Having gone to bed with the sun, I got up with the sun, broke camp, and was on the road early. I was heading towards the Tuggle Gap Restaurant for breakfast. It is only two miles down the road, but before I got there I met my third tourist. This was a fellow from Tampa doing his first tour of the Parkway. He had spent the night at the Tuggle Gap Motel and also gotten an early start. As a flatlander he was finding the Parkway challenging. He had started from Front Royal and had been passed by the tourists I met the day before.
After a good breakfast, I rode on north. This part of the Parkway is gentle riding compared to the parts farther south and farther north. Moreover, rom Rocky Gap to Roanoke the Parkway drops over 2000 feet and the route is mostly downhill or flat with only a few hills to climb. The descent into Roanoke is quite spectacular. I got off in Roanoke on highway 220 north for lunch. It turned out that there was a good place to eat immediately next to the Parkway, but I didn't see it as I exited, so I rode half a mile or so looking and another half a mile back. It was not fun. I was run off the road by a large truck and damaged my left front pannier. This is not a good road for bicycles!
After lunch it was a long ride through Roanoke. The most interesting part of this ride was the cicadas - I thought some strange kind of alarm system was going off, but I was just riding though an area where the cicadas had come out. I also enjoyed watching a train on a track that ran nearby. This was pretty urban Parkway riding and it lasted for quite a while.
Leaving the Roanoke urban area, the Parkway climbs onto a ridge where it and the Appalachian trial both run along the top. I found this to be a hard climb, but views from the ridge, in both directions, were great. This little path leads to the Appalachian trail about 20 yards away from the Parkway.
After the ridge, the Parkway descends and then climbs for the last five miles before the Peaks of Otter Campground. This is a hard climb to do at the end of a long days ride, but the campground is great and there are lots of services available.
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