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Old 05-20-09, 08:03 PM   #26
ridgerider
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Albert's is decent, or at least it was when I stayed there about 10 years ago. It's about three miles off the Parkway (straight down!) on NC 80. They cook some good German food there too.
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Old 05-20-09, 08:17 PM   #27
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in burnsville - the carolina country inn is really nice...i stay there for the burnsville metric and roan moan rides. nice little place, just down the hill from the center of town.......
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Old 05-22-09, 05:11 PM   #28
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I think that is the one.

Here's my blog from a few years ago with names of places we stayed thrown in there...

www.crazyguyonabike.com/journal/gerald
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Old 05-22-09, 06:44 PM   #29
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Albert's is decent, or at least it was when I stayed there about 10 years ago. It's about three miles off the Parkway (straight down!) on NC 80. They cook some good German food there too.
Thanks, Tim. I wasn't aware it was so steep getting off. I guess I could have figured that. Oh well, it was the closest place I could find to Mt. Mitchell that still had rooms available, and the price was reasonable.

Say, do you - or does anyone here, know anything about the closed section on the Pkway near 421? Is it possible to bike (or hike) through it - if no one is looking? I'm heading through there tomorrow morning.

I made it down to Roanoke (MP 121) yesterday. Today I made it down to MP 251, wich is just a few mile below where Hwy 18 crosses the BRP. I had my g/f pick me up and bring me home from there - so I could get a good home cooked meal and sleep in my own bed. It was also cheaper than staying in a motel.

I'm going to have my g/f tote me back to MP 251 early tomorrow morning, so I can resume my trip. If all goes well, I'll finish up Sunday night.

I'll post a ride report and pics, when I get back.
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Old 05-26-09, 10:39 AM   #30
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Well gang, I'm back. I did it!

I pedaled the whole BRP, including a climb up Mt Mitchell, in 4 days.

Day 1 Thursday 5/21/09: MP-0 to MP-121
Day 2 Friday 5/22/09: MP-121 to MP-251
Day 3 Saturday 5/23/09: MP-251 to MP-344
Day 4 Sunday 5/24/09: MP-344 to MP-469 (including a climb up Mt. Mitchell in between)

It was a lot of fun and, all in all, a great trip, though it turned out to be even harder than what I anticipated. The days were long, and the hours spent in the saddle many, but the scenic views as well as the overall experience, was unforgettable. I don't know that I'd ever want try to do it again, in just 4 days, but I wouldn't trade the experience for anything.

If you've ever dreamed of bicycling the whole Parkway, I highly reccomend it. Stop dreaming about it and ......Just Do It! I'd been entertaining the notion of doing it for about a year now, and when I realized (about 2-wks ago) that I was going to turn 45 y/o next week, I decided the hell with it, I'm going to just do it - while I'm still young.

I have a bunch of pics of the trip that I'm still sorting through. I'm going to try to get them loaded on my webshots site, and then post a link to it here in case anyone wants to see them. I know WP does.
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Old 05-26-09, 12:37 PM   #31
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Dang that's some serious mileage each day. You didn't leave much time for fun out there did you? I like to take almost twice as long as you did to take a look around, smell the flowers. Anyway, great ride!
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Old 05-26-09, 12:45 PM   #32
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day-um!!! 4 days? i do want to do this, but maybe do it in 6-7 days....just pedaling my ass off for 4 straight days and not doing anything else...meh...

but, congratulations!! awesome job...i'm gonna do this...if not this fall sometime, then next may...

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Well gang, I'm back. I did it!

I pedaled the whole BRP, including a climb up Mt Mitchell, in 4 days.

Day 1 Thursday 5/21/09: MP-0 to MP-121
Day 2 Friday 5/22/09: MP-121 to MP-251
Day 3 Saturday 5/23/09: MP-251 to MP-344
Day 4 Sunday 5/24/09: MP-344 to MP-469 (including a climb up Mt. Mitchell in between)

It was a lot of fun and, all in all, a great trip, though it turned out to be even harder than what I anticipated. The days were long, and the hours spent in the saddle many, but the scenic views as well as the overall experience, was unforgettable. I don't know that I'd ever want try to do it again, in just 4 days, but I wouldn't trade the experience for anything.

If you've ever dreamed of bicycling the whole Parkway, I highly reccomend it. Stop dreaming about it and ......Just Do It! I'd been entertaining the notion of doing it for about a year now, and when I realized (about 2-wks ago) that I was going to turn 45 y/o next week, I decided the hell with it, I'm going to just do it - while I'm still young.

