Thursday, 31 May 2007
Meadows of Dan, VA to Roaring Gap, NC
57.1 miles, 5h15m, 10.8 mph
Elapsed Time: 7h09m, Max speed: 38.1mph
Total Climbing: 3594ft, Max elevation: 3181ft
Total mileage: 418.6
Rolled out of the fleabag motel at 7:30--locking the key in the room as
instructions (In all fairness, the motel was dumpy but there were no
bugs). I called Linda to find out the results of her lodging quest. She
booked me for the night in the Mountain Hearth Lodge
would get my dinner there and my breakfast tomorrow. Since there were
towns along the way and this is probably the easiest stretch of the
Parkway, I was looking forward to an easy and worry-free day. Woo-hoo!
(Linda also booked me into a motel in Blowing Rock for Friday night).
The road was easy and the people seemed to be nice. Probably 80% of the
drivers coming the other way waved to me. Most of the motorcyclists
either waved or did their little two-finger salute thing. I took
my time all was good.
The road was easy.
I stopped at the Groundhog Mountain picnic area and examined the
display of rail fence technologies.
Buck rail, Snake rail, and Post &
Rail. But which is which?
Later on as I rode along, an older guy in an SUV pulled up alongside
and asked me about my trip. He said he likes to tour too, but not in
the mountains. We chattted a while and then he moved on. Later, I
stopped for lunch at Fancy Gap. While I was eating the same guy came in
to the restaurant and sat down on the other side of the room. He
finished before me and left. When I went to pay the waitress told me
that the guy had bought my lunch. What's going on? Why are people being
I wanted to stop at the Blue Ridge Music Center, but I would have had
to climb back up out of a valley so I passed on it. It probably would
have been interesting, but I can't do everything. I did stop at the
Cumberland Knob picnic area. Not much to see there. Should have gone to
the music center. Next time.
This is the Puckett cabin. An old lady named Puckett lived here.
She was a midwife who delivered dozens of babies.
But none of her own 24 children survived infancy.
As I rolled along I started thinking of how nice it would be if I
didn't have to carry my camping gear up high mountains. I figured when
I got to Blowing Rock I could make my lodging arrangements for the rest
of the trip and then mail all my camping gear back. I'm actually
thinking about trying to tackle Mount Mitchell on Sunday. Getting rid
of my gear would make that slightly more likely.
These mile markers are the sole measure of progress.
With about eight miles to go the clouds starting building up and it
looked like rain. I figured I could just hammer the rest of the way.
After about one mile I gave up on that idea and just rode on in. It
didn't rain until long after I was inside.
Even the Interstate highways are prettier out here.
Suddenly, I was in North Carolina.
This is just to show that there were some hills today.
I wasn't just puttering around in some valley.
I've got to say that the Mountain Hearth Lodge is the best place I've
stayed at on any of my bike trips. Dana and Sarah Ross who run the
place are two of the nicest people you could meet and they really like
cyclists (because they used to cycle and tour quite a bit too). When I
arrived they were off on a wild goose chase--literally. They were
trying to chase some wild Canadian geese out of their pond (where
they were not welcome) and over to one of their neighbor's ponds (where
such critters are welcome). I mentioned my ideas about mailing back my
gear and Sarah immediately offered to drive me to the post office right
So I got cleaned up and called a couple of places in Little Switzerland
until I was set for Saturday night. I decided that was good enough. No
more camping for me. I grabbed my stuff and we drove off the post
office, only to arrive 3 minutes after closing. But Sarah was able to
sweet-talk the postmaster into letting me in, so we boxed up my gear
and off it went. That will save me dragging 10.8 pounds over the
mountains. That's almost 11 pounds! I can afford to eat 11 more pounds
of ice cream! It was very nice of Sarah and very nice of the
postmaster. I don't know how much more niceness I can take...but I
suspect I can take quite a bit.
Then were was dinner. It was extremely tasty and extremely huge (at
first I was worried I might not finish it all, but then I hit my stride
and put it away). Then there was ice cream. Awesome. Did I mention this
place has wireless? And my cell phone works here! It's just amazing.
And really really nice.
Eventually I waddled back to my apartment and called Linda. We worked
on additional lodging arrangement for about an hour while I uploaded by
backlog of journal entries.
I suspect breakfast will be really good too.
"Blue Ridge Tour 2007" Copyright © 2007 By
Clemons. All rights reserved.