Canaan Valley WEST VIRGINIA was the home for this years MSTA National Event! Our First STAR!
We were so disappointed that due to the world events, STAR 2020 in Cape Girardeau was cancelled. We were so excited to attend our first STAR. When the decision was made that 2021 would be held in Canaan Valley in West Virginia, Jamie and I were all in. We signed up early and started to look at how we could make it a good 10 day vacation. The wheels were put into motion and the planning started.
After a few days of planning, we decided that we would head out to STAR on Thursday June 10th after I got out of work. We would continue early Friday morning and get into Canaan Valley sometime around late afternoon. This would be easy to do as we made the choice to trailer the bike. We wanted to be able to camp during our stay and this is the easiest way to do that.
Black Water Falls SP was our destination for the rest of the week. We would camp there and spend the rest of the week exploring the West Virginia landscape. The stage was set for an epic journey, so let’s ride!
Thursday June 10: The adventure begins.. after work of course!
It is always a long day when you start vacation at the end of a work day. The good news was, the day went by quickly. Jamie met me at the store around 3PM and we were ready to hit the road. We rolled a few hours down the road and stayed at a hotel in Rolla Missouri. Looking back on it we probably could have drove a few more hours and have gotten closer to our destination. We ate a quick dinner and made it an early night, as we wanted to get going early the next morning.
Friday June 11: West Virginia here we come! The rain joined us as well!
We got up early, grabbed some coffee and was in the Jeep headed to Canaan Valley by 6am. We beat the Friday morning traffic in St. Louis and enjoyed a nice drive across Missouri, Indiana and Kentucky. We did not stop much as we were making great time. Jamie and I love road trips. It is a great time to chat and solve all of the worlds issues. The weather was great until we rolled in West Virginia. As soon as we crossed the border the skies opened up and it rained… HARD, for the next 5 hours! We were very happy to be in the nice dry confines of our Jeep. There are times when a trailer is awesome and this was one of those times.
We arrived at the Canaan Valley Resort around 7pm, wet and a little stressed out after driving hours in some of the hardest rain we have seen in a long time. We left the bike on the trailer since it was still raining and more importantly we were starving! The rooms were decent at the hotel, but the lounge was awesome. It was open, served cold beer and had some pretty darn good pizza. It was not a long night. We had been on the road all day and the visions of great roads were in our heads. We slept very well.
Saturday June 12: Today we ride! What a Beautiful day!
I got up bright and early to grab a cup of coffee before heading down to the jeep to unload the Versys. We slept very well, and we were excited to hit the road. We had set up a ride on Facebook earlier in the week. We did not know who would be coming, but it really did not matter. We wanted to enjoy the wonderful sights and smells of West Virginia.
Jamie and I have gotten the routine down in unloading the Big V. We had her off the trailer, bags installed and ready to roll with 30 minutes. We went inside had breakfast and then geared up to ride. As we approached the lot, we were greeted by Tom Ernst, his wife Kelly is the new treasurer for the MSTA, so he was solo for the day, as she attended to MSTA business. He would be joining Jamie and I on the ride today. He was the only rider who joined us, on this fine day. We had a wonderful day riding. This is one of the reasons we love riding events. It is a great opportunity to meet new riding friends. Tom was great to ride with. We look forward to riding with him and his wife real soon.
We got back to the hotel in time to register, get some swag and to relax and kick tires for the rest of the evening. It was a wonderful way to start our first STAR experience. The lobby was full of riders and the smiles and laughs could be heard all over the resort. It was a great feeling. It had been a long time since gatherings like this had happened. Everyone was making the best of it.
Walking the parking lot is always one of my favorite things to do, during these events. It is so cool to see all of the bikes, to speak with new friends and to catch up with others. The evening cooled down and the rains stayed away, so the rest of the evening was very pleasant. Tomorrow would be another day of good riding and exploring some of the most beautiful countryside in America. Life is good and we were just starting our vacation.
Jamie and I enjoyed the evening together, as we enjoyed a few beers and just relaxed, hanging out around the resort. The rooms had a nice little balcony and that is where our evening ended. It had been a wonderful day.
Sunday June 13: Drones, COUNTRY ROADS, camp set up and oh yeah the Rains Came!
We woke up to a rather wet forecast for the day. It looked as if the skies would open up in mid afternoon. We enjoyed a nice cup of coffee in the early hours of the morning, taking in the cool temps and the amazing views. It could not have been more perfect of a set up to fly the drone. So off I went. I took the drone up and was able to capture some pretty cool video, along with some great photo images. It was a beautiful Sunday morning.
