Cherokee to Moonshine Creek Campground

Blue Ridge Parkway

The first day of our trip didn’t start as expected. We awoke at the home of our hosts Steve and Lynn, whose daughter Michae and her boyfriend Collin were planning to ride with us for about a week.

Collin greeted us in the kitchen to let us know that they couldn’t join us because Michae had caught a summer cold. He hoped if Michae was feeling up to it in a couple days they could catch up to us and maybe get a few days of riding in.

Bummer. We were looking forward to riding with our good friends. They were kind enough to drive us to Cherokee, the southern end of the Blue Ridge Parkway.

After crossing a creek, we passed the “Welcome to the Blue Ridge Parkway” sign and immediately started climbing. And then we climbed and climbed and climbed the most evenly graded road I’ve ever been on. We cruised on a roughly 6 percent grade for the next 8 miles.

Carrie and I spin slowly up the first climb of the Blue Ridge Parkway.
At one of the numerous overlooks along the Parkway, we stop to stretch and admire the Smokies.

Our first descent was marvelous and far too short. We got a break for a good minute before the road pointed up again. Then we went up and up for at least another hour.

The forecast called for scattered showers, but so far the showers hadn’t arrived. That didn’t stop us from staying wet though. Even in mild temperatures, the high humidity makes it hard for the body to cool itself. So it compensates by sweating more than usual. I’ve never been so clammy without help from the heavens or a shower head.

Finally after an eternity of mild grade climbing we got our reward: a multi-mile mild grade descent. So far I’m convinced you could ride the Blue Ridge Parkway on a single speed with no brakes. Just choose your favorite climbing gear and coast down the hills. If you need to stop you’ll eventually run into an uphill.

To reach our campground we had to merge onto highway 74. Not more than thirty seconds passed on the noisy and busy highway before I heard Carrie let out a four letter word behind me. I stopped and turned around only to see her rear tire was totally flat. And then it started to rain. $#&@!

Upon inspection of her tire I found a huge slash in the sidewall. The tire was set up tubeless. The sealant on the tire had no chance to seal up such a large slash. So I installed a tube and used a dollar bill as a tire boot, one of those cycling repair tricks you never think you’ll use. It worked!

We arrived at the Moonshine Creek Campground tired and damp but in good spirits. The campground was very nice. Each tent site had a wooden shelter under which we could pitch our tent and eat at the picnic table. We even got to shower. A finer campground could not be had.