I have a bunch of pics of the trip that I'm still sorting through. I'm going to try to get them loaded on my webshots site, and then post a link to it here in case anyone wants to see them. I know WP does.
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Old 05-26-09, 02:15 PM   #33
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Day 1 Thursday 5/21/09: MP-0 to MP-121
Day 2 Friday 5/22/09: MP-121 to MP-251
Day 3 Saturday 5/23/09: MP-251 to MP-344
Day 4 Sunday 5/24/09: MP-344 to MP-469 (including a climb up Mt. Mitchell in between)
Whoa.
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Old 05-26-09, 03:17 PM   #34
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Dang that's some serious mileage each day. You didn't leave much time for fun out there did you? I like to take almost twice as long as you did to take a look around, smell the flowers. Anyway, great ride!
Well, it wasn't so much by choice as it was my constraints of time and budget, that I wound up confining it to only 4 days. If I had my choice, I think 6 or 7 days would have been an ideal amount of time to do it in. That would give you enough time to stop and really "see" things, and still finish each day at a civil hour, and without having to do marathon-like mileages.

I certainly did get an eyefull of all the, seemingly countless, scenic panoramic vistas along the way, though. At least I stopped to take a few pictures at some of the more inspiring ones. I also stopped on a couple of the days to enjoy a leisurly hot breakfast: at Otter Creek, and also at Mabry Mill.

I had beautiful weather for my first three days, and managed to get an early start on them too, which allowed me to finish up at a half-way reasonable hour at least. On the fourth day, however, things didn't go so well. I started out in the pouring rain, and I underestimated how long it would take to pedal back up Hwy 80 to the Pkwy and then to NC128 to do Mt Mitchell. I was cold and wet when I got to the summit, so I had a couple cups of hot cappucino at the snackbar at the observation area, and then I decided to stop on the way back down at that resturant to try and grab a quick hot breakfast. It was not quick. It cost me another hour of valuable time.

Soooo....by the time I got down to MP-450, which was, quite literally, the last one I ever saw, it was "lights out"; I ran out of daylight. Between the intermittent rain, mist, fog, and no appreciable moon to speak of, it made further navigating well.....hairy, to put in mildly. I was out there in the middle of nowhere, with no recourse but to keep on pedaling. So I did.

Unless you've done it, and I would imagine few (sane ones anyway) people ever have, ridden a bike for 20 miles in the dark, down fast mountain descents and through tunnels, all the while thinking some wildlife critter is going to cross your path and take you down, you can't imagine what a truly harrowing experience that is. My brake pads are all worn down to the nubs. I really thought I was going to hear the sound of metal on metal, like when your car brakepads have lost the last bit of brake lining, long before I made it down to Cherokee. The little LED front headlight I had was little more than a glorified candle; certainly nothing approaching a car headlight, like you would normally invoke in such conditions. I only put it on in the hopes of helping me get through the tunnels, not to actually ride in the dark. At least it showed me where the yellow lines were. That's was all I had for navigation. I couldn't begin to discern what was to the right of the yellow lines in front of me, I just hoped it wasn't a deer.

I got to the end of the Pkwy at about 10:30 pm. I spent another hour pedaling all around Cherokee, trying to hook up with my ride - the ride that I had previously arranged to pick my up at the Pancake house across the street from Harrah's at 7:30pm. Thanks to not having cell phone signals, she and I were never able to reconnect. She wound up driving all the way back to Wilkesboro for the night, and I got me a room at the Ramada for the night. So much for my attempts at economizing. At least the shower head had some kind of rotating whirrlygig thingambob, that gave the most wonderful hot pulsating shower massage I could have imagined. That made up for at least some of my aches and woes.

I'm still glad I did it, though if I had it to do over again, I probably would gotten to Mt. Mitchell well before it opened, and tried to knock out the climb and descent, before the park rangers or anyone else even got there. Hell, the motel room at the Ramada cost me way more than a park ranger ticket would have.

I'll see if I can get the pics loaded tonight.

Cheers
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Old 05-26-09, 03:47 PM   #35
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day-um!!! 4 days? i do want to do this, but maybe do it in 6-7 days....just pedaling my ass off for 4 straight days and not doing anything else...meh...

but, congratulations!! awesome job...i'm gonna do this...if not this fall sometime, then next may...
Yeah, 6-7 days would be perfect.

The best adviced I can give to anyone thinking of doing it, unless you're a CAT-1 or CAT-2 rider, get yourself the lowest gearing you can - and make sure you grind it out, hour after hour, in that gear, without ever tiring.

I thought I would only use my lowest combo (26t chainring x 28t cog) on the steepest of climbs; like when I was doing Mt. Mitchell. Boy was I wrong. If you're going to do a hundred (or more) miles a day, in those hills, the only thing you can do is just hunker down in your granny-gear, and s-l-o-w-l-y grind it out, mile after mile, mountain after mountain.

