Well, we did it. In spite of the weather we have driven the full length of the Blue Ridge Parkway, all 469 miles of it. The Parkway links 2 national parks in the Appalachians, the Shenandoah National Park in the north, and the Smoky Mountains National Park in the south. We’ve done those as well.
We don’t normally go in for taking “selfies” of ourselves against beautiful backdrops, the backdrops themselves are usually more attractive on their own, but when we reached the highest point on the Parkway, 6053 feet, we could not resist it.
So we have achieved the aim of this trip which was to explore a bit of New England and to drive down the line of the Appalachians from north to south with a planned diversion to Cape May. There have been a lot of unplanned diversions, of course, because that is the way we travel.
One bonus – we were too early for the fall colours in New England but in the southern Appalachians they are in full swing. Beautiful.
We go on having ‘brief encounters’ with all sorts of people wherever we go. A week ago, at breakfast in Front Royal, we met Steve and Sally. They had lived for some time in England, near Rickmansworth as Steve was a civilian contractor for the American navy doing something interesting around Watford, (sounds like a contradiction in terms). They were headed for the Grand Banks in North Carolina for a holiday with friends. Hope they’re okay, that area is being battered by wind and waves, courtesy of hurricane Joaquin.
Then at Linville Falls on the Blue Ridge Parkway we met Pete and Cindy. Pete and his son are very involved in the Scouting movement and he is very proud that he has visited Brownsea Island in Poole Harbour in Dorset where Baden Powell started the Scout movement. We told him about our audio book “My Adventures As A Spy” which tells of Baden Powell’s spying experiences between 1880 and the 1st World War. We gave him our card so there may be another sale there.
Also at the falls we met an English couple heading for New Orleans. Keith is a retired barrister and when they planned this trip he ordered an open top Mustang from the hire company. What he actually got was a convertible VW. He was disappointed, his wife (not into cars) thought it was funny.
At Gatlinburg where we stayed when we came out of the Smoky Mountains, we met James and Jennifer and their daughter. We’d had a swim in the hotel pool and a lovely soak in the hot tub and were just getting out when they arrived. They live in Tennessee and have rarely been out of the State though James wants to go to England. They loved our English accents and said so (as many people do). They had very broad southern accents: “Makes me sound like a hick,” said James. We did not agree. ‘Hick’ is more about attitude than accent and he seemed like a nice guy.
And so it goes on. The guy behind the deli counter in the supermarket who once had an English girlfriend, the waitress at a restaurant whose friend had been to Wales, the lady in a gift shop whose son studied archaeology at Sheffield. We have an amazing range of conversations with an amazing range of people.
That’s what makes travelling such fun.