Yeeha, Tommy Victor and his friend (sorry I forgot his name) joined us for a short ride to breakfast. Jamie and I had to be back by 11am to check out of the room. We had reservations at Black Water Falls SP for the remainder of the week. We are more comfortable with the camping life instead of the resort life. The ride was great and the company was even better. We had a great morning and enjoyed each others company. Breakfast was good and the short ride was just what the doctor ordered.
We ate at the Brandywine Family Dining. A small quant place with good food and service. If you are ever in the area, you should go check it out.
We took the backroads back to the hotel. The roads in West Virginia are wonderful. It was a great way to start the day with a good little breakfast ride. We got back to the hotel in plenty of time to pack up and check out, without having to rush around. The campground was only 10 miles form the resort.
Black Water Falls SP was easy to find and we were surprised at how nice the campgrounds were. Yeeha Stephen from Ft Worth Texas was already set up on the site next to ours. Jamie and I would call this campsite home for the next few days. It took about an hour to set up camp. We were fortunate for that, as the rains came and continued for most of the evening.
We went into town and had some dinner at a local pizza place called Sirianni’s Pizza cafe. The service was slow, as the place was packed, but we were not in a hurry. We took our time, had a couple of beers and got back to the tent to sleep the night away. Tomorrow we would ride again.
Monday June 14: Yeeha recovering, Bacon waffles, wind turbines and twisty roads!
Monday morning rolled around and the weather cleared. We had rain most of the evening, which made it great sleeping weather. Our friend Yeeha was struggling with some food poisoning from earlier in the week. He decided to stay close to camp and do some smaller rides for the day. We loaded up a route that was supplied from the STAR event and hit the road. It was a route that took us on narrow country roads, outlined with huge wind turbines, with beautiful valley views of rolling farmland. It was a great morning to explore.
Our first stop was breakfast at a local place called the Breakfast Nook. The food was very good and the owner took time to tell us the story of the restaurant. He talked me into getting a bacon waffle and I have to admit, it was tasty. Jamie had the biscuits and gravy. I got a little taste and DAMN they were good. I would be getting that the next time we ate there.
The roads in this area vary in width and surface. Most of the roads are small two lane roads with little margin of error if you go off the side of the road.
The roads are all twisty and the grin factor is set at 100!
The road surface was not the best, however when it was rough, it allowed for a slower pace and some time for us to take in the breath taking scenery. We really enjoyed the riding and the various change of scenery made it a wonderful day of two wheeled excitement.
We met up for a late lunch at the Main Street Grill in Romney WV. The theme for this trip, was not to be in a hurry for service. Most places were under staffed and it could be felt. We were not in a hurry so it was not a big issue. The food was good and our server was very nice.
We enjoyed the rest of the afternoon, at the camp site. We just hung out, took a nap and enjoyed the cool weather. There was a couple that came in from Virginia camped next to us with the greatest little trailer. We spent some time taking a quick tour of their awesome rig.
You can check out more information about the Sylvanssport Go here on their website.
We really enjoy doing the basecamp thing. We love setting up camp and being able to sleep in the great outdoors, cook our own food and mingle with other like minded people. It gives us the best of both worlds. We get to bring enough camping gear to be comfortable, we enjoy the savings that camping provides and we have the Jeep to explore in if the weather turn bad.
We love motorcycle camping, however this type of camping allows for some creature comforts that could not be enjoyed if we had to carry all the gear exclusively on the bike.
We spent the afternoon, taking some pictures and video. It was so relaxing, just hanging out at camp. We made dinner and watched, as the deer made there way around the back of our camp. We got the drone up and took some pictures of the surrounding area. Just another great day here in West Virginia.
Tuesday June 15: Yeeha joins us for a ride. Seneca Rocks, Door prizes and campfires.
Today was awesome. Yeeha started to feel better, so we loaded another route from the STAR archives and hit the road. We did breakfast again at the Nook. As had been the case earlier in the week, the food was great, the service was better and another day was started in the best of ways. Good food and coffee makes for a great day! We rode up to the resort to check the door prize list. Jamie and I won a couple of gifts. The day was getting better by the minute.
Today was the most technical riding of the trip so far. There were many twisty roads with plenty of challenges to keep us on our toes. Today was an amazing day of riding. Jamie and I have rode in many states. CO, NM, UT, TN, NC, KY are some of our favorite places to ride and today West Virginia joined that list. WOW! This was one of the best days of riding we have had in a long time. We enjoyed a spirited pace on some of the best roads in the country. It was in a word… SPECTACULAR!
