Day 5

I started the morning with a good breakfast at the Peaks of Otter Lodge near the Campground. This resort is on a beautiful lake and has a great view of the mountains behind the Peaks of Otter Campground. Breakfast was good . I needed a good breakfast to finish the climb to the highest point on the Parkway in Virginia. The Lodge and campground are at about 2500 feet and, north of Peaks of Otter, the Parkway climbs another 1500 feet to almost 4000 feet before starting a long descent to run alongside the James River at 650 feet.

Midway in that 10 mile long descent I met yet another tourist. He had pulled over in a rest area. I stopped, we visited and I discovered her worked for BNR teaching graduate courses in telecommunications at the University of Toronto. I teach some of the same material to undergraduates and one of my former students works for BNR so we had a lot talk about. He provided a contrast to the first tourist I met. I think his loaded bike weighed almost as much as he did; well over 100 lbs, it looked nearer to 150. He was a very experienced tourist who was doing his first ride on the Parkway. Since I met him going up one of the worst hills on the entire Parkway, he was really suffering. He had flow into National Airport was riding to Atlanta using the Skyline Drive and the Parkway. He had also misjudged the difficulty of hauling such a heavy load up the approximately 12 miles of vertical that riding the Drive and the Parkway require. He was going to make it, but not on original schedule.

I stopped a James River for lunch and rode on towards the northern end of the Parkway. I rode on , and on , and on and, well, you get idea. It is about 35 miles from James River to Whetstone Ridge, the next place to eat. It is 35 miles of repeatedly climbing the same several hundred feet over and over and over again. Somewhere in the middle of this I was sitting at an overlook trying to get up enough energy to go climb some more hills when I guy pulled in on a Colnago. He wasn't carrying anything, but he was riding the Parkway North to South. I looked so bad he offered his sag vehicle for my use. I declined, but it was kind of him to offer. I looked, and felt, like I needed it, I was in bonk city, but I got back on my bike and made it to Whetsone Ridge for supper. Oh yeah, there was one other neat event on that segment: As I rode up yet another hill. I heard music. When I got near the top I found it was coming from a three piece band that was playing at a beautiful spot alongside the Parkway. Neat!

Supper was really good and really needed. After supper I continued on to the end of the Parkway and to a motel near Rockfish Gap. This was my longest Day on the Parkway at 96 miles and it was the hardest day of this tour. It was sunset as I reached Rockfish Gap. Here is a shot I took of the sun behind the clouds a few miles before Rockfish Gap.


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