Posts Tagged ‘Rt33’

One of the few things that bothers me about mountain biking is searching for people, places, or means of finding kick ass trails. Seriously, you have to be an adventurer, or know like fifty million people to become privy on where some of these unmarked wonders are. Some people do not give up and disclose info about where local trails are because of the encroachment on private property; and if the trail blows up, it will be shut down. Living in an extremely rural area also limits knowledge of local trails just due to the fact that not many people ride.

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This lady knows where some hot trails are, but she's not telling...

Growing tired of trails immediately around my town, I started stretching out and looking for others in a still local area. First stop, MTBR trail reviews. MTBR’s trail listing for West Virginia is pretty hit-and miss for Upshur County. There are one or two locations that are just flat-out wrong on the provided map, or the directions might as well be told to you by a parrot with a doctorate in Swahili;. Seriously, a few times, it has been the complete opposite of helpful… I heard about a trail on Boy Scout Camp Road, and wanted to check it out… I had no clue what I was getting myself into.

The first thing against me was the MTBR Trail Review itself. The listing shows a point somewhere, just a few minutes outside of the center of Buckhannon, near a trailer park. EPIC FAIL. First off, I decided to do some reconnaissance driving to see if I could scope out the area and find a decent place to start riding from. The road was only ten miles from my house on the highway, so I went out for a weekend joyride.

boy scout camp road

Proof I was looking for the trail!

My first drive was quite unsuccessful, and ended up with me reaching points on a road that was too much for my 1992 Dodge Caravan SE, and I did not feel safe driving over mud and large rocks anymore. I backed up off the hill, and went home. Deciding that some of the area around Boy Scout Camp Road was inappropriate for my pristine and classy ride, I took the Gary Fisher in my van back to the area. I parked in a vacated area close to the sign up above and set off. My first hunch was to traverse the road that I was not able to fully drive up. After a three-mile climb up this dirt road, all I saw were No Trespassing signs EVERY 20 FEET on both sides of this excuse for a road.

Traversing back down the road was a breeze, and it was off to the other side of the bridge in order to see if the other area had any signs of trail riding. (If you viewed the YouTube video, you’ve already spoiled the surprise.) I met up with a fat, hairy man who I could only assume was the caretaker of a large camping area which I stumbled upon. He told me that several riders a few years ago went on a road which led to the railroad tracks; I thanked him and went on my way after he gave me his blessing of permitted usage.

This so-called road that the man pointed to was an edge along a riverbank, not even ten feet wide in some sections, how it was called a road… I have no clue. Maybe the guy was suffering from dementia, he did look old afterall… This whole area around the Middle Fork River was covered in hiking trails, abandoned jeep trails once up on the hill, and very little singletrack. The free area, and winding paths would be great for taking a group of people wanting to ride together at a brisk pace; think MTB peloton…

The sun was going to set in less than an hour after I found the trail, so I wanted to hurry back after exploring for a while. I felt like Indiana Jones, but in lycra and on a mountain bike… it was awesome finding trails that have not been documented to my knowledge. Somehow after taking a spill on a soggy bare tree branch and resting for a minute, I lost my bearing and ended up in path-slash-sand pit of doom; things were not looking well. My feet were soaked, my legs were becoming tired and I just wanted to get back to the vehicle. I ran across some more No Trespassing signs right next to a house, so I did the stupid thing and rode right through their treeline. Rolled past their garage and luckily there was a man waxing his little wooden fishing boat. He politely gave me directions back to Boy Scout Camp Road, and I was off! Got back to the van, got in and turned on the feet vents for the heater. I was on my way home~

indiana jones mountain bike

Driving home, I thought back on my effort to find more local trails for myself and others in town. I was glad that I found land that was permitted to use on bike, and was encouraged. The terrain was fine, and the trails do need a little bit of maintenance (fallen tree moving), but overall it was a great adventure. Completely worth the time and effort. This just shows anyone in WV that with a little bit of determination, fun can be had just about anywhere.

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While Route 33 itself is not a road that is the best for cycling, it is like a vein home for so many road and mountain rides as a way to get home.

Here’s what Wikipedia says about Rt33 as it pertains to WV:

US 33 extends 248 miles (399 km) in West Virginia from the Ohio River to the Virginia state line. Shortly after entering West Virginia, US 33 intersects with I-77.

After passing through the town of Ripley, WV, US 33 joins US 119 at Spencer, WV. The road then passes through rural areas of Roane, Calhoun, Gilmer, and Lewis counties.

US 33 Intersects Interstate 79 at Weston, WV. US 33 from Interstate 79 east is 4 lane, built to Appalachian Development Highway System and is part of Corridor H. The 4 lane continues on through rural areas of Upshur, Barbour, and Randolph counties.

At Harding, WV, US 250 joins US 33 for several miles. At Elkins, WV US 33 joins SR 55, and returns to a 2 lane road, except for a seven mile (11 km) section of 4 lane across Kelly Mountain between Canfield, WV and Bowden, WV. US 33 joins SR 28 at Seneca Rocks, WV, and continues through rural areas of Pendleton County, WV.

US 220 joins US 33 for a brief time through the town of Franklin, WV. The road continues on into the mountains where it crosses the state line into Rockingham County, VA.

Off the top of my head, I can think of five to ten routes that end up taking me home via this freeway with signs all over the place showing that it is a registered and dedicated bicycle path. Some may say that it is dangerous, but a two lane road with a six-foot (or wider) shoulder to ride on keeps me feeling pretty secure. The stretch of road that I am usually on is about 41 miles long, or 1/6th of its entire WV length. This span is from Weston to Elkins and goes right by my home of Buckhannon. Every once in a while I use it to test new bikes, or TT equipment for reviewing, or to climb the nasty Buckhannon Mountain.


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