Over the Blue Ridge Parkway, through Vesuvius, VA: (heavy on pictures)

Monday May 18, 2009, 48 miles (77 km) – Total so far: 313 miles (504 km)

Waynesboro seems like the nice kind of town where you can get up, meet your friend for coffee and a biscuit, walk around the corner and go trout fishing in the South River. At least, that’s what a couple of characters did!

Climbed back up to the Blue Ridge Parkway at Rockfish Gap. You probably can’t find it on a map, it’s where the southern end of Skyline Drive meets U.S. 250, Interstate 64, and the north end of the Parkway.

On the way back up from Waynesboro. Like the sign?

View across the Shenandoah Valley from Rockfish Gap

Anyhow, we kept on climbing, from 1350′ up to 3300′. Had fun on the downhills, but after a dip from 2650′ climbed back up. Perfect day for riding, except maybe a little cool at 58 degrees. Nice north wind cooled us on the climbs, chilled us on the descent.

Bikes on top

We just came from there, down the gap to the left!

Azalea was still blooming on top, and some other Rhododendron spp. Bonus points to whomever can correctly name the whitish flower first!

Azalea and ??? What's the white with pink flower?

Closeup of the mystery flower

I had wondered why ACA only put 27 miles of the Parkway on the TransAm. Now I know; there’s no food or lodging available for 60 miles, and that’s a very long day for a loaded tourist. But while you’re up there, there’s some beautiful views. Did I mention it was a perfect day? I just wish I could capture the views with a camera.

One view from the Blue Ridge north across the Shenandoah valley

Hum a few more bars of "Oh, Shenandoah"

Caught up with Ted and Lisa from Molokai. They had a flyer from Mallard Duck Hostel, down at the bottom, where we ended up sleeping. Fabian had knee problems climbing up Afton Mountain, and dropped down to Waynesboro to see a doctor. Hope to see you back on the road, KrazyKraut!

The drop from the BRP down to Vesuvius was a wild ride! There’s a fair bit of organizational knowledge passed from one cyclist to another about this one – it’s a 10% grade for three miles, with curves and switchbacks all the way down. I rotated from front to rear brakes, rarely riding both, and had no problems. Virginia stopped and walked a ways, but we made it OK. When we finally made it to the hostel and were setting up, another kid from Chicago came in. James rode his brakes down Vesuvius, and ended up blowing out a tire – fortunately the rear tire. His wheel was taco’ed, so he had to hitch a ride to Lexington Sunday night, got the wheel trued as best as possible, then hitched a ride back so he could complete his ride from where he left off.

Nice hostel/campground out in the woods, across a river from railroad tracks. No crossing for a few miles, so the train was barely audible above the babbling river. Cell phone coverage almost existed – I got out an “All’s well” text message by holding my cell phone over my head and walking halfway out the drive.

Little hostel in the woods...

Ted and Lisa

All in all a good day.

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