Risk's Ultralight Hiking

The skills involved in setting up a light backpack serve well for both hiking and touring. Learning what is really necessary and then finding high quality gear that meets my honest needs leads to much less carried and more fun. I hope this journal is as much fun to read as it is to write.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Blue Ridge Trip - Day 1

Miles: 426
Begin in Beavercreek, OH
End Near Maggie Valley, NC
Weather: mix of sun and showers

This is a trip I have been looking forward to most of the winter. My plan is to drive the Blue Ridge Parkway. For several days beforehand, I have been looking at the weather patterns, and it looked like it was going to clear and beautiful on the southern end of the Blue Ridge Parkway by mid-week. Here it is Wednesday, and I have the opportunity to get out of Dodge for several days.

I started at 830, filling my gas tank in Beavercreek. My route proceeded south on US 68. I stopped at Mt. Orab for coffee and for a breakfast burrito in Ripley, OH. At 1120, I filled the tank in Paris KY, having gotten 127 miles out of the tank.

In Paris, I took KY 627 around Lexington. South of Paris, the road is flanked by beautiful rock walls and horse farms to the town of Winchester. South of Winchester, I stopped for a few minutes at Fort Boonesboro. The river valley is very pretty here, but there is not much more than an water park to recommend the stop. I had been reading about Boonesboro since I was a child and had never been here. I must admit to a little deflation at finally arriving.

Next came Richmond, KY where I took US 25 south. I had to stop for a moment at a police check point (drugs? alcohol?) and reached New Liberty, where my grandmother was raised.

I took I 75 to 25E. This road is a beautiful and not heavily traveled road that goes all the way to Newport TN. I filled the tank again at Newport and drove for 40 miles on I 40 to the Magee Valley turn off.

In Maggie Valley, I noticed that one of the small motels had a sign welcoming VROC. This is the Vulcan Riders and Owners Club, one of the Vulcan motorcycle groups on the internet. I stopped for a few minutes to say hello and then drove off to eat barbeque at a small diner. Unfortunately, I missed the motorcycle museum by 45 minutes.

I drove up from Magee Valley to the Blueridge Parkway and then north for a few miles to a turn-off picnic area (Orchard View) where I put my hammock up. The ranger kept driving by every hour or so for half the night, each time waking me with his car. He was probably trying to figure out where the motorcycle owner was.

Other than those interruptions, the night was nice and I got plenty of sleep.


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