With the weather closing in, we decided not to stay in Washington DC but to head south. This ride down Skyline Drive and the Blue Ridge Parkway was to be one of the highlights of the trip, just like the Beartooth Highway. Unfortunately, just like Beartooth, the weather beat us.
We left Washington in the rain but it soon cleared, although cloudy, it looked like we may have been in luck. Heading west, we arrived in Front Royal, the begriming of Skyline Drive through the Shenandoah National Park. Refueled and were informed that it would be very cloudy and that it had been raining for the past three days.
Into the National Park, most National Parks have an entry fee and our National Park Pass purchased at Yellowstone is paying for itself and we still have a lot of parks to visit, and the low rain clouds were already restricting the view from the overlook turnouts on the Drive. The road edge and these turnouts have stone walls edging the road and look quite impressive. As we climbed higher the cloud became denser until vision was down to about 30 metres in places. No fun with cars coming out of the gloom without lights on. After about 50 klms of this, we gave up in the interests of safety and headed down into the valley for a more direct route to Roanoke, our destination for tonight.
As we came down the valley and neared Staunton, we decided to detour across to Waynesboro and make an attempt to ride the Blue Ridge Parkway, well, it couldn't be any worse than before, could it? Wrong! By the time we got to the turnout to the drive, the cloud, not fog, was so dense that we almost missed it even though the GPS actually knew where it was. No way we would try to ride in that so back to the interstate and straight through to Roanoke and into our lodgings for the night.
Well, we started in the rain this morning and apart from the cloud, we didn't hit any more rain all day. Just as I was getting the last of our gear out of the bike, rain gear off of course, there was a flash of lightning, a clap of thunder and down came heavy rain. Soaked before I could get inside.
That's about it, we're planning options for tomorrow. If the weather is fine enough we'll pick up the Blue Ridge Parkway from here, the second part of this highlight of our trip. We're hoping for fine weather and no low cloud, we'll see how we go. As I finish this off, it's bucketing down outside.
487 klms today, total to date 8,158 klms.