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Thread: Blue Ridge Parkway

  1. #1
    Rally Rat
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    Blue Ridge Parkway

    Three of us are hoofing it down to the Rally July 15-16, and leaving July 18 mid-day to return home to Toronto. Plan on using the Blue Ridge Parkway, and estimate 3 days.
    Have ordered some info from State Tourism, but am unclear on potential lodging, fuel and eating options, as I understand the Parkway has no services.
    Should we travel by the seat of our pants, or do you feel reservations would be wise ?
    Any other tips and info would be appreciated ?
    Will taking in the Deal's Gap be off course ? (I guess this is one of those been there, done that kind of things to do.....)
    Thanks in advance

  2. #2
    Small road corner junkie pffog's Avatar
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    There are a few lodging and camping options as well as a couple of fuel and eating locations on the parkway. There is a good map that you can print off of the Blue Ridge Parkway website. But it really is not a worry, the roads into the numerous towns and cities down off the ridge are great fun, and there are numerous chains and mom and pop lodging options.

    I have traveled the region numerous times and never had a problem finding lodging, But I am usually looking about 6ish, and not at 9 pm.

  3. #3
    Old man in the mountains osbornk's Avatar
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    I wouldn't think of trying to get reservations. It spoils the trip. There are local mom and pop motels and camp grounds around that you can use. Having to be somewhere at a certain time spoils the trip for me. I had to travel throughout Virginia for several years and most of my co-workers insisted on reservations. I never got reservations and I didn't have to sleep in my car a single time. If you have to sleep in a less than perfect motel once in a while, it doesn't hurt anything and you meet some of the most interesting people.
    'You can say what you want about the South, but I almost never hear of anyone wanting to retire to the North.

  4. #4
    cheesewhiz
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    How busy (Traffic) is the Parkway?

  5. #5
    Brett
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    The Parkway is not busy at all during the weekdays. Travel Mon-Thurs if possible. Willeville motorcycle campground is great if you are camping and so is otter creek. Motels and fuel are plentiful if you watch for them when the road is at it's lowest elevation. Meaning when you are at 5-6 thousand feet you would have to drive down the sides to towns about 10-12 miles but when elevation is at its lowest like in Roanoke you can get fuel 1 mile off the parkway. Ashville is another area where elevation is low and fuel and food is right off the parkway. Good luck and have fun, you'll never be bored but remember speeding is a federal ticket on the parkway so be careful, they usually won't bother you if you are riding responsible 10 over but after that watch out. I have ridden it 15 or more times jsut fill up when the opportunity is there and never run under a quarter of a tank and you should be ok


    Brett Endress
    Altoona PA

  6. #6
    Douglas Williams
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    Traffic?

    It can be empty or slow-go. It just depends on how you hit it. It attracts RV's as well as motorcycles. The speed limit is 45 and enforced. A neat little town is Floyd, VA with a cool restaurant called Oddfellows. I like their lunch menu.
    http://www.oddfellascantina.com/cont/node/1
    A great motorcycle campground is just down the Parkway at Meadows of Dan, VA.
    http://www.willvillebikecamp.com/

    Have a great trip.

  7. #7
    Dum vivimus vivamus ted's Avatar
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    Here is the link for the National Park's BRP website (make sure to check out the Closures part right before you leave). Here is the interactive map, it shows a bunch of campgrounds on the way down. I have only stayed at one, Rocky Knob, it was clean with decent price ($16) and your typical sand/pea gravel pad, picnic table and firepit.

    I like to stay at the Lake View Motel in Fancy Gap, VA, runs about $50 or $55 if I remember correctly. It is literally 15 feet from the onramp to the BRP and a good launchpad to finish the BRP by early afternoon if you start early. There is also a great breakfast place/diner across the parking lot.


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    Ted
    "A good stick is a good reason"
    1994 K75RT
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  8. #8
    Dum vivimus vivamus ted's Avatar
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    How busy (Traffic) is the Parkway?
    During the week, especially Tuesday & Wednesday, it is pretty light and most of it will probably be other BMW riders heading down. Note that the Park Police just LOVE giving out tickets and it is very easy to ride at 65+ in a lot of sections so remember to stick close to the 45mph sspeed limit. The Friday to Monday and especially Saturday & Sunday days can be pretty busy, unless you don't mind long lines of cars behind picture-snapping BDCs, I'd probably skip it in favor of West Virginia's Rt. 220 and others.
    Ted
    "A good stick is a good reason"
    1994 K75RT
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  9. #9
    Small road corner junkie pffog's Avatar
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    As far as traffic, in the last year it has seemed non-existent. Maybe fuel costs or people just not "going for a ride" anymore. I rode sections over the 4th of July period last year, and it was deserted!! Same a month ago, although early, there was almost NO traffic in spite of good weather.

  10. #10
    God? What god? roborider's Avatar
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    Even in light traffic, you must be prepared to do a lot of passing on the BRP. Riding a long stretch, you will inevitably hit a motorhome or sightseer doing 30-35 mph. There are passing lanes, but if the double yellow doesn't bother you, there are ample areas to pass on a bike.

    Gas and lodging, as noted before, is simple. Just shoot down to a nearby town. Little Switzerland is a great little spot for lunch, and the road down 226 is fantastically twisty. HWY 80 down to Marion is also. Both are great going uphill if you like dragging a knee. So many of the roads going up to the BRP are great mountain rides.

    Finally, go to

    http://www.nps.gov/blri/planyourvisit/roadclosures.htm

    to check on road closures. Part of the parkway is closed till Nov. 2009. I went around the barriers and road a 20 miles section that was 'closed'. It was a blast having it all to myself, no cops, no traffic, etc. Road it one way to inspect at low speed, then turned around and nailed it for 20 miles. I don't recommend this as I'm sure getting caught would carry a hefty fine.

    www.blueridgeparkway.org has a lot of information.

    I saw a mother bear and 3 cubs on the road earlier this year and the views are great.

    Robo
    Rob C. , Raleigh, NC
    '10 R12RT, R90/6
    2007 CBR600RR & 09 V-Star
    Suzuki DR 350

  11. #11
    Old man in the mountains osbornk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RoboRider View Post
    Even in light traffic, you must be prepared to do a lot of passing on the BRP. Riding a long stretch, you will inevitably hit a motorhome or sightseer doing 30-35 mph. There are passing lanes, but if the double yellow doesn't bother you, there are ample areas to pass on a bike.

    Gas and lodging, as noted before, is simple. Just shoot down to a nearby town. Little Switzerland is a great little spot for lunch, and the road down 226 is fantastically twisty. HWY 80 down to Marion is also. Both are great going uphill if you like dragging a knee. So many of the roads going up to the BRP are great mountain rides.

    Finally, go to

    http://www.nps.gov/blri/planyourvisit/roadclosures.htm

    to check on road closures. Part of the parkway is closed till Nov. 2009. I went around the barriers and road a 20 miles section that was 'closed'. It was a blast having it all to myself, no cops, no traffic, etc. Road it one way to inspect at low speed, then turned around and nailed it for 20 miles. I don't recommend this as I'm sure getting caught would carry a hefty fine.

    www.blueridgeparkway.org has a lot of information.

    I saw a mother bear and 3 cubs on the road earlier this year and the views are great.

    Robo
    The law enforcement on the BRP has increased a lot in the last few years. At one time, tickets weren't reported to states but I think that has changed. Passing on a double yellow does very bad things to your license and insurance as does speeding over 20 MPH over the speed limit. It turns from speeding into reckless driving. There are very few places to legally pass and the people who have motorhomes and large campers tend to be flatlanders and/or older folks who drive very slowly so they don't miss the sights. If you have a time to be somewhere, the BRP might not be a good choice. If you don't have a time limitation, it is great. If you get behind a slow moving vehicle, you simply stop at an overlook and enjoy the beauty of the mountains.
    'You can say what you want about the South, but I almost never hear of anyone wanting to retire to the North.

  12. #12
    God? What god? roborider's Avatar
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    I don't see the increase in coverage on the BRP. Last Summer I was talking to a Ranger (not the ones who write tickets) about coverage and he told me there were only TWO officers patrolling the road in the NC section. So, if you passed the Federal officer, you were pretty free and clear for a long ways as the Feds are well separated. Then, each town may have a cop on the road as it passes in their jurisdiction, notably the Asheville area. There is one section, going north just before Asheville, I think Hendersonville road exit, where there is a long straight section and a lazy cop often sits there blasting out non instant on radar from a turnout. Probably spilling donut crumbs all over himself as he's doing "police work".

    Can you back that increased coverage statement up with something on the web? Something concrete? No offense, but I don't buy it.

    Passing on a double yellow is always a big ticket; if they can catch you. I've never been caught on a bike: ever. And honestly, a ticket for a double yellow isn't really high on my list of concerns.

    There are many, many, easy double yellow passes if you are on a bike that you would never try in a car. Also, if you are riding in a small group, we do the 'leap frog'. First man gets by, then slows to about 10 mph so the others can shoot by with ease. This way you change the lead and the main risk of being 'lead dog'.

