Yesterday was a beautiful sunny day, warm and clear, the best time to take a car club drive. This time the drive leader had us meet in Swannanoa for an event that was supposed to be two weeks ago, but was postponed. We drove as a group from Swannanoa to Old Fort, and then formed up again to begin the winding, twisty and steep drive up into the mountains by a road locals call the Devil’s Whip. It is Hwy 80, going north from Hwy 70 out of Old Fort. This road is 12 miles with 160 curves, some switchbacks, and rising in elevation 2000 feet in those 12 miles. There are huge signs telling trucks not to take this route, then this small one that says “steep winding road”, yeah, no kidding!!
But, taken carefully, it is a fun drive with a lot of gorgeous scenery, trees meeting overhead to form green arbors over the road, and flowers blooming. Well, that’s what I thought was good about it, DH preferred the curvy road driving. I did try to get more pictures, but you have to trust me that it was a beautiful road, but difficult to get a good picture while going around all those curves.
At the top, we turned left to enter the Blue Ridge Parkway east of Mount Mitchell. The parkway was busy, as usual for summer weekends, especially on clear days. Several tunnels are on the way to the peak of Mount Mitchell, where we were going to have a picnic lunch.
The higher elevations have rhododendrons blooming profusely along the road. I tried to get pictures of them, but few turned out, and even this one that is clear doesn’t show you the mass of blooms we were seeing.
Reaching the summit at Mt Mitchell, the guys were pretty happy with the drive. Three of our members brought their British motorcycles.
Just look at the mountain view past the cars! The orange car on the left is a Tesla, all electric and quiet as a ghost.
The temperature on the top is often cool to cold, even in summer, but this day was nice. It was in the low 70s, and sunny, perfect for a picnic.
The views were clear too. Often it is so foggy up here that you cannot see these vistas.
I love seeing all the layers of smoky blue-grey that define the Blue Ridge mountains. This elevation is in the parking lot, and you can walk to the highest point of 6,684 feet via a paved walkway.
Heading home, we enjoyed the parkway views.
I kept trying to get more rhododendron shots, the purple-pink color was so pretty.
There is nothing like a day on the Blue Ridge Parkway, it never disappoints.
What did you do for fun this weekend?