Blue Ridge Parkway in March? - BMW Luxury Touring Community
 
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post #1 of 14 Old Mar 19th, 2008, 8:38 pm Thread Starter
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Blue Ridge Parkway in March?

We are escaping this crappy weather (blizzard last week, 5" of rain this week) and heading south to Gulf Shores, AL. We're leaving Easter Sunday for Gulf Shores, will spend a day or two friends with there, and we are looking for a different route home.

I've read all the threads provided by a search on "Blue Ridge Parkway". Several questions come to mind, as I've never been on this road:

1. Is the BRP even do-able in March? If there can be snow in the higher elevations during summer there must be a lot more of it this time of year. Is the road open? Sensible on two wheels this time of year?

2. We are traveling without an itinerary or schedule. Does lodging require a reservation? Are there "exits" on the BRP where you can zip into town and get a hotel? (like the interstate, that is)

3. Anything else we should know? I'd hate to superslab it back home on I-65 & I-71, which is our route down.

Appreciate your comments and suggestions.


Howard Schisler
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post #2 of 14 Old Mar 19th, 2008, 9:12 pm
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Re: Blue Ridge Parkway in March?

In the area around my place in Floyd, south of Roanoke, its a crap shoot this time of the year. You can see 20 degree variations between the valley and riding the ridges along the parkway. If it gets crappy you could move over to Rte. 11 or Rte. 221 that tend to parallel the parkway.

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post #3 of 14 Old Mar 19th, 2008, 9:59 pm
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Re: Blue Ridge Parkway in March?

Yes, doable. Watch for ice on the road up high, gravel or sand from where they put it on ice. If it gets too cold, wet or whatever, just hop off and ride other roads for a while.

I just crossed it a few times traveling earlier this week, I was in a truck but didn't see any reason not to ride it.

B D R
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post #4 of 14 Old Mar 19th, 2008, 10:02 pm
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Re: Blue Ridge Parkway in March?

You can jump off in NC and grab hotel room pretty easy, especially in and around Boone - Blowing Rock area.

Sections sometimes closed in winter, 60's today with rain to west in NC area, probably clear, wish I had more info for you.

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post #5 of 14 Old Mar 19th, 2008, 10:05 pm
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Re: Blue Ridge Parkway in March?

I rode it west from John's house. Even in July it was cool in the morning. I rode to the top of a mountain and I think it was around 20 degrees but very windy, felt very cold. You could easily ride the whole thing in a day if you wanted.

I would rather take a road up through WV that winds all over the place. You could stop at the River Gorge Bridge.

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post #6 of 14 Old Mar 19th, 2008, 11:49 pm
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Re: Blue Ridge Parkway in March?

I kinda think you're going to have to play this one by ear Howard. Especially when you consider the winter we've had up here. On your way back home, find the southern tip of the BRP and head north. (The southern-most portion is the best part anyway, IMO.) And if it starts getting rough, have a 'Plan B' at the ready. Good luck.
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post #7 of 14 Old Mar 20th, 2008, 6:23 am
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Re: Blue Ridge Parkway in March?

2 sections will be closed for sure. The Mt. Pisgah section and the twin tunnels area north of Mt. Mitchell. If you don't mind the detours, which are marked quite well, it's still a nice drive. Travelling in the morning will be right about freezing. There is still a good chance of a solid snow storm this time of year, but you should have plenty of warning.

Have a great trip Howard.

John

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post #8 of 14 Old Mar 20th, 2008, 8:51 am
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Re: Blue Ridge Parkway in March?

Howard,

Warning Warning . . . there are some very high elevations and ice, snow and nasty moisture on the road would present a challenge for any vehicle - two or four wheels. Problems can exist on each and every turn especially those that are shaded from the sun. Rode the BRP this past summer just ofter the BMWRA rally at the Biltmore and at high elevations this can be dangerous.

Text from the .GOV website: http://www.nps.gov/blri/
"Late winter...early spring!

Winter can hang around in the Blue Ridge into April, especially at the higher elevations. Early wildflowers are sometimes poking up through a skiff of snow, so be prepared for winter even if you left home thinking spring had arrived for certain! Check road closures at (828) 298 0398 and always have a few extra clothes or emergency supplies when venturing into the mountains this time of year."

As for lodging:

http://www.nps.gov/blri/planyourvisit/lodging.htm

We stayed at the Peaks of Otter nice and comfortable!! and yes there are many get off points that allow you to stay at a wide variety of motel / hotels.

Remember the speed limit on the BRP is 45 mph . . .

One thing for sure at this time of year you will not be following large slow miving RV's packed with kids on vacation - which for an LT is no issue!!

Bottom line in my book you are a little early in your timeline . . .

Dan Finazzo
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post #9 of 14 Old Mar 20th, 2008, 9:01 am
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Re: Blue Ridge Parkway in March?

One other consideration that I encountered in April two years ago was driving into a cloud! Could not see the edge of the road. decided to get off and rest at the Water Rock Knob Look Out and had to shut down the engine to listen for cross traffic before entering the rest area. Was not fun.

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post #10 of 14 Old Mar 20th, 2008, 9:57 am
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Re: Blue Ridge Parkway in March?

We've done the BRC parkway about five times by van, the last time just over a year ago. I would not drive it this time of year. Last trip, there were many detours, it was very difficult finding gas, food or lodging and had to sleep in a field in the van, roads were hazardous, fog, deer, cold, and not at all fun. One detour was all sweeping 90's, straight downhill. My SO would not look, as there were no rails on the sides of the road. It was wet, slippery and storms had just blown through taking out many homes. We obviously did not return home the same way. Now that I think about it, we also ran into a totally unexpected snow squall in the higher elevations, with no visibility and almost got run into by a semi when the lanes shifted, and I could not see the lines.
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post #11 of 14 Old Mar 20th, 2008, 8:35 pm Thread Starter
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Re: Blue Ridge Parkway in March?

I'm a little slow, but I am starting to see a pattern here! Thanks for your tips, cautions, and suggestions. It's fair to say we'll leave this for a better -- and prettier -- time of year. I have yet to do the BRP but it's on my list... where it will have to stay for now.

Thanks guys.

Howard Schisler
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post #12 of 14 Old Mar 20th, 2008, 8:51 pm
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Re: Blue Ridge Parkway in March?

Quote:
Originally Posted by hschisler
I'm a little slow, but I am starting to see a pattern here! Thanks for your tips, cautions, and suggestions. It's fair to say we'll leave this for a better -- and prettier -- time of year. I have yet to do the BRP but it's on my list... where it will have to stay for now.

Thanks guys.
Howard.
The BPR in June!
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post #13 of 14 Old Mar 21st, 2008, 8:15 pm
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Re: Blue Ridge Parkway in March?

Sorry for the hijack, but I'm planning the same trip for the last week in April. Any opinions out there if the BRP is okay to ride the last week of April ?

Thanks, Roy
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post #14 of 14 Old Mar 21st, 2008, 8:26 pm
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Re: Blue Ridge Parkway in March?

I sure hope so! I'm headed down to the Spring Training Camp in Stecoah on April 17-20th with the Southeast forum guys!

Here's a link to their thread CLICK ME!

Two years ago, it got chilly but no snow or ice in sight from Front Royal to Cherokee.

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