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Old 09-07-2011, 08:05 PM   #78
Fast Ferris OP
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Joined: Feb 2007
Location: BRP /\ USA
Oddometer: 3,726
Coloring Outside The Lines Ride, or "Goodnight Irene"

Donnie, while you and Teresa were hiding from Hurricane Irene and ADV'ing your way into Burke's Garden, I snuck away from my chores for a couple hours and moseyed down the Parkway to see first-hand why it's closed* just a tick south of the Virginia/North Carolina border. (Yeah, I coulda got online and found out in a couple of mouse clicks, but where's the fun in that?!?)

From the north the Park Service is shunting people off onto NC 21 to Sparta, then south on 18, and ultimately returning to the Parkway at Laurel Springs. That's 28 miles of detour for less than five miles of Parkway construction.

However, the Parkway isn't "physically" closed at Highway 21, just a whole bunch of day-glo orange signs "saying" it is, and one sign in particular caught me eye, advising that the Parkway ahead was, in fact, open, but to local traffic only.

Well heck, I'm local.

By and by I came to where the Parkway IS physically closed (several barricades and a locked gate), at Milepost 232 at the Stone Mountain Overlook, but from this vantage point I STILL couldn't see what the fuss is about.

About this time a bicyclist came peddling up, lots of luggage and obviously on tour. He slowed down just long enough to dismount, pull his bike under the gate, climb aboard and slip silently away.

Geez, wish I could do that.

In my best MacGyver, in about two minutes I was on the "wrong" side of the gate, too, and going where no motorcyclist is supposed to go.

Coloring outside the lines, as it were. Shhhhhhhhhhhhh……………………………

We hope you enjoy the photos.

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*From http://www.nps.gov/blri/planyourvisit/roadclosures.htm :

"The Blue Ridge Parkway will be closed to all traffic from Milepost 232 at Stone Mountain Overlook to Milepost 237 at Air Bellows Gap beginning July 15, 2011 and continuing until the summer of 2012. This closure is due to the reconstruction of the Parkway's 32,000 linear feet of historic rock masonry walls in that section. Detour traffic signage will direct Parkway visitors around the closed area via US Highway 21 and NC Route 18 through Laurel Springs and Sparta."

Detour map (PDF): http://www.nps.gov/blri/planyourvisi...ummer-2012.pdf
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