I started the day badly under dreary skies, with cool temps, and a very sore left leg. I almost didn't ride today, but decided that I could stop a milepost 269 (a restaurant -where I ate lunch - and motel) or milepost 260 (Glendale Springs - a nice little town) if things were too bad. Fortunately I was able to make my planned destination, a B+B between mileposts 232 and 231. This is just a mile or so from where NC Bike 4 leaves the Parkway and that is where I leave the Parkway tomorrow.
Today's ride was wet (rain for several hours), cold (average temp about 55 F), painful (my leg), but still a pretty good day. It was improved by a German woman who was 'riding some hills' in preparation for an Ironman Completion in Germany. It was also improved by the two deer I saw today, even the one I almost hit as it darted across the road. The flowers along the road - mostly Azaleas and Rhododendron -were also nice, especially in the northern part of the ride.
The Parkway has rolling medium size hills (you climb the same 200 feet over and over again ...) for the first part of this ride, then the hills get bigger and the Parkway gets prettier, then there is a remarkably flat agricultural region followed by a pretty good climb into Doughton Park. The last section. actually in the park, was especially pretty, although still cold and wet, part of today's ride.
I met one other group of bicycle tourists at the restaurant in Doughton Park. There were three riders; a couple on Santana tandem and a guy on a Trek touring bike. They had started from Linville Falls, ridden up the Parkway for several days, and were now heading back.
When I got to the B+B, no one other than a very large, very friendly, dog was home. I didn't have a reservation so I wasn't expected and they had (have) no other customers tonight. Half an hour later the owners showed up and, after cleaning up, I had a great meal (trout) and a good conversation with them and some friends of theirs. It is now 11 PM (I got here at 5:15 and went to supper at 7:30) and I just got back from supper. I highly recommend this place for excellent food, good company, and beautiful surroundings. It is also reasonably priced.