Day 3 Blue Ridge Parkway

Trip Start May 03, 2005
Trip End Ongoing

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Saturday, June 11, 2005

Day 3 Blue Ridge Parkway 316 to 229.7+
Sparta NC

Broke camp and started out again on BRP by 10:00 am. Drizzle, 67 degrees and fog.
We saw a loose rooster crossing the road which reminded us of some chicken jokes.
25-30 mph due to HEAVY FOG. Reminds us of the Hobbit's Mirkwood Forest.
We decided to skip the most logical stop after Lineville, Grandfather Mountain, because it's privately owned and they charge a fee. It was so foggy and we wouldn't be able to see any thing and we would have to detach the car from the RV and use it to get to the top. Vehicles over 28 ft can't negotiate the steep windy road.
We stopped at the Linn Cove Visitors Center for info on the viaduct. Here we learned about this remarkable engineering feat as well as saw pics of last years damage caused by Hurricane Francis. That's why the roads were damaged and the cause of yesterdays detour. Also, the heavy fog and rain today is from this years first hurricane - Arlene. After leaving the visitors center we were down to 15-20 mph with our flashers on and as a matter of fact, we crossed the viaduct without knowing it! There was at times, less than 50 ft of visibility.
We saw hundreds of bikers out for a weekend ride. The weather didn't seem to bother them.
Due to the rain and fog we passed by a lot of overlooks but stopped again when it cleared up a bit at the Cascades Overlook (271.9) and took the 1.2 mile trail that lead to a cascading waterfall. It was so worth it! I got some still shots as well as some video. Besides the falls we saw orange azaleas as tall as trees and learned about different hardwood trees and the 3 types of mountain laurel from little plaques along the path.
The Norht West Trading Post was nice and we bought some souvenirs. After that we went to Jumpinoff Rock Trail and hiked another mile to a fabulous overlook. I just love walking through the woods and must have said "I could live here" a million times. This was our last "woodsy" hike because after leaving Jumpinoff Rock the topography changed and felt more citified and more like a "state park". As a matter of fact, while driving through the Doughton Park area I felt like it was a Sunday and had a picnic planned with Grandma Julie. Strange. John make the statement that "it's hard to keep your eyes on the road and see all the pretty things". True True There were mountain laurel lining both sides of the road for miles. He's been doing all the driving because of the steep winding roads. Maybe I can give him a break now that it's becoming flatter.
We left BRP at 229.7 and headed to Sparta to find a campground with hot water and maybe even electricity. We really lucked out. We stopped at the first campground after leaving the Parkway and it was a gem once we found it. We are camped by a small stream in a large grassy field. We have all the amenities even cable tv (but no internet). There are charcoal grills and fire rings at every site. The bathhouse has hot water but only one shower. Good thing that there are not a lot of campers here tonight. Except for the spiders, things couldn't be better. I can hear crickets and earlier I heard some birds singing too. The place feels like someone's farm and it probably was. There's a ball field and a swing set and a pavilion. They have 12 acres and the cost was only $20.00.

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