Took some time off work starting mid-week in May to ride my SR400 down parts of the Blue Ridge including all of Skyline Drive and the first 180 or so miles of the Blue Ridge Parkway.
First day out it was a bit on the chilly side, temps in the 60's with a brisk cold wind blowing and mostly overcast skies for the main part of the ride. Got to the north entrance of Skyline Drive around 1 PM and headed down to about midway to stay at the Big Meadows Lodge. Not much traffic and took it easy, stopping often to let my hands warm up a bit and enjoy the views.
Got to Big Meadows, checked in and headed down to the Pub for a drink. Nice Hot Toddy while sitting out on the lawn enjoying the view with my travelling companions, Ali Gater and Dr. Duck.
The room I got was on the top floor in eves, and was actually two rooms with a small connecting door, Munchkin Size.
Room was nice, very rustic as are all the rooms in the main lodge but watch out for that ceiling!
Nice views though from my small private veranda.
After dinner in the pub, I spent the evening enjoying to long sunsets from the great room before retiring for the night. End of day One
Last edited by RocketMan on Wed Jul 20, 2016 7:34 am, edited 2 times in total.
Day started out pretty cool with temps in the high 40's but quickly warmed into the 60's and by around 11AM I was packed and ready to roll. Did the remainder of Skyline then headed down The Parkway to the Peaks of Otter where I was planning on staying the night. Not a lot of miles but the ride wasn't about making any distances, rather simply to enjoy the views, stopping often and just taking my time and NOT BEING AT WORK!
Along Skyline and the Parkway
When I got to the James River crossing which is the lowest point on the Parkway I decided to walk down the path that take you across the river to an old restored lock once used to navigate around some of the rapids along the river.
Then it was back up to the Parkway to continue to the Peaks of Otter Lodge
Arrived at the Peaks of Otter Lodge around 4PM, checked in, unpacked and got a cold brew to take back to my room. I did see a pair of old Triumph twins but didn't get any photos of them, one was a 1965, single carb and the other one a more modern twin with twin carbs.
Then I took the walking trail around Abbot Lake and headed in for dinner.
Day Three Each day was a bit warmer than the last and this day temps were in the 60' by the time I got up.
After breakfast I decided to walk the trail leading under the parkway up to the site of the old Johnson Family farm. I was not expecting anything other than a nice trail walk which started out thru a nice meadow with a stream to one side and perhaps an historical marker or two showing where the farm once was..
Trail got steeper as it turned up-hill and I had half a mind to turn back as steep, rocky, uneven trails can be a bit of a challenge for me due to my loss of balance and arthritis but with the help of my trusty folding travel cane I decided to persevere. Turns out the hike was well worth the 300 or so foot elevation change and 1/2 mile climb up the trail for as just as I was coming out of the wooded area I came across a clearing with the old farm house and a number of out buildings. Had a nice long chat with the caretakers about life back in those days and how I had developed an interest in those times over the years having wandered so much of the Virginia countryside and surrounding states that are so rich with historical sites.
The meat house
The spring house
The trail back down, this was in fact the harder trek than the walk up since maintaining my balance going downhill over rough terrain can be even more challenging for me.
and a water crossing
All in all a nice 1..5 mile hike and after packing up the bike it was time to ride some more.
Heading south again along the parkway to my final destination, the Woodberry Inn just off the Parkway near the famous Mabry Mill.
A stop at a small mill pond noted for the fact the dam was built by hand by a single individual and that he started something a trend by allowing the locals who came to have their grain ground at his mill to fish in the pond while waiting for the floor.
And some more parkway views
Mabry Mill, probably the most photographed mill in the entire east coast
The mill not only ground corn and wheat but also had a saw mill for cutting planking
and a jig saw among other tools
After wondering around the mill for a while I headed a mile back up the Parkway to the Woodberry Inn.
Pictures from my stay last spring, sadly Barney is no longer in residence since losing his mate last year, he too has flown the coop.
Since I had to book home in one day I got up early and had some coffee while enjoying the early morning by the pond, packed up the bike and headed out around 8 AM. Day was warming up nicely and I really wanted to get in a few more miles on the parkway before heading down into the heat of valley so I headed north from the Inn to RT460 about 80 miles back up Parkway then headed back down into the lowlands and took 460 to RT. 29 and home, around 270 miles for the longest ride of the 4 days. Pretty much had the parkway all to myself being so early in the morning and the mist was still hanging in the eastern valleys.
But before parting here are a few early morning shots as I headed north.
Total miles around 670, total elevation changes nearly 29,000 feet over 4 days, with a little over half on the parkway and Skyline Drive. 105 miles of the Drive, 180 miles down and 80 mile back along the Parkway proper.
Thanks for coming along and sorry about some of the pics not coming thru in the proper orientation my photo processor software seems to be having problems maintaining the right rotational parameters and it takes a while for the forum software to clear the cache once a picture is loaded after I have corrected the image and reloaded it to my storage site.
The SR400 is the perfect bike for such roads, light, nimble and amazingly comfortable for a big single with relatively low bars. The medium size tunnel pack I got last year was just the perfect size for the trip and attaches with just three tie-down points and goes on and off in under two minutes, and still leaves plenty of room on the seat so I wasn't crammed into just position.
Hopefully next year I'll be able to do the whole parkway on the SR400, up and back plus 440 over the Smokies, or maybe even on my 1975 CB125 once I rebuild the engine this winter. Now, That would be an epic ride!