June 2007: My mom joined me for the northbound part of this trip and that was super special. We did so much in such a short period of time, but I still don’t feel like I saw enough of it and would be glad to repeat this trip.
Thanks to Goodyear for helping to sponsor this trip by providing new RV tires for my motorhome. Click here for more info and why I stuck with Goodyear.
My time on the Parkway remains one of my very favorite memories of all time. Maybe that’s because of the sentimental value of my mom being with me. Even though this wasn’t her first RV trip with me, she was still as excited as a 6 year old about to meet Santa Claus.
So in reliving this trip of a lifetime 10 years later, I’ve had moments of crying both tears of joy and sadness. Joy because we really made the most of this trip. Sadness since it turned out to be the last trip mom was able to do with me.
We were determined to see every single milepost, so whenever we left the Parkway, we came right back to where we left off so we have full bragging rights of all 469 miles. You would think allowing a little over a month to drive that distance would be enough. But besides the plenty-good-enough beauty of the Parkway itself, there are so many attractions to be found right off the road that we quickly found out we could probably double the time and still miss out on neat stuff to do.
2007 Memories of the Blue Ridge Parkway:
June 19, 2007: What a trippy trip this was! These 469 miles of scenic parkway run between two incredible national parks (Great Smoky Mountains in NC and Shenandoah in VA).
Just being on the small two lane roads of the Parkway made me happy to go slow and savor every twist and bend of the road. So I’m glad that they make a slow pace mandatory with a maximum speed limit of 45 mph and slower.
There are over 200 scenic pulloffs, most of them plenty big enough for a motorhome towing a car, so I took advantage of almost every one of them. I took hundreds of pictures trying to capture the immense beauty and subtle shades of blues of the mountains, but that is pretty much impossible. There were times it just felt surreal, the vastness and beauty was so overwhelming to the senses.
With roads and views such as these to gawk at, a month was not long enough!
There are so many pulloffs with amazing views – some with weird names. We thought this one appropriate for us both to pose with. This was about 7 miles from the very beginning of the Parkway.
I wanted to experience the Parkway in two seasons, so what we did was head north in the summer, ending up with a tour of Skyline Drive in Virginia. This took about 5 weeks, then my mom flew back to Austin. I spent a couple of months working temp jobs around Charlottesville and exploring Shenandoah National Park. I then headed south on the Parkway again in time to catch the fall colors.
Early in the summer, we came across cool colors of beautifully flowering bushes of rhododendron and mountain laurel alongside the road and in the campgrounds.
But I must say, the brilliant multi-colors of fall was my favorite time on the Parkway. The trees were absolutely breathtaking in places and I took lots of pictures of my motorhome all decorated by them.
Here’s where we began to meet up with clouds crossing the road. It was a surreal trip to drive through that cool mist. We opened the windows and stuck our hands out and pretended we were flying through the clouds!
This picture of us at Mabry Mill was used in an article my friend, Julianne Crane, did for the Spokesman-Review: “Mom, Daughter Tackle Blue Ridge.”
Even Earlier Memories of the Blue Ridge Parkway:
It took me 6 years to get back from the very first time I saw the Blue Ridge Parkway. The first glimpse I had of it was during my first year of fulltime RVing in 2001 when I was still traveling alongside my best friend, Don. During that time, we drove just a tiny bit of the Parkway and I remember being absolutely amazed that the distant mountain ranges really did look blue!
I vowed then that I would drive the entire length and see every single milepost in my motorhome. I’m happy to say I fulfilled that promise to myself and it’s fun going through all these old memories.
Here I am in December, 2001 — a lot younger, less experienced and in awe of what I was blessed to see. I was a total newbie at seeing mountains then and I’ve seen many more since, but I never tire of them. I may be better traveled now, but I’m still just as eager to explore today even with the many more aching joints that I now have!
With my motorhome being 7 years old at that point, I knew I was due for new tires and that I wouldn’t feel safe on the mountainous roads of the Parkway without replacing them. I had been extremely satisfied with my Goodyear RV tires since 2001 and when I contacted them, they agreed to sponsor my Blue Ridge Parkway trip! They arranged for me to have another set installed at a Wingfoot commercial tire location near Savannah – appreciate that, Goodyear! It’s also nice to know that Wingfoot has emergency service outlets across the country on call 24 hours so I’ll never be stranded without help. See this full page I did about why I stuck with Goodyear, why other RVers agree, and more info and tips about RV tire safety and maintenance.
Let’s go – 400s milepost range attractions & campgrounds