After an excellent night’s rest in a proper bed in a room blasting cold, dry air, we awoke with renewed vigor to continue our journey north along the Parkway. Gone were any traces of desire to end the ride early. We were excited to see this ride to the very end, despite the endless hills, oppressive heat, and countless spiders.
First, we tackled the hotel continental breakfast. OJ, scrambled eggs shaped into little discs, and a plate of waffles disappeared into our gaping mouths. We were fueled and fired up.
The ride was consistent with what we’d come to expect of the Parkway: lots of climbing up mild grades, in and out of dense tree canopy, and a little afternoon heat to keep us thirsty.
What set today’s ride apart from most others was the fact that we actually got to ride on top of the ridge. Despite its name, the Blue Ridge Parkway rarely places you on the ridge. You’re usually a couple hundred feet below the actual ridgeline.
The riding on top of the ridge was great. We had panoramic views on both sides. To the west was the Appalachian mountain chain. To the east was a much lower valley with scattered rolling hills. This section of road was one of the best on our trip.
We arrived at the Peaks of Otter Campground and Lodge in time for lunch. Carrie and I enjoyed some veggie burgers and sweet potato fries and unlimited refills of sweet tea. I may have guzzled a gallon of the cool sweet nectar. Our server got so tired of refilling my glass that he just brought over two more filled glasses. I drank those too.
That afternoon we got settled at our campsite, ducked into the tent to wait out the thunder storm, and then returned to the Lodge for an early dinner. I don’t know what it is with the elderly and 5 pm dinners but Carrie and I were definitely on board. We ate amongst the retirees and then retired to our tent sated and sleepy.