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The problem with the area is that there are relatively few low traffic paved roads.
In Front Royal you can pick up the Skyline Drive/Blue Ridge Parkway.3. Be aware that leaving the parkway for camping or services usually means a long steep climb back up to the parkway.
Boschield for the chain when it "feels/sounds" a little dry, minor adjustments for brakes and gearing only as needed, and change the chain (with a cheap, i.e. $25-$35 one) approx every 2000 miles.
This is just an off the cuff suggestion for doing this trip. Take the W&OD rail trail from Alexandria out to Purcellville, Va to its end. I would Google map or ask the local DC bike crowd how to get from there to Front Royal, Va which is about 40 miles. In Front Royal you can pick up the Skyline Drive/Blue Ridge Parkway. This will take you much of the way into NC. NC Bike Route 2 coincides with much of the BRP. Bike Route 2 will leave the Parkway at Balsam, NC which is southwest of Waynesville, NC and continue from there west to Murphy, NC. Murphy is in the far southwest corner of NC and is about 130 miles northeast of Atlanta. You would need to do some research to figure that part out as I don't have a suggestion for that.
How tight should spokes be? Does it depend on the spoke pattern?