Blueridge Parkway 2012
In order to survive the long New England winter, I like to spend hour after hour studying stacks of worn maps, surfing Expedition Portal or ADVRider, and planning next year's rides. My big plan for 2012 is a May/June trek from Western Massachusetts down to the Shenandoah National Park...running the entire length of the Blueridge Parkway...and then a run or two across the Tail of the Dragon. I expect that I'll pick up a notional traveling companion or ten throughout the winter and then most of them will ditch at the last moment due to family commitments, work, or American Idol auditions. That's OK...I enjoy the planning and having something to look forward to in the spring.
So...my fellow adventurers...intrepid explorers...eaters of exotic roadside fare...those who fear neither rain nor roadside flats...
Anybody want to share a favorite road side stop...a cautionary tale...a favorite restaurant...a twisty back road that shouldn't be missed? I'll be riding my GSA and doing my best to avoid the interstates unless there's just nothing to see.
I'd love to hear about your experiences in this area of the country. ~Ross
ooh! Wheels Through Time Museum. That looks like a good destination.
Ridin' The Parkway
You're gonna have a good time, Bud!
I know the parkway well from The Craggy Gardens pull off on down to the end of the parkway, but can't write all I know. There are others who live along the parkway, too, who know it better than I, too.
But, here's a bit of info. And, I'll be happy to try and help you on this end, if I'm around during your run south in my area of The Blue Ridge Parkway.
You camp? If so, Hwy 58 at Meadows of Dan, Va. One mile east on Hwy 58 is gas and a good hangout for a bit with food and souvenirs. The campground is west about a mile. There's a motel on the west side, too.
Mt. Mitchell State Park on the parkway north of Asheville is a MUST stop, if the weather is fair! Highest point east of the Mississippi.
On down south toward Asheville, you can find gas at Hwy 74 east, about a mile or so.
Hwy 25 east in Asheville about two miles will take you to The Biltmore House, and BMW of Asheville, with a good many motels.
About 4 miles north of Hwy 276, you will find The Pisgah Inn. A great place to eat, or stay. The Pisgah Inn convenience store is on the north end of the parking lot. Many, many bikers traveling the parkway stop there and hang out at the rocking chairs. They do not have gas.
Nice loop: 276 west down to the intersection of Hwy 276/215. The Jukebox Junction is located at that intersection; good food! Take 215 east back to the parkway. Beautiful ride, and the loop will take you about an hour to ride, plus eating.
High point of the parkway is around mile marker 435. Nice photo opp! Everyone stops for a picture of their bike with the high point sign, which was stolen last fall, then replaced at a cost to 'US" of some 11K $.
I tell you what...you should continue all the way to the end of the parkway, at this point...you have options to get off, the best the Bryson City exit, Hwy 74, or a couple more.
At the end of the parkway, take a right and go through the Great Smoky Mtn. National Park...to all the way until you hit Hwy 321, and take that toward Townsend, Tn. Motels along the way, or just continue east until you intersect the Foothills Parkway. Take the parkway to Hwy 129, turn left and ride through The Dragon, and stop at Deal's Gap store. They have good camping there in the middle of the action, or a really nice, small hotel. Very clean and lots of nice folks. I think the rooms run around 60$, and camping 13$, at least in 2010.
In the end, there's just too much to write about. I don't know it all, and can't write all I know. But, you will absolutely love the trip...and, the planning. I have some maps of the parkway, but it's all online if you don't have them. Just google The Blue Ridge Parkway.
Study the weather, too. It's a different climate up on top!
Good luck, my friend!!
(sorry, I didn't proof this response)
BRP Experience . . .
My friend and I drove North toward Bloomsburg from Greensboro, NC. It is a beautiful ride and at 45 mph you can enjoy and savor the curves and great scenery.
There are many campsites that are very reasonable but I believe none of them have showers. I wore a swim suit and gave myself a cool bath from a hydrant. It was summer and the water was cool but not cold.
We needed fuel and took a road from the Parkway to Buchanon, VA. Great technical road.
