Blue Ridge Parkway Tour Part I

It was hard. This bike tour was never once easy for me. Having only a small amount of commuting experience via bicycle before I was not exactly sure what I was getting into; ignorance is bliss as the old saying goes.

The first day was a slap in the face. It wasn’t like I was not warned, an information sign at the start of the parkway, proudly explained to Darwin and I, we were starting out on the steepest part of the parkway. I had to stop every half mile to just breathe. The reality of the obstacles the parkway presented me set heavy on my chest that night and stung my sore ass.

The next morning we saddled up and as soon as I started to pedal, my legs ached and my saddle turned into a hot poker. The training rides around my hometown and the short rides around Gatlinburg, TN were basically a waste of time. My inexperience and out of shape-ness were undeniable.

The first day in I started questioning if I could actually ride the full parkway. Darwin felt I could but did I? By day two I was considering already hopping off in Asheville, NC but the long-distance hiker in me told me “never quit on a bad day”, and so I kept pedaling, boosted by the energy of old friends from the AT (Cider) and new ones in Asheville (Einstein) not to mention a zero day spent with Joe and Kippy, wonderful couple who housed us while we waited out bad weather. Sharing stories, wine, dinner, and laughter with these two made it hard to leave them but gave me what I needed to keep going. I actually rode out of Asheville, back on the parkway. The day before, I thought I was toast.

The next couple of days of our tour were a roller coaster both physically in the terrain (ups and downs) and emotionally. I would bitch a lot and just when I felt like my sit bones were going to pop out, my legs were going to explode, or my lady parts were simply going to fall off, the parkway would provide an amazing view, a glimpse of grazing cows or deer, a fall pumpkin patch, a chance conversation with strangers that we would have never met otherwise, a fried apple pie, or the simplicity of a decent… a delicious downhill coast. The parkway like the trail, provided me just enough to keep me going.

Part II Of The BRP Tour Next Week! 

 

(Back On The Parkway with Einstein In Tow; Family Pic with Joe and Kippy)

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10 thoughts on “Blue Ridge Parkway Tour Part I

  1. I’m hoping the both of you will want to tour Route 66. I’m a Tulsa Warmshowers and have hosted several Route 66 bicycle tourists. My door will be open to you.

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  2. But I don’t want to wait until next week to read the second episode.
    You two should be so proud of yourselves. Especially you Snuggles, that was not an easy feat you just accomplished. Now that husband of yours, Darwin, is cut out of a whole different mold of humans. By now we kind of expect superhuman things from him.
    Anxiously awaiting future diary posts. You certainly write in a way that makes your readers feel like they are there.

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  3. Great job to both of you! I am glad you and your butt survived to tell the tale! And good for you Darwin to know when to push Snuggles and when to let up. That is always a delicate balancing act. You both are inspirations to us all.

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