Riding the Back of the Squirrel

Thompson Valley: A good place to rest after a vigorous ridge
Thompson Valley: A good place to rest after a vigorous ridge

Busy week. Too busy. Didn’t even have time to even write much on Muse.

Needed a break. Got one Thursday after oil change on Harley.  Headed South on U.S. towards Marion. Beautiful day. Blue skies. White, puffy clouds.

Hearing into Marion, turned right on Virginia 16, towards Hungry Mother State Park.No, Park not destination. Not this trip. Destination not reason. Road is.

Rte. 16 snakes over a couple of mountains for 32 miles — mostly twisty miles that someone decided to call the “Back of the Squirrel,” a takeoff on Tennessee’s famous “Tail of the Squirrel,” a riding mecca for motorcyclists.

Ridden the “Tail” before. Nice road. Not a great road, but nice. Lot’s of routes around here beat the Tail. They just don’t get the publicity or have a “motorcycle resort” at the bottom of the hill.

Head up the mountain for the first stretch, leaning into the turns until metal scrapes the road, testing the limits of adhesion between tire rubber and asphalt.

Not much traffic on a Thursday afternoon.  Top the first mountain and start down.  When the highway crosses over into Tazewell County the asphalt turns nasty, filled with potholes, covered in too many places with dirt and gravel.  Things get dicey.  The Harley slips and slides in the turns.

After 30 miles, the shoulders ache and headache threatens from the tension of dodging potholes.  Roll into Thompson Valley for needed stop at the Thompson Valley General Store.  With bottle of cold water and bag of Reeses Pieces, sit at picnic table and rest up before next leg:  Tazewell to Pearisburg on U.S. 460, Virginia 100 to Dublin, then Rte. 11 North for dinner with mother.

Good day. Good ride. Good time to recover from busy week.

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