Tuesday, June 26, 2012

The Blue Ridge Parkway

I've mentioned Skyline Drive here recently on several occasions. It's less than an hour drive from my house, so it's sort of hard not to mention. If I'm not riding on it, I'm crossing over it or riding near it.

What I haven't said much about is its southern relative, the Blue Ridge Parkway. Also administered by the National Park Service, the BRP...
...was designed as a recreational motor road, connecting Great Smoky Mountains and Shenandoah National Parks.
Skyline Drive (105 miles long) can be enjoyed in an afternoon. The BRP, at 469 miles, can be done in a day, but I think two would be more reasonable. Then you could stop at one of the many visitor's centers, scenic overlooks, or other attractions that help make the place so special.

Yes, I'm dipping into the ole archive again. It's only fitting that this post show Hubby and I together with our old rides.

My ride was a Yamaha V-Star 1300. Hubby had a Kawasaki Vulcan Nomad.
We enjoyed the BRP in September 2007 on our way to the Great Smoky Mountains, a region I'd never seen to that point. As much as we enjoyed the Black Hills on two separate visits, it was sort of silly that we hadn't been to the Great Smoky Mountains. Especially since so many people liken the Black Hills to the GSM region.

One thing the BRP has over Skyline Drive is more interesting places to stop. Mabry Mill, pictured at right, is along the Virginia section of the BRP, which also crosses into North Carolina. It is a picturesque restored gristmill, sawmill, woodworking shop, and blacksmith shop. In fact, I think it is one of if not the most-photographed stops along the BRP.

Those of you who follow Fuzzy Galore -- you should if you don't already -- have probably been enjoying the excellent pictures and ride reports about the more-recent trip she and her new Hubby took down the BRP.

It was late-September when we visited and already, at least at the higher elevations, the leaves were starting to change.

I really do need to plan another trip down the BRP. Its northern terminus, approximately 25 miles west of Charlottesville, Virginia, is only about a two-hour drive from our VA place. Sure it would be easy to get down there and back in a day, but we need to have time to enjoy some if not all of the road, too.

Of course, with three dogs, trips like that take a bit of planning. And since we already have a couple of cool trips planned for later this year, the BRP will likely have to wait at least until 2013.

Another difference between Skyline Drive and the BRP is the maximum speed limit of 45 MPH. I am not a speed demon, I swear, but I find it hard to maintain 35 MPH on a bike. Especially when enjoying a pristine, windy stretch of blacktop in the mountains.

But that's just me.

One thing the two roads do have in common is crowds. Especially when the leaf peepers are out. I'm sure it provides an absolutely stunning Autumn vista. But I find crowds frustrating. Especially on roads with limited passing opportunities.

Here are a few more shots from that trip...

Hubby and I on the porch of our rental cabin in Robbinsville, NC.

View from Clingman's Dome in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. 

Random mountain vista.

Pretty, no?

As much as I love day-tripping, there's just something about multi-day motorcycle excursions.

The only one I see in our near future is our trip to Italy. Which will certainly be awesome.

I am actually really hoping to head north for a weekend later this summer for a blogger meet-up. Fingers crossed we can make that one work.

What was your favorite multi-day excursion? Are you a camper? Or the hotel type? We are most definitely the latter.

Although we have been known to rent cabins for longer stays, so maybe I should say bed-lovers? That just sounds sort of weird. Hey, let's make up a good moniker, if one doesn't already exist, for motorcyclists who prefer lodging over camping. Come on, help me out here.


SonjaM said...

From what I have seen (on photos) and read about the Blue Ridge Parkway it is certainly worth a multi-day ride. The vistas somewhat remind me of my home...

My longest ride was a three week camping trip: The route was through Northern and Western France down to the Pyrenees into Spain, then back East along the Cote d'Azur into Italy, and back home through the Swiss Alps. It was a dream vacation, but these days I would pass on the canvas hotel, and stay in a real one ;-)

Trobairitz said...

Pretty pictures.

You sure do live in a nice area of the country. It continually amazes me how much there is to see and do around the USA.

We don't mind camping occasionally but at the same time enjoy the comforts of a motel room on long rides. Comfort riders maybe.

Anonymous said...

Wow. That husband of yours is one good looking guy. How lucky you are.
By they way, I think it's time for you to buy him some new shirts - that orange one appears in 14 different pictures on 5 different days in 6 different states.

ToadMama said...

Sonja, that does indeed sound like a dream vacation!

Brandy, the US is definitely an amazing place. I've been to lots of different states, but there is still lots left to discover.

Anonymous, Hubby actually has a large wardrobe, that just happens to be his favorite riding shirt.

Dar said...

Kathy - You sure live in pretty country! I reminds me very much of BC. I am mopey about the moto bloggers get together because I can't get the time off to go. Darn it! Maybe next year.

Love the little cabin, very rustic.

ToadMama said...

Dar, sorry to hear you aren't able to get off of work. I am sure the others are bummed that you can't be there. I'd be mopey if I were you, too!