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Old 09-29-2018, 11:40 PM   #1
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Default Going to the Blue ridge Parkway in October

Hello everyone, hope your all doing well, were knocking of the bucket list again, this time were doing the Blueridge Parkway in mid October, starting in Virginia with the Skyline drive, and ending at the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, taking 2 weeks and just slow down and hope to enjoy ourselves, I hear its going to be busy with the fall colors, but that's o.k., were in no rush. I just wanted to ask if anyone here has done it in the past, and if there any hints and tips you may like to share of great places to see and visit, hikes or bike rides, restaraunts, etc...., please let me know if you get a chance,,,, thanks again,,, Josef,,,,,
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Old 09-30-2018, 12:01 AM   #2
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We did that same drive about 4 years ago at about that same time. Leaf season was done when we went through, though, and it was not at all busy. The campgrounds on the parkways all had openings, and we even got into Smoky Mountain park campground when we got there. We spent about a week or so doing that leg of the trip from the beginning of the Skyline to Smoky Mountain park. It is a very hilly, curvy, drive, so much more scenic for the passenger than the driver as you do have to pay a lot of attention. Good test of you brakes in on Smoky Mountain Parkway.



We didn't really do much hiking until we got to Smoky Mountain park when we were there for 3 days. Weather was pretty cold and windy, some rain, so not great outdoor weather. Luray cave and Grandfather mountain were worth stopping at, for sure.


We continued our trip by going over to the start of the Nachez trace and taking it all the way to the end. We then continued down and spent 10 days on the Texas gulf coast in state campgrounds.
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Old 09-30-2018, 12:17 PM   #3
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Bears. Lots and lots of bears.

We did part of it last year in mid-September. Shenandoah National Park is one of the few that allows dogs in most locations. Our expectations were perhaps unreasonably high as a result, as that was the first time we'd ever stayed in a National Park with our Class B. We pulled into Loft Mountain campground (pdf) intending to remain for a night, but after being horrified by over two hundred sets of campers literally on top of each other, many of them running generators, we paid for our showers, dumped the tanks, and left. The air quality alone would have driven me out - intense smog from all that generator exhaust accumulating in windless air. Ended up boondocking at one of the trail heads a few miles away and nobody bothered us. If you boondock, avoid the scenic pull-outs. If you are at a trail head, nobody can tell if you are stealthing or are camping down the trail. Odds of getting hassled are lower.
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Old 09-30-2018, 01:39 PM   #4
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Interblog makes a good point about that area concerning air quality. We weren't in Shenandoa, but in Smoky Mountain park campground, but the air quality was horrible there, also. We were a month later, so it wasn't as crowded, but it seemed everyone there felt the need to have a 24/7 bonfire and the generator running (or charging from the smelly diesel pickup on fast idle). The topography seems to trap all the smoke and fumes, so it is relentless.
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Old 09-30-2018, 02:22 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by booster View Post
Interblog makes a good point about that area concerning air quality. We weren't in Shenandoa, but in Smoky Mountain park campground, but the air quality was horrible there, also. We were a month later, so it wasn't as crowded, but it seemed everyone there felt the need to have a 24/7 bonfire and the generator running (or charging from the smelly diesel pickup on fast idle). The topography seems to trap all the smoke and fumes, so it is relentless.
This is a big issue that I think the NPS is going to have to deal with sooner or later.

Right now and from this point forward, EVERYBODY is going to be running SOMETHING in order to achieve device charging. Phones at a minimum, laptops and tablets in pretty much every case where there's a family involved.

There really are 200+ campsites in that campground I linked above, and they are all situated on top of each other. It has no hookups. No charging stations. So at a bare minimum it becomes a giant parking lot of idling vehicles for hours on end. But the little portable generators are also getting more and more popular. Hopefully for light users the Goal Zero type equipment will start to displace some of them, but the generators and idling vehicles will still be a problem.

In 1965, it was possible to have a no-hookup campground like that one and have it be live-able and functional, because people actually CAMPED back then. No longer.
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Old 09-30-2018, 08:54 PM   #6
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thanks for all your replies, we really enjoy boondocking, so I really like the idea of stopping at the trailheads,,,will keep an eye out for that,,,thanks,,,
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Old 09-30-2018, 09:04 PM   #7
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We live in VA, so we have been there numerous times, it is super. One place we always make a point of jumping off is Waynesville, NC, shortly before you get to TN. They have several local restaurants that are worth your time to visit - very casual and home cooked, breakfast, lunch & dinner! We have found places around there to boon dock also. Ron
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Old 10-01-2018, 05:32 PM   #8
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Living in Va I have driven it several times, twice in the RT. It never fails to be an exciting new view. If you are camping, be aware that most of the campgrounds have closed for the season. I believe that Skyland is the only one still open. Great season to make the drive!
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Old 10-07-2018, 05:06 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnnyFry View Post
Living in Va I have driven it several times, twice in the RT. It never fails to be an exciting new view. If you are camping, be aware that most of the campgrounds have closed for the season. I believe that Skyland is the only one still open. Great season to make the drive!
This is not correct. I was at Big meadows, Lewis and loft mountain yesterday. Not only have they not closed but they were all 100% full.
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Old 10-07-2018, 07:39 PM   #10
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Default Fancy Gap Cabins and Campground

We have stayed here a couple of times, a nice mom & pop campground:

https://fancygapcabinsandcampground.com/index.html
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