Day 3 - Monday, May 7th
The Woodberry Inn was a good find by Karen and Aila ... good food, good accommodations, and a stones throw from the Parkway. It also meant we had the option of backtracking to yesterday's end point. That equated to 12 miles and about 1,400 feet of climbing. With over 30,000 feet of climbing ahead of me and my legs already a bit tired, I figured 1,4000 less would be just fine. Joe and Jeff made quick work of that stretch and we headed out together toward Mabry Mill.
|Mill Reflection on Pond is Cool ... Note Jeff's New Roark Behind Me|
|Jeff Leads Us Out ... Very Light Traffic|
|Great Shot of Me and Joe Making a Turn|
The weather was a bit brisk, but dry ... mostly overcast and quite foggy as we rolled up and down. Unlike the first two days, we had no real big climbs. This enabled us to stay together pretty much the whole day. We still climbed almost 3,500 feet in 44 miles. A pretty short and a lot easier of day by our standards. The last three days of our trip will test us big time as we climb to over 6,000 feet peaks. Hope it stays dry.
|That's Me Emerging From the Fog ... Joe Snapped Some Great Shots of Me This Trip|
|200 Down ...|
|A Chance for an Early Celebration|
|Joe and I on the Final Hill Before the Road Closure|
|On to Sparta|
I contemplated posting just one picture today ...
|This Says It All|
Rain, rain, and more rain ... and it was chili too. As you can see from the photo, Joe was not fazed. Jeff was less than happy. I was somewhere in the middle, but leaning toward Jeff's way of thinking. Our plan was to ride from either MP 236 or MP 248 to Boone/Blowing Rock at MP 294. The road closure did not let us backtrack (thankfully), so we set out for for another short 46 mile day. The hills were a bit more up and down then yesterday, but still nothing like our first two days. That said, the 46 mile route had over 5,600 feet of climbing. Only Joe would do it all.
|Unloading For a Very Soggy and Cold Day|
|One of the Few Pictures of Jeff (Yellow) and Me (Green)|
|Joe Pushes On Alone|
|Great Southwestern "Bowl" for Dinner|
With the rain, I only rode 25 miles, but still climbed almost 3,300 feet. Click Here to See My Route and Data (had to use import Jeff's data ... speed information is off) -- 05/08/12 Blue Ridge Parkway MP 248 - 273. That brings me to almost 225 miles and over 21,000 feet of climbing so far.
Tomorrow is a rest day in Boone, NC and Blowing Rock, NC. Time to sleep in and rest those legs for the last three days. Joe is also blogging at http://joescyclesamerica.blogspot.com/ ... check it out for more pictures.
Day 5 - Wednesday, May 9th
We slept in until 8:30 then had a quiet breakfast at the hotel. During breakfast, we conducted our version of "route wrap" and planned out the next three days. We had originally targeted around 60 miles a day, but in attempt to shorten our last day and get back to Maryland without having to stay over at a hotel, we have lengthened day 6 to be a killer ... now planning for 83 miles and over 9,000 feet of climbing. Joe and Jeff are also planning a bonus 5 mile 1,400 foot climb (killer grades) of Mount Mitchell that will give them over 10,000 feet for the day. I hope it stays dry and warm. I have told Aila and Karen to stay close as I have a feeling I may skip one of the massive climbs.
We are also scheduled to meet up with Jeff and Sondra Lazer and Pam Estrada from ABB. They are on their way to lead the Great Mississippi Ride ... 25 Days from New Orleans, LA to Minneapolis, MN from May 14th to June 8th.
After a relaxing morning, we headed to Blowing Rock for lunch and a nice stroll through town. Blowing Rock is a quaint little spot with lots of inns, shopping, and dining. It was cold and drizzly, but we were able to window shop and hit a few of the stores and park. My Karen would have liked the gardening stores and local garden art. Perhaps a weekend trip to one of the local inns/spas is in order for the future.
|Appropriately Located Outside the Library|
|This Would Look Good in Our Garden|
|Could This Be My Karen in About 20 Years?|
We ate lunch at a proper English pub (Six Pence Pub) that had a nice selection of beers. I was so chili, we stopped at a local sporting goods store where I bought a new Under Armour base layer. Dinner in Boone tonight then off to bed early ... lots of work (and some fun too) lay in store tomorrow.
|Jeff and Joe Raise a Glass|
|Karen and Aila Sample the Lighter Options|