Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Winter View from the Wigington Byway

I went for a short ride last week.  Up towards Whitewater Falls again.

It seems that I go that way a lot lately.  Mostly because the road is in good condition, having been completely replaced, top to bottom, between North Little River Road and the North Carolina state line.  The road south of Little River Road is a good condition too.

The curves are all sweepers, and you can go pretty fast, though the speed limit is only 45 miles per hour.  Almost every bike I see when I go that way is pushing that limit, some by a considerable margin.

I will admit, it is easy to do. 

That road to the falls, South Carolina 130, is a good one for beginners just starting to ride in the curves, I think, and I have fairly recently ridden it with three other guys who were just learning how to ride.  You can read about those outings here: New Guys, and here: A Really New Guy.

In fact, it is one of the first roads outside our neighborhood that I took just five months after I started riding and having bought my Ninja 650R: First Trip to Whitewater Falls.  My discovery trip that day was exciting to me, having experienced my first destination ride.

When I go the same way, even now, I remember that newness and excitement of going there for the very first time.  

I wonder how many people feel that excitement and elation when they are in their cars.  I'll bet, quite a lot lower percentage than for those who get there on two wheels. 

Well, anyway, on to the latest ride.

I check out the tires and oil, and give the bike a general looking over.  Then I mount up and take off toward the north and west. 

Today, it is overcast, so the scenery was not very colorful, but the roads are clean, and the temperature is about 50 degrees F.  I am comfortable, wearing my winter gear.  There is not even the usual draft around my neck today.  Maybe I have learned how to seal up that wind tunnel. 


I first enjoy the curves of US-178 from Pickens, then less so the nearly straight SC-11 toward the west. 

The curves of the ten miles of route 130 between SC-11 and Whitewater Falls pass quickly.  I know that the falls parking lot is closed, however due to a wildfire here not long ago.  That fire was not connected to the Pinnacle Mountain fire I wrote about recently, but also occurred during the lengthy dry spell we had last summer.

I am a year-round rider, venturing out when temperatures are above freezing, but this winter has been a good one even for fair-weather riders.  There has been a lot less cold weather and only one snowstorm so far.  Some say we are in for more cold in a month or two, but I'll look forward to this mild weather with child-like eagerness. 

Instead of going to Whitewater Falls, I turn left a mile or so before that, onto the Wigington Byway.  Actually, this is part of what is known officially as the Oscar Wigington Memorial Scenic Byway.  It is only a little over two miles long, and connects SC-130 with SC-107.  There is no development along it whatsoever.

Bikers enjoy this short stretch because it has a few steeper hills and some tighter sweepers than 130.  A few go like crazy here assuming that the radar of those Highway Patrolmen doesn't reach here.

Whatever the case, I still take it easy. 

This road does have an overlook onto Lake Jocassee and the Bad Creek pumped storage lake.  This view isn't very pretty on some overcast days, but today, it has a striking beauty, I think.

Resting bike in front of pretty view
Click image for high-resolution version.
The almost monochromatic appearance off in the distance is quite beautiful, though the photographs don't do it real justice.

I think these unexpected vistas are part of the reason I enjoy riding.  I probably wouldn't come here as often in the car, because my car isn't much fun to drive on curvy roads.  But just getting there on the bike is fun, and can be exciting. 

And seeing sights like this is frosting on that cake.

I have been able to visit many different sights in the nine years or so I have ridden the motorcycle. You can read about many of them -- and laugh at some -- if you page back in this blog.

My two-wheeled steed of some 71 horsepower has, indeed, been an eye-opener for me to the beauty of the area near where I live, and I have met many different people along the way.  

What about you?  Is there a picturesque sight you have seen or an interesting character you have met during your two-wheeled travels? 

No comments: