Setting out - Up The Parkways - CycleBlaze

May 15, 2013

Setting out

Hitching the Hickory Hop to Blowing Rock

We set out today (actually, our flight left yesterday, at 11:59 PM) to cycle a region that's been on my radar for over 35 years - the Blue Ridge Parkway.  Back in my college years I almost took this trip one Spring until I realized it might be still snowbound in places in late April and instead set off west from Indiana to bike home to Seattle.  I've always regretted missing it though - I spent the best part of my childhood in West Virginia, and have long wanted to spend some quality time in the environment I recall from my youth.

This is a less ambitious tour than some we've taken, because we only have a few weeks free this Spring.  The trip we've mapped out starts in Charlotte, NC, and ends in New York City.  It is primarily cycling, with public transportation assists at both ends.  On the front end, we fly in to Charlotte and catch the Hickory Hop shuttle (great name, that) up to Blowing Rock (another one - it's a terrific region for colorful handles) on the parkway.  At the back end, we'll stop cycling in Camden, NJ and catch the suburban trains to Manhattan and our flight home.

The rough makeup of our planned itinerary:
    a week on the BRP
    2 days cycling Skyline Drive in Shenandoah National Park
    a week cycling northward through the low country to Lancaster PA
    eastward to Camden
    3 nights in NYC to enjoy Broadway and some urban cycling.

Our equipment list is small and light.  We travel on Bike Fridays, and stuff everything into rear panniers.  We stay in B&Bs, inns, and motels, and get by with the minimal gear needed for a trip like this with its unpredictable weather: 3 biking outfits, raingear, basic tools, ipads, camera, and so on.  We navigate along an itinerary preloaded onto our handlebar mounted Garmin 360s.  We also brought along city wear so they'll let us into the theater when we hit Broadway, but we've mailed it forward from Blowing Rock to our final destination along with the suitcases.

The Hickory Hop made a great way for us to get from the airport to the parkway. And, it's very chic.
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She's off! And, as we can clearly see, she's heading the right way.
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