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A Roadside Humdinger: Mobile Bacon and the Grassy Lick License Plate Barn

Day Ride Route Notes

At the tail end of our Saturday ride with Kathy in West Virginia, she took us along one of her local favorites – Grassy Lick Rd. I was excited about that because it was on my route from the day before but I missed the turn and missed the road altogether.

As we motored along Grassy Lick we found ourselves behind a swiftly moving pickup truck pulling an open trailer. The bed of the trailer had a layer of hay on it’s floor and something else sitting on top of the hay that I couldn’t quite make out.

The truck was going along at a good clip so we just hung back, enjoying the twists and turns, watching the trailer dance along… wait,… is that… a giant pig?

Yes, Mr. 60mph Trailer-Puller was taking his giant pig out for a drive.

“Mabel, I’ma-gunna take the hawg out fo’ a drive. W’be back ‘fore supper.”

 I can honestly say that was the first time I ever followed a pig through the twisties. ::checks that off bucket list::

Not long after the big pig turned off Grassy Lick Road, Kathy’s turn signal came on.

Well, well, well! What have we here?

Just as she had made a special stop for me to check out a Mail Pouch barn she also included a stop at a license plate covered barn. Is she the greatest? :)

license plate barn near romney west virginia

It’s probably a good thing we stopped when we did. Considering the lean on it, it doesn’t look like it is long for this world.

license plate barn

One side of the barn also featured a nice array of hubcaps.

It was really a great roadside specimen. I’m so glad we stopped there :)

license plate barn west virginia

Good roads, good roadside stops, good company. That’s the stuff great road trips are made of.

Road Tripping: The Dreaded Sting of Flatness

It was just about dinner time and we’d been out riding all day. Kenny and I were just finishing up our last pitstop, taking a picture of a Mail Pouch barn at the edge of the town of Romney, West Virginia. As I pulled out onto the roadway after Kenny I noticed his rear tire looked soft. I buzzed in on the Sena and said the dreaded words - ‘looks like you’re going flat.’

mail pouch barn route 50 near romney west virginia

We pulled over on the side of the road near the mouth of someone’s driveway. Kenny put his Tiger up on the center stand and spun the rear wheel ’round. A nail. Damn.

Out came the Tire Plugger and the Slime compressor. Those 2 items are worth their weight in gold. They’re quick and easy and can get you back on your way in 10 minutes. When I think about all of the years I rode around without them, I realize just how lucky I was to not have needed them. Really lucky.

kenny finishes plugging his tire

I’m not shilling for anyone, just passing along what we keep on hand in our sidebags. They’ve served us well:

As an aside – if there is someone obviously doing repairs on the side of the road and there is no oncoming traffic, it’s okay to give them a little space and move your car towards the center line. :-p

Road Tripping: West Virginia Mail Pouch Barns

While we were in West Virginia, you can bet your boots that I had jotted down a few Mail Pouch barns that were in the general vicinity. West Virginia is the home of Mail Pouch Tobacco after all. As a matter of fact there were several barns right on Route 50, which is the main artery into where we were staying in Romney.

Knowing my penchant for the ole barn paintings, Kathy even incorporated a stop at one into our ride:

mail pouch tobacco barn

I know that these paintings are often on “work” buildings.  And so, I can’t expect farmers to invest a lot in to the care of the murals but all the same, I feel sad when a sign is at the tail end of its life.

This little shed was along Route 50 about 10 miles east of the Koolwink Motel. I don’t recall ever seeing the phrase “Regular or Sweet” painted on any of the barns I’ve visited before. It’s usually “Treat Yourself to the Best.”

mail pouch barn route 50 west virginia

A nice 2 sided barn, also on Route 50 east of Romney:

mail pouch barn east of romney

This was one of those situations where I felt weird about walking on to someone’s property. It’s tempting but I generally keep my distance.

mail pouch barn route 50

Following Route 50 about 10 miles west of Romney there were 2 more barns. The first one, nearly falling down, was in a precarious spot that didn’t allow me any space to pull off to take a picture so I just kept going. The second one, a mile further on was a nice 3-sided number in a lovely farm setting:

3 sided mail pouch barn near romney

Seeing the barn tucked in amongst the farm gates, rustic fencing and a dirt road leading up into a rolling hill was the perfect end to a great day of riding.