On a side note the Versys rolled 18,000 miles on this trip.
The afternoon was filled with more great roads, with spectacular views around every corner. The valleys and farm images stood out like we were reading a national geographic magazine. For those people that do not enjoy our two wheeled hobby, it is hard to explain how grand the day was. The sights, the smells and the pure adrenaline of spirited riding is one that we will not soon forget.
We ended up with a little stop at Seneca Rocks. We had to do the stop at Yokum’s to get a drink and to take some pictures. We spoke with a number of riders that came in and out for fuel and gas. It was a great place to take in the views along with enjoying all the motorcycle traffic.
We headed back to camp to to cook some dinner and to enjoy more of the great outdoors. We have a good set up for cooking at camp. I love cooking while camping and nothing tastes better than food by a campsite. Throw in a few adult beverages and it makes for a wonderful evening.
Wednesday June 16: More spectacular riding, hiking Black Water Falls, MSTA group picture and banquet.
We awoke to the sound of birds on this chilly morning! The temperature was a very pleasing 42 degrees! While we had been enjoying very comfortable temperatures for the entire length of our journey, we were seeing that back home in Arkansas, summer had rushed in with a vengeance. We were so thankful to be waking up in beautiful, cool West Virginia.
We got up, enjoyed a nice cup of camp coffee, then geared up and headed to MSTA central. We enjoyed a nice breakfast and then loaded up to go for a ride. Like I mentioned before, the weather was very comfortable and it made for a wonderful morning to ride. We explored the countryside and just took our time meandering around the area. We were in no rush, just soaking in the freedom that only two wheels can provide.
We stopped and had lunch at a neat little place that had been recommended by someone on the MSTA Facebook page. Melanie’s Family Restaurant located in Aurora WV.
The staff was very nice and they expressed genuine joy that some of the riders from STAR had been stopping by and eating in their establishment. We had a great time, chatting with the locals and explaining why so many riders from all over the country would come to their little slice of the world. We smiled and expressed our gratitude, for having the opportunity to ride around the area and mingle with the locals. We told them how lucky they were to live in such a beautiful place.
One of the great things about exploring on our motorcycle is finding little “mom & pop” treasures like Melanie’s. On these trips we do our best to help support the local community. Time and time again we are not disappointed.
We finished up lunch and reluctantly got our gear together and got back on the road. Today was a big day as the STAR banquet was this evening, so we wanted to get back in plenty of time to hang out and attend our first STAR closing event.
We arrived at the camp site sooner than we had anticipated, so we put on some comfy clothes, jumped in the Jeep and headed down to Black Water Falls. This trail and waterfall was only a mile down the road from the campsite. The area had some serious rainfall in the past 48-72 hours so the falls were flowing with aggression. It was a nice little hike to the falls, however the time spent was well worth it. The falls were spectacular. If you are ever in the area, this is a “Must See” spot.
Jamie and I were attending our first STAR Banquet so we did not know what to expect. The hotel was buzzing with laughter and activity. Everyone was starting to understand that this great event was coming to an end and most folks would be loading up and heading home the next day. We spent a couple of hours enjoying everyone’s company and taking in a few adult beverages.
Before dinner was served the group was escorted outside for a group photo. I had spoken with Patrick, our illustrious president and he thought it would be cool to take some drone shots, so I launched my mini and took a few shots. It was a lot of fun hanging out with all of these motorcycle enthusiasts.
After the group picture we all made it inside to grab a table and to share a meal together. The food was decent, I don’t recall what we had, so it must not have been that good. However the company and the conversation made up for any deficiencies in the area of food. We all had a wonderful time and the highlight of the evening was Calling Peter on speaker phone to let him know he had won the motorcycle they had given away! It was a great way to end the evening.
We finished up saying our goodbyes and headed back to the campsite. Jamie and I were so glad that our trip would not end for a couple of more days.
Thursday June 17: Goodbye Yeeha, Meeting the famous 2Wheeled rider, Harpers ferry and Antietam
We got up in time to say our goodbyes to Yeeha. He had come from the Lone Star state to hang out and camp with us. He had battled severe traffic, a serious bout of food poisoning, and a leaky tent, but never let it dampen his trip. (at least he did not show it to us). I have ridden many miles with Yeeha and it is always a treat to be around him. We look forward to our next journey together.
