Monday, July 5, 2010

Blue Ridge Parkway Trip Wrap-up

Well, Ty and I made it back to Evansville late Saturday evening.  The antibiotic was doing its job, so Ty was not suffering a lot.  That was a big relief.  We spent much of the drive talking about our experiences, which were very different, but both equally exciting.  He saw and touched a lot of body parts!

I finished up the week by having a quick paced run in the Moses H. Cone Park.  Cone and his brother entered the textile industry and created a little denim company in the mid-1800's.  They became wealthy by becoming one of the largest denim suppliers in the world.  They have supplied most of the denim to Levi's for more than a century - so the Cone family is still collecting wealth from Moses' efforts.


Cone Manor

Old Orchard Road

Cone Apple Barn

Manor From Near Apple Barn

Manor (center) from Bass Lake

Moses built a mansion on the top of Flat Top mountain not too far from his factory.  He owned thousands of acres on that mountain.  In 1952 his family gave over 3500 acres of that land, including the mansion and apple orchards, to the government.  That land is now the Moses H. Cone Memorial Park.  It straddles the BRP which rides the ridge that goes over Flat Top mountain.  Twenty-seven miles of old property roads are still being maintained.  Many of those roads used to travel among the apple orchards, but now the orchards are gone.  Interestingly, the Cone family aided in the development of the mountain forests by planting thousands of indigenous trees all over the mountain in places they wanted them to grow.  The roads are lined with Eastern hemlock, rosebay and Catawba rhododendron, mountain laurel, and serviceberry.  Most of the runners and walkers I encountered were locals who enjoy traveling through this forest on a regular basis.  I must admit that I am a bit envious.

I ran about 7 miles on those gravel roads.  Me and a lot of other people.  Apparently, a lot of people use the park for running, walking, fishing on Bass Lake, and picnicking.  There were probably more than a thousand people on the property, mostly near the lake, on Saturday morning.  I chose to run down from the mansion to the lake and back up in a challenging loop.  I pushed the pace and was happy to find my legs are recovering nicely from the big run and ride early in the week.

Then I climbed on Bruiser for a short push along the same section of BRP I started with on Monday.  Keeping with my own tradition, I pushed hard on this day in recognition of the TdF prologue.  Pushing down the first descent allowed me to get up to 56 mph before I caught a line of cars and had to hit the brakes.  The climb back up had to wait for an auto crash, but it was a strong effort on a steep section of road.

So, the week looked like this:  110 bike miles with over 8000 ft of climbing - 42 run miles with over 8000 ft of climbing - 187 miles of BRP explored - 7 breweries toured - 2 wineries tasted - 5 Panera meals - 100+ new friends.

More BRP Pictures.


Awesome trip all around.  It was fun to get on the road.  And it was exciting to be exploring the Appalachians for the first time in several years.  I've spent a several hundred days exploring those mountains during the last two decades and I don't think I can ever tire of it.

Now it is time get ready for the big trip to CO.

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