Moto-Fuzz-Mama Blogger Meetup in West Virginia

Isn’t it kind of amazing that you can get to know someone through their blog?

Whatever the writer chooses to put in their posts is merely a sliver of their life. Even when they are honest and direct, what they’ve opted to share is edited. Yet as a viewer you begin to develop an idea of their character reading the lines and what you decide is in between them. Maybe it is through the topics they write about, their insight, maybe even the vision of their photos. Who knows? But you start to build a character out of them and something inside of you makes the decision that “yes, yes, I think I would like to meet this person in real life.” 

In real life.

What a funny turn of phrase for this day and age. With the pervasiveness of social media and information sharing ~ the lines of real life and what happens inside of your telephone have become rather blurry.

crazy toad lady

Kathy from and I have been reading each others blogs for years now. During that time we’ve floated around the idea of meeting up but timing has never quite worked out.

Kathy is my kinda girl. She loves to ride her motorcycle, likes silly roadside stuff, says words like douchebag and is one of those independent broads who sometimes likes to do stuff with other people. In other words – she’s normal!

When Kenny and I were sure we would be heading down to Romney, West Virginia for a long weekend I sent Kathy a message in hopes that we’d finally be able to hook up and ride together. The stars aligned and the universe made it so. On a sunny Saturday morning, Kenny and I met up with Kathy – who had planned an awesome local loop for us to ride.

kathy and me at the low water bridge

Knowing that I am a lover of the interesting roadside “stuff” our first stop of the day was a low water Old Town Bridge. It connects West Virginia with Maryland and is one of the few privately owned toll brides in the US.

kathy and me crossing the low water bridge

The route that Kathy strung together for us took us over hill and dale across wiggling snakes of asphalt. She picked some of her favorite local roads to give us a good flavor of the area. Some of which were small and marked in a way that my eyes aren’t accustomed to. On one turn I actually said to myself “is this someone’s driveway?” When you get route suggestions from a local – you’d best listen up.

big blue skies in west virginia

Our lunch stop was at the Star Mercantile in Wardensville, West Virginia.

star mercantile in wardensville west virginia

Interestingly enough Kenny and I both recognized it right away as we’d used route 259 several times when heading home from the south. Lucky us, now we had the opportunity to stop inside and eat. It’s the kind of place that makes you a burger like your mom would. Outtasight!

me and kathy at star mercantile

I had such a great time following Kathy on her GS. She is a confident, zippy rider and a great navigator. The fact that she likes to stop and check out interesting things along the way really makes her my kind of riding companion. There were several times throughout the day I felt a little sad that we don’t live closer together because I’d probably be bugging her to go for rides all the time.

Thank you, Kathy. Thanks for taking the time to come out and meet with us, to plan and lead a route and for being a beautiful person. I’m so glad to have met you <3

The Teeny Post Office Files – Lost City, West Virginia

Before we left for West Virginia, I took a quick peek around Google Maps to see what was around the Romney area. While I don’t usually leave with a set plan of things that I must do I like to have some general idea of sights in the area. I hate coming home and finding out that there was something neat just ’round the corner that I missed out on.

In my electronic touring, I noticed that there was a place called Lost City, not far from Romney where we were staying. I made a mental note to try to pass through there. Lost City. That’s a name that can really send your imagination on an adventure of it’s own.

As it turned out, Lost City had a sweet, teeny post office – the kind that I love to find.

Love letters, birthday cards, postcards from far away places… those are what I think about when I see these little post offices. They are so much more “real”  than some big impersonal behemoth that has machines sifting and sorting. These places have a person who knows everyone who passes through its doors and says g’mornin’ and means it, a clerk who asks about kids by name and wants to know if your great aunt is over her cold yet.

lost city post office

The Lost City office is indeed small. Without it’s overhang, I think it might give the Topaz post office a run for it’s little money. But to date, I think that the little Topaz, Ca. post office has to be the smallest I’ve seen so far.

I’ll just have to keep looking for something smaller!

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