We left the Ironhorse Campground and Lodge on a misty morning, got our trailer tires
installed and headed up the Blue Ridge Parkway from the southern end. The Parkway
is 469 miles of ridge running with lots of turnouts and some tunnels. It runs from
the Great Smokey Mountains to the Skyline Drive in Shenandoah NP. It was built
during the depression to create jobs. There is a 45 mph speed limit and little traffic
this early in the year.
The road is not ours alone but almost.
The highest point on the parkway is down here in the southern part and is 6,083 ft.
above sea level.
Looking out from the road it is easy to see how it got it's name.
And the flowers are starting to bloom!
As we cruise through the sweeping curves and tunnels we are headed for the highest
point east of the Rockies.
The road leads to a parking lot and a steep trail to the lookout at the peak. We
should have left the riding gear at the bike. As cool as the day was it we had too
much on and broke a sweat. Behind me is a coffin like monument, in front of the
platform, where Reverend Mitchell is buried. He was a professor at the U of North
Carolina and local explorer that lost his life while out exploring this peak on June
27, 1857. I suppose that's why it is called Mt. Mitchell!
The view was hazy but spectacular. That is our road leading over the hills below.
We stopped at a place called Blowing Rock. The legend is that a Indian brave felt
he had to leave his sweetheart and return to his tribe by jumping off this rock. She
prayed that he would return and the wind blew him back into her arms.
The same rocks from the other end. The drop off beside the trail is over a hundred
feet. It would have been tough surviving without the wind.
Today there is no wind!.
That night we camped at a place called Bear's Den Campground. Don't go there. The
entry road and in camp roads are terrible with pot holes, washboard and broken pavement
with steep hills and sharp curves. We made it but this was very difficult on a Wing
with a trailer. And then we asked for a site near the restrooms and the lady put
us as far from them as the loop would allow. We asked for a change and got it. When
we got to the loop it was totally empty, all 21 sites. She could have given us the
close site right off. One thing though, it was very dark and very quiet.
The next morning we headed away from the Parkway. But first we want to see Grandfather
Mountain. The entrance road is right beside the Parkway. It is another lookout
atop another mountain but this one is a private road, like Pike's Peak in Colorado. First
off we were hesitant at the $20/person price, but when a gal came running over to
the ticket booth, crowded in between the booth and the bike, and told us we would
have to leave our trailer at the bottom alongside the highway we decided we could
do without this mountain. I did tell her that we had taken it to the top of Pike's
Peak and Mt. Evans but she said "There have been incidents and we can't allow it." So
we left. I wasn’t going to leave our home alongside the road unguarded.
We have done only about a quarter of the Blue Ridge Parkway but we want to go to
Kentucky and see some things.