I was very glad to see when I woke up in Charlottesville that Irene was gone, the sky was a clear blue and the air was dry for my next day’s journey.
I’m just going to be upfront here and tell you that I absolutely, positively fell in love with the Blue Ridge Parkway 11 years ago today. As I wrote in my journal, “It’s very hard to pay attention to your driving when your jaw keeps hitting the steering wheel. … [It’s] every bit as beautiful as Vermont Route 100, which I didn’t think was surpassable. Every corner a new vista. Every rise a new view.”
I took an awful lot of pictures this day, too. I won’t show them all to you, but here are a few.
The reconstructed mountain farm at Humpback Rocks
The “I never did find out why it’s called Greenstone” Overlook
At one of the many pullouts
Technicolored sheep’s fur at another pullout
Ever since I was a kid, evergreen trees have appeared to me to have straight ‘hair,’ and deciduous trees to have curly ‘hair.’ If that’s any sort of an explanation of my description, which it probably isn’t. But that’s what those flaming, rolling hills looked like to me.
I stopped for lunch at Otter Creek, and at the James River, the lowest point on the Parkway at 649 feet, to view an antique lock:
When I reached the city of Roanoke, I went in search of a library to do email, and a restaurant for supper, then I decided to go back and camp, for what turned out to be the last time on this trip, at the Roanoke Mountain campground. It wasn’t the cold that stopped me from camping from here on in. It was barely chilly in the Virginia hills, especially compared to the hard frosts at Yellowstone, Devil’s Tower and northern Michigan, and the snow in Vermont. And I’d be heading even further south before I headed north again on the west coast. But it was getting dark so early these days — by seven in the evening. It made for a long night with only a fluorescent lantern for company.
But it was a lovely evening, anyway. And I had more gorgeousness to look forward to tomorrow.