Campbell Tellman II
Blue Ridge Parkway
I rode from Maine to the Finger Lakes Rally and then headed south and did the parkway end to end in 2010. Right after Labor Day was a great time to make this trip because it wasn't too hot and there was very little traffic and it felt like I had the BRP all to myself most of the time. The Dragon is worth doing once or twice to say you've done it, but there are lots of other roads in the region that are pretty nice. If you like the switchbacks on the Dragon, try "The Snake" in Tennessee, it's very challenging in the same way. I bought a "Mad Maps" motorcycle roads map of the Smoky Mountain Regions off E-Bay or you can get Mad Maps directly from Garmin for your GPS and would recommend these maps to anyone. It lays out some really great rides throughout this region and lists all the great places to eat, points of interest, places to stay, etc.. I would recommend taking a spin through Great Smoky Mountain National Park and my personal favorite on this trip was the Cherahola Skyway. A couple of great places to camp that are motorcycle only are Willville Motorcycle Campground in Fields of Dan, Virginia which is about 90 miles below Roanoake and right off the Parkway.....great place, great host. Will will bring you a chicken or sausage breakfast bisquit from the local store for breakfast, if you order one. A really nice laid back atmosphere at Willville and first rate facilities. I'd also recommend Blue Ridge Motorcycle Campground in Cruso, North Carolina, again, nice place, nice people. They serve a great breakfast onsite every morning at Blue Ridge Campground and it's right off the parkway. If you take the road right off the parkway, you'll notice the switchbacks on the way down the mountain to the campground are somewhat challenging. Both of these campgrounds have their own websites so you can check them out. You're going to have a blast. Happy Trails. Don
A great little side trip off the BRP is, ( if coming southbound)
Get off at Wilson Gap road , follow the twisties down to NC89, then go over a bit and find old NC52 north of Mt. Airy and take Orchard Gap road back up to the BRP.
If that's not enough twists and turns I don't know what is.
Came down Wilson Gap today, , smooth , clean and almost no traffic.
I've got my highlighter and the road atlas...scribbling away like crazy...I'm definitely appreciative of the inputs thus far:wave
If you like southern style pork barbecue, I highly recomend Big Mountain Barbecue restaurant in Waynesville, NC. It is faily easy to get to. Just exit off the parkway onto the Smoky Mtn expressway going east . Take the Hazlewood Ave exit and turn left onto the first street and it will be on the left.
I have eaten a lot of barbecue at various places and this is one of the best.
If you're anywhere near Fancy Gap, Va at mealtime and you like southern country cooking at a very reasonable price, you need to get off on Rt 52, go down the mountain and eat at the Hungry Farmer in Cana on the left just before the NC line. It is buffet style with salads and deserts along with fried chicken, biscuits, gravy, beef, fat back (sometimes country ham), mashed potatoes, beans, and a bunch of other stuff. During the week, lunch is around $6, including tax and a couple of dollars more for the evening meal (supper around here) and on the weekends. I live 70 miles away and sometimes ride over there for lunch in my car (in the winter) and we usually ride our bikes there for lunch 3 or 4 times per summer.
[QUOTE=osbornk;733198]If you're anywhere near Fancy Gap, Va at mealtime and you like ...............................[/QUOTE]
....a good meal and GREAT PIE, the diner right at the exit has both. Some of the best Coconut Cream pie, I have had.
A bunch of us from the Winston Salem area ride up and eat at the Hungry Farmer several times a year.
In season we always go on up to Levering's orchard and buy Cherries , then in the fall we get Apples from one of the many stands along the side roads.
You will want to pick up the Skyline drive just south of Front Royal, VA. This runs into the Blue Ridge. Note: make sure you have fuel before entering the Skyline drive because of few gas stops on the parkway. It is a great ride through the mountains of Virginia. Enjoy.
Mabry Mill is one of the most photographed places in the state of Virginia. It is just north of Meadows of Dan and the Meadows of Dan Campground.
One other thing about the Skyline drive. A lot of wildlife. Lots of deer and a few bears have crossed our paths while riding. We stopped at a wayside with picnic tables for lunch and a doe with her fawn came up to us within 25 feet. They own the mountain you are just the visitor so watch out for them.
I stop at the end of the Parkway and don't get on the Skyline Drive because the speed limit is 35 and they charge you money to ride it.