Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Day One Hundred-nineteen, 090627 - BRP#4 Linville, NC

Day One Hundred Nineteen, Date Saturday, June 27, 2009
Time in Saddle: 7:40
Distance for the Day: 49.46 miles From BRP SC#3 To BRP SC#4-Linville Falls
Accumulated Trip Distance: 5687.03
Altitudes: Starting/Ending 4083’/3575’, Highest: 5664’ Accumulated: 5794’
Speeds: Avg: 6.4 mph, Max: 42.5 mph
Weather: 68° mostly clear, becoming partly cloudy and slightly warmer during the day
Expenditures: $24

Woke up at 5:30am to sound of rustling trees and chirping birds. Broke everything down packed it away, and was ready to roll at 6:12am. Coming up the road this morning, I saw way up ahead what looked like two large light brown dogs with long-haired tails, but they dove off the road into the brush when a car passed by. I later came to realize, after seeing more of these creatures, that they were deer that had somewhat longer tails that I’ve ever seen. I also saw a wild turkey on a grassy area off the side of the road, ahead. I stopped to watch him, and he very casually walked away and took a stroll into the brush and forest. I wonder if they know about triggering the chase instinct in certain animals (dogs, cats, bears) and take deliberate steps to avoid it. At 8:23am, I passed the Craggy Gardens Visitor Center (no services) at about milemarker 340. Oh, about the milemarkers: I didn’t quite take notice of them until about now, but each mile of the entire 469 mile length of the Blue Ridge Parkway has these little concrete posts that tell what mile you’re at. Since I started at the southern “end” of the Parkway, as I progressed north, the milemarkers counted down. Therefore, milemarker 340 told me I had 340 more miles to go, and that also meant I had covered about one quarter the way along the route. One quarter?!! I practically killed myself getting this far! I tell you: the only thing that kept me from bailing from the BRP was a) knowing that, theoretically, the worst of it was over, b) also theoretically, it should be easier from here on out, c) I’m not a quitter, and d) I wanted the bragging rights and the t-shirt that goes with them.
I got to and stopped off at Crabtree Meadows which had a restaurant and store, so I stopped off at 2pm to get lunch ($15) and to stock up on food and drink (another $9), and was ready to go by about 3:00pm, but noticed that I’d gotten flat tire #17 at 5679.68 miles, and so spent about 20 minutes fixing it on a nice, shady, level, concrete drive. This one wasn’t a puncture, but a failed patch from a previous fix; I just patched it again. If that tube goes flat one more time, I’ll replace it, as it has at least 4 or 5 patches on it, and has more than done its duty. Continued on at 3:28pm. Wow! Being a quiet pedal-powered cycle, sometimes I can sneak up on wildlife, and this time, I saw a full-grown bobcat! He hopped down onto the roadway, noticed me, and hopped back up into the trees from where he came. He was pretty big, probably a bit bigger than an Irish Setter dog, but with shorter legs. I didn’t know exactly what he was, so I asked a wildlife ranger at the Museum of North Carolina Minerals Visitor Center about it. He asked me if it had a long tail, or short (trick question). I checked my mental image of it, and said it was short. He then replied that it was a bobcat, which are fairly common in these parts. Longtailed mountain lions were virtually extinct in the area. (He was testing me!) I just caught this visitor center just about 15 minutes before it closed at 5pm, and so I left, and continued up/down/up/down the road until the evening. I found a suitable stealth camp location off and slightly down from the side of road (N35 54.679’ W81 57.851’). I rolled my trike down the mild slope of the forest floor and parked it so it wouldn’t roll. I set up my hammock, saw a few fireflies (yay!), and tucked in for a very quiet night in the woods. Tonight, there were no sounds to be heard at all, except for an occasional car going by, and even that stopped after a while. Total silence. I didn’t think that could be achieved outside a sound studio – it was a little weird, but nice. I got to sleep right around 9:30pm.

1 comment:

The Riffe's said...

Hi Don, Just found your blog. Very interesting reading about your trip. I also ride a trike. I have riden the BRP also but on bike. So far I have only read about 1/3 of your blog but will finish it soon. Congratulations on your ride!