Going North on the Blue Ridge Parkway

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Unwtrmy, Oct 12, 2021 at 9:38 PM.

  1. Unwtrmy

    Unwtrmy Adventurer

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2011
    Oddometer:
    97
    Location:
    Hendersonville, NC
    First solo, multi-day bike trip. I am more nervous than excited. I need to make sure I still have roadside assistance before I leave, just in case.
    The Plan
    I live near Asheville, NC. I have ridden to the South end fo the Blue Ridge Parkway (BRP). The plan is to make it to the two northern ends, Mile 0 in Afton, VA, and then on to Skyline Drive from Afton to Front Royal. After that I will head to Harper's Ferry and then head south through WV. No details on that part of the plan.
    The Brat
    I made some updates to the bike in preparation for something like this - SWMotech crash bars, GIVI Dolomiti panniers, Arashimoto pegs, EDS blinkers (a beast to install), LED headlight, auxiliary lights, and some new tires. I hope it all stays together, I did the work myself. My primary skill is research [insert nerd emoji].
    IMG_20211012_224054_873.jpg IMG_20211012_224054_967.jpg
    End day 0.
    #1
    B10Dave, Sal Pairadice and CoopsDL like this.
  2. Unwtrmy

    Unwtrmy Adventurer

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2011
    Oddometer:
    97
    Location:
    Hendersonville, NC
    I woke up nervous/scared, still thinking, "let's don't and say we did something else." But, my wife is and has been very encouraging. She cares and/or she is looking forward to some peace and quiet :).
    I started out late then got stuck behind slowpokes. People can travel however they please, I accept it, but I do not like being stuck behind someone doing 30 in a 50 and struggling to stay in their lane. One illegal pass later, I was on my way but got stuck behind cyclists, which is fine - good for them, the Parkway gets steep. Oh, one time while stuck behind cyclists, I stalled the bike. We were going way too slow and I was looking about until my bike did a shiver, a shake, and a clunk! :jackOverall, it was a really good riding day. Brilliant weather, cold and hot. Leaf colors are shocking, some spots look like summer, and others look like proper fall.
    No issues with the bike at all. My auxiliary lights need to cast light further in front of the wheel, I will sort that out after I make it to my outlaw parents (the thing about outlaws is that they are wanted).
    I hoped to stop at Grandfather mountain. The first time I went up there it was cold and rainy, unfortunately when the weather is nice and the leaves turn one needs an appointment to get in. After a long road work delay in Blowing Rock, I decided to stop and the attraction. It was okay. The highlight was sitting at the end of a desolate trail, away from all the people. Since I would not make my original destination, I had to find accommodation. While I was riding back and forth to and from a closed motor inn, a full b&b, I found a brilliant sunset. I really wanted to join the folks who were there gawking and taking pictures. Either I am a bad photographer, or a camera cannot recreate a sunset. I tried anyway. I started calling around, trying to support businesses on the BRP app. In no time I found a bed and a steak dinner. Not sure why, but my only meal for the day. I know why - I do not like to stop for long once I get going; "we shall starve Precious!!"

    Progress: Mile marker 411 to 229 in 8 hrs.
    Quote of the day: "You will have fun. Tell your inner demons to bugger off. You deserve a break, you deserve to do something you enjoy." My sweet, sweet little Ramona.

    20211013_125356.jpg 20211013_144519.jpg 20211013_183432.jpg :eek2
    End Day 1.

    Attached Files:

    #2
  3. BoJack7_47

    BoJack7_47 n00b

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2021
    Oddometer:
    1
    Location:
    Jacksonville
    Nice man, me and a buddy of mine were there this past weekend. Did 800 miles all through NC and TN. Many miles on the parkway. The weather is beautiful and the leaves are getting in peak season. Enjoy! Looking forward to the updates.
    #3
    Unwtrmy likes this.
  4. longslowdistance

    longslowdistance Long timer Supporter

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2010
    Oddometer:
    1,929
    Location:
    Virginia
    Enjoy! In case you're not aware, a Parkway segment just south of Roanoke is still closed due to a slide and road failure. The official detour onto 221 is great until Cave Spring, then it kinda isn't . A more easterly detour route that puts you on 220 near the BRP is a bit nicer. Either route will test your patience.
    #4
  5. Unwtrmy

    Unwtrmy Adventurer

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2011
    Oddometer:
    97
    Location:
    Hendersonville, NC
    Thanks for the heads up, mate. I was going to follow the orange signs. I will scan a map. Thanks again.
    #5
  6. BlueRidgeTiger

    BlueRidgeTiger Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2021
    Oddometer:
    59
    Location:
    Upstate, South Carolina
    I did this back in June, awesome ride. I did to MABDR to just past Brandywine, then shot over to Shenandoah and took Skyline Drive southbound until it turned into the Parkway, then took the Parkway all the way back to Brevard.

