Tuesday, June 26, 2007

"Boone, NC"

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Amber and I felt like going somewhere on Saturday. Where to? I provided two options: somewhere in South Carolina, and the Boone area. After a quick check of the respective weather forecasts, it was a no-brainer. While South Carolina was going to be cooking in the mid 90s, Boone's forecast high on Saturday was 78°F. (Their actual high was around 81. Eh, close enough.)

It only took 3 hours to get to Boone, thanks to US-421, a four-lane highway all the way to Boone, much of which is expressway. Part of it in Wilkes County is called the "Junior Johnson Highway", named after an area-native NASCAR legend. That made me giggle. On another NASCAR-related note, we also passed by the now-defunct North Wilkesboro Speedway, which is visible from the highway. It's for sale! Anyone interested?

Once we got to Boone, we didn't have any specific "first" destination in mind, so we didn't actually go to Boone at first. Instead, we hopped on the Blue Ridge Parkway and headed towards Grandfather Mountain. (I'm going to provide complete map of the drive at the end of the post instead of right now, as to not "give it away".)

Along the way, we drove over the final completed portion of the parkway, the Linn Cove Viaduct, completed in 1987. The bridge was pretty sweet. Personally, I never really put much thought into how old the Blue Ridge Parkway was, but I would have guessed it was much older than 20 years. Then again, everything except the 7.5-mile section surrounding Linn Cove was completed by 1967, and that's a little bit closer to what I expected. Driving the entire length of the Blue Ridge Parkway in one day is on my short list of drives I'd like to do.

Nearby Grandfather Mountain has a really neat suspension bridge, apparently, so we wanted to check it out. Except that Grandfather Mountain is privately owned, and therefore, has high entrance fees ($14/person). Not today - maybe some other time. Instead, we wasted spent our money at this place called "Mystery Hill", which I'll talk about tomorrow.

US-221 from Grandfather Mountain to Blowing Rock is actually a slower and more curvy road than the Blue Ridge Parkway itself:

So, for this segment, the Parkway is actually a faster route than the parallel US highway. Something's a little unsettling about that. The Parkway isn't supposed to be a through road! Bah!

After Mystery Hill, the next stop was a disc golf course (of course) in the town of Jefferson, about 20 miles north of Boone. I liked the course, and it's probably worth a return visit once they complete all 18 holes. They currently have 11 playable holes, although the course is only officially a 9 hole course. Two of the holes are "alternates", which we didn't play. Instead, we played the regular 9 holes, the last of which is a downhill, 550-foot hole that comes out of the trees. Wahoo! I always appreciate it when courses use elevation change to their advantage and make the final hole a fun one. I'm not sure when all 18 holes will be completed, but it probably won't be for a while. I saw no indication of construction, and there was a sign that said the course was $500 in debt. No wonder - it's kind of in the middle of nowhere.

Disc golf was our last stop; after that, the primary objective was to pick up two more previously unvisited counties, to bring the trip's grand total of new counties to 7 (6 in NC, 1 in VA). Only 17 more counties in NC to go!

So, although the official trip destination was "Boone", we only passed through Boone once, and we were only in the town for about 15 minutes. And it was only that long because we stopped for gas there. And the obligatory round of Reese's Fast Breaks.

So, finally, here's a map of the entire drive: (I left Galax, VA off the map so I could get an extra level of detail. It's up there somewhere - you can use your imagination.)

My car odometer will be up to 200,000 before you know it!

Last year: "First Day Of Work". I considered making today's post another lame one-year-anniversary post, marking my first day of work one year ago today, but...eh. I've decided that talking about work doesn't make for very good blog material. (Which is kind of ironic, considering that's where about 95% of this blog is written.)

Tomorrow: "How To Make Your Own Tourist Trap". I'll talk about this "Mystery Hill" place we went to, and every "tourist trap" like it.

Today's random thought:

- I think KISS is one of the most overrated bands ever. Their music is well below average. The only reason they're popular is because of the whole devil, makeup and tongue schtick. KISS needs to go away.

1 comment:

Jacob said...

I was actually in Boone just a couple weeks ago. We went to the Daniel Boone restaurant.