Day 62 of a Year Long Road Trip Along America’s Scenic Byways
Today the dogs and I started down the Blue Ridge Parkway which connects to the south end of Skyline Drive which I completed last week. The drives, similar in scenery, were quite different in other ways. Skyline Drive passes through a National Park where a toll booth marks a limited amount of entry and exit points. I believe there were three in total. As such, the Skyline Drive area is more pristine.
With signs identifying activities such as picnicking, hiking, and camping, the Blue Ridge Parkway felt slightly more commercialized. Having said that, area surrounding the Parkway is still extremely natural and full of interesting exhibits which include self-guided geological trails, Appalachian farm houses, and a rebuilt logging railroad.
The dogs and I visited all of the above listed attractions today. A nice feature at most trailheads included a posted sign with the mileage and approximate time to complete the trail. What a bonus for me, as I didn’t have any trail maps!
The Blue Ridge Parkway
For much of the drive along the Blue Ridge Parkway, I passed beneath brown leaves fluttering to the ground. Occasionally, however, I crossed through regions where the hemlocks, hickories, maples, and oaks ranged in colors of green, red, yellow, orange, and brown. I’d have to use the names of crayons from the 128 count box to describe the appropriate shades…raw umber, goldenrod, neon carrot, mango tango, laser lemon, burnt orange, maize, orange red, sunglow, scarlet, burnt orange, forest green, and mahogany to name a few.
I wanted to pull off the side of the road so many times for a photo; however, the turnouts tended to be in overlook areas where the winter weather had already arrived, not in the protected sections of the forest. The overlook areas provided brilliant views of their own. Green valleys separated mountain tops covered in crimson red trees…. It was nature’s version of Christmas decorations.
Otter Creek and Otter Lake
The Blue Ridge Parkway passes by several creeks, waterfalls, springs where pioneers brewed moonshine, lakes, rivers, and even the Kanawha canal. The dogs and I took a few walks by the water. We first strolled along Otter Creek, which tumbles ten miles down the Blue Ridge Range to the James River, to Otter Lake. Lily pads covered the edge of the lake as Bluegills hovered beneath the fishing dock waiting for tourists to drop some bread.
Before exiting the Blue Ridge Parkway in Roanoke to visit a distant relative, Quinn, we took one last 1.6 mile loop trail by Fallingwater Cascades. As we walked 2,000 feet, mostly downhill, I knew a nice uphill climb awaited us before reaching the parking lot. Aside from Scout feeling puny toward the end, a moderate hike was an exuberant way to finish the day.
We spent a delightful late afternoon and evening with Quinn. Over a home cooked meal of steaks, potatoes, and salad, I learned all about the business of auctioning farmland. Quite fascinating! In addition to dinner, I got to see the Cowboys play for the second time this season (both games against the Giants), and surprisingly they squeaked out a win! ETB
Map of My Road Trip Across the USA
For a summary about my road trip across the USA, click HERE. For the interactive map, see the below link.
Other Articles About Virginia You May Like
- Day 53 – Skyline Drive through Shenandoah Valley Part 2
- Day 54 – Skyline Drive through Shenandoah Valley Part 3
- Day 63 – Blue Ridge Parkway (Virginia Part 2)
Check out the photographic note cards and key chains at my shop. Each card has a travel story associated with it. 20% of proceeds are donated to charity.