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I was fortunate enough to be able to drive the entire Blue Ridge Parkway this past weekend, from it's beginning point in Virginia all the way to the end in Cherokee, NC. It has been many years since I've driven the whole length, and this was truly a trip to remember.

My wife was participating on a team running the Blue Ridge Relay Run (12 people running 208 miles from Mt. Rogers, VA to Asheville, NC over 36 stages!) and so I took the opportunity to drive the Parkway while she was running and met the team at the finish line in Asheville.

For those who have never been, the Parkway is an amazing and unique National Park, consisting of 469 miles of twisting roadway cut through and along the crest of the Blue Ridge Mountains in VA and NC. The speed limit is 45 mph (and speeding is a Federal offense!), but the Parkway is not about speed - it's about beauty. And besides, the occasional "romp" to 50 mph can make the driving more than a little fun!

I started my drive first thing on Friday morning, beginning at Rockfish Gap, VA and my drive took me to many points along the way to see the sights, eat some great food, and generally enjoy the amazing weather, scenery, and driving oppportunities. (The high of 67 meant it was windows down cruising weather the whole trip, which was a great bonus after our summer heat in Raleigh.)

My Cayman splits the rocks!

A typical beautiful view:

Mabry Mill:

Linn Cove Viaduct:

I ended my first day in Little Switzerland (Mile Post 335) and stayed at a great little funky spot called the Alpine Inn. The Inn is tacked to the top of a cliff resulting in amazing views, but if you fall off the back balcony it's about 150 feet before you'll hit anything!

Alpine Inn (spot the CS!):

Sunrise from the deck:

From the Inn, my first stop was a trip up Mount Mitchell, the highest point east of the Mississippi.

Fog in the valley below:

Devils Courthouse:

Richland Balsam (highest point on the Parkway):

Waterrock Knob:

I have to say again the weather was spectacular and the scenery as pretty as I've ever seen it on the Parkway.

The combination of the clean mountain air, the sound of the flat six, and the feel of the wheel through the many twists and turns is something I'll always remember.

I highly encourage everyone to take a drive there some time. It is worth the effort!

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