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Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Day Trippin'' started by Fast Ferris, Sep 5, 2011.
This ride was inspired, in part, by a piece in the October 2011 issue of RoadRUNNER magazine entitled "Carolina, Virginia and Tennessee - Double Trouble Times Three" by Chris Myers and Florian Neuhauser, wherein they ply some of our favorite Appalachian highways and byways via a pair of sporty Can-Am Spyders. I didn't have the time budget they did, but still managed to replicate a portion of their tour today.
The opening photos were taken at sunrise, headed southbound on the Blue Ridge Parkway near the Virginia/North Carolina border. Late in the day I got chased out of the mountains at Laurel Springs, North Carolina by an immense thunderstorm, and reluctantly did much of the homestretch on Interstate 77 northbound. The last photo of the day is up on the Parkway again, nearly home, looking back at the weather I just (mostly) eluded.
We hope you enjoy.
Blue Ridge Parkway Milepost 213, just around the corner from the Blue Ridge Music Center (http://www.blueridgemusiccenter.org/).
This is just a bit off Virginia Highway 58, aka "The Crooked Road," not far from Grayson Highlands State Park:
It's a little road I've always wanted to point the front wheel down, if only to see where the "Daylilies For Sale" sign would take me. This tiny ribbon of tarmac didn't go far, but I had it to mostly to myself, and very much enjoyed trying to capture the feeling of mountain solitude, and dramatic early morning sky, with my camera.
The Crooked Road: http://crookedroad.org/
Grayson Highlands State Park: http://www.dcr.virginia.gov/state_parks/gra.shtml
Wow, some serious photoshop time for these pix! Quite a vision you have. Does the "ad" in "www.fbad.co" stand for "acid drop"?
Nope, my view of the world is, um, vivid enough without the use of chemicals (dark chewy beer and dark chewy cigars being two notable exceptions).
Life is an interesting ride, and sometimes I'm not quite sure where I am or where I'm going to end up. So it is with the "manipulating" I'm doing with some/most of these photos. I've gone wayyyy too far with some, some I've run through the wringer multiple times and yet have still been quite unhappy with the results (but posted 'em up anyway), and some I've parked in straight-away center field on the first swing.
And, every now and again, I get incredibly lucky at the time of capture and end up with the photograph I saw in my mind's eye at the moment I pushed the button. I hesitate to call any of this stuff "art," but it's really kinda-sorta-almost what it is.
To me, anyway.
Thanks for riding along.
Trail register at the intersection of the Crooked Road and the nearly 2200-mile-long Appalachian Trail, near Damascus, Virginia:
Jetpacks and unicorns? Who's dropping acid now?!? ;-)
The AT has taken a beating from recent storms: This is from www.appalachiantrail.org:
Current Trail Updates (Last updated 9/13/2011)
Hurricane Irene and Hurricane Lee
Two hurricanes in early September caused significant damage in some areas, including flooding and washed-out bridges and boardwalks. The most significant impacts were reported in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Vermont (where the Trail through the entire state has been closed), and Maine. Low-lying areas were hit hardest, and road access has been affected in some areas. Some temporary re-routes may be required. Carrying a map and compass is strongly recommended. We have listed closures and cautions we are aware of below, but please check local land-managing agencies website, trail club websites, and the Appalachian Trail Conservancy Facebook page before contemplating a hike, or contact an ATC office at www.appalachiantrail.org/locations.
Speaking of mind-altering substances, I photographed these two little cuties while absorbing the AT:
This guy is maybe five or so inches tall, and the cap is a similar distance in diameter. I shot a bunch of photos but my camera stuggled mightily getting a focus lock at such close range, even with the flash enabled, on the dark forest floor.
This little rascal was even tougher to photograph:
It's maybe two inches tall, and I wanted to portray it's delicate intricacy from the vantage point of something even smaller than itself. Once again focus lock (and miniscule depth of field in extreme macro mode) was an issue. Still great fun, though, crawling around in the Appalachian woods looking for nature's oft-unseen treasures.
A bicyclist crosses the Whitetop Laurel River near Damascus on the Virginia Creeper Trail:
Please check out these remarkable photos of damage to one of the trail's many historic railroad trestles from a tornado that touched down on April 27th, 2011:
Photos are really lovely! I've pedaled up & down the creeper. Camped at a nearby National and/or State park on a motorbike wander through there.
Thanks Mike. We haven't found the time to do the Creeper yet, but it's on our bucket list.
Backbone Rock Tunnel:
This is billed by some as the shortest tunnel in the world. Tough place to get an uncluttered, car-free photo during the middle of a sunny summer day.
This was taken while standing in the highway, directly under the south end of the tunnel, looking straight up:
Traffic was thick today, both moving and parked, and I trudged around in the summer heat for several minutes angling for a decent photo of the rock, mostly to no avail. This pretty little composition peering down from high above caught my eye, partly because of the neat backlighting.
Several local Search and Rescue units were practicing rappelling techniques in a cordoned-off section of Backbone Rock next to the highway:
I backed up right to the river's edge and shot looking up from ground level for this photograph, but even with a wide-angle lens was unable to simultaneously catch the action on the ground and 70 feet above. The fellows on the left and right are taking photos with their cell phones.