Day 78 - Blue Ridge ParkwayJuly 8 in the United States ⋅ ⛅ 24 °C
I had the best sleep on our trip so far, apparently Jackie didn’t. We also had one of our better breakfasts & stole butters, jams & bananas for our lunch/ tea.
Our 1st stop of the day was the Basilica of Saint Lawrence in Asheville. The architect was the renowned architect, Raphael Guastavino, who came to Asheville in 1900s to work on the Biltmore House. We went inside to admire the stunning decor. I took a photo & flapped around in my flip-flops whilst Jackie prayed. Our departure & that of a family of four was prematurely brought forward by the arrival of a Hobo who wanted to talk to everyone.
Next stop was the Large Iron, a Flat Iron sculpture outside The Flat Iron Building. It wasn’t as impressive as it should have been & it appeared to get used as an ideal surface to stick flyers to. Some bloke was peeling some off when we pulled up.
Asheville seemed a very nice town, possibly because it resembled a North European city complete with town squares & alfresco dining.
We drove on past the Biltmore Estate & back to the Blue Ridge Parkway. I drove to the Asheville Visitor Center on the BRP & handed over the reins to Jackie. Jackie then drove the next 79.6 miles to Line Cove Viaduct Information Center without much incident, just with impressive accuracy in finding all the potholes in the road!
This leg of the route took us past Craggy Gardens, Mount Mitchell State Park, Little Switzerland & Linville Falls. Most of this journey was through Pisgah Forest & we were hemmed in by trees on both sides of the road. There were the occasional look-outs, but just one or two we stopped at, because we had ambitiously planned to drive a total of 262.4 miles on the BRP at a maximum speed limit of 45mph & often 35mph.
At Line Cove Viaduct Info Center, I took over the driving & we passed Deep Gap, Benge Gap, Doughton Park, Cumberland Knob & crossed the State Line into Virginia before stopping at the Blue Ridge Music Center, which is run by the National Park Service. We arrived at 3.55pm & saw the last couple of minutes of a bluegrass band playing to an audience. They also had dancers jigging about. To the untrained ear, bluegrass music appears to be dominated by the banjo & it reminded us of that piece of music from Deliverance.
After looking at their collection of instruments, we continued on north up the BRP, passing Mount Airy, then stopping at Fancy Gap for some petrol. We then continued, passing Groundhog Mountain, Meadows of Dan, Mabry Mill, Rocky Knob, Tuggles Gap, before turning off at Roanoke. I had tried to speed up a bit on the last leg, but we encountered numerous deer in the road & one wild turkey. We didn’t want anymore dents!
We planned to stay in Tanglewood, just outside Roanoke, but we didn’t like the area & ended up driving another 20 kilometres to a little town called Daleville & checking into a (not so) Super 8. The receptionist informed us that we could get 10% off at the Mexican next door, which was a game changer for us.
The Mexican, Rancho Viejo, appeared to be busy, so we had a couple of beers in our room then went to the Mexican at 8:40pm. The only customers in the restaurant were 6 blokes who suddenly rushed out leaving virtually their whole dinners. It turned out there were the local on duty Fire Department team, who had presumably responded to a call. They returned to their dinner just as we were leaving.
The Mexican restaurant annoyed me because they were mopping everything down despite not closing until 10.00pm & they put us in a seat closest to the door, so I insisted on moving. This caused a bit of tension, but the food turned out to be ok & cheap. We got our discount, so I did leave a $5 tip.
Song of the Day - Duelling Banjos by Blueridge Mountain Bluegrass Band.Read more