Being in no rush, I took my time loading the bike. As lazy as I was trying to be, I was still rolling by 9 am. The morning was sunny and the temps were cool. It was a welcomed change from 90+ degree days. After a short while, I saw an IHOP in Clarksburg and decided to have a bite. It works out that this Ihop sits on a hill right outside the Clarksburg FBI field office and it's imposing restricted access signs. The people here were very nice. Tabby, my waitress, seated me in the back so I could see my bike and told me that if anyone messes with it, I can go right out the back door and take care of business. Yes, Ma'am. The 'back door' was an emergency exit, and I'm sure I would get assistance if said event were to happen. As it was, the only person who came near my bike was an elderly gentleman that just wanted to take a closer look. He was harmless and it may have reminded him of 'back in the day.' Good for him.
West Virginia is really nice motorcycle riding country. The super-slabs are anything but straight, and the posted speed limit is 70. Each turn beckons to be taken just a little faster than the last. I'm certain that a novice rider would be challenged and hopefully take the ride a little slower. More advanced riders are likely to push, and during the day, I think this is fine. At night, I think it's more than a little dangerous. Your headlights are all you have going for you, and you're definitely over-driving them. You're going to hit any pothole, road-gator, gravel, animal, or whatever happens to occupy the space you thought you wanted to be in. West Virginia is also so beautiful that one should ride during the day if they want to enjoy it.
64 runs into Maryland. I've been on this road several times. On my Harley, I used to ride down to Martinsburg, take Rt. 50 all the way out to Morgantown and take the super-slab back home. 50 is the best ride in West Virginia I've been on so far. It is absolutely fantastic. As I passed the sign and realized I didn't have time for it, I felt so sad. When 64 gets into Maryland, you start finding little towns like Frostburg. These are quaint little towns that are as picturesque as they come.
As I passed the first rest stop in Maryland, I thought about a rest stop that I was going to pass, close to my old house, where the DC Snipers were caught. Back in 2002, I was working in the Washington DC metro area and these guys were picking off people in parking lots and gas stations. As the body count mounted, law enforcement put out information they had about the gunman, including a description of their car. A couple of very alert truckers found them sleeping in their car at a rest stop and pulled their rigs across both entrances so the sniper's vehicle could not get out. They called the police, and a SWAT team arrested them. The whole area is picturesque, but I thought it would be a good place to deploy my drone and get some footage. The area is 10 miles from the nearest airports, so 400' off the deck should be no problem for any aircraft in the area.
Coming across 70, my GPS was calling for a turn down 270 to get to Laurel. I was planning 70 all the way across and then down the Baltimore Parkway. The GPS route said 370 to 200. I hadn't heard of any of these routes as they are both on the top side of the beltway, but I thought I'd give it a shot. I was committed to 270 (being 15 miles down the road) and learned that 200 is a toll road and requires an Easy Pass. I knew this was going to now involve the DC Beltway, something I really wanted to avoid. I pushed past the exit, but my GPS kept wanting to route me to 200. I got through the menus quickly and selected the avoid toll option. What happened next was dreadful. Mr. Garmin sent me through Bethesda, Silver Spring, and Beltsville. This is a death sentence for someone who likes wide open spaces. Amidst the $600,000+++ homes, there are a ton of people and vehicles. GPS had me going down side streets and finally routing back onto the beltway. At 2 pm, the beltway was already near max capacity. Did I mention that through all the stop and go it was 90 degrees with high humidity? Yuck. The last 16 miles of this 3100-mile trip was definitely not fun.
Here, enjoy a portion of the last 16 miles with me...at 2x speed. I'll spare you the trauma. Wait. I can't watch it at 2 speed. You won't either. I tried 4x speed. Still too painful. Here it is at 8x.
Here are the maps...
All trips to date: