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Thread: Riding the Blue Ridge

  1. #1
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    2bike mike has it right. Also don't skip skyline it is fantastic, good camping or lodge. Remember its not the destination its the journey. You may be bound for Deals Gap, but who cares where you might make it to, just a nice long ride with your son is going to be awesome. Too much planning creates to many expectations, and schedules suck.

  2. #2
    Frieden mit uns allen drummer's Avatar
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    Docjll - I live 2 hours away from the BRP. Often friends of mine and I take "mental health" days from work, leave town on the bikes, go to the BRP and ride around and come back the same day. So here is my take and it will just emphasize what others have said.

    1 DO NOT RIDE THE BRP DURING THE WEEKENDS.
    2 Mostly follow the speed limit - a few over the speed limit is fine but the rangers and cops are out in force.
    3 The real exciting twisties are up and down the sides of the mountain. The BRP is not all that twisty. If time allows, route 58 by Meadow of Dan, VA is lots of fun (west side)
    4 DO NOT RIDE THE BRP DURING THE WEEKENDS.
    5 There are many great over looks and sites along the way. Two days just to say you rode it is not what I would do, but if your priorities are to put on miles then push on.
    6 Remember you go where you look - DO NOT GET DISTRACTED BY THE VIEWS WHILE RIDING. The BRP is lined with knee high stone walls and on the other side of the road, very large drop offs. You could be air borne and not see another day if you go where you look.
    7 The northern most end of the BRP really starts with Skyline Drive in VA. (Front Royal as I remember) This part of the rode is a paid for road but it is truly beautiful - do it if you can and make reservations to stay in one of the cabin style accommodation along the way. $8 per bike I believe for the road access.
    8 There are lots of great little towns to stay at off of the BRP but this time of year you will want to make reservations.
    9 DO NOT RIDE THE BRP DURING THE WEEKENDS.

    I hope this helps.
    05 R1200RT
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  3. #3
    TravelsWithBarley.com
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    Quote Originally Posted by bikerfish1100 View Post
    The Cherahola is what the BRP/Skyline Drive wish they were. Might be (very debatable) better views off the BRP/SD, but for a rider's road, the Cherahola has it all over the better known BRP.
    All roads are good; it's just that some are better than others.

    I've ridden the BRP twice, Skyline once one way. (The extremely low speed limit was more than I was willing to deal with a second time.) I found the BRP nice and scenic, but not my style of riding. I like to mix it up a bit, to ride in the scenery instead of above it. So if I do BRP again it would be used as a base route, with more time spent exploring the side and parallel roads.

    The Dragon is a decent road that fell victim to its own hype. The Snake is getting there.

    These days I pretty much avoid any road with a name. The entire area is full of fun and scenic anonymous roads calling to me.
    '07 R1200GS for solo rides
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  4. #4
    Registered User cehlbeck's Avatar
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    Skyline Drive is NOT part of the Blue Ridge Parkway! Are there any blue and gray BRP signs on Skyline Drive?
    Chris Ehlbeck
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  5. #5
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    For those who think the BRP is too boring.

    We found a way to make it interesting if you are in a group or at least two bikes.

    Try and not exceed the speed limit, the first one to touch the brakes buys coffee for everyone at the next stop.

    I see loads of people who have what i think of as poor riding skills jumping on the brakes at every curve in the road or elevation drop.

    Give it a try next time you are on one of the greatest roads in America.

  6. #6
    TravelsWithBarley.com
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    Quote Originally Posted by 40427 View Post
    For those who think the BRP is too boring.

    We found a way to make it interesting if you are in a group or at least two bikes.

    Try and not exceed the speed limit, the first one to touch the brakes buys coffee for everyone at the next stop.

    I see loads of people who have what i think of as poor riding skills jumping on the brakes at every curve in the road or elevation drop.

    Give it a try next time you are on one of the greatest roads in America.
    I'm not saying it's boring, it's just (for me) too much sameness, i.e, everything is down and all the vistas are distant. That's nice for half a day before I start yearning for more excitement. I'd much rather ride down a twisty mountain road past waterfalls and through canopies of tree limbs than seeing it all from a mile away and a thousand feet up.

    That's why I'd use it for a base route, veering onto side roads (mostly to the west) to mix it up a bit. If I wanted to go slow and upright I would have bought a cruiser. Folks with different riding styles are drawn to different roads. We're blessed to have so many to choose from.
    '07 R1200GS for solo rides
    '10 R1200GSA with Hannigan dual sport sidecar for rides with Barley

  7. #7
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    There are any number of roads that cross the BRP that are terrific. I never tire of exploring them.

  8. #8
    lloving
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    some people don't listen

    cehlbeck, you will never get everyone to accept that the BRP and Skyline Drive are different roads. There was even an article in ON a few months back that stated they were the same road.

