Sunday, April 19, 2009

Riding US 19 from Beckley, WV to Princeton WV

If you find yourself on a ride that takes you through Southern WV, US 19 is a road that is one of my all time favorites. If you like curvy roads that are sparsely traveled you will love this road. Total length of this route is 41 miles. The first 11 miles are not the greatest, but the last 30 miles are awesome riding.

Starting in Beckley the journey is a bit congested, but be patient -- traffic thins out after a few miles. You will pass through the little towns of Beaver and then Daniels then Shady Spring. When passing through Sandy Spring, be sure to obey the speed limit. Right after Shady Spring you will come to a long stretch of straight road that goes down a steep hill and then back up another long steep slope. At this point the fun really begins.

The next 8 miles or so are just a warm up for what is ahead. Gently sweeping turns lead you to the top of Flat Top Mountain (elevation ~3200). At Flat Top you can stop and look around at Winterplace Ski resort, or have a home cooked meal at Lakefront Restaurant. Lakefront Restraurant is just opposite the access road for I-77, and Winterplace is just 3 miles south. If you need a bathroom break it is best to stop here, because there are almost no ameneties for the rest of the way.

Don't even think of getting on I-77 at this point. US 19 is the road to ride for fun, while I-77 is a nightmare of trucks and vacationers in motorhomes headed from the mid-west to the southeast and back again.

The last 30 miles into Princeton will rival ANY road in the US. I've been to the motorcycling mecca known as Deales Gap in Tenessee, but it pales in comparison to the scenery, varied contours of curves, and the long fast straights on US 19 in Southern WV.

One of the most interesting things along this road is the old Lake Shawnee Amusement Park.

Ferris wheel

The park is abandoned now. In its heydey it was a popular place among locals. Legend has it that the park is haunted now.

From Lake Shawnee it is only about 5 miles to Princeton, including one hard knee dragging left hander in Kegley, WV. In Princeton, you can pick up I-77, US 460 or continue on US 19 toward Tenessee.

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1 comment:

Mary said...

Thanks for the positive view of our scenery. The congested drive from Beckley to Shady Spring is exactly as you stated. Which makes to drive to, and from work, rather difficult. But, its still a beautiful place to live.

I have a feeling, the congestion will get worse, as of Aug. 1st, since the Turnpike Authorty has voted to raise from $1.25 per toll, to $2.00. And truck's from $4.25 to $6.75.

I have to wonder about the miss-management of the funds thus far.
Happy ridding, and be safe.