The Blue Ridge Parkway is kind of like Skyline drive in the Bay Area, except that it's hundreds of miles long. Imagine hundreds of miles of twisty, beautiful and lush, forrested road, with hardly any traffic. And to top it off, being able to take it at a pace where the only thing you have to worry about is the next curve?
This is one amazing drive.
But before we start, we made a quick stop for lunch.
Yes, the sign says both "Papas & Beer" and "Mexican Restaurant". Just like my trip to New Zealand with Tim, the morbid curiousity of Mexican food so far from home forced us to try it.
And as you can tell from Paul's expression, he was shocked to find Mexican food in North Carolina.
Actually, in all fairness, it wasn't bad. It's almost as good as Mexican food is in Northern California. Which is not as good as Mexican food in Southern California, but can be tasty. Kind of like a McDonalds Apple Pie. It's not an Apple Pie, but it tastes good. This wasn't Mexican food, but it did taste good.
And now was time to hit the road!
I could literally post hundreds of pictures of this road, but it would probably bore you to tears.
This is one of those things in life where you have to decide whether you want to experience something, or document it. And as I went along, I found myself spending way too much time documenting the ride, instead of experiencing it.
So I made sure I spent lots of time experiencing the ride. Swooshing my bike back and forth on the road. Looking at the beautiful views, seeing the patterns in the clouds, waving at the other riders. These last three days have to be some of the most relaxing, most enjoyable I've ridden.
There are very few things along this road. To find food, gas or water, you usually have to get off the Parkway, drive off a few miles, and pull over. Those rare things that are along the parkway are usually special and unique. Such was the case with the Blue Ridge Music Center.
This was an amazing experience for me, because in a strange way it brought me closer to my own father.
My father was born in 1909, so in two years it will have been his 100th birthday. The Blue Ridge Music Center is a museum documenting the music my father listened to when he was a teenager. It gave me some insight into what my father listened to when he was growing up.
It was a very cool experience. I talk a lot about my mother and grandmother, but that doesn't mean I love my father any less. Times like this remind me of all the things about him that I hope I have in common.
Another interesting place we found along the parkway is Mabry Mill.
It's kind of a mini version of Colonial Williamsberg, but for Apalachia. The people dress up in period costumes, make their own wool, keep the mill running, and even have a distillery. Well, at least a still.
Here a woman makes her own wool thread, which will soon be made into cloth.
And here we have a complete moonshining operation. I'm sure this still is purely for display purposes.
But the best park of the Blue Ridge Parkway is the road itself...
Paul had mentioned that a lot of people run down a few miles of the BRP, feel they've had the experience, and get back onto the Interstate. I can see why someone might do that, since it took us three days to get four hundred miles. Still, I'm glad we took the time, and made sure we got back on this road after each nights rest. It was a once in a lifetime experience.
I suspect that even people in cars would enjoy this road. I'm just glad I drove it on my motorcycle.