I felt like I was missing out last weekend at the RDV. I set off this morning in search of Ponderosa.
The top of Old 421.
I proceeded to Trade, TN, where I took 67/88. NC 88 is a nice road along the North Fork of the New River. Three Top Mountain is an impressive topographical feature that changes character as you go by it.
I jumped on NC 194 and headed into Lansing, where I made a left onto Big Horse Creek. I didn't have a DeLorme's page with me, just a New River Blueway map with most of the road designations left off. I got a bit lost in here, but I can connect Farmer's Store to Big Laurel via Flatwoods. Beautiful country.
All indications were that Rock Fence was my ticket to Ponderosa.
P.S. Joines is a fun road.
I made a move that obviously many others make even though I probably shouldn't have. The steep grade and broken rock also indicated a turn around, but I'm a little slow on the uptake.
I pulled into the driveway of what I thought was the house I was looking for, but there was a car in the driveway, and all of the windows were open. Whoops. Nevertheless, I ended up in a really cool place.
The structure on the top of the bald to the left in the photo above is a hangar for an aircraft, and the landing strip (plainly visible in the photo) has about a 15% grade. Takeoffs I can see, but landing?
Would you do those uphill or downhill?
In spite of the fact that I'm on what seems to be a well defined ridge and I keep heading to the "north" trying to punch into VA, I ended up back at the hangar.
At least I wasn't lost any more. All of this was Christmas tree farms with crisscrossing farm roads.
Let's get out of here before someone chases us. So I gave in and went back to Farmer's Store and over to Whitetop Station. Bumper to bumper traffic on the Virginia Creeper today.
I always wanted to check out SR 600 from US 58 to Konnarock. It's as good as you would expect it. Short side trip to the top of Whitetop Mountain.
Honeybees were lighting on the porch and climbing into the cave.
I rolled down through Konnarock and into Damascus. Some nice people let me by on 58 for a clean run into town. Thanks! The Dairy Bar was closed. Double cheesburger: DENIED. Quincey's serves up a nice toasted hoagie.
I made some attempts to find a path up from Laurel Bloomery, but I was getting tired. I went through Mountain City and over 167/Big Laurel to NC 88 again.
Old 421 to Mast Gap and up NC 194 to Banner Elk. Hickory Nut Gap to Newland to Old Jonas Ridge.
It was hot at the bottom of the mountain.