Day 9

Sunday, 3 Jun 2007
  Little Switzerland, NC to Asheville, NC
55.7 miles, 5h35m, 9.9 mph
Elapsed Time: 6h35m, Max speed: 40.7mph
Total Climbing: 5603ft, Max elevation: 5676ft
Total mileage: 585.3

Copyright 2002 DeLorme. Topo USA. Data copyright of content owner.

At the Big Lynn Lodge they ring a bell at mealtimes. This morning the bell rang at 7:30. When I went out I found out it was raining. So much for my good luck with the weather. There was nothing to do but ride, so I rode.

I hit my first tunnel in the first mile. I think I went through like 8 of them today. I took pictures of every one, but I'll spare you. Here's a representative

A typical tunnel on a rainy day.

There was a lot of climbing today. First up to Mount Mitchell State Park, and then to the Craggy Gardens area. It was cold and wet and windy. It was much more comfortable climbing because it was too cold to descend. Which was a good thing because there was plenty of climbing.

The Parkway and views are really spectacular in this section.

That's Mount Mitchell in the distance. Highest point east of the Mississippi. Yup.

This is what my bike looks like leaning against a curb in the mountains in the rain.

In some places the road was kind of crammed in by plants.

Long before I reached the spur road to the summit of Mount Mitchell I decided that I wasn't going to do it.  It was just too cold and windy. I can't imagine how much windier and colder it was up there. Besides, it would extend my trip by ten miles and an hour. Too cold.

This is the start of the spur road to the summit of Mount Mitchell.
This is as close as I got.

I really don't remember where this was.

For some reason I thought there was food at Craggy Gardens, but when I got there I found a visitor center. So I figured there was a campground down the road, but it was only a picnic area. Well, no big deal all that was left was a long, long descent into Asheville.

It got warmer and warmer as I got lower and lower. Finally I stopped and took off my rain gear. By then I was seeing the local Asheville riders out on their regular rides. One guy stopped and talked for a while. He gave me some advice on my route into town.

I left the Parkway at Craven Gap on Town Mountain Road. After a brief climb that road turned into a screaming, twisting, high-speed descent that dumped me into downtown Asheville. I rode across town and ended up in the Biltmore neighborhood. Around there, everything has to look like the Biltmore.

This is a Biltmore BP station.

I walked around the neighborhood for a while and then shoveled down a big pile of food from a nearby TGI Friday's. I have a very short day tomorrow, so I may just sleep in, or perhaps I'll visit the Vanderbilts.


"Blue Ridge Tour 2007" Copyright © 2007 By Bob Clemons. All rights reserved.