Roanoke, Virginia Via Blue Ridge Parkway and Mountain to Boone, North Carolina - 1,982km
May 17, 2015
So, back to the Blue Ridge Parkway and like yesterday the road was impressive in surface camber gradient and ride with the slight exception of surface (mainly in North Carolina) where there were a few (yes only a few) patches where the surface had a few challenges and that ultimately led to a couple of detours off the Parkway as a result .... see getting picky now. Like yesterday the ride was just beautiful and soul restoring and we both had a real sense of just breathing in deeply and relaxing. The view was one of luxuriant leafy green avenues almost covered in completely overhead and then breaking out into well grassed meadows as well as farmland. Where the Skyline Drive is all within the Shenandoah National Park the Blue Ridge Parkway has narrow strips of park only and most is within farms and road reserves so quite a contrast.
The abundance of grass meant we saw a number of deer and had a close encounter of the deer kind early in the day and still cant quite believe the logistics of it all. Norm was in the lead and rounding a right hand corner cut into the bank and there was a pick-up towing a van approaching from the opposite direction when a deer (apparently tearing along at big speed) leapt down off the bank literally in front of Norm, hitting the road slightly to the left of him and kept right on going to the other side of the road avoiding both Norm and the pick-up! Neither Norm nor I suspect the pick-up driver had time for things to register let alone brake. Still shaking our heads. Very happy we weren't a second further along the road and on the deer side of things I'd say the deer should get a great big gnarly 'Fleet of Foot Award' in the deer hall of fame!
And more positive news, photos. We hadn't long left Roanoke and came across this crossing of the Roanoke River. This is a power station (I think) not sure if operational or not at the base of a dam spillway.
Walking back across the bridge to the parking lot there were massive trees growing from the rivers edge and still towering above us on the bridge and were deliciously fragrant. A shot of the flowers on the tree. No idea what they are.
Next photo stop was a ride up the Mt Roan loop road on Mount Roanoke. Glad it was one way. The lookout was awesome but the fog was so thick even though we could see out the camera wouldn't focus through the fog just on the fog so no shot there but this is an example of the foliage as we wound further up the mountain, It was much sparser than that on the majority of the Parkway.
An example of a cabin which were once numerous along the Parkway. The sign is self explanatory.
Love these cute bridges under the Parkway. Seem the same right through and saw a double one over the road and railway line in one spot.
Coffee and a chat with the locals at Tuggles Gap.
Yes! We are in the land of the soaring eagles and here were two of four which were soaring out over the Fox Hollow Lookout. Does my soul good to see them. Reminiscent of what it is to ride the bike.
The Mabry Mill built in 1910 and operated for 26 years, supposedly the most photographed site on the Parkway.
Bits and Bobs:
A sobering reminder ... at a Picnic ground. Food for thought. Bear buffet?
Our lunch spot was an interesting store and had pipe tobacco all over the place. These are bags of it at $14.00 a piece.
Amongst the foliage over the last two days have been many rhodedenrom. Yesterday white, pink and purple, predominantly purple. Today white, pink, purple, yellow and orange, predominantly yellow and orange. Beautiful. These were in the car park at the Northwest Trading Post.
Last Night's Accommodation:
Days Inn Roanoke Civic Center, 601 Orange Avenue, Roanoke, Virginia 24016
Well last nights hotel was an exercise in what you get when you decide mainly on price. When we pulled up I said to Norm "Looks a bit scary" and he said "You see these places on the news channel on the TV". That said, it was old tired and rundown but a comfortable bed. Won't mention the bathroom ... but the water was hot. Broke out the old thongs rather than bare feet even though the carpet looked clean it was losing it's surface in patches.