It’s 5am when the alarms on our phones start playing. Not only is this the earliest we have awoken on this trip but its also on the coldest morning. Over night the temperature dropped to 48 degrees F, which feels like 30 once you get on the bike and fight the wind that’s doing everything in it’s power to creep into the crevices of your jacket. Before all that, we briskly strap on some extra layers of clothing and pack up our tents and gear in preparation for today’s ride.
About 10 miles out of the reservation exists a super market where we grab breakfast and discuss today’s plan to get on the famous Blue Ridge Parkway, as its highly spoken about in the riding and driving community. The road is about 469 miles of scenic landscapes that follows the edge of the Appalachian mountains. We won’t be able to do all 469 miles as it would probably add an extra 2 days of travel time given the 35 mph speed limit imposed on the road.
The mountain range is uniquely layered and thick with what appears to be a huge comforter of trees. The parkway gently twists and bends as it guides riders through short tunnels cut out into the side of the mountains. After a handful of stops for photos and mere admiration it was about time to stop for a bite and consider getting gas since we decided, this morning, to press forward without filling up.
We stop in Little Switzerland at ‘Little Switzerland Books and Beans‘ for some coffee and a snack before heading to the gas station. Afterwards, we cover another 70 miles of the parkway, in addition to the 30 we did earlier. We were content with 100 miles worth of this road and decide to get off to cover adequate mileage for the rest of the day to get closer to home.
Given that we’ve gone a few days without any mechanical issues, it would appear that the time has come to level us out. Rewinding back to the night we arrived in New Orleans you might recall that my battery was drained by the time we got to the apartment. I have since been charging it every night, however, last night was an exception as we camped out with no source of electricity. Well, we were roughly in Sugar Grove, VA when the R90 gives up. Unshaken by the slight mountain we have to get over before getting to a motel, the famous ratchet straps come out again and my bike becomes one with Gomes’. The goal is to reach the Econolodge in Marion but our route is by far the scariest to be towed through to date. Ups and downs, twists and bends, and all I have going for me are a set of brakes.
Needless to say, we make it to the motel safely and I rush to get a charge on my battery. We were hoping to end the day much farther into Virginia than this but given the circumstances we have no choice. The plan is to make it home tomorrow, lets see if she’ll hold up.