    Finally, the cops on the BRP are about as lazy as you'll find. If you have a radar detector, they stand out as they don't use instant on technology. They either are roaming or parked and just blast out a huge, easily detectable signal that you can pick up well in advance.

    We tend to ride the twisties on the BRP hard and fast, slowing down to about 55-60 in the straights. The cops always park in the straights to shoot radar, never the turns.

    I'm not recommending anyone drive this way, but it's no big deal really. At least not to me.

    Now I do notice you live in Virginia. So, if you are speaking of the BRP in the Virginia area, I'll concede ignorance; all of my statements apply to the BRP in NC only. Viginia is a beautiful state but has very heavy cop concentrations. Way too much for me. And, unless it has changed, you have that ridiculous HUGE $1000 plus fine for speeding. You'd know more about it than I, but VA is one state that I don't like to enter. Many of my running episodes were in VA, hightailing it back across the state line to NC.

    Robo
    Rob C. , Raleigh, NC
    '10 R12RT, R90/6
    2007 CBR600RR & 09 V-Star
    Suzuki DR 350

  13. #13
    Dum vivimus vivamus ted's Avatar
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    Long and short is relax and enjoy it, it is a road made for just that. The scenery is magnificent, the road gently rolling along through forest and pastures - if you feel the need to drag your knees, there are far better places to do that within a stone's throw. There are tons of deer that have no fear of humans, gaggles of turkeys that think they own the road, even the occasional black bear (and believe me, you do not want to hit one of those.) There are lots and lots of folks stopping suddenly and unexpectedly to take pictures or look at roadside critters, and yes, the occasional Park Police Officer who can and will pull you over if you give him or her reason.

    As a head's up, they do indeed have instant-on and like to use it for oncoming traffic. I was tagged that way on my K11RS, luckily I knew he got me and had pulled over with helmet off and paperwork out by the time he made a U-turn and came flying back with lights and siren (matter of fact, he passed me and had to turn around again to come back to me.) He said he gave me a warning because he appreciated that I pulled right over, that he usually had to chase the sportbike guys. When he showed me how fast I was going I was very happy with my warning, just goes to show that it helps to be mindful of 45mph.

    Also remember radar detectors are illegal in VA, that's another hefty ticket.
    Ted
    "A good stick is a good reason"
    1994 K75RT
    Moto Pages

  14. #14
    God? What god? roborider's Avatar
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    You're spot on with the deer. Driving at dusk can be like riding through some kind of petting zoo. This is not a road to be doing 80 mph. I'm just saying it takes a level of Zen riding to get stuck behind a slug driving a motorhome 25mph in the corners, maybe hitting 40 in the straights while the clueless operator is spilling Cheez-Its in his lap, that I have not yet, or likely ever will, reach. A quick pass is just mandatory. The parkway at 55 mph is just about right.

    Again, your comments seem to apply to VA, and I'll again concede that I don't know a lot about VA except that the police and the radar are thick. Drop into NC for fewer hassles.

    And finally, I do want to stress that I don't advocate being unsafe, although I've had many a heated but civil discussions that "any" double yellow pass is unsafe. I'm not saying blind corners, right hand corners, etc. I don't care so much if I die but I am responsible to not kill you and your child being stupid. There are just many, many, easy safe passes that can be made with a quick bike that cannot in a car, and double yellows that apply to a cage don't always fit for a bike. And no knee dragging on public roads, that's just crazy. It leaves no margin for correction. A deer, gravel, a wandering cage, etc., will eventually end your days early if you do that. The track is the place for that.

    Robo
    Last edited by RoboRider; 06-13-2009 at 02:36 PM.
    Rob C. , Raleigh, NC
    '10 R12RT, R90/6
    2007 CBR600RR & 09 V-Star
    Suzuki DR 350

  15. #15
    Registered User nugentch's Avatar
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    Speed Limits on BRP

    Be careful!! I live a mile off the Parkway in Asheville. I rode to Craggy Gardens today and noticed that "Speed Limit 35" signs have been place over the old "45" signs. Maybe they are getting ready to raise a little revenue during the rally. I have gotten a ticket on the Parkway and it is a FEDERAL ticket, not local. Don't bailout the government while you are here!
    Ride Safe!
    Curtis "Kurt" Nugent
    1985 BMW R80RT (Heidi)
    2006 BMW R1200GS (Brunhilde)
    BMWMOA #28698, BMWRA #23815,
    ABC #3488, AMA #657795

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