On the Road: Traveling to Burke's Garden in southwest Virginia

| 2/2/2012 10:58:59 AM

Tags: ,

Sometimes it can be hard to predict what will turn out to be a Good Idea. Does taking street machines on an unknown dirt road qualify as one? I found myself facing one of those decisive moments motorcycling on VA Highway 91 in mid-June.  After an exhilarating half-hour of watching Don Sprinkle’s BMW GS’s taillight gradually recede while I dodged the gravel patches residing in every third or fourth curve, I came to an abrupt halt in the middle of the highway next to Don and the “Pavement Ends” sign, staring at a gravel road climbing up over the next mountain. As I removed my helmet, Terry Shiels pulled up on the other side.  We had left Charlotte that morning, passed through Saltville, VA a few miles back, and our goal was Tazewell, and a visit to Burke’s Garden, reputed to be a stunningly beautiful pocket of rural tranquility in a very quiet region of western Virginia’s mountains. We now had to reach a consensus on whether to proceed on dirt, or turn around and find a paved route to Tazewell.  


The mountains’ beauty shrouded in the morning fog 

For Don, it was a no-brainer. His BMW GS boxer had all the options, including a dirt-road detection device.  He would have ridden gravel all the way from Charlotte had such a road been available.  Terry’s gaze told a different story.  He was astride his newly-acquired Triumph Sprint GT, a stunningly beautiful 600-lb sport tourer.  It had so much new on it, that he literally polished it every time we stopped, to ensure the freshness shone through. I could tell he wasn’t so enthusiastic.  My ’78 Moto Guzzi V50 was a pavement-only machine, but it was light enough to handle gravel, and old enough for that prospect not to bother me too much. 


Not all of Virgina's major highways are paved! 

Ride 'Em, Don't Hide 'Em Getaway

Classic Motorcycle Touring and Events.

The latest classic motorcycle events and tours.