Editor’s Note: I wrote this three weeks ago, but then got busy with my real job, and thus it’s no longer current per say, but still being published because I didn’t do a half hour of writing for nothing.
This past weekend, I decided I’d go hiking and would chose a hike that required a drive along the famed Blue Ridge Parkway, as this was the first weekend since I’ve relocated that it’s fully open.
Now, in the spirit of full disclosure, I do drive the part of the parkway that goes through Asheville on my way to work every morning, so I can’t make any grandiose statements about it being my first time, but it was my first time going west of the Hendersonville Road exit, so there’s that.
I also can’t really make any grandiose observations about the parkway because I didn’t spend a leisurely drive stopping to check out the stops like I’d planned. I thought I’d be one of the only one up there that early. Social media had tricked me into thinking everyone has hardcore self-quarantined, but the masses were out motorcycling, picnicking at overlooks, and it seemed a few large touring vans were still running. Since the average age of those socially undistancing seemed about 70, it didn’t feel right to stop and infringe upon them. Listen, I’m not looking to shame anyone for the choices they make during these times. I’m not a health professional and we’re all adults, but this did mean I simply drove to my hike and back and thus can’t give a full assessment of this much lauded thoroughfare. Here though, in bulleted form, are my very unscientific, unresearched, gut takeaways:
- Proceed with caution if you’re scared of heights (I am). The road is high, the guardrail placing is meager, and the drop offs, at least from my driver’s seat vantage point, seemed steep.
- You will not get cell reception. I feel compelled here to note I’m not some sort of social media addicted millennial who needed desperately to Snapchat his experience, but simply someone who likes to make long phone calls on long drives, and thus did the sudden drop of my call to my mother result in a few panicked, “Please call me back and tell me your ok!” texts? Of course!
- I followed the speed limit due to my aforementioned fear of heights and ended up feeling like a 94 year old in a big boat of a car holding up traffic.
- I would expect this drive to be super packed on a nice summer weekend judging by how packed it was on a semi-chilly Saturday before 10 in the midst of a global pandemic.
- The views are as great as they say.