GOE XIV: Day 1-Headin' Down on the Farm

Sunday, June 20th, 2010

If you are a regular reader, then you know when June comes around, and shortly after I make The Soup Run, I climb aboard The Black Pearl to head out somewhere for Gathering of Eagles. The gathering, also knows as GOE is Cruiser Club, USA's Annual National Get Together. Kasey, my favorite riding partner and I were up bright and early. So was the sun, and it was already starting out to be a warm, summer day in the Hoosier State. I finished packing up the bike, we mounted up, and then headed down the street to fill the tank. We thought we might return to the house to await our other riding partners for the trip. As I sat filling the tank, my brother Kevin, and his wife, Virginia, rode up on his Kawasaki Concours.

Since a lot of our chapters in Cruiser Club, USA are east of us, and at the time I lived on the east side of Indianapolis, it was the natural direction to get out of town. We would begin on a familiar route this morning. Washington Street, also known as US 40 was ridden east to to Franklin Road. We would take a right and head south until we got to US 52. Being one of the older interstate highways, it didn't go directly east, but just as much south. It is also pretty straight, so a good run for early int he morning as we were all still waking up. I knew our first stop would at a gas station in the town of Brookville, Indiana. My original schedule was created based on Kevin and Virginia coming from Lafayette, Indiana, and hour's ride away. However, they had stayed in town last night, and that got us a head of schedule.

It was a good thing to start out earlier in the morning, the heat climbed as the sun crossed the sky. At the first stop, the water bottles came out, and so did the sun screen for another application. Before leaving Brookville, Indiana,  on the south end of town, we turned east on SR 252, which would take us into Ohio. At the state line, in the little town of Scipio, the road changes numbers to Ohio SR 129.

We continued east, skirting the northern suburbs of Cincinnati, Ohio, passing through Hamilton and Kings Mill. We could see the high points, the tower and hills of roller coasters, of King's Island Amusement Park. I was thinking that it had been a few years since I had been to the park, and that will probably have to change, and we will make a trip soon. For those of you in the know, the last time I was there, Son of Beast still had a loop. The feature had since been removed because of too many problems.

Once around Cincy, we headed south on SR 48, then County Road 26. It jogs and leads us to SR 133, which we took south at Edneton. The heat slowly caught up to us, noticing it most when we took a break at the only stop we could find, out in the open Ohio Farmland. We crossed SR 32, and pulled into the town of Williamsburg. As we cruised into town, I noticed Mama's Grill. I had a thought I should abandon the planned stop for lunch and pull in here. However, I rolled on, leading us on to the Gas Station we had on the plan, and then check the lunch spot I had selected.

After filling up, we all took a moment to stretch int he shade. We headed for lunch, or so we thought. The gravel parking lot should have been our first sing that this was not a motorcycle friendly spot to eat. We discovered that the spot I had picked had changed names, and had also become purely a bar. No real food to speak of.  With that, we headed back to Mama's. You would think I would know by now, "Always listen to your mama".

Lunch was what we expected, a great little place to get home cooking along the road. We were able to park the bikes in the shade. We would roll back into the sun and heat, and then continue the journey on SR 32. We were riding on a bad combination, full bellies, and through hot air. Your mind can drift off from the road and the white and yellow lines, so it was good that we were on two line divided highway with little traffic.

We stayed on SR 32 until we met with SR 35, near Jackson, Ohio. Then it was time to head south, with a point of interest in mind. About 20 miles down this meandering road is the town of Rio Grande, Ohio. Sounds pretty out of place, doesn't it? Well, you do need a water source when your going to have a farm, and we were about to visit on the most famous farms in the world. The farm of Bob Evans. Like Dairy Queen is for Gold Wings, it's hard to take any long motorcycle trip without hitting a Bob Evans at least once. Yeah, I don't like chains when I am out riding, but it's nice to have them for a back up. Besides, this was THE Bob Evans Farm.

We also needed a break, the heat can shorten the distance between stops. We took a tour of the museum and the farm house. It was an interesting tour, however, it's not something you are going to spend a day doing. It was a good opportunity for us to walk some of the Mama's Lunch off, and be ready for a little afternoon treat. Being in the video production business, when I saw a display of an old commercial being recorded, I had to take a picture.

We then went into the restaurant, a pretty good sized one at that. You have to understand, this is out in the middle of Ohio Farm Country, not anything else around. After some pie, we were now back behind schedule. None of us cared at all. With the heat of the day looming outside the window, we let it pass while we sat in air conditioning with frozen treats or pie sitting in front of us.

We continued down County Road 588, but not for a long stint. We had a photo op, or at least I did. There are very few of these special places around the world, and when I am riding close, I have to stop. So with that, I parked The Black Pearl along side the road in Rodney, Ohio.

After a few snaps of the shutter by my lovely photographer and riding partner, we made our way south and east to the Ohio River. The town of Gallipolis sits along the shore. Another stop to fuel the tanks, was followed by a brief break. By now, we were all tiring of riding in the heat. We tired even more of standing in the heat, so the breaks were getting shorter.

County Road 7 would take us along the Ohio River, and then a bridge would take us across and into West Virginia. We made our way around Henderson, West Virginia, and then away from the river on SR 2.
Though it was along the river, SR 2 meandered its way through the West Virginia Country Side. The road met back up with the Ohio River at the town of Mt. Alto. The water looked refreshing, but did little to cool the air, and even less to make me feel refreshed.

The road peeled away from the river as we made our way to tonight's destination, Mineral Wells, West Virginia. While in the town of Parkersburg, to the north, it became apparent that some roads had changed names, and the paths they take. After visiting a park still in development, we made our way back through town, and to some familiar territory. A few years ago, 2007, GOE XI was held in the hotel we were spending the night. It was a great place to stay, great rooms, great service, and a pretty good price!

The rest of the evening was spent with a dip in the pool, then gathering some food and drinks across the street from the hotel. As always, I'm tired the first night of a ride, and I slept very well. I usually don't sleep the night before starting a big ride.
Kevin, my brother, and his wife, Virginia, having a discussion about the next section of the ride, after lunch.

The Bob Evans Farm House

The Bob Evans Farm barn, now a museum.

Kasey and Virginia planning to get something sweet at Bob Evans

I started in the biz after these cameras, but that doesn't mean I can't run it!

Ahhhh, my kind of town!


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