Saturday, January 28, 2012

2012 Mid Winter Parkway Ride

     In keeping with my goal of spending more of 2012 being more recreational, I decided to add some photography entries to my blog. I spend a great deal of time running and cycling on the Blue Ridge Parkway, yet my experience is mostly documented with just numbers and statistics. The calling to venture outdoors and explore the world around me is a big part of why I do much of what I do, so I am going to do a few picture taking expeditions and document on my blog.

     This first one did not go exactly as planned. My SD card became corrupted and I lost about 15 pictures and 1 video. I may be able to recover them later, but for now here is what I got. <update> I got some free software off the web, Zero Assumption Recovery, and was able to recovery 80% of my lost photography!
Starting out at my door step.
Map of my route.

This is the overpass above Rainbow Forest Dr. I start timing almost all my running and cycling workouts at this location 2/10ths of a mile north of milepost 105. It is about 1/2 mile from my house which is a good warm up distance before doing the high intensity stuff.
Short video of the 2nd half of the 1st mile as I am approaching the intersection with 460. Favorite fact about this particular mile is that it is the site of my fastest self timed 1-mile run. It has about 200-300ft of elevation loss and I knocked it out once in 5:35.
Coyner Mountain Overlook a few feet south of milepost 107.

Cow field.
Cow fields are the typical scenery from mile post 107 to 109
Way off in the background is the Bonsack Lowes and Walmart.
I just like this shot. No earthly idea why.
 The 2nd overlook I get to heading south is this view of Read Mountain which is just south of milepost 109. This is the turn around point for my 20 mile Overlook to Overlook Time Trial route.
 Continuing south from the view of Read Mountain is about a mile or so of thick tree cover followed by horse pasture land. The horses were out today.

 Easily the best scenery on the route is here at the bridge over the Roanoke River.

 Right after crossing the bridge is a nice overlook with benches to sit at and a trail down to the river. I took a few pictures there, but they were unrecoverable. Immediately past that overlook is this sign indicating the entrance to Explore Park, a favorite trail running site of mine. I'm continuing straight for now, but I will swing by Explore Park on my way back.
 Many cyclist were out today. I counted 7 in all, 8 including myself. Most vehicles are very mindful of us slower moving cycling types as indicated by the picture below.

 There are two overpasses in the 4 miles south of Explore Park. I photographed both, but the first one was unrecoverable. Straight ahead and to the left on the Horizon is Roanoke Mountain.

 That is Yellow Mountain Rd. below me and my turn around point for my ride today. At this point I have gone just over 14 miles south which places me about 1/4 mile past mile post 118.
 Small streams of water litter the landscape all along the parkway. Many of 'em dry up during periods of little to no rain.
 Approaching Explore Park from the South this time.
Look Ma! No Hands!

 Heading down the steep hill into Explore Park is always a blast! The video doesn't do it justice. I can usually get above 40 mph heading down the hill!
 This is a big landmark for me. The sign in the background marks the start of the 8/10ths mile beginner trail, where I go to run trail laps. I always start at the shown rock and circle it for each lap. When cycling, I do my dedicated Parkway/Explore Park 1/4 century ride and this is my turn around point after crossing the yellow speed bump.
 After exiting Explore Park, there is a nice parking area on the right. Pictured above is the sign and pictured below is the scenery at the back of the parking lot.

Another shot of the Roanoke River. This time on the opposite side of the bridge.

My bike enjoys reading these parkway signs (above). It also likes to hide behind the signs and watch cars (below). These are taken at the Roanoke Basin Overlook across from mile post 113.

Intersection with rt 24
Rangers station across from mile post 112.
Part of the Stewarts Knob trail that runs from the Stewarts Knob overlook to the Rangers Station.
Stewarts Knob parking lot sign (above) and trail head (below).

Glade Creek bridge from the south.

Mile post 107
Seeing the N&W Railroad overlook means I'm almost home!
Approaching the 460 intersection from the south.
The Peaks of Otter is just a 20 mile ride from my house! I really should ride their more often.
Thats mile post 105 in the upper right. The green paint is the chalk outline of a dead body and the red flower was placed there in memorial. I don't have any other details. When it first appeared a few months ago I asked a park ranger if it was legit and he said it was.
Almost finished. Just gotta get past this creepy looking tree and I'll be back where I started almost 2 1/2 hour ago.
Elevation Profile


  1. Trying to find info on name of community viewed from N&W Overlook at mile marker 107, can you help? - Kerry