I think all those hours I spent on my trainer,(30 miles per day during the week, for the last 8 wks) really helped my stamina.

If you just did AoMM, in 8:11 I think you said, then you'd have no trouble doing the entire Pkwy in 6-7 days.
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Old 05-26-09, 07:43 PM   #36
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wow. great write up! 20mi in the dark on the parkway?? you're crazy. but, it seems you had no choice.

you're really making me want to do this before May of next year....
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Old 05-26-09, 09:02 PM   #37
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OK - I've got the first half of my BRP bike trip pics uploaded to webshots. I still have to thin out some of the ones from the second half of the trip, before uploading them.

There's 161 pics, and some repitition, so if you decide to look at them and then you get bored, just jump ahead to #'s 83,84 & 87. Those are my favorites. It was from the morning of day two, when I left out of Roanoke at MP-121, shortly after 5:00 am, and was able to get these shots of the sun coming up, after being on the road for about half hour.

http://outdoors.webshots.com/photo/2...38078612IjogVS
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Old 05-26-09, 09:23 PM   #38
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wow. great write up! 20mi in the dark on the parkway?? you're crazy. but, it seems you had no choice.

you're really making me want to do this before May of next year....
He could have called me (if he had my number) since mp 450 is just behind my house. I got caught out with my wife on Balsam Mtn Rd one night and had to descend 13 miles on a gravel road in the woods after dark. I couldn't see a thing until the moon rose and then could only see the outline of the road, barely. Very scary but we made it without crashing, don't ask me how.
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Old 05-27-09, 04:00 PM   #39
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He could have called me (if he had my number) since mp 450 is just behind my house. I got caught out with my wife on Balsam Mtn Rd one night and had to descend 13 miles on a gravel road in the woods after dark. I couldn't see a thing until the moon rose and then could only see the outline of the road, barely. Very scary but we made it without crashing, don't ask me how.
Say, BWNC, what cell phone company do you use, and how reliable is it for getting a signal over in the western mountainous regions of NC?

My g/f and I both use Nextel, mainly because of my work which supplies my phone, but Nextel is CRAP!; at least so far as their signal coverage area goes. We are rarely able to pick up a signal at either house: the one near Newton,NC, or the one up in the Brushy Mtns - and you can pretty much forget about picking up a signal anywhere along the Pkwy with it. That fact cost us a lot of time, money, and grief, on this latest bike excursion of mine. Sally told me to see if you, or any of the gang you normally ride with (Vel, WP, Neal..etc), have something other than Nextel, that you're albe to get farily reliable signals with. She said she's switching to anything besides Nextel.


So, you descended 13 miles in the dark, huh? Then you know EXACTLY what I went through Sunday night. Apparently, there is at least one other person out there as crazy as I am.

*bumps fists with BWNC*
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Old 05-27-09, 04:59 PM   #40
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We have Verizon which seems to be the best option for these parts. The coverage can be spotty on the BRP but generally we get a signal.

Yeah, riding in the dark without lights isn't all it's made out to be.
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Old 05-28-09, 02:26 PM   #41
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wow. great write up! 20mi in the dark on the parkway?? you're crazy. but, it seems you had no choice.

you're really making me want to do this before May of next year....
Kinda making me want to do it, too. Except for the "20 mi downhill in the dark on the parkway" part. That could put a real damper on things, especially if you found yourself with no brakes.
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Old 06-01-09, 10:05 AM   #42
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Hey All,

I finally got the rest of my pic's uploaded to my webshots album.

http://outdoors.webshots.com/album/572342303OZDhhB
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Old 06-01-09, 12:31 PM   #43
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The pictures of you at the top of Mt Mitchell are classic. I can't imagine getting up and down that hill in the rain.
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Old 06-01-09, 02:50 PM   #44
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The pictures of you at the top of Mt Mitchell are classic. I can't imagine getting up and down that hill in the rain.
"Classic"? - *chuckle* you must be referring to my "improvised rain-beanie skull cap".

(http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...33#post9019933)

"As you can see from the pics up on Mt. Mitchell, I donned an improvised...dorky, rainproof-skull-cap beanie (I made it out of a CVS pharmacy shopping bag, just in case any of you are interested...and taking notes. Actually, CVS bags make your BEST improvised rain cap beanies. No, it's true...really. Oh yeah, I've always said that.) , to try to at least keep my scalp dry during the rainy ascent and descent."
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Old 06-01-09, 03:44 PM   #45
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That is a sweet rain cap.
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Old 06-01-09, 07:23 PM   #46
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That is a sweet rain cap.
Ain't it though! The Iron Man Triathelete people called; said they'd like to have it -- if I'm ready to retire it. So I told 'em...."not until I get the honorary belt buckle they promised me".
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