Cruising the Blue Ridge Parkway

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At least once a year I try to ride every mile of the Blue Ridge Parkway, starting with mile post 0 near Waynesboro and ending 469 miles later at Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

At 45 miles per hour, of course, that ride must be done in segments so I set our Saturday for segment one: Riding up through the Shenandoah Valley to Waynesboro to start the journey at mile post 0.

At the north end, I found construction that closed several of the overlooks, bad pavement from a road that is deteriorating and a lot of damage from the massive wind storm that swept through the state on June 29.

The Park Service must have worked overtime to clear trees and debris from the road but the sides remained littered with fallen trees, branches and other remnants of the winds that roared through the area at speeds as high as 80 miles per hour.  A Park Ranger stopped while I was taking pictures of the carnage and said it would take the service most of the year to clear out all the downed trees.

Very little traffic for a Saturday afternoon.  Many visitors may have thought the Parkway was closed. Many others may still be struggling with the after effects of the storm.

While those in lower elevations struggled with temperatures near 100 degrees, cooler weather prevailed at the Parkway’s higher elevations and a breeze kept things comfortable as I traversed the crest of the Blue Ridge on the Harley.

At Peaks of Otter, cones blocked the entrance. No power for the lodge or the restaurant.  The gift shop and snack bar across the street was also closed.  No electricity.

Less damage as I passed near Roanoke and started up Bent Mountain.  My pilgrimage for segment one ended at Route 8 near mile post 165 for a quick hop back home.

Sometime before the year is out, I will finish the trip.  Maybe in the fall when things have calmed down.

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2 comments

  1. Jim says:

    Phenomenal stuff Doug, the parkway photos etc. which my son (a Harley owner — 2012 Superglide 1500cc) who met you way back when in Burton’s office loves which includes your photos and any and everything about the cycling. Would love to visit soon but I might end up setting up my tent and staying with my 15 yr old gorgi/beagle mix — longtime companion. Maybe I could cover a meeting or two with the Floyd newspaper??

  2. Jim Nolting says:

    Would be great to hear from you. I’m serious about a possible end run through Floyd. One of my brothers years ago had a little weed crop on a farm somewhere in Floyd when a student at VPI.

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