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Thread: The Blue Ridge Parkway in the off season

  1. #1
    Old man in the mountains osbornk's Avatar
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    The Blue Ridge Parkway in the off season

    This morning, five of us climbed on our bikes in 26 degree weather and rode about 50 miles through the mountains and had breakfast at Shatley Springs (http://www.shatleysprings.com/) before we headed to the Blue Ridge Parkway. After a wonderful breakfast, we made our way to the Parkway in NC about 50 miles from the Virginia line. It was a beautiful but very different Parkway experience as we rode back into Virginia and made our way home.

    For those of you who have the opportunity, I encourage you to ride the Parkway when there are no leaves on the trees. The views are much better because you can see the valleys, rock formations, and many other beauties of nature that are hidden by the leaves and undergrowth of summer. I live relatively close to the Parkway and I have visited the Parkway in winter for decades. I prefer to enjoy the Parkway on a bike but it is still a unique experience in a car.
    'You can say what you want about the South, but I almost never hear of anyone wanting to retire to the North.

  2. #2
    Registered User bluehole's Avatar
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    I agree with Osbornk, The views are much better when the leaves are off the trees. The vistas are much greater and Parkway feels more open. There is also less traffic. I am not a real photographer so these pictures do give the full effect of riding this time of year. These were were taken in March, but you will get the idea.



    You may be able to appreciate how much better the view is in this picture than it would be during the summer.



    Maybe someone can post better off season pictures.

  3. #3
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    I've done Skyline Drive and BRP to deals Gap 3-4 times and have always done it in September [leaving my home in North Jersey]. I've always really enjoyed it with one riding buddy and by myself. Some of the best riding there is, although I admitt I've not been in the midwest or west coast. I am considering a trip in the spring of 2013, probably by myself unless 1 0r 2 of the guys I ride with are able to. I'm thinking early April, I like the idea of no leaves on the tree's to see more. In my case I now live on Cape Cod and weather is always a factor here or down on the BRP. Since I don't live there I am hoping to get feedback from you in the area.
    Janda
    2011 R1200R

  4. #4
    Old man in the mountains osbornk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by janda View Post
    I've done Skyline Drive and BRP to deals Gap 3-4 times and have always done it in September [leaving my home in North Jersey]. I've always really enjoyed it with one riding buddy and by myself. Some of the best riding there is, although I admitt I've not been in the midwest or west coast. I am considering a trip in the spring of 2013, probably by myself unless 1 0r 2 of the guys I ride with are able to. I'm thinking early April, I like the idea of no leaves on the tree's to see more. In my case I now live on Cape Cod and weather is always a factor here or down on the BRP. Since I don't live there I am hoping to get feedback from you in the area.
    The availability of the Parkway in early spring is weather dependent and you need to check a week or two before you plan on taking your trip. Since they don't scrape the snow on the Parkway, late winter snows and cold weather might leave snow on the roadway. If there is snow on the road, they close gates and close sections. Also, if we have storms with hard winds, the many trees along the Parkway can be blown across the road and block it. They don't seem to rush to clear the road because nobody is depending on it for their life or living.

    Based on my Parkway experience since the middle 1960s, I think the best time to enjoy the Parkway with clear roads, little traffic and spectacular views without leaves is very late October or November. The weather has been great for Parkway riding this year in November (with proper clothing and weather protection).
    'You can say what you want about the South, but I almost never hear of anyone wanting to retire to the North.

  5. #5
    Life is the Trip MOUNTAIN RIDER's Avatar
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    I agree with OP that the parkway is great in the fall once the leaves fall. Some amazing sites to be had.
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  6. #6
    2003 K1200LT rvb1019's Avatar
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    My two buddies and I just got back from the BRP to Cherokee last month. It was awesome riding and the views were equally awesome. I've been heading south each spring for the past 8 years on my LT. Never had a problem with traffic or the revenue enhancement specialist , er... I mean the Park Rangers.

    On this trip, between the three of us, we total 5 speeding tickets. With the increase in Gray Hairs in Mommy Vans and Daddy Tanks staring at every leaf, squirrel and deer, it was no wonder enforcement was increased. Never again will I take the Pkwy in the Fall.

