Monday, August 13, 2012

Blue Ridge Parkway Part 1

I am at McDonalds doing my blogging and it is faster than any place I have been so far.  This said I will blog a lot.LOL
Part 1 
Well, time passes and I could not get out to blog.  Some fun things have happened since.  We stayed up way past our bedtime and saw the meteor show on Saturday.  There were some beautiful ones streaking across the sky.  We have had nothing but storm after storm every night and Saturday night was clear and cool.  It was so neat to watch the beautiful show in the sky. 

We also took a two mile hike back in the mountains to Stone Falls.  It is BIG rock with a water fall coming of the top.  Also they have a complete mountain homestead here at the park we.  I will include pics in another blog. 

They found two more dead deer nearby us on The Big Sandy Creek.  They found one late last night so they said they would be out this morning to get it.  Again it is found because of the putrid smell not because anyone see them.  We are eager to see the rangers this morning.  Our neighbors spotted another dead deer to show the rangers when they came.  We talked more about what was happening to the deer with the rangers last night.  They say a tiny bug flies up the deer’s nose, infects them with a virus and within two to three days the animal is dead.  They come down with a fever, so that is why the deer comes to water to cool themselves.  They say the virus only affects hoofed animals.  This is happening to thin the population.   They say the only way to get rid of the virus is frost or a drought.  The higher elevations are not seeing the loss in population because the bug breeds in pooled water.  The rangers, about eight of them, came and buried the two deer.

We have and will probably take more trips on the Blue Ridge Parkway.  In fact my best “Internet Spot” is at the Stone Mountain overview location.  They have a picnic table for me too.  We have stopped at different overlooks and locations along the way.  We have even met, quite by accident, our friends Les, Michelle, Terry and Diane at the Brinegar Homestead stop on the Parkway.  We had left them at our last RV resort stop. Who would have guessed we would see them on the Parkway!

One of our first stops on our travels on the Parkway was to find a place for blogging.  Here I am looking out at Stone Mountain doing my blog.  

The Blue Ridge Parkway
I must tell you what we have learned along the way.  For instance who built the parkway and more interesting information? 

The Blue Ridge Parkway
 In 1933 Abbott, a 27 –year old Cornell University educated landscape architect began his work as the Resident Landscape Architect of what would become the Blue Ridge Parkway.  The number of unemployed workers –skilled and unskilled available to do the work was one of the most important factors that made the Blue Ridge Parkway possible.  Out of work landscape architects and engineers, some of whom were Abbott’s former professors, designed the Parkway route. The Federal Bureau of Public Roads oversaw the construction of the motor road, dividing the Parkway in 45 different projects.  Private companies were awarded the contracts to build the road and hired local laborers to clear the land, operate heavy equipment, and construct the road bed; Italian and Spanish stone masons built the rock walls and laid the stone for tunnel portal and arch bridges.


Between 1937 and 1942 crews from the Civilian Conservation Corps toiled at planting trees, grading slopes, and improving fields and forests.  More than 200 young men at a time worked out of CCC camps located at Bluffs (Doughton Peak) in North Carolina
By 1942, 330 miles of the Parkway motor road were built or near completion.  But work stopped during World War II.  It took 52 years to finally complete a continuous 469 mile Blue Ridge Parkway.


Cumberland Knob was the Parkway’s first recreation area. From the beginning, the Blue Ridge Parkway was always meant to be more than just the road.  Early plans included the many day-use areas, historic sites, and larger recreational parks that are along the Parkway now.  Here travelers can learn more about the Parkway at a visitor center or ranger program; hike a trail; enjoy a meal at a picnic area or restaurant; or stop for the night at a lodge or campground.  The Cumberland Knob Recreation Area opened to the public in 1937-less than two years after Parkway construction began-with a picnic area and hiking trails.  A sandwich shop (with later became a visitor center) was added in 1941. During the 1940’s Cumberland Knob was the most heavily used recreation area on the Parkway.   More than 1200 people came here on summer weekends to hold church picnics and family reunions.  It is still a popular place for local gatherings.  In fact on our visit there were at least three separate groups picnicking and playing games on the wide expanse of mowed field.

We crossed the border into Virginia to visit the Music Museum.  While there we saw the history of mountain music and a performer was an extra bonus.  Great fun.    I did not get a pic of into Virginia, but I got the one coming into North Carolina.  You can see the line on the road.

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