After lunch at the Thai-Mex II, where you take a lickin' and the food keeps stickin', we backtrack to the Blue Ridge Parkway and head south for parts unknown. What's the difference between the Skyline Drive and the Blue Ridge Parkway? The Skyline Drive is the 105 mile long drive through the Shenandoah National Park, a traditional national park with a large land base. There are only 6 entry points to Skyline Drive and a $15 entrance fee. The Northern terminus for Skyline Drive is Front Royal, Virginia. The Southern terminus is Rockfish Gap, Virginia. The Blue Ridge Parkway starts at Rockfish Gap, follows the Blue Ridge eastern rampart of the Appalachian Mountains for 355 miles, near the entrance to Mount Mitchell State Park in North Carolina (the highest peak in the Appalachian Mountains and the highest peak in eastern North Carolina). Then it skirts the southern end of the Black Mountains, weaves through the Craggies, the Pisgahs, and the Balsams, before entering the Great Smoky Mountains National Park near Cherokee. The Parkway is a unit of the National Park System and is a manicured, landscaped corridor designed as a recreational motor road connecting the Great Smoky Mountains with Shenandoah National Park, encompassing 469 miles. The Parkway has also received an All-American Road designation. To receive this designation, a road must possess numerous intrinsic qualities that are nationally significant, and contain one-of-a-kind features that do not exist anywhere else. The road must be considered a destination unto itself. Exactly what I've been trying to tell Mr. Hawthorne at every overlook. That is, the road must provide an exceptional traveling experience so recognized by travelers that the primary reason for their trip would be to drive along the byway. Just sit back and enjoy the views.
This was shot from inside the car. It may be the Peaks of Otter. Oh. YesYesYes. It is. I just went to that link and this exact mountain is displayed on the link site.
It's getting late in the day. 5pm. We are in Buchanan, Virginia. Very quaint town. Mr. Hawthorne has put up with all my "Stop at that overlook!" And he's crankily complained, "Let's get to our destination!" And I would say, "Look, we are here. The destination is our journey." Mr. Hawthorne is losing patience with me. Finally, passing through Buchanan, he espies a Confederate store. He continues down main street, repeating, "Can I stop? Can I stop? I wanna stop." I reply, numerous times, "You're driving. Only you can stop this truck." After a mile down the street, he triumphantly announces, "Well, I'm stopping." FINALLY, he turns left, then another left, then backtracks to get to the store. I'm telling him, "You know? It's about 5 o'clock. Everything is gonna be closing now." He panics.
After backtracking, we get to the railroad. I tell him, "I think I hear a train." He's sweatin' bullets now trying to get back to the Civil War Antique place before it closes.
Finally, he gets back on Main Street and drives up to this front door, thinking it's the place he was trying to get back to. Noop. Wrong place. Plus it's closed. At 5pm. And now, it's 5:06. He still thinks it's the Confederate Place, so he's a'bummin'. Check out the signs on the door. On the left: Open Noon to 5PM Friday and Sat. Other times by chance. Interesting work ethic. On the right: This is not a museum. This junk is for sale.
Two doors down the street is the real Confederate place. Don't know how he got those two confused. And it's open. Mr. Hawthorne is happy. Now I only spent 60 seconds at most at any overlook. Mr. Hawthorne stayed in here and chatted with the owner for over 20 minutes. OK. I guess I made him stop at more than 20 overlooks. But I really have to pee, so it seems a lot longer than 20 minutes. We get back on the road and head to Christiansburg for the night.