    The Spring- well that's a different story!

  7. #7
    God? What god? roborider's Avatar
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    Much of the parkway is closed already.

    See www.blueridgeparkway.org

    You can call (828) 298 0398 for recorded updates.

    I've driven around the closed gates before and usually it is just ice and snow, maybe some fallen trees, but you need to be on guard for both obstacles and workers who will phone in that you are on the road.
    Rob C. , Raleigh, NC
    '05 R12RT, R90/6
    2007 CBR600RR & 09 V-Star
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  8. #8
    Old man in the mountains osbornk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rvb1019 View Post
    My two buddies and I just got back from the BRP to Cherokee last month. It was awesome riding and the views were equally awesome. I've been heading south each spring for the past 8 years on my LT. Never had a problem with traffic or the revenue enhancement specialist , er... I mean the Park Rangers.

    On this trip, between the three of us, we total 5 speeding tickets. With the increase in Gray Hairs in Mommy Vans and Daddy Tanks staring at every leaf, squirrel and deer, it was no wonder enforcement was increased. Never again will I take the Pkwy in the Fall.

    The Spring- well that's a different story!
    If you ride in the fall after the leaves have fallen and during the week, there is almost no traffic. The fall when the leaves are changing is the worst possible time to ride the Parkway, especially on the weekend.
    'You can say what you want about the South, but I almost never hear of anyone wanting to retire to the North.

  9. #9
    OldBMWMaster JDOCKERY132445's Avatar
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    Snow

    Quote Originally Posted by RoboRider View Post
    Much of the parkway is closed already.

    See www.blueridgeparkway.org

    You can call (828) 298 0398 for recorded updates.

    I've driven around the closed gates before and usually it is just ice and snow, maybe some fallen trees, but you need to be on guard for both obstacles and workers who will phone in that you are on the road.
    I like to ride the closed sections after a snow. I have an old Bultaco that loves to run in the snow. The good news is that if you are not seen getting on, the patrols are on the open sections and you are free to fly. I also used to cross country ski it from Boone.
    Jerry Dockery
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  10. #10
    God? What god? roborider's Avatar
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    A fellow rebel!
    Rob C. , Raleigh, NC
    '05 R12RT, R90/6
    2007 CBR600RR & 09 V-Star
    Suzuki DR 350

  11. #11
    OldBMWMaster JDOCKERY132445's Avatar
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    NC native

    Quote Originally Posted by RoboRider View Post
    A fellow rebel!
    I was born in Mt. Airy; I think all men in that area have a bit of rebel in them. I am still buying corn whiskey from the same still that I bought it from when I was growing up. It is also the same still my father and grandfather bought whiskey from.
    Jerry Dockery
    309 N. 3rd. Ave.
    Kure Beach, NC 28449
    1996 R1100RT main bike & 1985 K100RS...too fast to believe.

  12. #12
    Out There Somewhere bmwrider88's Avatar
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    Thumbs up +1

    I recently had a truly wonderful run north on the BRP & Skyline Drive- from Roanoke (US 220) to Front Royal. I rode on a Sunday afternoon, and Monday morning- virtually alone!

    I posted it over in Just Ridin'- rather than in Ride Reports. View it here:
    http://www.bmwmoa.org/forum/showthread.php?t=64580

    Or simply "flip the page" over to Just Ridin'. I love the BRP in all seasons, BUT you won't get a solo run such as I experienced in July! Also, given the choice, I would opt for late autumn over late spring, for numerous reasons, some of which are mentioned above. If I had to choose a single word to describe my recent experience, that word would be....

    PERFECT

    Cheers guys!
    Be The Change You Want To See In The World

  13. #13
    Rpbump USN RET CPO Rpbump's Avatar
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    Thumbs up

    My first memories of the BRP & Skyline Drive date back to the early 50's, on vacation with my parents and traveling in a Packard convertible. My parents are long gone but vivid memories of them and the beauty of that trip come back to me each time I ride a portion of these scenic roads. By cage or bike the drives are enjoyable but, that first trip was and is my best memory of the VA & NC portions. Like many riders I longed to exceed the posted speed limit but now as I am older I'm glad to ride along and "smell the roses" at the posted speed.
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