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Skyline Drive

Old 05-28-13, 10:07 AM
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drrobwave
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Skyline Drive

For those who are interested in a credit card tour or a few days of camping on the Skyline Drive. I went last week and have a report/insights. I started at Rock Fish Gap - Waynesboro Va. road 52.5 miles to Big Meadows Lodge. The lodge is a little rustic but the views are well worth it and the food is extraordinary for dinner and breakfast. My plan was to ride into Front Royal on day 2, but my riding buddy had to go home for an emergency. So I rode to Elk Wallow wayside and then back to Skyland Lodge. The Skyland Lodge was a bit more updated. Day 3 rode back to Waynesboro 65 miles. On day 3 since the restaurant didn't open until 7:30AM I grabbed a sweet roll and road onto the Big Meadows Wayside and had breakfast there

Loft Mountain and Elk Wallow Waysides are spaced well for lunch and they have a good menu. The Big Meadows and Elk Wallow waysides have camping supplies and grocery items. NO TUBES or biking stuff! I blew a tire coming out of Skyland South exit due to trying to stay the speed limit (rims over heated ???)- not sure if the rangers would have given me a ticket but there were 2 I passed that morning going to the lodge.

In both lodges there are tap rooms with nightly entertainment. The Tuesday night clogging group has been doing the entertaining for 29 years at Skyland lodge, I know it sounds lame, but it was actually a fun show.

I rode down the hill to Waynesboro which was on a treacherous busy road - there is a bike store, Krogers, city park, and Chinese buffet. I ate at the Heritage which is a sports bar it was GREAT!

Some insights:
If I were to do the out and back trip again - I would stay at Skyland both day 1 and day 3. The climb up from Elk Wallow and the haul out of Front Royal are tough and that would just make 43 miles on those days. There are 2 entrances to Skyland - the North entrance is easier access. I had a gear ratio of 30-30 and did not have to get off and walk up any of the hills - if you are carrying a load I would suggest more gears.

I used a pack instead of panniers, but I'm not sure the benefit to either for this trip. My back got a little sore, but my load at 35+ mph down the hills was secure which seemed to me a benefit to the pack. I'm sure those of you with good pannier systems might not have problems at 35 mph. If i was carrying anymore than a change of clothes, rain gear, and some flops I would have gone with the panniers.

If you like to see the sights away from your bike I would recommend a bike lock.

The major climbs are on both ends of the park Waynesboro and Front Royal and up from 33 and 211 going either direction. The 211 climb going North isn't until after the Elk Wallow wayside and it is tough.

You have to have good lights on rear and front - if the conditions are bad the rangers will stop you! There is also a tunnel 4 miles North of Skyland and you are supposed to have a descent head light to go through it.






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Old 05-28-13, 10:54 AM
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chefisaac
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Thanks for the insights.
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Old 05-29-13, 04:42 AM
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Nice report! I'll be riding credit card style the entire route twice this weekend. I'll start at Big Meadows and ride to the south end (actually down into Waynesboro) and back to Big Meadows on the first day, and stay the night. Then on Sunday I'll ride north to Front Royal and back. I think the first day is about 112 miles depending on how far into Waynesboro I go. The second day is about 104 miles, but includes some of the steeper and longer climbs.

I've done this two times before, but it's been a couple of years. Hope I'm ready
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Old 05-29-13, 05:10 AM
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...and I'm slated to visit the area next week, with my ride from Waynesboro through to Front Royal starting Wednesday.

Originally Posted by drrobwave View Post
I blew a tire coming out of Skyland South exit due to trying to stay the speed limit (rims over heated ???)- not sure if the rangers would have given me a ticket but there were 2 I passed that morning going to the lodge.

How far had you gone before the tire went kerblooie? Were there scenic overlooks on the way, where someone could pull over and let the rims cool?
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Old 05-29-13, 05:30 AM
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Originally Posted by JimF22003 View Post
I've done this two times before, but it's been a couple of years. Hope I'm ready
That sounds like an epic ride for me, I prefer the 50 miles a day up there. Good luck!
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Old 05-29-13, 05:42 AM
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Originally Posted by jeneralist View Post
How far had you gone before the tire went kerblooie? Were there scenic overlooks on the way, where someone could pull over and let the rims cool?
It wasn't a blow out but rather like a huge leak. The South entrance to Skyland off the Skyline Drive is just steep. Everywhere else There are plenty of places to pull off - overlooks. I don't think you'll have much to worry about unless you want to ride 15 mph down the mountain. I did a state ride last year and those who over heated their rims didn't flat until they were starting the next climb. Just alternate you brakes front and back as you go down and you'll be fine up there.

Hope you have a great time!

BTW I forgot to put in my report that the road surface for most of the trip is smooth, There are some places that have the tar gravel and they are working on some of the the overlooks.
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