Share the journey — read the Blue Ridge Parkway Ride blog series.
Come spring I’m setting out on an entirely new type of travel endeavor. No passport required, no visits to ancient cathedrals or behemoth chateaus will take place (unless we hit Biltmore), and no dining will involve escargots or coquille St. Jacques. I’ll see (and hear and smell and taste) nearly 600 miles of a blue ribbon winding its way through Appalachian history, blossom-strewn green vistas and foggy mountain tops.
There will be no eight-hour flight to start this trip. Instead I’ll sit in a space smaller than a coach seat — in the open air — for 500 miles. And my usual travel partner? Well, Brian will see me off as I set out with my dad, motorcycle pointed at Front Royal Virgina where we’ll start our trip on the Skyline Drive.
After my dad read about things a travel partner should know about me a few months ago, he rescinded the offer to go out West with him and his buddies, and instead proposed a trip with just the two of us to somewhere neither of us have been — the Blue Ridge Parkway. The last time I traveled with my dad was on our family vacation to Myrtle Beach in 1995. The longest stretch I’ve spent on the motorcycle is about two hours. Without a second thought I answered yes.
Then I started learning things. I’m given to understand I must wear a great deal of leather. My mom will provide me with my own pair of leather chaps — they offer warmth (and another layer of protection though I try not to think about that part). I have a leather jacket, but I’m not sure if it will fit over the heated jacket I’m borrowing from my mom. I’m also to wear leather boots though I’m not sure why — maybe to complete the biker ensemble?
I learned we ride in the rain. There are special garments for use in this case, referred to as “frog-togs.” I learned we start early, and have been shown all the secret compartments where my dad (and I) can store cheese and crackers, a water bottle, a bandana. I also learned my dad will go along with some of my rules. Mainly no fast food, and stops for photos whenever requested.
I look forward to exploring the Blue Ridge Parkway, known to be one of the most beautiful drives in the country, and to riding the Tail of the Dragon (318 curves in 11 miles) to cap off the trip. But I have to say, what a blast it’ll be to just cruise along on the great big motorcycle with my dad, listening to 60s rock and waving the secret cool wave (which I know!) at the other bikers.