We loaded the Versys onto the trailer last night for the long drive back to Arkansas. Today we would be exploring in the Jeep. We were headed off to visit Harpers Ferry and then go visit the Antietam National Battlefield.
First we had made plans to meet up with Mario from 2WheeledRider on Youtube. He lives in the area and was gracious enough to meet up with us. We love watching his channel and one of the cool things about social media is meeting folks that you probably would never run into, except for that great thing called the internet. Go check out his channel.
We jumped in the jeep and hit the road. Even on 4 wheels, the journey was a good one. This area is so scenic. We arrived at the Mountain View Diner and grabbed a table. Mario arrived a few minutes later. It was great meeting him and exchanging some stories. It was a good breakfast and I think we all had a good time. We were thrilled that Mario took sometime out of his day to hang out! Fun times indeed. Maybe someday we will all get to ride together.
As I was planning this trip, I knew that I wanted to go and explore the Harpers Ferry and the surrounding area. The small historical town of Harpers Ferry is located at the confluence of the Potomac and Shenandoah rivers where Maryland, West Virginia and Virginia meet. We found a parking spot and spent the next few hours walking these historic streets. Famous for the John Brown’s raid on the Armory here in Harpers Ferry, there are many buildings to explore and to learn more about this pivotal time in U.S. History. We could have spent the entire day in this quant little town.
We enjoyed lunch and headed to Antietam National Battlefield. This place…. on then, Union soil was home to the bloodiest day in American history as a combined 22,717 were either killed, wounded or missing.
Jamie and I spent the rest of the afternoon driving and walking the grounds. It was very sobering. Such a bad time in U.S. History. We were both glad that we got to experience this hollowed ground.
We enjoyed a leisurely drive back to the campsite, going over all that we got to take in on this amazing Thursday. We stopped and had a BBQ sandwich at the Mountain State Brewing Company, before we ended the night, sitting by a fire and enjoying each others company. I love that we get to experience these trips together. It was a wonderful evening in West Virginia.
Friday June 18: LAST DAY in West Virginia, River Gorge Bridge and a evening with family!
It was a sad morning, as Jamie and I made some coffee and rolled up the rest of camp. It only took us an hour or so to get completely packed up and stowed away. There is always a let down when the reality hits, signaling the end of our vacation is near.
We hit the road with Lexington KY as our ending destination for the day. Jamie has family in Lexington and we were going to spend the evening with them, getting some food and catching up. It has been a couple of years since we got to spend anytime with them.
We had a scenic drive and made pretty good time on the roads. We were surprised at how busy the park around the bridge was. We did a nice little hike and enjoyed the time at the bridge.
It was starting to get late in the afternoon so we needed to get back on the road and make up some miles. We love these road trips and this day was another example of why. Great scenery, and wonderful conversation made the miles easy to do.
We had a great visit with family and enjoyed some really good pizza. What a great time with family. It was a great end to a wonderful day.
Saturday June 19: The end of a fantastic journey & sushi!
We woke up early and hot the road. It was an uneventful day. We got home early in the afternoon, in fact we got home in time to clean up and go get some sushi for dinner. This was a fantastic trip.
Every time we do the basecamp thing with the motorcycle and the Jeep we understand more and more that this is the way we love to travel. It allows for us to be comfortable, to and from our desired destination, avoiding fatigue from excessive weather and long straight boring days on the interstate. We love the fact that we can stay fresh, place only true quality miles on the motorcycle and it allows us to have a vehicle if needed. It is the best of all worlds.
We also love the fact that we can camp, save some money and enjoy the great outdoors. It has become our favorite mode of travel.
To answer the question at the beginning of this post. Was it worth the trip?
Absolutely! Jamie and I enjoyed the MSTA STAR in Canaan Valley West Virginia. We met some great folks, got to ride some amazing roads and we felt like part of a group that is interested in growing our great hobby! I want to take a moment to thank the Executive Committee for all of their hand work in making our FIRST STAR a memorable one. Patrick, Norm and the rest of the team, deserve kudos for organizing such a wonderful event. The routes were well thought out and the venue was perfect for the size of our group. We loved the fact that we could camp close by and still take part in all of the events. We are already looking forward to attending next years event. So until that time comes, be safe out there.
You can see all of our pictures from our little adventure by clicking on this link.
We will be doing a video report in the near future.
If you are not a member of the MSTA please consider joining this amazing group of motorcycle enthusiasts! It is a great group of folks. Click here to learn more about the MSTA. If you want to jump right in and be a member then click here.