Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Blue Ridge Parkway Road Trip 2017

Day One: Driving to North Carolina

This afternoon, after I taught my Tuesday classes, I headed north on I-85 for Morganton, North Carolina, where I am (in my room at the Sleep Inn) as I type this. I'll go to sleep soon, hopefully sleep well and for a long time, and then get up tomorrow, partake of the free hot breakfast at this hotel, and then drive to Linville Falls to get on the Blue Ridge Parkway. I'll spend all of tomorrow driving and exploring and enjoying the mountains and as many visitors centers as I can find and maybe even some good barbecue.

I left Lawrenceville at about 1:30 and made it to South Carolina about an hour later, stopping, as I do whenever I get the chance, at the Welcome Center:



My favorite thing about a good Welcome Center is the remarkable supply of brochures for various attractions:



This wall-size map of the state shows where I was at the time (You Are HERE, it says up near the north-west corner of the state):



From there I drove to Greenville, where I went to one of the coolest Barnes & Nobles I've ever been in:





I bought The Wind in the Willows (which I already have, it being one of my favorite books, but which I needed a good paperback copy of) and Siddhartha (which I read more than twenty years ago but would like to read again), and then had either lunch or supper, I'm not sure which, at Panera:



The French onion soup was fantastic!

I drove for a while longer on I-85, then I-26, and at some point I stopped for gas and took this picture of the Blue Ridge Mountains from a distance:



I'm not sure exactly when I crossed into North Carolina; I was on a local road by then, and there was no Welcome Center to visit. I made it here to my hotel in Morganton around around 8:30, settled in, did some grading (unfortunately I do have work to do, but fortunately the WiFi here works very well), and then sorted through the pictures I took this afternoon. After I publish this, I'm going to bed.

 Wednesday, October 4 
Day Two: The Blue Ridge Parkway

This morning I got up earlier that I probably should have (since I ended up not going to bed until midnight last night, a mistake that creating this post is about to cause me to repeat), read for a few minutes, called home to check on everybody, then went down to the lobby for the "hot breakfast" the hotel claimed to have.



The "hot" part, disappointingly, was the waffles and the pre-packaged microwaveable Jimmy Dean sausage biscuits in the refrigerator above the yogurt. Still, it was an acceptable breakfast, but I am glad I was not there on one of the days that prompted management to post this sign:



After I checked out of the hotel, I drove about an hour north to Linville Falls, went to the Visitor's Center, and then got on the Blue Ridge Parkway and drove for the next eight hours, with lots of stops to see sights and take pictures of them (and also one stop for lunch at a Subway). Here, in chronological order, are fifteen pictures I took this afternoon and evening:






























(The circle in the picture above that looks like the sun is actually the moon.)


 Thursday, October 5 
Day Three: Coming Home

This morning I woke up at about 6:30 and couldn't get back to sleep, so I got dressed and went forth to check out the breakfast at this hotel, the Quality Inn in Sylva, North Carolina. This time, the "hot" breakfast promised by the hotel's Web site turned out not to be a lie: they had biscuits and sausage links and scrambled eggs, all very good, and one of those hotel waffle makers. It was a satisfying breakfast.

I puttered around the hotel for another couple of hours, reading, napping a little bit, before I checked out and headed home. The drive back to Loganville was mostly uneventful; I made a couple of stops but didn't take any pictures or see anything exciting. I didn't even buy any books, though I did stop at the Barnes and Noble at the Mall of Georgia. I made it home at about 3:45, just as Anna was getting back from picking up the girls from school. It was wonderful to see them all again!

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