA 16
And even more VA 16
SR 91
Heading home on SR 91 Veterans Hwy. It later turned to gravel.