I made it a couple of miles down a nice, twisty, paved road when Navigon told me to turn right onto a small dirt/gravel road. It went from being a road to more of an ATV trail after a mile or two.
The GPS said that my next turn was coming up in a couple of miles. I was really hoping that it would be onto a paved road. The pictures I posted were the mild parts of the road. It got really bumpy with golf ball-sized gravel for a large portion of it. I recently resprung my front suspension with stiffer springs and put a stiffer rear shock on my bike. It handles much, much better on paved roads… But on these gravel roads, the stiffer suspension was killing me. I was really only able to go about 10-15mph, so progress was slow. I came to the next ‘road’ I needed to make a left on… This was actually just an even smaller, less maintained trail. It told me I had two miles to go on this road. I made it a mile down the road and came to a gate… Damn it. Time to turn around.
Navigon rerouted me to continue down the first ‘road’ I was on for 6.5 more miles. It was slow going, my wrists were sore, hands going numb, and my back was getting sore from all the jarring with my stiff suspension and clip-ons down this bumpy road. I was averaging about 10mph at this point. When I got about a mile from my next turn according to the gps, I run into this sign:
I stopped and checked the gps. It turns out that I was supposed to make a u-turn in 6.5 miles. This is one thing I really, really hate about Navigon. Instead of just telling me to make a u-turn, it will show a route with an upcoming turn, but it won’t tell you what the next turn is until you get within a mile of the turn. So, I traveled for about 5.5 miles down this road before realizing that it told me to travel all this way just to make a u-turn. Who in the hell needs a gps to tell them how far to go to make a u-turn?? Just tell me to make one and I’ll figure it out! So, I took a break, grabbed a drink of water and swore at my phone.
At this point I decided to just backtrack until I got back to the paved road and then reroute with the option of avoiding dirt roads. By the time I made it back to the paved road, I had traveled 20 miles on these trails and taken about 2 hours to do it, including taking a break. I tried to find the option to avoid dirt roads… and found out there isn’t one. There is an option to avoid toll roads, highways, and ferries, but no dirt/gravel road option. Every other gps I used had this feature, so I assumed it would be standard. Anyhow, I just rode in the general direction of Thurmond and asked a guy working on his car how to get to Thurmond. He pointed me down a road and told me take a right down a dirt road. I made it to the road and saw that my gps said it was 15 miles away. The road looked about like the trails I had just come from. No thanks. I wasn’t in a hurry to do that again.
I was pretty sure there was a closer way not far from Fayetteville (right next to the New River Gorge bridge) that I remember seeing on the internet. I turned around and went in that direction. I crossed the bridge and went down that road for about two or three miles and saw a giant sign that said Thurmond was to the left. I made the left and followed a few signs and was riding down a beautiful twisty paved road to Thurmond. I glanced down at my phone and noticed that Navigon was now hot on Thurmond’s trail… Only five miles to go. Thanks Navigon… Where were you last night when I was leaving the bridge??
Well, I made it to Thurmond, a roaring coal/railroad town in the late 1800s and early 1900s, that now has an official population of 7. I came here a few times with my dad as a kid growing up in WV. I remember it as a really cool dilapidated ghost town. While it is pretty cool. It’s been restored and is now a tourist attraction, so that abandoned ghost town feel is pretty much lost. It is, however, still cool to see. And, I had the whole town to myself right up until I was getting ready to leave when a couple pulled in to look around.
Downtown on the main street.
The main road continues up the side of the mountain and makes a hairpin to turn to reveal another main street on the mountain.
This looks to be the dirt road that leads into Thurmond from the other side of the river (where I spent all that time bouncing around on the trails earlier in the day).