Welcome to my blog!

This is blog is about me dabbling with a little bit of everything, and not being particularly good at anything. And about the places I've been either on vacation or SAG:ing my husbands bicycle trips.

You can click on the pictures to make them bigger and/or click on the links to open another window for more info.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Blue Ridge Parkway Trip - Day 10

Sunday, May 13, 2012

We spent the night at Mark and Karen's lovely home. Karen made us a really delicious breakfast of sausage, French toast, mushroom quiche and coffee/tea/juice After exchanging photographs with Mark, we did a short walk around the neighborhood. Braddock Heights is a really nice, quiet and safe area with great views.

After saying goodby to Mark and Karen, Jeff and I headed north. We drove back pretty much the same way we came down. We did miss a turn and ended up going through Hershey PA instead and then decided to avoid New Jersey completely and went through Scranton PA. Overall our trip back today took about 6 hours.

Susquehanna River, Harrisburg, PA
Hershey, PA

Lunch at McDonald's in Dupont PA

Since we started the trip with our first meal, breakfast, at Burger King which was decorated differently than any other that I've seen, I thought that I might as well end it with a picture of our last meal during the trip. Lunch at McDonald's, which was also decorated differently than others we've been to.

And last but not least: If you want more information about the Blue Ridge Parkway, here is a link to their website http://www.blueridgeparkway.org/ . Also if you go before the peak season, lots of the facilities are not going to be open. Food and washrooms are also few and far apart, so be prepared to get off the parkway or bring your own lunches etc.. The weather can change quickly so be prepared for cold and wind and rain. Drive slowly and stay on your own lane, those curves can be tight and you can't see what's coming towards you. And keep an eye on those bicyclists, there are quite a lot of them and they are allowed on the roads as much as the cars and motorcycles. And no throwing cans and bottles or anything else at them.

Blue Ridge Parkway Trip - Day 9

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Traveled from milepost 431.4 to the end at milepost 469.1

We wanted to leave fairly early since Mark, Jeff and I had a long drive ahead of us today. We had  a nice  breakfast at the hotel and headed out to yesterday's ending point at the Richland Balsam Overlook. Yesterday was nice and sunny, today it was overcast and cloudy, but at least it didn't rain. The overlook was in the clouds and most of the ride was too.

Sunrise at the Mount Pisgah Inn

Cherry Cove Overlook

Richland Balsam Overlook, in the clouds

Jeff ready for the last day on the parkway

Joe, Jeff and Mark ready to go again

Karen and I stopped at Waterrock Knob where on a clear day you can see the Great Smokey Mountains and 4 states. Today we could barely see our hands in-front of us, which made it an interesting drive, and even more interesting bike trip.

View of the 4 different states ;)

Driving in the clouds, well I was stopped to take this pic

We didn't want to stay in the higher elevations too long because it was cold and we also didn't want to be behind the guys while they were zooming down the hills. They said that there were several cars that could not get by them because they were going faster than what the cars were able to. Once we got lower down and were able to see something, we did stop at couple places but wanted to get to the end point before them. We found a Visitor's Center with restrooms in Cherokee N.C. where they could change and clean up a little bit before heading home.

Ballhoot Scar Overlook

Blue Ridge Parkway at the Ballhoot Scar Overlook

At the Cherokee N.C. Visitor Center

Cherokee N.C.

Cherokee N.C.

Cherokee N.C.

We then headed back to the end point and didn't have to wait too long before they arrived. After the required picture taking we loaded the cars and headed to the Visitor Center. We said goodby to Joe and Karen who went home to Georgia. Jeff and I drove with Mark 10 hours to his home in Braddock Heights in Maryland. We stayed overnight at his home.

Oconaluftee River

Oconaluftee River

Southern end of Blue Ridge Parkway

They did it!!!

Packing up

Almost ready to go

there is a little dog riding a motocycle, "mountain man" on the way


Mark having lunch at Sonic

Blue Ridge Mountains on the background as seen from I-81, we were there

This is how I spent some of the 10 hour drive

Blue Ridge Parkway Trip - Day 8

Friday, May 11, 2012

Traveled from milepost 376.7 to 431.4

Another beautiful sunny day, not too hot, not too cold. After breakfast at the hotel Karen and I dropped the guys off at yesterday's ending point at the Tanbark Overlook. They headed off before us, but we ended up at the Folk Art Center at the same time. It takes them a bit longer to climb those hills, but they are fast going down. There is a 45 mile/hour speed limit on the parkway, but usually we couldn't drive more than 30-40 miles an hour due to the curvy roads or fog/rain or some other reason.

Thumbs up again from everybody

Ready to go again

Karen and I were thinking of going to the Biltmore House, estate of George Vanderbilt, but first of all it was a bit pricey and would have taken the whole day if not more. We just wanted to see the house, but they didn't sell tickets just to see the house. You had to see everything, the gardens, the winery etc. We figured that we'd rather go to the Folk Art Center. Not only were they selling things, they also had a museum sort of thing and an art gallery and demonstrations, like weaving and broom making, at least today. I ended up buying couple of smaller things, but I also saw this bowl that I really liked. I left the center and got to my car and decided that I would kick myself if I didn't buy it since it was a one of a kind piece and I could never find another one like it. So I went back and bought it.

Folk Art Center

Folk Art Center

From there we were thinking of going to the North Carolina Arboretum, but thought that the guys could use a SAG stop so we went looking for them. They had passed the Arboretum exit by 10 miles by the time we found them. Instead of going there we went to our next hotel, which is the Pisgah Inn, right on the parkway. Before getting there we stopped at the Buck Springs Gap Overlook which had the ruins of George Vanderbilt's Mountain Hunting Cabin. While we were there the guys had passed us again and we saw them at the hotel. After checking in they kept going since they had decided to lengthen today so that our last day would not be so long and Mark, Jeff and I could head back home earlier.

View from Buck Springs Overlook

View from Buck Springs Overlook

Site of Vanderbilt's Hunting Cabin, tree on left is in old pictures

Site of Vanderbilt's Hunting Cabin

Site of Vanderbilt's Hunting Cabin

Buck Springs Overlook

Mount Pisgah Inn

They got here before we did

Karen and I stayed at the hotel and had a lovely lunch in their dining room. There are not that many places where you can eat along the parkway, so this was a real treat. I had the best turkey wrap ever, with Brie cheese and apples and other stuff. After lunch we headed up the road, had to go and pick up those guys, for some reason they did not want to ride the 20+ miles back to the hotel. We stopped at several overlooks. The views were just amazing and the pictures do not do them justice at all.

View from our room

View from our room

They are ready to head out again, Pisgah Inn

Mount Pisgah

Best lunch, turkey wrap, ever

Pounding Hill Overlook

Some kind of Azaleas growing on the side of the road

Caney Fork Overlook, elev. 5650' or 1722 meters

Haywood-Jackson Overlook, elev 6020' or 1834 m

We picked them up at the Richland Balsam Overlook which is the highest point right on the parkway. It is at milepost 431.4 and the elevation is 6050 feet or 1844 meters. We drove back to the hotel and after a shower and some rest we regrouped for a glass of wine and a nice dinner at the hotel. This is our last night on the parkway and tomorrow we are all heading home.

Jeff at Haywood-Jackson Overlook

Richland Balsam Overlook, highest point on parkway, 6053' or 1845m

View from Richland Balsam Overlook