The Blue Ridge Parkway
I left my Dad’s house and headed for Skyline Drive.
Skyline Drive. It was so nice to be away from the hustle of the east coast. Riding for miles without seeing a soul.
I was wondering where I stayed the last time I road this way. I decided to stop at Loft Mountain and that answered my question. I stayed here before. It was 7:10 when I arrived and a couple at the registration told me I was too late to get firewood at the store. It closed at 7:00. I shrugged it off and found my site. Then I decided to try my luck. I rode to the store. Just as I dropped the kickstand and silenced the engine, I could hear the jingling keys as the store was being locked. As the guy from the store was walking toward me I grinned and asked, “Any chance I could get some firewood?” He said, “Got cash?” Perfect. I set up camp and chilled in the hammock with a local vino.
That night as I was going to bed, I heard some rustling in the woods just outside my tent. Sticks were snapping under the weight of this creature. Then I heard the grunts. It was a bear. He was right outside, but I stayed in. I’d love to see a bear, but in the daylight. Nonetheless it was exciting. In the morning a more docile creature paid a visit to the camp.
I continued south. I stopped at Mabry Mill and stretched my legs a bit.
I stopped at a ranger station and was told of a bikers only campsite. I gave it a try. Willville Motorcycle Camp is a real nice place. It’s only 15 bucks a night (plus $2 more if you want a breakfast sandwich in the morning).
The campsite has the calming sounds babbling brook passing through it. But unfortunately as soon as I showed up and unzipped my bags a vicious thunderstorm hit soaking me and a lot of my gear. That night I hung out with all the other bikers around a big fire and exchanged stories from the road. In the morning I was walking along and almost stepped on this little guy.
Willville really is a fine place. I highly recommend it. It is just down the road from Meadows of Dan just of the Blue Ridge Parkway.
In the morning I headed to Mt. Airy, North Carolina. Mt. Airy is the boyhood home of Andy Griffith. The Andy Griffith show was based on this town and the locals have taken it to heart.
Beyond the car you can see Snappy Lunch. It is famous for it’s pork chop sandwich. I got one with all the fixin’s and it only cost $3.50. A few doors down from Snappy’s is Floyd’s Barber Shop. It is a great old style Barber Shop with lots of photos and Mayberry memorabilia.
On the way back to the Parkway I saw some old cars rusting in the vines.
I rode through some heavy thunderstorms once I was back on the Blue Ridge. I got to use my new rain gloves and my hands stayed dry. What a difference that makes! In years past I tried dishwasher gloves and other rubber over gloves but they all sucked. It was getting late in the evening. I pulled over at an old mansion that said it had a visitor center.
They had just closed officially, but were still open to let people out. I tried to ask the lady inside the door for some info. At first she closed the door in my face and said “We’re closed!” Then when she saw I was still standing there she asked if I had a question. I asked if there was gas and a campsite nearby. She said “You can try Linville Falls.” I said “isn’t there something closer?” She snapped at me and said, “Julian Price is down he road, but it is the weekend so I am sure they are fully booked!” Everyone else I had encountered had been ‘out of their way’ nice and helpful, so she really threw me. I was wet and feeling desperate. I then rode to Julian Price campground to find out there was plenty of available sites. Grrrrr! I wish nasty people didn’t get to me, but they do. I set up camp and headed for a grocery store to get a steak. A rib eye cooked over an open flame is good in itself, but holding the rib and chewing the remains from it’s bone is primal delicious!
In the morning I was off for the last leg of the Parkway. There was some more rain, but not nearly as bad as the previous day.
The end of the Blue Ridge Parkway lets you out at the Cherokee Reservation.
I had serious thoughts about riding the Tail of the Dragon, but it was Saturday. I have been warned about the Dragon on the weekends. It is dangerous! Too many people and many of them inexperienced. This causes accidents. I stopped at a gas station and talked to a few bikers who had just come from the Dragon. They told me there had been 3 donations to the Tree of Shame already and one girl need to be medivac-ed out creating a two hour wait for all other riders. So I skipped it. I hopped on Route 28 south which is a hell of a ride too. At the beginning of the road is a sign that says “20 mile per hour curves for the next 40 miles.” I wasn’t ten minutes down the road when I passed emergency vehicles assisting a biker who missed one of those curves. From there it was smooth sailing around the many miles of twisty curves. There are a number of waterfalls along the way as well.
This waterfall you can ride under.
After a quick stop in Wallhalla SC to check my map, I was on my way to stay with family in Pickens.