    I live in Greenville, SC, hit me up if you want to ride some time.
    #6
    Unwtrmy likes this.
  7. Unwtrmy

    Unwtrmy Adventurer

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2011
    Oddometer:
    97
    Location:
    Hendersonville, NC
    I woke up quite startled, an HD fired up around 0800. That was it for me. I had planned to sleep until 0900. Breakfast was a protein bar and weak 50s motel coffee. FYI - 1 sachet for a tiny (British) cup if you want any strength to your morning brew. I got ready fairly quickly, I was on the BRP just before 0900. The prime goal was to stop at Mabry Mill and then after that, make it to the Outlaws'. I stopped at the midwife's cabin. I am quite impressed by these families who lived in one-room cabins, here we thought "open floor plans" were a new thing.
    In the first section of the BRP you spend most of your time riding between rocks and air. In this section, I was between trees for the most part. There were a few magical sections when I rode with nothing on either side of me, 'on top of the world' in a manner of speaking. I made it to the Mill and took some nice pictures. It was difficult to keep tone without 'overexposing' the sun-bleached cedar shingle roof. Took off from there and rode until the Roanoke detour. That is when I realized (again) a lesson when riding such long distances - it is tough to keep track of how many miles you have done, how many until you need gas, how many to the next turn, etc. GPS helps, but I want that to be a total luxury. Besides, I do not enjoy the lady's voice in my ear when I take a detour. I am glad she does not sigh or sound exasperated. I had half a mind to stop at one of my wife's favorite vineyards, but I was not sure a bottle would easily survive the trip back home. I also overshot the turn and did not want to turn around. I am only an okay husband. Riding down the mountain on 221 was mad fun! @longslowdistance was right, riding through Roanoke after the tranquil BRP was ratched, but I survived. Only one almost traffic incident when a minivan turning right decided to stop part of the way and not turn right, grrr. Oh well, it is her road too.
    I stopped for a disappointing lunch after this. Waved as, fellow inmate, @rockinrog passed me for the second or third time. After lunch, I continued to follow the orange signs and made it back to the BRP. One thing Ewan and Charlie did not discuss is that when you ride all day, sleep, and repeat, your sitting bits and uprighting bobs are not going to be happy! My back and butt were sore. This led me to keep 60 mph instead of 50 mph. It helped that this section has much less traffic than the Asheville to Grandfather Mtn. section. I stopped and met @Rockingrog and a hiker who made today's quote of the day. We had a nice chat about motorcycling. I powered through the sore and my goal was to get to Afton. There were much fewer stops and pictures.
    I enjoyed the change in geography, the increase in leaf color, the fact that there was more color on the western side of the BRP than the eastern side, what is that about. I thoroughly enjoyed my chat with @Rockingrog. Sooner BBQ brisket with Stupid sauce (it is so hot it is a stupid idea for most people) for dinner and nice hang with various Outlaws. All around, a good day (as long as I am not sitting). Some yoga will go a long way. I am hoping for no seat time tomorrow, but that is unlikely.

    Progress: Mile marker 229 to 0 in 7 hrs, went further than yesterday,
    Quote of the day: "You guys picked a much better way to travel." AT Hiker whose name I sadly forgot.

    End day 2


    Attached Files:

    #7
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  8. r60man

    r60man Long timer

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2013
    Oddometer:
    2,682
    Location:
    Centralish PA
    I rode the Skyline to the BRP this summer. Overnighted in Roanoke, then rode the BRP to Maggie Valley. On the way home I took 81 the entire way. I needed to get home in one day. Kept looking to my right and see the ridge and sigh. "I could be up there, instead of here." Those are great roads, if you live close to them, awesome!
    #8
    Unwtrmy likes this.
  9. Unwtrmy

    Unwtrmy Adventurer

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2011
    Oddometer:
    97
    Location:
    Hendersonville, NC
    I have been resting my backside at my outlaws' place. My mother-outlaw had a bit of a tumble and is in a nursing facility. Unfortunately, I cannot see her, so I am keeping father-outlaw company as best I can. He is a tough guy who does not need help, so it is not easy. But, he tells good stories, so that is fun.

    I did a daytrip with my nephew and his dad (brother-outlaw). I forgot how lovely riding in VA can be. It has been 5 years since we moved from here. Apparently, in that short time, I resolved that only NC has good biking roads - my apologies. It is lovely to ride in a leaf shower (when the wind blows and you ride under a tree as the leaves fall) or to ride in someone's leaf wake (when the fallen leaves ride the air disturbed by a passing vehicle). We also rode through rain showers that dampened the fun a bit, but it was still a great ride. As much as I enjoy the silence when I am riding, it was nice to talk to my nephew on the road. We talked about riding, we talked about life, and we talked about his dad who left his comm device at work. After 106 mi in Nelson and Albermarle county, I am back at my outlaws' and trying to warm up with a slightly sad cup of decaf, but I am happy to be here. Props to Calimoto for sending us on a ride we never could have planned, an entirely surprising ride with loads of twisties and some fun gravel (nephew is on ZX-14, props to him for keeping it upright in pebbles).

    I get back on the trip tomorrow. I will do the last leg of the Parkway then head west. I am still deciding on which route. I have three options:
    1. South from Moorefield on S. Fork Rd (SR 614) to Rte 250, Rte 220 then eventually west until Rte 19, or
    2. The U - Rte 48 to Rte 33 to Rte 250, and back to Rte 48 until Rte 19, or
    3. Follow 48 all the way to 19.
    Plan 1 has more backcountry routes, but 48 and 33 have been described by other riders as great roads. We shall see how adventurous I feel when I set out on Monday.

    Progress: I sat on the bike for 100 miles and did not hate it.
    Quote of the day: "Umm, I think that is gravel up ahead...which brakes do I use for gravel...I do not like what my front wheel is doing." My nephew, so much good material.
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    End day 2.5.
    #9
  10. B10Dave

    B10Dave Long timer

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2012
    Oddometer:
    2,807
    Location:
    Kingsmill Corner Ont.
    Nice ride and great pics. Please post as full size. Thumbnails are a pain to have to open. Thnks....Dave
    #10