Not a good start to the day when you wake up in the middle of the night to rain!! Apparently a weather system is coming up from the south and they are expecting 3-4 days of rain!!
So today I have to complete 50 miles of the Skyline drive, at 35 mph, then get onto the Blue Ridge Parkway for 450 miles. Well it turns out the BRP speed limit is 45 mph!! So about 10 hours to go top to bottom. Not really doable given the circumstances: windy, cold (less than 10C), rainy, and foggy, with about 50m visibility!!! Which is a shame because it really is a fabulous road to drive on. The plus side is there was no traffic today, and it was HIGHLY unlikely I was going to run into a radar trap!!
I was on the road early as I wasn’t about to make breakfast in the rain, so by about 8:30 I was out. The Skyline Drive turns into the BRP and the road just continues on. Stopping in the Visitors centre just after getting on the Parkway, I discover there is no food, no gas, no hotels etc ANYWHERE along the 450 miles of the BRP!!! In order to get any of that you have to get off and go into a small town nearby.
By noon I was hungry, hadn’t had a coffee or food all day, I was cold, and tiring. It was the worst weather I had ridden in, ever!! So a quick trip in town to a Denny’s!! Coffee, French toast, bacon, sausages and eggs never tasted so good!!! Even the half hour stop reinvigorated me, so I ventured out again.
By 3pm the weather was so bad all I kept thinking about was getting off the BRP onto an Interstate and racing south to better weather. Instead of constantly picturing a gruesome fiery death as I plummet over the edge into the gorge below!! Which I can’t see since my visor is so fogged up, and I spend more time wiping rain off my visor than holding onto the handlebars!!
A word of advice: if you adjust your windshield to reduce the wind blowing in your face and buffeting your head, there is no wind to blow the rain off your visor!!!
I eventually stop into a small town to clean off the inside of my visor and ask about a motel room. It doesn’t sound promising.... So back onto the BRP... 5 minutes later I am in sunshine!!!! Steam is coming off the road and everything. So re-energized I barrel on for another hour, then seeing clouds again I punch the nearest major city into the GPS and head off on to an Interstate in search of a hotel.
It turns out to be a Best Western just inside of North Carolina, another state knocked off my list!! So now with internet access I am doing all my updates. All my clothes and gear is hanging on every table, chair, and shower rod trying to dry out. My rain gear held up well. My BMW fluorescent onesie did its job. My Gore-Tex boots, and gloves, not so much. Hopefully by tomorrow it will be dry, and the weather will hold. I am hoping I have ridden far enough south to have gotten to the bottom of the storm....
Well I just got back from dinner and it is lightning and pouring out! Good thing I am in a warm dry hotel room!