Cruising the Blue Ridge Parkway
At 45 miles per hour, of course, that ride must be done in segments so I set our Saturday for segment one: Riding up through the Shenandoah Valley to Waynesboro to start the journey at mile post 0.
At the north end, I found construction that closed several of the overlooks, bad pavement from a road that is deteriorating and a lot of damage from the massive wind storm that swept through the state on June 29.
The Park Service must have worked overtime to clear trees and debris from the road but the sides remained littered with fallen trees, branches and other remnants of the winds that roared through the area at speeds as high as 80 miles per hour. A Park Ranger stopped while I was taking pictures of the carnage and said it would take the service most of the year to clear out all the downed trees.
Very little traffic for a Saturday afternoon. Many visitors may have thought the Parkway was closed. Many others may still be struggling with the after effects of the storm.
While those in lower elevations struggled with temperatures near 100 degrees, cooler weather prevailed at the Parkway’s higher elevations and a breeze kept things comfortable as I traversed the crest of the Blue Ridge on the Harley.
At Peaks of Otter, cones blocked the entrance. No power for the lodge or the restaurant. The gift shop and snack bar across the street was also closed. No electricity.
Less damage as I passed near Roanoke and started up Bent Mountain. My pilgrimage for segment one ended at Route 8 near mile post 165 for a quick hop back home.
Sometime before the year is out, I will finish the trip. Maybe in the fall when things have calmed down.
Long-time newspaperman, photographer and videographer who still shoots photos and covers government and courts for a newspaper, shoots video for TV and documentary use and owns web sites like Blue Ridge Muse, Capitol Hill Blue and American Newsreel.