Bus to Wytheville

Special note about why I’m take a bus to Wytheville in the middle of this motorcycle ride.

In my attempt to recreate the events surrounding the ride Charles took in 1916, I faced a very difficult challenge with this Diary entry.

“The next morning it was raining hard and I saw there was no chance to get away from here on a motorcycle, so I left it in rocky Mount Va. and took the train for Wytheville Va. via Roanoke Va. My father and step mother are staying in Wytheville with my aunt and uncle, they came up from Montgomery, Ala. on the train via Birmingham, Ala. Chattanooga and Knoxville, Tenn. When I arrived in Wytheville my father asked me where was the motor? Told him how everything happened and said that I would wait till the roads dry enough for travel and then I would go back and get it.

I waited about ten days and the weather was good so I went back to get the motor. When I arrived in Rocky Mount I looked up the man that was keeping my motor in his barn for me. He unlocked the barn and said, “you’ll find your motor just as you left it, nobody has touched since you left it”. I rolled it out and looked it over, everything was ok. The tires hadn’t even gone down a bit. I offered to pay him something but he wouldn’t take anything so all I could do was to thank him.”

In 1916, trains were the “public transportation” of that time. There is no longer any passenger train service between Rocky Mount, VA and Wytheville, VA. I contacted Norfolk-Southern to get a train/cab ride to recreate this, but was told it would not be likely. I met with Mark Obenshane, the Senator for Virginia, twice and even he couldn’t pull any strings to make that happen.

So the only thing left for me is to use the public transportation of our time. Remember, this ride is a contrast and compare between the two dates from the back of a motorcycle. So, this works. I’ll be going so far as to leave my bike with someone I meet there just like he did.

I’ll be staying in a house that’s in the Findlay family and the current owner is a distant relative of Charles. I’ll be using those 10 days to learn more about Charles’s history. I’ll also be without transportation just like he was.