Day 5: Stung on the Back of the Dragon

Day 5: Stung on the Back of the Dragon

When Kenny and I rolled away from Backbone Rock, we hooked a right in the town of Damascus, Virginia and followed route 58 into the mountains.

Route 58 Virginia

There were several times throughout the 9 days we were on the road that I needed to flip on my heated grips as the wind whistled through my summer gloves. I found myself doing it once again on the Highlands Parkway. Β The air was chilly I think in part due to the rain storm we kept skirting around the edge of.

For the first time during our trip, we saw ourselves faced with actually having to be somewhere at a given time. We were set to meet a handful of our friends in Elkins, West Virginia the following evening.

With that in mind, Kenny and I decided that it was time to abandon our eastern course and head north. By the end of our riding for the day, we would be in a good position to make a fast trek from the foot of West Virginia to meet everyone the following day.


View Larger Map

We’d decided to pickup VA 16 to head north. It is another one of those roads that has been given a nickname in motorsport circles. It’s called “The Back of the Dragon.” Sticking with the theme that if a stretch of tarmac has some reptilian type of name – it’s gotta be good, and it was.

Back of the Dragon VA16

By the time we passed Hungry Mother State Park, the rain that we’d been following behind all day stalled completely over us and unleashed hell. It was a ferocious white-out kind of rain. As Kenny and I climbed up through the winding road, gravel and debris started to pool in the apexes of the turns. It was slippery slow going but thankfully the rain didn’t last long. It was over almost as fast as it started.

VA 16 Back of the Dragon

Wait a minute. Something felt a little weird. Steering… sloppy, heavy… SONOFA! Flat tire. I nursed my bike down through the curves into a farm driveway.

My rear tire was indeed f-l-a-t. A chunk of glass had pierced it. I’d been stung on the back of the dragon.

flat tire on va 16

Two things that I always have packed in my sidebag are a Slime mini compressor and a Stop & Go standard plugger kit.

In the 4 or 5 years that we’ve had and used both of these tire repair tools, they’ve worked as advertised. Both Kenny and I were thankful to find that they again worked like a charm. I can’t imagine leaving home without ’em.

Filling my flat tire

Standing there on the side of the road waiting for the tire to be filled, we’d decided to cash in our chips and call it a night. We were soon on our way to finding a hotel for the night.

But, not before seeing one more unusual sight for the day – a rooster farm:

Rooster Farm on VA 16

For all of its highs and lows, it was a great day of riding. Thinking back through different moments and places that we’d been, now I find myself asking, “was that really the same day?” A lot of living happens in a small amount of time.

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4 Replies to “Day 5: Stung on the Back of the Dragon”

  1. Ahhh, rain is just weather but punctures suck!

    I’m like you and always carry my repair kit and a little compressor. This kit swaps between bikes and like you I’ve used both items on the road (although I’ve yet to have a puncture since carrying the compressor).

    1. I’m pretty sure it works like an insurance policy πŸ™‚

      Kind of like the snowblower my other half bought after 2 of the worst back to back winters i can remember. Not a flake the next year!

    1. It’s a farm. Of Roosters. πŸ˜†

      πŸ˜‰

      Just so bizarre to see all of those roosters and their barrels or coops or whatever you want to call them. Of course, roosters don’t really play nice together so I was wondering how they would co-exist like that. Turns out they’re on leashes to the little huts :-{ Kinda horrible, really.

      The reality of farm life isn’t for me.

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