Author Topic: Camping on Blue Ridge Parkway?  (Read 10197 times)

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Offline MrBent

Camping on Blue Ridge Parkway?
« on: September 02, 2009, 08:48:12 pm »
Hooray, my wife has said she really wants to do a cross country bike ride.  Right now the plan is 2012, when I can get time away from work for a tour starting in the fall.  So, like the nut I am, I'm already thinking about routes.  The plan is to start in Sept. and start working south pretty soon, following the autumn until we hit the Southern Tier (dodging any hurricanes) and head west. 

The idea o hitting the Blue Ridge seems a natural.  After reading a bit on it, it seems campgrounds are far apart, at times, it seems, to far to cycle in a day.  This is especially true for us as we'll be in trikes AND pulling our dog along.  What's the skinny on camping between designated sites?  I've read the park people are really down on this, but is it reasonably doable? 

Any experience/advice greatly appreciated.

Cheers,

Mr. Bent AKA Scott

Offline ezdoesit

Re: Camping on Blue Ridge Parkway?
« Reply #1 on: September 03, 2009, 07:09:59 am »
Hi,
 I haven't done the Blue Ridge yet but here is some information and I hope it will help you out I to will do the Parkway and have found all types of info. on the net.

http://www.blueridgeparkway.org/order.asp
http://www.blueridgeparkway.org/bicycling.htm
http://www.nukefix.org/parkway/parkwaymile.htm

 :) ezdoesit
Remember it's mind over matter
you don't mind it doesn't matter

Ride more Drive Less

Offline jcostanz

Re: Camping on Blue Ridge Parkway?
« Reply #2 on: September 03, 2009, 11:34:43 am »
I am also looking at it for sometime in 2010.  I have already layed out my overnight stops based on mileage and found that I must both camp and hotel/lodge ect at some point.  I found that with my average mileage I would have to do both.  I started planning with about 50 miles per day,  about 60% of what I did going around Lake Erie this summer.  I wound up with 45 -75 mile days.

I defiantly would recommend "Bicycling the Blue Ridge" book, as it lists options for where to stay.  I used Delorme's Street atlas and Topo software to help locate overnight stops.

Offline MrBent

Re: Camping on Blue Ridge Parkway?
« Reply #3 on: September 03, 2009, 08:09:53 pm »
Yeah, that range of up to 75 miles is troubling--probably not reasonable on loaded trikes for us.


Offline jcostanz

Re: Camping on Blue Ridge Parkway?
« Reply #4 on: September 04, 2009, 02:41:06 pm »
The overnight stops planned for are setup for mostly camping and less expensive motel/lodge ect.  I prefer camping for the security of the trike that I ride.

I ride a Greenspeed GTE, on the tour around lake Erie I had 1 day of 100+ miles and several around 90 miles, fully overloaded :).  I do better mileage wise on the trike than on my Tour Easy, even more so in hills.

I do have a question for you on what is your plan for getting back to the car after the ride?  This trouble has required me to either do organized trips or circular solo tours so far.

Thanks
Jeff

Offline dubovsmj

Re: Camping on Blue Ridge Parkway?
« Reply #5 on: September 04, 2009, 08:43:23 pm »
hey mr. bent.

i rode form cherokee, nc to rockfish gap, va about a year ago and was faced with similar situation regarding campsites being somewhat thinned out, esp when biking it when everything is shut down for the season, which was my case. 

more often than not i woudl pitch my tent at closed campgrounds or at overlooks....sometimes there's a nice patch of grass along the overlook or a small island of trees/grass separating parkway from overlook parking lot.

i was never confronted by anyone or anything...but then again, i was biking it during "off season"

...i forget if mentioned in this post or not, but def invest in "bicycling the blue ridge parkway"....great resource, hands down.

michael

Offline MrBent

Re: Camping on Blue Ridge Parkway?
« Reply #6 on: September 05, 2009, 11:49:41 pm »
Hey, Jeff:  Well, this is a cross country tour we're talking about here, so the Blue Ridge would be one component of the whole, riding east to west.  We live near the west coast, so we'd be heading home.

With all due respect, Lake Erie ain't the Blue Ridge, with over 54,000 ft. of climbing.  Erie's about as flat as they get.  Also, perhaps you didn't get my note about the DOG + trailer.   The faithful hound clocks in around 60 lbs.  Trailer is a bit north of 20lbs.--you get the picture.  We don't travel light.

So if we hit it mid-Sept., is that the "off" season?

Scott

Offline staehpj1

Re: Camping on Blue Ridge Parkway?
« Reply #7 on: September 08, 2009, 04:02:52 pm »
Personally I would advise against doing that tour on trikes with a dog in tow unless you really like to suffer.  It might be do-able for some, but I would expect it to be pretty tough.  The climbs in the Appalachians were the hardest part of our coast to coast tour (on the TA) and we were carrying a lot less.  No way I would want to do it with a dog and a 20 pound trailer.

