My latest adventure down the west coast is now over. Posts are listed by date on the right. In a departure from previous years, I am not asking for donations. Instead, I will be making a sizable donation on behalf of my father-in-law, father, and all the wonderful people who have supported me over the years.

My rides will continue to make a difference in the lives of families fighting lung disease and to increase awareness about the importance of lung health. Follow along … Together; we are improving life, one breath at a time.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Blue Ridge Parkway: Day 7 and 8

Better late then never ... here are the highlights from our final two days.  A big thanks to Karen and Aila for their support, patience, help, and great pictures.  Thanks to Jeff and Joe for a great week.  You guys pushed me, laughed with with me, waited for me, took pictures of me, and made the week memorable.  I am looking forward to rooming together for Ride the West in September.

A Great Week on a Historic Road
 Day 7 - Friday, May 11th 

Although we were staying at the Pisgah Inn at MP 408.6, we planned to ride to MP 431.4.  This gave us 55 miles for the day and enabled us to finish by noon on Saturday ... Jeff said "we must finish by noon on Saturday to get an early start on our drive back to Maryland".  More on that in tomorrow's post.  Even with only 55 miles, we still had a lot of climbing to do.  The last 40 miles were basically up hill and I ended the day with over 8,000 feet.

The Start of Another Mountainous Day

Count the Blue Ridges
The weather was perfect ... a little cool at the start and for the only real descent, then warming nicely as the day went on.  Early on we stopped at the Southern Highland Folk Art Center. The center had lots of nice high end crafts.  As the climbing started, we could see for miles and the sites continued to impress. There were lots of tunnels too ... our bike lights are the only light in there, and one car got a little too close for comfort causing me to stop more abruptly then I would have liked.  The climb to Mount Pisgah revealed our home for the night.  The inn is built right into the side of the mountain and has stunning views from each room as well as the dining room.  Mount Pisgah was part of the 100,000-acre estate bought in the late 1800s by George W. Vanderbilt (owner of the Biltmore estate).

"I Can See for Miles and Miles ..."

Emerging From One of the Tunnels

Jeff Wanted Even More Climbing After Pisgah
We pushed on from there and headed past Looking Glass Rock, Graveyard Fields, and the Devil’s Courthouse.  Looking Glass Rock is very popular with rock climbers and reflects light brilliantly when water and ice are on the rock’s granite face.  The ride ended at the Richland Balsam Overlook which is the highest point on the Parkway at 6,053 feet.

Some "ABB Inappropriate" Celebrating After One of the Big Climbs

Looking Glass Rock

The Sign Says It All

Karen and Aila drove us back to the Inn, where we had a nice celebratory wine and picture party followed by a great dinner overlooking the mountains.  Jeff outdid himself during dessert and enjoyed not one, but almost three different offerings.

Final Dinner at Pisgah Inn
Part Way Through Silk Pie, Pecan Pie, and Ice Cream
The last two days were mighty tough with almost 18,000 feet of climbing.  Click Here to See My Route and Data for the Day -- 05/11/12 Blue Ridge Parkway MP 377 - 431.  I am confident that this trip and my training at home will prepare me well for Ride the West this September.  We will climb 75,000 feet over the 1,400 mile trip.  Can't wait for that.

Day 8 - Saturday, May 12th 

The end of a great week.  After a hearty breakfast at the Pisgah Inn we drove back to MP 431.4 to start the day.  Only 38 miles, but another 3,500 feet of climbing and that was was all poured into two climbs. It was pretty foggy and overcast as we started down the first monstrous descent ... basically 12 miles downhill.

Foggy Start to Our Last Day
What goes down, must go up ... that was followed by an 8 mile, 2500 foot climb.  Jeff and Joe had some spare time at the top of that while I trudged my way upward.  No sooner had I peaked the summit, when Jeff said "Ready to Go" ... LOL, they got pretty chilly waiting 20 minutes for me.  By waiting for me on the big climbs, we were able to stay together all week ... thanks guys.

Waterfall Provided a Nice Chance to Rest On the Big Climb
Another descent, another climb ("only" 900 feet ... seemed like a bump), and then the final 10 mile descent.  Cruising through the fog and tunnels.  Before we knew it, the Parkway end arrived in Cherokee. We arrived just before 12 ... just like Jeff asked.  A few final pictures, a clothes change, goodbyes, and we were in the car for the long ride home to Maryland.  Jeff and Aila spent the night at Idlewhile and we had a nice breakfast on Sunday morning before they headed home to Connecticut.

The Last Mile Marker ...

We Did It
Loaded and Ready To Go

Cherokee, NC

The Ride Home - Geldings and AAN Riders, It Seemed Like Old Times
 Click Here to See My Route and Data for the Day -- 05/12/12 Blue Ridge Parkway MP 431 - 469

It was a great week with great friends.  All told, I rode over 400 miles and climbed almost 43,000 feet.  Joe was the iron man of the trip, only missing the road closure miles. So many pictures, so many memories, so many laughs.  A big thanks to our crew, Aila and Karen.  You always had a smile on your face and were close by when we needed you.  Your SAG after my wheel went will be a story often told.  Thanks again to my riding mates, Jeff and Joe.  Like our previous trips ... it would have only been a bike ride without you ... your friendship helped defined the trip and create lasting memories.

Thanks Karen and Aila ... You Rock
Thanks Jeff and Joe ... Another Memorable Ride
Joe put together a great list of thoughts for other cyclists considering the Parkway.  Check it out and all his pictures at Joe Cycles America: BRP - Final Day. I would add #14 - Make sure to ride with two of the best friends you can find and #15 - If at all possible, use the phenomenal SAG support of your friend's wives.  One last thanks to my wife and family for their support.  I was away for our anniversary and did not get home until Mother's Day ... thanks TC ... I really appreciate you letting me follow my passion.  I love you.

Thanks TC ... One of My Favorite Pictures

Good Night Moon ... Good Night Parkway ... Good Night Jeff ... Good Night Aila ... Good Night Joe ... Good Night Karen ... Good Night Climbs ... Good Night Memories ... Good Night Wife ... Good Night Family.


  1. Thanks for a grat blog. See you in Sept.

  2. Amazing ride, amazing, pictures, amazing friends, dad and I are in awe of you and so proud.