Saturday, September 27, 2008

Blue Ridge Parkway

Greetings once again

September 6, 2008. Bruce, Kent, Sloan and I went to Asheville, NC to finish off the Blue Ridge Parkway. We had ridden the northern portion on two previous trips and now it's time to finish this bad boy. Bruce came to Ohio and to our place and he and I drove to Asheville to meet up with Kent and Sloan.

We got to Asheville and after a wrong turn we found the motel and K&S, but discovered that we had a mile climb to the Blueridge the next morning, but knowing that there was much climbing to do the next week and a half this was no big deal. We were able to leave the cars at the motel for the 11 days so that was good.

The next morning we headed to the BRP and enjoyed a very scenic ride and shared the road with quite a few bikes as they were also enjoying the Parkway along with quite a few cars. There are no commercial vehicles allowed and the speed limit is 45 mph so this helps the enjoyment as we ride. Rode about eleven miles and then started climbing in earnest for thirteen miles to the top of Pisgah Mountain. Had beautiful views of the valleys and surrounding mountains. The kudzu was growing everywhere! If something didn't move rapidly the kudzu would completely engulf it. I'm not sure why they don't attack this plant more aggressively as it's taking over the South! Agent Orange worked in Nam! Okay, that may be a little drastic, but it makes one wonder.

There were a lot of tunnels and most were short, but a rear flasher came in handy to keep from getting run down in the middle. One tunnel was long enough to be completely black at one point and for this we had headlights. The tunnels, as was the road, was mostly built by hand which is pretty impressive. We survived the tunnels, but it was a little disorienting when it was really dark.

We rode 53 miles today with 4491 feet of climbing, some of which were 21 percent grades, which is really fun on a bent. Sure glad I changed the cranks and used a lower gearing in front as the grinds were long and hard, but worth every pedal crank. Did I mention the downhills? They were fantastic.

Bruce programmed my GPS for the entire route and it worked great. Now I just have to learn how to do that and I'll be able to go anywhere. So we rode to Waynesville and the first day is complete.