No riding today. We ended up climbing at a secret place near Table Rock. Probably the best choice considering how my tendon was feeling. Lots of fun until we got boomed off by some really close lightening. It would not have been a real trip to the mountains of NC without a little lightening. We ended up coming back in the afternoon to finish the route we had started which was super fun.
The day ended with a big dinner at a Mexican restaurant and a few beers. Ahh, the good life.
So day 9 did not work out to be such a great day. Our plan was to head out of camp early and make it to Boone to meet up with the owner of Boone Bike and Touring my old friend Shaw and his wife Sarah. The problem was Bill was feeling a little under the weather so we ended up leaving late and riding slow. By lunch time we worried we would not make it to Boone and were thinking about just finding a place to camp. Lucky for us the resturant we stopped in had WiFi so we connected and sent a message to Shaw looking for suggestions. He was busy and said he would respond later so we headed back out on the road thinking we would not get his response. After a few hours of riding the response came in the form of Sarah driving on the Parkway and saving us the last 10 to 15 miles into Boone. Looking back, I think we would have made it but as luck would have it, Sarah saved us right before it started to rain and got us to there house in time to clean up and have a great dinner.
Thanks Shaw and Sarah!!
And the drinks and the dinner party were the icing on the cake!
The best bike shop in Boone: http://www.boonebike.com/
Our route for the day: http://www.mapmyride.com/workout/1161791527
The day started out early with eggs and bagels in camp. We headed out on our bikes to find the Stone Mountain climbing area and few directions from the rangers we were ready to start climbing the classic Great Arch route. Since we were traveling by bike all this time we only brought a short 50 foot rope. I think the Great Arch is normally done in 3 or 4 pitches but we ended up having to do 9 pitches, with a little creativity on Bill’s part. I must say the climb was easy and fun and a great way to start the day.
We got down and back to our camp in time to have some lunch and take a siesta before heading out on our bikes. Our goal of Doughton Park Campground was not too far away but we had to do some serious climbing just to get back on the Blue Ridge Parkway.
Along the way we met Zak and Betty from Conway, Arkansas who were doing the parkway on their Harley. While talking to them we noticed a butterfly caught under the light of the motorcycle. We set it free and it flew around and landed on Betty’s hand. Since we were headed south, and at that time of the year the butterflies are also, we put it in Bill’s basket thinking it might want a ride for a few miles. As it turns out, it stayed with us all the way to our campground, spent the night in the basket and left the next morning right after breakfast.
Our route for the day: http://www.mapmyride.com/workout/1161779611
Day 5 or the 28th of August started in Roanoke with plans of making it to Rocky Knob, and we almost made it. The thing is that the climb turned out to be as hard as the day before, which we did not expect, and Tuggle Gap appeared as a beautiful oasis and perfect stopping point. We were both willing to keep on riding and it was only a few miles more but we would have had to camp and we did not have much food. Tuggle Gap on the other hand had a restaurant, hotel and just looked like the right place to stop. If ever do this ride again, I will make sure that I stop here again.
Link to map and additional info: http://www.mapmyride.com/workout/1161742359
Started the day off crossing the James River at the lowest part of the Parkway and headed up to the highest point on the Parkway in Virginia. This meant a long slow climb but it ended up being not so bad, well….. at least not so bad until we ran out of food. We had stopped several times on the climb to eat but at about 5 miles from our next food stop we ran out of food. This meant sugar low struggle to get to the Peaks of Otter lodge, which had a great restaurant and deli. When we arrived we attacked the deli first and then took a table at the restaurant. We spent too much and at too much but it felt good and tasted good.
After eating too much and a little rest we headed for Roanoke, which was mostly down hill. We arrived late in the day and there was a ton of traffic so instead of searching for a great campsite we just settled for camping off the road back in the woods. Other than some strange noises and a not very flat camping area the night was good.
As usual, you can check out a map of our route for the day and other information here: http://www.mapmyride.com/workout/1161670151
Day 1 was an all day climb from Front Royal to Big Meadows on Skyline Drive. We did not know it at the time but this would be our hardest day with over 50 miles of riding and 8000 feet of climbing. The day was hard but Bill was strong and had to push me along a few times. We were not managing our food in take very well and I kept bonking. At one point we were pretty much out of food and had no energy left but lucky for us at the bottom of the food box was a tube of agave and maple syrup. We downed it like some sort of power gel and it worked wonders to get us to our destination.
The weather was great minus a little rain that stopped right after we got our rain gear out. The heat and humidity had already soaked us, so the rain was nice.
We carried a lot of water but for the most part there were several good places to get it all along the way. The facilities on Skyline are great. The Blue Ridge Parkway also has nice facilities but they are much more spread out.
Our campsite at Big Meadows was wonderful. It had showers, laundry, bear boxes etc…. There is also a very nice lodge there. We saw a family of bears as we entered the area which was exciting. Also along the way we saw very tame deer on the side of the road and we had a small snake climb on to Bill’s wheel trying to escape the heat of the road.
All and all a good day but hard. Attached is a link to MapMyRide where you can see the details of ride on a map. The time it took and the exact mileage may be a little off. http://www.mapmyride.com/workout/1161642599
The first day of 2015 started with a little project and a hike. As I normally do I took my camera, but to make things fun, I only carried a 35mm DX lens attached to FX sensor camera with the camera set to monochrome. If all this DX FX stuff does not make any sense to you, basically it is referring to the sensor size, and using a DX lens on an FX camera means that most of the images, if not all, will have some strong vignetting. This was all part of the plan because I wanted the limitations set by the DX lens and the black and white camera setting to force me to see things differently.
Being New Years Day, I also wanted to simplify things and look at the world with a new perspective. This meant less gear, less images, and a free flowing photo hunt. Instead of taking several shots of the same subject to make sure it was perfect, I tried to only take one and to not focus too much on the storyline but on the images that caught my eye.
This little project was all about playing and helped to remind me why I like photography so much.
To see the rest of the images click on the photo!