I was looking at about 325 miles of the Blue Ridge Parkway until I’d leave it and turn toward Greenville to visit a good friend I haven’t seen for maybe ten years. Was gonna be a nice day!
And it was—for the most part. The BRP really is a national treasure. It’s an absolutely beautiful drive as it winds & weaves it way across ridges & valleys, snaking its way beside streams & ponds, through trees & meadows, and across gaps & passes with spectacular vistas. It never got boring. The drive was really nice.
And then, it wasn’t so nice. The drive became a bitch just south of the Boone, NC exit for a 12 mile-ish detour around a closed section of the BRP. This shitty detour wasted me. The detour was onto a road clearly not made for a truck & trailer rig of 57 feet long, 11 feet high. To worsen things, road crews were repaving it so half the road surface was off limits. After dodging the second overhanging rock I decided, F-it. I straddled the centerline, until I got pushed by an ongoing truck to the inside, mountainside lane and its lack of shoulder. I figured the trailer tires and axel took a hit thanks to North Carolina’s piss-poor road maintenance, but kept rolling because traffic was moderate and stopping to investigate would be another problem. As soon as the detour dumped us back onto the blessed Parkway I pulled into the first turnout I could to check things out. Other than some stuff rattling around inside the trailer all seemed well. Nevertheless, I’m still annoyed by the lousy road. I suppose I’ll get over it.
A couple hours later I was tucked into the Travelers Rest KOA, looking forward to hanging with my friend Melba soon. I found a local brewery—Swamp Rabbit—and ordered a pale ale and then an IPA. I barely finished, as exhaustion hit me. I headed back to the campsite and was lights out about 8pm. Not sure I even rolled over until the sun came up.
Overall, the Parkway will remain one of my trip’s highlights. I can’t emphasize enough that if you have the opportunity to experience it, just do it. If you’re going in the fall, gimme a call! It’s beautiful in spring; can’t imagine the fall colors.
I’d traveled all but about 60 miles of the Blue Ridge. Since I’ve already seen the southwestern section of it near Great Smoky Mountains National Park a couple years ago, I’m gonna take a more direct route to Nashville, where I’ll then take on the Natches Trace as I head south & west. Stay tuned.