Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Shelton, CT, USA
Re: Nova Scotia, Canada - Blue Ridge Parkway
If you are going to the end of the BPR, I would suggest that you, at the very least, go over Great Smokey Mountain NP, It would be very aggressive for July but once you are over you are easily in range for US 129, The Dragon, via the western route around the perimeter of Great Smokey Mountain NP. Just stay on local roads were possible. It seems like if you look at the miles it should be an easy run, but even with no traffic, maintaining 35 MPH over the long haul on the BRP is aggressive and lawful. Park Rangers all have radar and the fines are very stiff so traffic almost always complies.
If you are forced to bypass Shenandoah NP because of weather or because of the time of day, you can take US 340 just west of the park. It will put you on or off the BRP just after or before the NP. I do that sometimes so I can start fresh in the morning on the parkway. The NP is nice but the BPR is awesome because of the very limited access. Off season it is not unusual to ride for an hour and not see anyone in either direction.
If there is no traffic, like when I go off season, it will take two days to ride to the end. Especially if you enjoy the ride. There are places to eat or snack on the BPR but, I would suggest that you try to time your ride to be in, or at least near a major city at late afternoon. You can always go back up to the parkway after you have a place to stay. It will be different going back 20 miles just to ride and hour before dusk and most cities are 5 miles or so off the parkway.
From experience, I know that there are plenty of clubs (car, motorcycle and biking) that have rallies that time of the year. It would be good idea to look at the calendar of local events for each big city, or tourist area to see if you might have a problem with places to stay. Once you commit to an exit it will take you a minimum of an hour to determine you might not get a reasonable room there. That could be disastrous to your schedule. In times that I have had trouble, I try to come off the parkway and head for an interstate route. I-81 is a major north south run and very few exits do not have any motels. If you will be using a GPS it will be invaluable if you get into that situation.
If you are forced to ride back on a major road other than the BPR, like I-81, use US 11 and go to I-81 when you get close to the cities. US 11 is good road and very nice scenery until you get to 20 miles from and and past a major city. US 11 cuts back and forth over I-81 all the way north. That time of the year I-81, during the day will be very hot, almost every day. Very easy to find shade and stops on US 11.
Ride safe and have a great time!
Jack D. (Southern Connecticut)
2001 Black LTC
2015 Blue R1200GSA