  9. #9
    Out There Somewhere bmwrider88's Avatar
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    I've ridden the BRP twice now, for just short stretches. Once it was absolutely socked in the fog and rain, which became total pea soup fog and POURING rain.
    The next time I was there, it HAD rained but got pretty nice along our way. I say do it, but make it a weekday. If there's too much traffic or if the weather sucks, just exit off it.

    The Dragon isn't all it's cracked up to be, now that it's gotten so popular. +1 on the Cherahola Skyway. Look around in that are for the Snake, and probably many other roads just as nice as The Dragon. There's great motorcycle roads all over the place down there.

    Cheers! Safe riding to you!

  10. #10
    George K1200RS GeorgeK1200RS's Avatar
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    You asked about features along the BRP. I have done it several times on by bike and also in a cage.

    I do not find there is anything that jumps out as a must see. The numerous overlooks are all good. There are many small historic sites that can be done in 15 minutes to an hour...pick the ones that appeal to you and enjoy.


    There are no billboards along the route to advertise features...at most a brief sign from the park service that does not give you much time to decide. It is normally easy to pull off and see if it is something of interest. If not, just get back on the road.

    For a new rider on a rental, like your son, it can be a fantastic relaxing ride if you pay attention to the road when moving.

    I recommend stopping before it gets dark. The fog at night can be very bad and there is a large animal population that starts moving at dusk.

    If you miss something, there are frequent turn offs, many that lead to a local road that allow you to double back. You don't see it, but local folks live just off the parkway.

    People have commented about traffic. While there can be a lot of campers being dragged by cages, there is no truck traffic (unless they are making a delivery to a specific location).

    The BRP is similar to the Natchez Trace Parkway, with different scenery. It is designed to be a gently ridden road and a relaxing trip.

    Enjoy!
    George
    R1200RT, K1200RS. Previous K1200LT, R80RT, R100R, R75/5

  11. #11
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    I suggest you contact the BRP folks , they have maps and info that would be helpful.

  12. #12
    Ambassador since 1984 macstudley's Avatar
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    [QUOTE The parkway section that is around Mt. Mitchell is my favorite.[/QUOTE]

    Mt Mitchell State Park (NC) has a great restaurant, but on weekends the wait could be an hour or more.
    Last edited by macstudley; 06-05-2012 at 08:02 PM.
    Mac McEnheimer

    When approaching a corner stay on the gas until you see Jesus or Elvis.Then brake HARD!

  13. #13
    Ambassador since 1984 macstudley's Avatar
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    Yes, BRP speeding tickets are expensive because it's a federal offense but it doesnt show up on your driving record if that's any consolation.
    Mac McEnheimer

    When approaching a corner stay on the gas until you see Jesus or Elvis.Then brake HARD!

  14. #14
    Rally Rat
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    the campgrounds on the BRP are great. Only a few are crowded during the week. The lodges on the parkway are neat. It is a good way to go, ride a few hours, have a good lunch, ride a few more hours and stay in one of the lodges. My favorites are Peaks of Otter and Mt Pisgah.

    On the southernmost portion, do not miss the Wheels through Time in Magie Valley NC.

    If you are over 62, Get the Golden Passport. $10 for life, unlimited free access to ALL National Parks

  15. #15
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    I suspect more than a few of us who live in NC would tell you the BRP is best outside of tourist season and either before the leaves appear or after they're down.
    Views depend on clear weather so cold high pressure weather is best for that purpose. Summer humidity and coal plant bad air coming from TN/KY obscure and haze over views in the summer especially. Fall leaf watchers include more Q tips than you'll find in FL with the predictable driving habits. Many of the overlooks are now not maintained and views are badly obscured by trees that have grown in front of them though a bit less than half of them are still in pretty good shape mostly because they're built in places where tree cutting isn't needed to preserve line of sight.
    To me, summer riding up on the BRP is about getting out of lowland heat and humidity. The variable weather around the mountains can be refreshing after a couple hundred miles of hot saturated riding.
    For the view, I'll take Nov right after leaf fall.
    For fun in the twisties there are innumerable roads that are better than the BRP or Cherohala in that part of the country. Most are simply 2 lanes wandering in the countryside or connecting small towns. Plenty of web info to be found if you dig and a few books, too.
    There are far too many accidents on the Dragon and Cherohala caused by the unskilled or squids (average of 2 serious ones per weekend day on the Dragon alone, for example. NOT talking about simple lowsides, etc but stuff that needs hospital treatment). So law enforcement presence is heavy in the summer. On the Dragon, anything over 50 or crossing the centerline will draw fire as it should. Serious play is best done elsewhere for all of the above reasons...

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