Our Unfortunate Drive on the Blue Ridge Parkway

by SharonKurheg

When Joe and I made plans to go to the Biltmore mansion with my cousin and his better half, we had set plans for the first two days. After that, we were going to play it by ear, albeit with some vague plans for me to go trout fishing with them at some point (Joe’s not a fan of fishing, so he would have been on his own for a coupla hours). As it turned out, the fishing didn’t happen; by the time we got to the days where we might’ve been able to fish, the temperatures had gone down considerably and I, the thin-blooded Floridian, was a weenie and bowed out LOL.

We still needed stuff to do though, so the four of us eventually agreed on a scenic drive along the Blue Ridge Parkway.

The Blue Ridge Parkway is a National Parkway and All-American Road in the United States, noted for its scenic beauty. The parkway, which is America’s longest linear park, runs for 469 miles through 29 Virginia and North Carolina counties, linking Shenandoah National Park to Great Smoky Mountains National Park (thanks, Wikipedia!). Construction started in 1935 and although most of the Parkway was open for business by 1966, the last 7.7 miles, which included the Linn Cove Viaduct, an engineering feat of a 1,243-foot concrete bridge, wasn’t completed until 1987.

Bob and Paula are dyed-in-the-wool early birds, while Joe and I like to sleep in. We agreed on a happy medium and started the day around 10 am.

Although the highs were going to be in the 50s, it was still in the 40s at that hour, with very light misting due to low cloud cover. Unfortunately, the higher we went up the mountains of the Parkway, the temperatures got even lower (of course), and the clouds became thicker (also of course). So as we drove along and the three of them went out to see the sights at the marked overlooks, I (smartly AND warmly) stayed in the car. Frankly, with all the clouds, it didn’t look like they saw a whole heck of a lot.

After an hour or two of driving, I figured I might as well go out once to say I did. So at the last overlook, before we called it a day, I bundled up and got out of the car, too. I took some pictures to mark the occasion:

a view from inside a car

a car on the road

a sign on a hill with trees in the backgroundYeah…I should’ve stayed in the car.

As we came down off the mountain and the clouds started to lift, we came across a waterfall that was pretty:

a river running through rocksBut as far as I was concerned, the rest of the drive was kind of a waste, save for the conversations that popped up because we were all together.

The Blue Ridge Parkway is apparently beautiful on a clear day. If you use Google Images for the keywords BLUE RIDGE PARKWAY ASHEVILLE, you can find photos like these:

a landscape of a mountain range with trees and mountains in the background

“Blue Ridge Parkway south of Asheville, NC” PC: Frankaustx / Wikimedia / CC BY-SA 4.0 DEED

a view of a valley with trees and mountains

PC: Jon Roberts / flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0 DEED

But us? We saw clouds.

a road with fog on the sideCheck the weather before you go for a drive in the mountains, travel friends!

Feature Photo: The Linn Cove Viaduct, a 1243-ft. concrete segmental bridge on the Blue Ridge Parkway, near Linville, North Carolina. Public Domain

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1 comment

Mike Moyer November 27, 2023 - 5:17 pm

Hello….I live in Asheville and always glad to go up on the Parkway, either north or south. It looks like you went south, and you’re right, it gets cloudy and you can’t see very much. We went to eat at the Pisgah Inn one day and encountered the same thing….lots of clouds and no view. But, you have to look for the beauty in all of the environments that the Parkway goes through, and then you can truly appreciate it. I hope you can come back on a sunny day…and yes, the temperature can change about 15-20 degrees as you go up, so always smart to have a coat at times.


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