We depart the Mayberry Motor Inn and head to the Blue Ridge Parkway, joining it just a couple hundred feet south of Virginia. The BRP will be our primary route today, though we do take a couple of detours.
The road itself is perfect, with very little traffic. No potholes, heaves, or even gravel from the shoulder, as the grass comes up right to the road.
The scenery is even better.
Our first detour brings us off the BRP near Blowing Rock, where we discover Shull’s Mill Road. Tight, twisty, and technical, this 2-lane – well, 1 1/2 lanes for a good portion of it – was, perhaps, my favorite road of the trip. This, despite being lined with homes, and their driveways spilling gravel out.
We made it down and stopped for gas.
Our next destination was the Land of Oz amusement park near Banner Elk. We did not quite make it there. What appeared to us to be the only way up was a fairly steep gravel road. After some discussion, Evil Twin decided we could make it up that. Further discussion led to us not going, as we’d also need to make it back down.
After lunch, we headed back to the BRP.
Our next detour was in Little Switzerland. We headed down the Diamondback 226A route, and back up to the parkway via the Devil’s Whip (Route 80). The latter road would have been much better if it hadn’t been for the Prius crawling so slowly through the hairpins that in one, I almost stalled. In first gear.
Along the way, we saw some vehicles of questionable road-worthiness, and at one point I looked in my mirror and Evil Twin was gone! Disappeared 500 miles from home! Even though I’d stopped, he wasn’t showing up. After 2-3 minutes, I turned back to look for him, and found him in a pull-off, where he’d gone to deal with a bee down his collar. Whew.
Once back on the Blue Ridge, we continued to Asheville, where we had a completely uneventful stay.