There is a rural route near our home known as Highway 8, or ‘number 8’ as we call it. This road is one we see quite a bit of in not just our rides but our everyday lives as well because we have to travel it to get just about anywhere. I’ve also worked at two different motorcycle dealerships that were located just off of it, but that were nearly one hundred miles apart.
The part of this road that we are most familiar with stretches from Albemarle, North Carolina in the south to above Christiansburg, Virginia in the north. But our favorite stretch of 8 runs from just north of Winston Salem, North Carolina to the Blue Ridge Parkway in Virginia at a place called Tuggles Gap.
As you leave the city of Winston behind you riding north the road meanders through rolling country side and farm land as it winds its way toward the mountains. The views along it are serene and sometimes breathtaking and any of the connecting roads along the way are always an interesting diversion. North of Stewart, Virginia the road reaches the foothills and becomes more rolling and curvy until reaching a small little town called Woolwine where it begins a serious climb up the mountain that ends at the BRP in Tuggles Gap. This is where it’s the most fun and challenging.
The ride up (or down!) the mountain is one tight, twisty turn after another and is seldom, if ever, level and flat. It can be a handful for many and a challenge for most. Pure sport bikes and motards rule the road, but a couple of old folks on a cruiser and sport tourer have been known to drag a floor board or peg now and again. Honestly, it’s so much fun that many have been known to ride up it, turn around and go back down, then go back up it again before continuing on their way.
At the top of the mountain is what appears as a biker hang out called the Tuggles Gap Restaurant and Motel. It’s an older place with a lot of atmosphere and some history where the locals come for coffee and pie. But on most every warm week-end you’ll find the parking lot full, the motel booked and a line to get in the restaurant as riders stop for a break while riding the BRP or Hwy 8. Truly, this is a place and area worth riding to and visiting.