Posts Tagged ‘blue ridge parkway’
View of the Blue Ridge Parkway from the Waterrock Knob overlook.
2010 kicks off with celebration of our nations most popular national parks 75th anniversary. Construction on the 469 mile long Blue Ridge Parkway scenic road was started in September, 1935 at Cumberland Knob near the border between North Carolina and Virginia (milepost 217.5), though it would take 52 years until the last section was completed in September, 1987 not far from where it all began.
The mission of the Blue Ridge Parkway is to provide a scenic link between two of the easts grandest parks, Shenandoah National Park in Virginia, and Great Smoky Mountains National Park in North Carolina. Inspired by great rides built in the parks of the American west and patterned after earlier scenic roads in the east, the Blue Ridge Parkway was constructed utilizing native materials to emphasize and highlight extraordinary views worthy of national recognition and preservation. In making that link, the Blue Ridge Parkway in some ways eclipsed these other national parks and opened up the isolated and remote areas of the Smoky Mountains for all to enjoy.
Nowadays, more than 18 million people each year come to enjoy the relaxing and inspiring views found along this two lane ribbon of asphalt, more than 1/4 of them on motorcycles. The Blue Ridge Parkway has become our nations most classic ride. What better year to celebrate and enjoy it?
I’ll be highlighting some of those celebrations and relating the often controversial history of one of the best rides anywhere in future posts. Here’s a video to get you started.
For more info about the Blue Ridge Parkway go to http://blueridgeparkway.org
For info about celebrations and events go to http://www.blueridgeparkway75.org/
This is what too many of my southern motorcycle friends believe is normal winter weather in the Smoky Mountains – freezing temperatures, snow everywhere, ice covers the roads, and we huddle around our home fires waiting for the the spring thaw. It’s rarely the case, but just to reinforce the misconception here’s a photo of the storm during it’s peak on Friday –
The last time this area had a snow like this was the great blizzard of 1993 which is still talked about with reverent infamy. I was not living here for that, though I was passing through the area and forced to stop. Little did I know years later I would come to live in that very same small mountain town.
We got something in the neighborhood of 15 inches of the white stuff which started out light and powdery then became wet and heavy later in the night. We lost power for a good while, many still wait for it’s return. No internet service, even the cell phones stopped working a while. My wife was working in Asheville and despite leaving work at 1 PM, it was after 4 when I finally got her home from what is normally a 30 minute drive. The snow came faster than the crews could keep up with it on the interstate and once the hills started icing, the wrecks piled up. She got stuck on an incline, managed to work free and get off the highway, only to get trapped in the bowl of an icy intersection not far from home. She got towed into the parking lot of the nearby Lowes.
I managed to get there to rescue her and only made it up the hill to the house by piling several hundred pounds of rocks in the bed of the truck and letting the air out of the tires. We enjoyed the rest of the weekend shoveling the driveway and then the road so I could get her out to work this morning. I am one sore dude.
Just to prove to my warm climate friends that this is a fluke, just look back at the past couple blog posts to see I was indeed out on the bike earlier in the week, and as soon as the roads clear, I’ll be back in the saddle again. It will probably be after Christmas though, as another snow storm seems headed our way on Thursday. Honest guys, this is not typical!
Don’t feel bad for us here in mountain paradise, we roll with the punches. There will be plenty of motorcycle riding to come in the months ahead. And when live gives you lemons, put on the skis and head for the Blue Ridge Parkway as soon as the roads are clear enough. PS – don’t eat the yellow snow, it has nothing to do with the lemons.
It’s not the first snow we’ve had this fall, but it should be the first decent accumulation in the Carolina mountains. While the motorcycle will be sitting it out, and the Blue Ridge Parkway will be closed to traffic, it will be one of the first places I try to get to tomorrow if we get a good dumping. Once those gates are shut, it becomes our winter playground and you’d be surprised how much time we spend up there. That great road turns into a wonderful cross-country ski trail a few times each year.
I took this photo last year on the Blue Ridge Parkway at the Devil’s Courthouse overlook on one of those cross-country skiing days. They don’t happen often. The winds at elevation tend to blow the snow off the roads before it gets a good enough base to last. You’ve got to strike quickly to enjoy it.
We’ll see what tomorrow brings. I just put new snow tires on the truck so maybe we can make it. They won’t plow up high for a day or two at least and the drive up is usually more exciting than the skiing. Next week it will all be gone and I’ll be back out on the motorcycle again. But for now, let it snow!
Faster, faster, faster, until the thrill of speed overcomes the fear of death.
Ahh, one of my favorite backwoods twisties, Charlie’s Creek Road. My wife calls it “the most dangerous road we ride” and you can click through the link to read more about it in one of my other blogs. The “Tail of the Dragon” is tame in comparison. It’s predictable. Charlie’s Creek Road throws everyhting at you, tempting you to roll harder on the throttle then throwing it right back in your face if you give in too freely. Can’t get enough of roads like this and it’s not hard to. It’s part of a 100 mile loop I love which keeps you on the edge of your tires the entire time.
You find this road and the others in the loop on America Rides Maps “The Best Roads South of Great Smoky Mountains National Park – EAST“, a.k.a. the waterfall map, and it’s just off the Blue Ridge Parkway. Take the time to check it out when you’re coming this way.
Welcome to Motorcycle Heaven. I’m email@example.com a.k.a. Wayne Busch, and my goal is to show you around and help you find your way. Honestly, I’m sure there are many “motorcycle heavens”, you probably know some of your own. It could be argued you’re in “motorcycle heaven” whenever you get on the bike and roll on the throttle. Motorcycle heaven is wherever you find it. I keep finding new ones. My goal is to help you discover your own motorcycle heavens and lead you to more of them.
I’ve traveled extensively across the USA and even spent some time on other continents. It’s a grand world to explore though my focus will typically be of a lesser scope. My primary focus is the continental United States. Within that boundary, after years of travelling and searching out the places which offer the most rewarding and memorable experiences for the two-wheeled traveller, I settled in the mountains of the southeast.
I live and work out of the small mountain town of Waynesville, North Carolina. It’s an ideal hub for enjoying the Appalachian mountains located about 30 minutes ride west of the funky little city of Asheville – the “Portland” of the south. Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the Blue Ridge Parkway are just a few minutes ride from my door and I consider them my backyard. The infamous “Tail of the Dragon” is just a short ride up the road. On every horizon I am surrounded by mountains which extend as far as the eye can see.
From this base I’ve set about exploring and cataloging the most challenging and enjoyable motorcycle rides. To date, in an area stretching from the foothills of the Appalachian chain in north Georgia, to the northern end of the 469 mile long Blue Ridge Parkway in Virginia, I’ve discovered and mapped more than 3000 miles of the best of the two lane twisties which weave their web over, under, and around the surrounding peaks. I’ve yet to find any place which offers such a wealth of great and enjoyable riding over such and extensive region though I continue my search.
Motorcycle Heaven is one place where I am sharing what I’ve discovered, there are many more. I have forums, other blogs, web sites, and a free newsletter all accessible from my home site http://americaridesmaps.com. I invite you to follow my adventures, become informed of pertinent news, share your experiences and comments, and discover the wealth of great adventures that await the motorcycle traveller. Motorcycle Heaven knows no limits but it does have secrets to reveal and hidden treasures. I’ll help you locate the gems.