On the BRP the camping spots are far apart unless you leave the parkway.  The problem is that leaving the parkway usually means a monster climb to get back up to the parkway.  Stealth camping is frowned upon and the rangers will bust you in a heart beat if they catch you.

I will probably do the BRP at some point but will travel very light if I do.

If you really want to do it look into places where there is private property close to the parkway.  There are places where the parkway boundary is close to the top.

Personally I don't like to stealth camp when I can avoid it am likely to avoid trips where it is necessary.  I have often stealth camped when canoe camping, but have not needed to yet when bike touring.

Offline mikedirectory2

Re: Camping on Blue Ridge Parkway?
« Reply #8 on: September 08, 2009, 06:05:12 pm »
I haven't done this yet, but it sounds beautiful.  Good luck with your planning!
May the skies be blue and the road be flat... Happy Riding.

Offline dubovsmj

Re: Camping on Blue Ridge Parkway?
« Reply #9 on: September 08, 2009, 08:29:23 pm »
yeh...i second what staehpj1 said about hauling dog around in trailer.....esp on parkway vast majority of the descents go on a good ways, are quite steep, and winding....at the very least the doggie might be freaked out.  but, ya'll know best when it comes to traveling with canine folk in tow.

michael

Offline MrBent

Re: Camping on Blue Ridge Parkway?
« Reply #10 on: September 10, 2009, 12:05:08 am »
I hear you, Steaph.  We are experienced touring with doggie, but the amount of climbing on this route is giving me pause (paws?).  Our style of touring means doggie walks up any hill/grade of significance, and we scale back our mileage when the grades get big.

Right now I'm thinking about doing the Atlantic coast from Bar Harbor south to pick up the canal routes and such for the Northern Tier.  We could peel off south on the Underground Railroad and finally pick up the Great Rivers--be a blast to ride the Natchez.  Then it's Southern Tier late fall into winter for the rest of the ride west.  Sounds pretty ideal.

Keep the comments coming!  Planning is half the fun.

Cheers,

Meister Bent

Offline staehpj1

Re: Camping on Blue Ridge Parkway?
« Reply #11 on: September 10, 2009, 08:11:18 am »
I hear you, Steaph.  We are experienced touring with doggie, but the amount of climbing on this route is giving me pause (paws?).  Our style of touring means doggie walks up any hill/grade of significance, and we scale back our mileage when the grades get big.

I am curious how having the dog walk hills works out for you.  Do you use a leash or is your dog just sufficiently trained to be safe off leash?  Off leash may be a problem in some areas and I expect it would on the BRP.  Maybe if you are used to having him (or her) walk and scaling back the mileage you might be able to manage the BRP.  It might be tough to do the BRP without doing longs days unless you either leave the parkway and descend or find places to stealth camp close to the parkway but still near the top.

Personally, while I love my dog, I prefer to leave her home when on bike tours.  I have kicked around the notion of taking her on a running tour (journey running carrying my stuff in a baby jogger).  I doubt that I will do it because she isn't that happy road running more than a couple miles.  She does love to trail run or hike with me though.

Offline dubovsmj

Re: Camping on Blue Ridge Parkway?
« Reply #12 on: September 11, 2009, 07:21:05 am »
just remember that when it comes time to refuel/restock you'll have a long descent down to towns and a long climb back up.  more often than not it's a busy road with tight shoulder that leads to the town.  having a loose dog on these roads might not be the safest of options...or if on leash it just might be a bit precarious. 
so, if possible, at least find elevation profile of entire parkway and try to plan your restock/refuel times in places that aren't a long haul off the parkway (mileage wise, and elevation wise)....def sounds like good route ya'll are planning though and should be fun.

Offline MrBent

Re: Camping on Blue Ridge Parkway?
« Reply #13 on: September 11, 2009, 10:48:56 am »
Thanks for all the input, everyone.   To clarify a couple of things about how we tour.  In the past, we've toured on this rig:



As viewed from this side, Django the Wonder Dog trots at the captain's right shoulder while attached to a leash--to free range unless the road is REALLY empty--very rare circumstance.  On the downhills, he's rock solid in the Cycletote trailer.  We've used this setup multiple times over big-ass passes in the Mojave and the Sierras.

For our next cross country ride, we're thinking of trying it with two single trikes.  That's the only difference.  Everything I've read here leads me to opt out of the Blue Ridge for this particular tour, especially the need to drop down and climb back up for supplies.  When this is factored in, total climbing would easily exceed 60,000 feet.--too much for this boy.  The total climbing for my cross country ride in '07 was about 140,000 feet, but that was over 4,600 miles.  To do almost half that in about 600 miles?  Yikes!

Cheers,

Mistah Bent
« Last Edit: September 11, 2009, 11:58:58 am by jsieber »