To Big Meadows - Up The Parkways - CycleBlaze

May 23, 2013

To Big Meadows

Dodging the black bears of Skyline Drive; or, where's my beer, Scene 3

Today's ride was another candidate for the best day of the trip.  Beginning in Waynesboro, we covered the southern half of Skyline Drive in Shenandoah National Park and ended the day at Big Meadows Lodge.  What made it so great?

Breakfast!!  The terrific breakfast we were offered at our B&B was likely the best of the tour.  It was a bit of a splurge for us, but our stay at the Speckled Trout Inn was terrific - it's a lovely historical home, beautifully maintained; and Jim, the host, was perfect for us - interesting, interested, a good story teller, and a terrific breakfast chef.  Highly recommended.

Weather!!  The day began still overcast, and we were briefly in the fog again when we hit Skyline.  It soon burned off though and we had fine cycling conditions and a nice tailwind for the bulk of the days ride.

Views!!  It was great being on Skyline with good visibility.  We were delighted by splendid vistas to both the east and west throughout the day.

Wildlife!!  This was the best wildlife spotting day of the trip.  We lost count of the number of wild turkeys and deer we spotted beside the road, along with a handful of bunnies.  Rachael is pretty sure that she saw a bobcat too, although I missed it and don't really believe her.

Bears!!  Yes, I know these are wildlife too but we were so excited by them that they deserve their own set of explanation marks.  These were right at the shoulder of the road, masquerading themselves at first as a large black rock.  As we approached though, the rock stood upright and growled at us as a baby rock scurried quickly up the tree and scooted around to the backside.

Sleeping on the ridge!!  It was great getting to sleep on the parkway for a change.  This was opening weekend at Big Meadows and they were still shaking their system down a bit, but we really enjoyed our visit.  It's in a great setting, perched at the top of the ridge with inspiring views westward and down into Shenandoah Valley.  After dinner we walked the grounds a bit and ended up on a knoll overlooking the valley - it made a lovely spot to sit and watch the day's end creep in.

Culture!!  A local folk singer was featured in the lounge the night we were there, entertaining us with his rendition of old favorites and some local history.

Nearly a perfect day, but who wants perfection anyway?  My only quibble was with the beer selection at the lodge.  They have beer and wine, of course, but the selection was rather curious: Coors Lite, Bud Light, Miller Lite, Corona Lite, Sam Adams Lite (do you see a theme here?).  I'm more of a heavy beer man, myself.

In the fog again, Skyline Drive
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The skyline from Skyline
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Mother and child portrait (hint - look up the tree)
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And the fog rolls in
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At Big Meadows
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Shenandoah Valley from our doorstep, Big Meadows Lodge
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Overlooking Shenandoah Valley at sundown
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Bands of blue
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Today's ride: 62 miles (100 km)
Total: 387 miles (623 km)

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