Touring - NC coast to VA mountains... Route Suggestions?
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09-26-08, 05:11 PM
I am leaving south out of the Outer Banks in a few weks and I want to go across North Carolina to visit the state eventually making my way up to the Blue Ridge mountains and then back home to Richmond, VA. I am scouting out roads to take but I was hoping to see if anyone has gone along this route and would have information on which roads I can and can't take and which towns I am likely to be shot/unwelcome going through. Let me know!
09-26-08, 10:37 PM
One option is to search http://www.crazyguyonabike.com for folks who have toured through NC and see if they provide information on routes.
09-27-08, 11:48 AM
From Ocracoke Island -
Take the ferry to Swan Quarter (not Cedar Island)
Continue north on NC 94 to Columbia
To Phelps Lake, Somerset Plantation
To Edenton then Merchants Millpond
To Franklin, VA, Courtland, Jarratt, to Alberta
To Victoria and VA 40 across southern VA to Rocky Mount
To Blue Ridge Parkway west of Ferrum past Fancy Gap
To Galax and then down the New River Trail to Draper
From Draper there are nice back roads into Roanoke.
The problem with North Carolina is the massive growth of the Piedmont metro areas -
Raleigh-Durham, Greensboro-Winston-Salem, Charlotte.
They form a near wall of poor roads with heavy traffic.
There are bike maps from the NC DOT -
But I really wouldn't rec the Mountains to Sea any more because of the metro areas.
The North Line Trace is a better option if you wish to stay in NC.
I think the maps are still free - but they take a while to arrive.
Plus by the end of summer they are often out - call ahead.
If you start with my route from Ocracoke, you can connect with the NC North Line route - Bike Route #4.
Not guaranteed, but the route is pretty well marked with signs like this at every turn.
09-27-08, 03:58 PM
In reviewing Jamawani's suggestion I note that one would omit the western part of NC. Maybe there is no good way from east to west NC, but if you do find a route with which you are comfortable, I highly recommend riding the Blue Ridge Parkway north into VA. Joining the Parkway in Asheville would provide a nice, long, and scenic ride north.
09-27-08, 09:13 PM
I think I would stay off the parkway during Fall Leaf Madness. Highest traffic of the whole year in 2nd/3rd weeks of October, plus the motorists are MORE distracted from driving than usual. It's scary to even DRIVE up there on October weekends. Bumper to bumper traffic on a road signed for 45mph, hairpin turns and grade change make 35mph more appropriate in many areas, and of course everyone is trying to go 55mph - and steal a glance at the scenery as they look out for patrolling Parkway Police.
Early in the AM away from population centers might not be too bad. Asheville, Blowing Rock areas will be hectic - short sections of Parkway are used for normal work commutes. Also, you spend ~90% of your time riding the Parkway going uphill. Fly down hills at 40mph, creep up them at 5-10mph. And there's no shoulder in most places, plus that road gets a lot of freezing / frost heave, so the sides of the road are more eroded than average in the area. Legal camping spots are not ideally spaced for bikes, and services are generally 5-15 miles and 1000-4000 feet down - and then back up to the Parkway.
But, if it's clear/no rain, the scenery may make it worthwhile. It's getting hazier up there all the time, combustion emissions from points west are ruining the vista - it's an old trend. Best views are in winter, also traffic lowest. Sections of BRP are gated/closed to motor vehicles every winter due to dangerous road condition - snow, freezing rain, ice, rock falls, landslides. This can be the best time to bike tour the Parkway.
09-27-08, 10:16 PM
I think I would stay off the parkway during Fall Leaf Madness.
Yes, you are correct and I overlooked this issue.
09-27-08, 10:54 PM
The New River Trail - on the other hand - will be lovely.
09-28-08, 10:29 AM
This is one option I looked into...
I looked up, from town to town, walking directions along the route I want to take. I figure if you can walk these roads then you can bike them...
http://maps.google.com/maps?f=d&saddr=Ocracoke,+NC&daddr=Swan+Quarter,+NC+to:Plymouth,+NC+to:Rocky+Mount,+NC+to:Durham,+NC+to:Reidsville,+NC+to:Martins ville,+VA+to:Roanoke,+VA+to:Buena+Vista,+VA+to:Sprouses+Corner,+Buckingham,+Virginia,+United+States+ to:Powhatan,+VA+to:Richmond,+VA&hl=en&geocode=&mra=pe&mrcr=8,9&dirflg=w&sll=36.385913,-77.947998&sspn=4.2358,9.84375&ie=UTF8&z=7
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