Blue Ridge Parkway Tour
It probably looks petty to change all the pkwy to Parkway...but consistency looks more ‘professional’ :)
Blue Ridge Parkway
For me this ride is special, I’m from Norfolk, Virginia. I grew up going camping in the different sections of the mountains from the Appalachian, Great Smoky, Shenandoah, Blue Ridge, and part of Skyline Drive. So for me this trip is a chance to ride back home, running the ridges.
Just like I did on my first ride, a 1978 KZ 900, I was 17 yrs old and not a bit of brains running through my head when I was on that bike. I’d drop into the corners with reckless abandon. Luckily, I survived that bike and the next ones that came. I’m not saying I’ve gotten any smarter when it comes to riding in the mountains, but I have one hell of a lot more experience now.
I’ve always considered the parkway as running from Front Royal, that’s just a quick 1 ½ hrs. outside of Washington DC. It’s really the start/finish of Skyline Drive there, then drops from there. You run down the 109 mile of Skyline Drive directly onto the Blue Ridge Parkway.
Once on the Parkway, it’s a constant flow through mountains, just sweepers right and left, with amazing openings to see the vast openness as the mountains flow down to the valleys.
This ride is always beautiful, if you can only do this run once a year, I would say book it for Fall. I have usually had the best colors from October 1st through 25th, with good results before and after those dates depending on the weather before and after.
Now if you want to run the mountain with less traffic, I’d run it after Thanksgiving through mid-April (just check the snow road closures during that time of year, yes Virginia gets snow) after that, everybody runs to the mountains on any warm Spring day. I call that tour the Anti-Social Tour. I just want to ride it any time of the year.
Dotted along the Parkway are a ton of great sights like Luray Caverns, in fact all along the route are caverns. Then you have the Natural Bridge with George Washington’s initials carved into the rock.
Shortly after crossing into North Carolina, you have a great little stop which is even good as an overnight stop (this is on my “need to know” locations). Then there’s the home of the Boone Bike Rally, this would be on the Spring tour.
As we get to the tip of North Carolina we get into a bunch of named motorcycle roads, in fact I know some just by the route numbers. We also have a great ride up Mt Mitchell, even if you can’t see anything when you get to the top. I’ve made the run to the top and have never seen the view, I have taken pictures of the signs that say what you should be seeing.
That last part of the Parkway is amazing, I have ridden around there for days at a time and haven’t ridden all the great roads yet. They say the Parkway is 469 miles, I say if you do it right, it’s well over a 1000.