Today we headed north on the Blue ridge parkway. We met a couple going north who are driving the entire length of both the parkway and Skyland drive. They are pulling a big travel trailer with a truck smaller than ours - on the parkway. That is a lot of uphill, downhill and winding around with a trailer. They hate driving with trucks on the highway so they just do the parkway and take it slow. So that is 469 plus 105 miles at about 30 miles and hour plus the overlooks. When we drive the parkway it ususlly takes us an hour to go 30 or 40 miles. After that they are headed to Niagara Falls. He has been there before but this is her first time.
The big attraction today was Mount Mitchell State Park. It says it is the highest point east of the Mississippi. So we drove almost to the top and walked the rest of the way - it was only the last 100 feet - but a very steep 100 feet. The view was great and a bit hazy-but that is the blue ridge. It was very windy and much colder than the parkway being over 100 feet higher. Dale had a jacket but I didn't think to bring one. (Dale doesn't think ahead-it's just his usual car and it is always in there).
The drive north from Ashville is covered with rhododendren. Long sections of the parkway are almost tunnels of the stuff and there are several mountainsides almost completely covered with them. Again-we have to come back one year when they are blooming.
We are parkway'd out at this point. We had planned on doing Linville Falls and maybe the Linn Cove Viaduct but turned off instead and came back to relax at the campsite for the afternoon.
Coming down from the mountains we went thru Little Switzerland. Lots and Lots of crazy cliffside houses with REALLY steep driveways. You need a 4-wheel just to get up the drive and forget it when it snows. I'm not sure it would be safe in the rain. The road is just one continuous switchback after switchback. We averaged 10 or 15 mph on the way down it was so steep and twisty.
So the plan for this afternoon is to sit by the river and read a good book. Dale is reading up on Custer's Last Stand for this summer and I have a murder mystery to figure out.