#TravelThursday continues, and in this edition we visit 574 miles of scenic roadway up in the mountains of Virginia and North Carolina.
Several years ago I planned (via Excel spreadsheet) a road-trip that encompassed both Skyline Drive and the Blue Ridge Parkway. It was a very ambitious itinerary that – looking back upon it – is almost undoable. It had me flying-in to Washington Dulles International Airport and renting a car there. I’d get on the I-66 westbound, and I’d take that to Front Royal where I’d spend the night.
On the morning of Day 2 I’d begin my mountain adventure and embark on Skyline Drive – the 105½-mile slow and curvy road that runs near the top of the entire length of Shenandoah National Park in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. I’d visit Luray Caverns on this day. It’s 11 miles off Skyline Drive. I remember a long time ago – sometime in the mid-1970s – visiting this place as a little kid with my parents. I need to visit it again to enjoy it as an older adult. The area has grown-up a lot since then, and the caverns are surrounded by other museums and attractions.
I’d spend my 2ND night of this road-trip in Fishersville Virginia – located in-between the south-end of Skyline Drive and the north-end of the Blue Ridge Parkway.
Days 3, 4, and 5 were quite ambitious in that I would drive the entire length of the 469-mile Blue Ridge Parkway from Virginia into North Carolina (with various attraction and hotel stops along the way). At the end of the 5TH day I’d end-up in Gatlinburg Tennessee on the other side of the Great Smoky Mountains. I suppose I would’ve spent several days and nights in Gatlinburg exploring the area. After that I would’ve turned-in my rental car, and flown back home to sea level in Miami.
So while I extensively planned that road-trip – I never took it. I’ve not lost interest in taking that trip, and I probably will take it in the next several years – early-on in the next chapter of my life – post-retirement. I think I’d eliminate the Gatlinburg Tennessee portion of the future trip, as that’s worthy of its own trip by itself. Me and my little brother visited Gatlinburg for several hours back in August of 1992 – a few weeks after a horrible fire consumed a portion of the downtown attractions district. I remember that it still reeked of smoke some 3 weeks after the fire. I’d really like to spend about 4 days and 3 nights in and around Gatlinburg enjoying all that the area has to offer. I’d really like to visit Gatlinburg with my family (who live in North Texas), but I don’t think that it’s a destination that my brother, sister-in-law, and two nieces would find as much fun as me. They are not “mountain people”. They are “beach people”.
Now the Skyline Drive + Blue Ridge Parkway road-trip – that’s definitely a solo trip. Perhaps I’ll do it in reverse – from south to north – over the course of maybe 10 days instead of 5 – adding more stops for sightseeing, photography, attractions, and good mountain dining and lodging. Of course I’d drive my own car for the road-trip. It’s about 830 miles to drive from my current home in South Florida to the south-end of the Blue Ridge Parkway in western North Carolina. Once I hit Front Royal Virginia (at the north-end of the 574-mile parkway adventure) I’d take more traditional roads back southward, and the Andy Griffith Museum and the Billy Graham Library would be key stops along the way through the foothills of North Carolina.
I think it’s time to start redoing that itinerary (via Excel spreadsheet) so that it’s ready to implement in about 3 to 5 years. I’ll have over 2,500 miles to cover !
Join me next #TravelThursday as we visit another location on the face of this earth.
They keep you safe on your way, and your feet will not stumble. You can go to bed without fear. You will lie down and sleep soundly. You need not be afraid of sudden disaster or the destruction that comes upon the wicked, for the LORD is your security. He will keep your foot from being caught in a trap. (Proverbs 3:23-26 NLT)
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