Friday, August 14, 2009
Front Royal, VA to Rocky Knob, Blue Ridge Parkway, VA
I woke up with a huge feeling of eager anticipation. Today was the day the trip REALLY got started. I had 3 days of parkways ahead of me, some of it new territory. The bike was packed and before I knew it, I found myself stopping for a photo shoot at the entrance to Shenandoah National Park and Skyline Drive!
Starting to get hungry, I stopped at Big Meadows for another national park sticker for the ST and some food for me. After perusing the menu at the cafe, I opted for a take-out sandwich and bottled juice.
Half an hour later I was off the bike again, enjoying my lunch at a vista point.
On my way again, I crossed out of the national park and onto the Blue Ridge Parkway. I’d been a little concerned about getting confused at the exit, but the transition was seamless.
Out of the national park, the area immediately began to feel more inhabited. I occasionally saw farmhouses and fields through the trees. Still beautiful though…. and NOTHING like riding through towns and past billboards on a state highway.
I’d been eagerly anticipating spending the night at Willville Bike Camp, a motorcycle-only campground at the midpoint of the Blue Ridge Parkway. It had been a long day of riding and I was very ready to get off the bike and relax.
However, when I pulled up to the driveway to camp and saw that it was a steep gravel road down to more gravel and lawns, I twisted the throttle and rode right back on to the parkway. I’d remembered seeing a national forest campground about 10 miles back. I spent the entire ride trying not to speed and grumbling to myself about proprieters who call themselves “motorcycle-friendly” yet neglect to pave their cliff-like driveways.
Note: I realize that most motorcyclists don’t have this particular problem of mine and I’m sure the campground is very nice. I just wish it took into account vertically-challenged riders of heavy bikes.
On further thought, I suppose my previous day’s experience with the mud had given me more than my fill of uncertain surfaces.
Rocky Knob Campground turned out to be very nice, with a paved driveway, a paved campground loop, and even *GASP* paved campsite pull-ins.
Absolutely no cell phone service though. I set my SPOT to send the nightly sign-off and set up camp.