1. Turkeys are masters of camouflage.  90% of the time, they’ll have disappeared into the woods the second you pull out your camera.  Which is annoying.  This one appears to have flunked bird-ninja school though.

     
  2. Day 9 - Milepost 312, May 20

    "Started really late today: 11:30 in the morning.  (At the beginning of the trip, I was on the road at 7 a.m. on average.)  Too my dismay, it was also late enough to miss Christa’s sandwiches in Pineola, NC, later that evening.  Which is sad because the thought of one was what kept me riding for the longest time.  Before that, I climbed Mt. Mitchell all the way to the top from Asheville.  The road to get there is monstrous.  Also, there is almost the same amount of congratulations at the top as there is at the end of the Parkway.  Which is none.  Ta-dah.  You deal with it though.  Saw more turkeys, descended like a madman, and ascended like an old man.  Had some authentic Mexican food to close out the day.  Good, hard day."

    Memorable things about the day:

    • Frightening descents because road conditions - potholes and gravel make for interesting corners
    • Sibley’s Guide to Birds would have been really helpful today
    • Saw a mourning dove belting out the loudest cooing I have ever heard out of one of them
    • Legs Alive! Dead. Alive!
    • Starting to notice how far gone my chain is
    • "I am afraid for the chain…"
    • "But the tires look better than I’d hoped!"
    • BURRITO… of the large variety, containing shrimp AND beef
    • I caught up with some sort of tourist group that was also cycling up the mountain from Asheville.  Needless to say, they all became bait for me to try to catch and pass on the way up, contributing to me having dead legs in the middle of the day.
     
  3. John Rock from a slightly different angle

     
  4. John Rock, Pisgah National Forest

     
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  6. The colors of Spring in the mountains

    - Looking east from the Blue Ridge Parkway south of Mt Pisgah

     
  7. Devil’s Courthouse, NC

     
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  10. Day 8 - Milepost 383, May 19

    "Time to start the return trip.  With the poor sleep and the late start, today is already much harder than yesterday.  I got some cheddar popcorn and Mtn Dew to help me get started.  My right lateral hamstring bothered me for a little while, but it improved throughout the day.  Near the top of Waterrock Knob (5800ft), I saw an RV pull up and stop.  A man got out of the passenger side, pulled a road bike off the back rack, and start riding the 2500ft descent to Balsam Gap.  The RV went ahead, presumably to meet him at the bottom.  After all the cyclists I had seen struggling to ride that climb and all the mountains I had labored over in the past week, I muttered, "No, you didn’t…"  and angrily chased after him.  Breathing steam and burning rubber, I managed to pass both him and the RV on the way down.  Climbing to the peak of the Parkway was even tougher the second time.  Heat and fatigue make for unwelcome riding companions.  There was a lonely stretch of road between the peak and Mt Pisgah where I hit new lows in this regard, where the road just never seemed to go anywhere.  Uphill or downhill, I felt like I was making no progress at all.  Eventually I made it down the mountain and into Asheville where Damtoft, Subway, Ingles, and Mexican food were waiting for me."

    Memorable things about the day:

    • No fog?  I can see things now!
    • Hard climb, hard climb, ouch
    • More turkeys by the road
    • Motorcycles WHY
    • STOP DRAG RACING ON THE PARKWAY
    • Chicken nachos were an excellent choice