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Old 01-16-2006, 10:57 AM   #1
PhilSpace OP
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Fewer Visit the Blue Ridge Parkway

Best news I have heard, great way to start the new year out.

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Officials worry high gas prices may be part to blame for a drop in the number of visitors to the Blue Ridge Parkway in 2005.

It's the third consecutive year the 70-year-old scenic road's popularity declined.

Winding over 400 miles through Virginia and North Carolina, the road is a source of lifeblood for the communities along the Blue Ridge, which count on parkway tourists for money.

Numbers released Jan. 8 show about 18.67 million people drove along the road in 2005. It marks a 6.3 percent decline from 2004, which saw 19.94 million visitors.

National Park Service officials offered a handful of potential reasons.

Wayne Strickland, executive director of the Roanoke Valley-Alleghany Regional Commission, a planning district that embraces various communities along the parkway, pointed squarely to rising gas prices.

"Instead of driving to a place and hanging out, you have to drive the parkway," Strickland said. "It's a driving experience. It has to do with the price of gas."

He didn't rule out tourist perceptions of the parkway as less than scenic. Or the notion that for Generation Now, driving for driving's sake may have little appeal.

"The parkway may not appeal to the younger folks," Strickland said. "The baby boomers enjoyed it. The younger generation, they like to be entertained."

But Park Service spokesman Phil Noblitt wondered if something more sweeping wasn't underway. He feared years of homebuilding near the two-lane blacktop, along with air pollution, may have finally taken a toll.

"Is this some sort of canary in the coal mine?" asked Park Service spokesman Phil Noblitt, referring to the steady drop in visitors. "We're mildly concerned."
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Old 01-16-2006, 11:30 AM   #2
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Well, I bet the number of rangers running RADAR is the same. So, the number of rangers to speeders has increased.



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Old 01-16-2006, 11:30 AM   #3
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Hooray! I looooooves me some BRP.
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Old 01-16-2006, 12:01 PM   #4
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Yikes, thats still 50,000 people a day. And I'm sure they aren't evenly spread like that. Weekends in the nice weather must be packed.
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Old 01-16-2006, 12:08 PM   #5
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That is good news! I made my first trip to the BRP last November, it was totally deserted on the Southern end - sweet. I will be heading back there in 2006 for sure, it is a nice piece of asphalt.
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Old 01-16-2006, 12:49 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Barry
Well, I bet the number of rangers running RADAR is the same. So, the number of rangers to speeders has increased.



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Old 01-16-2006, 12:54 PM   #7
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Yea.. I agree with Barry. It's heavily radar enforced and the cops use the instant on equipement so your Valentine's are pretty much useless. Add to that a lot of sloooow moving traffic and it's a pretty boring ride. Better using other roads in the same area. Now the Dragon is a different story completly..... love that ride.
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Old 01-16-2006, 01:12 PM   #8
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The parkway itself is a great ride but there are some really good rides on roads that run into the parkway. Some of the side roads are dirt and make great dual sport riding. I know of two around the Linville, NC area and have seen others but haven't had a chance to explore them yet.
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Old 01-16-2006, 02:00 PM   #9
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6 of us were riding along the Blue Rinse Parkway last year, escorted in front by a Lady Ranger in a burban, doing about 60ish......
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Old 01-16-2006, 02:06 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rusty Rocket
Yikes, Weekends in the nice weather must be packed.
Doing the BRP on a weekend except at the "ends" of the season is as appealing as root canal.
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Old 01-16-2006, 05:33 PM   #11
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Weekdays Only

I run the BRP on the weekdays only. Although my 86 in a 45 ticket proves the radar works just fine anytime of the week.
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Old 01-16-2006, 06:19 PM   #12
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When I lived in Roanoke, we'd use the Parkway as a connector between the "good roads" in the area. We routinely maintained 65-75 mph. Never got a ticket... on the Parkway at least. In the summer of 2000, a buddy and I bought RC51s and averaged 82 mph all the way back from Asheville with lots of 110+ bursts on the straightaways. Looking back, I guess we were lucky. I sure as hell wouldn't do that now.
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Old 01-16-2006, 08:29 PM   #13
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Speaking of the BPR, has anyone ever done a SS1000 using this road, with the 'contained' speeds. I wonder if it'd be decent alternative to a standard superslab SS1000.
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Old 01-16-2006, 09:03 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eap
Speaking of the BPR, has anyone ever done a SS1000 using this road, with the 'contained' speeds. I wonder if it'd be decent alternative to a standard superslab SS1000.
You'd have to get the timing exactly right. Parts of it have been shut down for months at a time due to slides and such. You'd also have to manage to get semi lucky on traffic enforcement. Last I heard the minimum fine was $500 and if they felt it was agressive driving or a couple other things it could easily be $1k

As much as I love riding it, I tend to avoid most of it now.
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Old 01-17-2006, 06:41 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fullmonte
When I lived in Roanoke, we'd use the Parkway as a connector between the "good roads" in the area. We routinely maintained 65-75 mph. Never got a ticket... on the Parkway at least. In the summer of 2000, a buddy and I bought RC51s and averaged 82 mph all the way back from Asheville with lots of 110+ bursts on the straightaways. Looking back, I guess we were lucky. I sure as hell wouldn't do that now.
Daaamn Monte! Now I know I'll be way in the back If I ride with YOU!

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