29 May Grandfather Mountain – Blue Ridge Parkway Bicycle Ride Day 9
I woke up weak and hungry. Only a can of sardines for supper last night and now I was enjoying a couple of fig newtons and a dry granola bar for breakfast. With 12 miles to Blowing Rock and breakfast, I felt like a dead man on wheels. There were repeated short ascents with annoyingly tough grades. It seems like the hills are worse than the long mountain climbs.
I finally reached town and ordered a veggie omelet with grits and biscuits. They put an entire coffee pot carafe on your table. I emptied it twice and ordered a banana nut muffin when the regular breakfast didn’t succeed in conquering my hunger. I was smothering everything with honey and orange marmalade.
I did a moderate amount of riding around town. Grocery shopped at Food Lion to replenish oatmeal, bananas, fig newtons, and sardines. Bought some Claritin store brand for allergies and vitamin C packets based on testimony that they cure all.
Went to the town pool for a shower and when I saw that it didn’t open until noon, I used the restroom to wash clothes and soap myself down from head to toe. My bike shorts are really a hybrid bathing suit – cargo shorts so after washing these I put them back on and stepped outside to douse the soap off my body with my water bottle. I repeated this with several refills of the water bottle. This gave me a good bath without flooding the bathroom floor 🙂
There were three major challenges of the day. The empty stomach short steep hills of the morning, a climb to over 4200 feet around GrandFather Mountain, and to finish the day a grueling hot afternoon long steep climb up a mountain and around Linville Gorge. The payoff on the last was an incredible drop off view into the gorge that reminded me of Glacier Point in Yosemite.
The real milestone was to exceed 4000 feet elevation. During the entire journey I would climb while overlook signs informed me that I was reaching elevations increasing toward the magic 4k. Alas, as soon as I neared this milestone, I would enter a steep hair blowing descent only to try again on the next hill.
With the spectacular views, tourist attractions, thousands of people, and cliff clinging viaducts, this day was exciting. Today i wasn’t counting mileposts while pushing up long slopes.
The negative was the constant stream of holiday weekend traffic along this popular section. I was constantly passed by long lines of motorcycles. Cars and trucks often passed on blind curves. I was always checking EVERYTHING mirror and in front. This was by far the busiest traffic day so far.
Now I am at Burger King in Spruce King, NC.. I am charging my external battery pack and washing bike shirt in the Burger King sink. I just ate at the Subway in the Wal-Mart across the street. Bought a new bike helmet at Wal-Mart to replace the one I lost 3 days ago.
I think I will try to camp close to this exit so I can ride the mile to Subway for breakfast tomorrow.