June 7, 2020

From Gerald R. Lucas

Over the Blue Ridge and to Greenville covid-19: day 86 | US: GA | info

Odometer Start: 24124; Map

Today’s ride took me through the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, across the Blue Ridge Parkway, and south ultimately to Greenville, SC.

Another beautiful day in the Smokies, and after a cup of coffee with Dad, I set off to take US-441 south via Little River Gorge Road. The latter was, predictably, crowded, but I soon found my way south through the park. Traffic was light for the park, and I made a couple of photo stops. I tried to stop in a couple of places I never had before. The air was cool, and it felt great to be in the saddle. I didn’t even mid the slow pace through the park—I guess I was expecting it.


I was soon in Cherokee to gas up: some petrol for the GS and a can of Starbucks nitro for me. The cashier charged me 80¢ which is most certainly a deal. She also refused to serve someone who was not wearing a mask—even though there was a large sign on the door stating that would be the case. It is starting to get annoying that people continue to ignore these signs. I complimented her for not letting them get away with it.

I soon found myself on the Blue Ridge Parkway, heading east. I planned to go as far as I felt like going, maybe getting all the way to Asheville, about 85 miles away. By now it was mid-morning, but the traffic was still light. I followed a couple of Goldwings pulling their camper trailers for a little while until I could pass them. I wasn’t worried about speed or progress, as I knew I would stop for photos. Here’s one of the first.

2020-06-07 10-58-18.jpeg

Two-thirds of the parkway to Asheville was just stunning. Traffic continued to be light, and I took my time, stopping for more vistas and enjoying every second of the ride as the road flowed up and down, twisting easily through the Appalachians.


I never made it to Asheville. The traffic really started picking up, and the temperature was rising. I had only about 15 miles left to go, but I decided to turn around and head south to Brevard, NC. The road off the Blue Ridge, US-276, was nice and shady, but also quite crowded. When I eventually got to downtown Brevard, I needed a coffee and a leg stretch. I walked a couple of blocks to a coffee shop and planned my next move.

It wasn’t far to Greenville, so I decided to continue on 276 south. The road was alternately straight and twisty leading past a couple of parks before leaving the mountains all together. One, Caesars Head State Park looked promising, but it was already at capacity. Maybe next time.

A praying angel at Springwood Cemetery taken on my walk back to my motel.

I booked a small “boutique” motel near downtown a couple of days ago. They claimed to have safe parking for the GS. Well, they made me stand outside in the sun for checkin (COVID-19, you know), even though I was wearing a mask. The motel was an obvious remodel of an older building, but the room was upgraded and the bed was comfortable. The Wi-Fi was terrible, dropping the connection every few minutes, so watching my new Netflix show Ozark was impossible. Oh well.

After checking in, I called an Uber to take me the 1.5 miles downtown. I would have walked, but I was hungry and a bit tired from the journey, and the motel was on a busy road. I just wanted a beer and some chill time. This dude shows up in an F-150—a vehicle I would think very impractical for Uber, but what do I know—and took me downtown. I had a couple of beers and a chicken sandwich at Barley’s and walked to Publix for a few necessities before summoning another Uber.

Well, no drivers were available, so I walked back to the motel with my water and toothpaste. It seemed much longer than it was, and I was soaked and exhausted by the time I got back. Thanks, Uber. No, really. I guess I should have tried Lyft. Soon, I discovered the crappy Wi-Fi and just called it a night. I remember Greenville being more fun.

Leica Camera Information
Camera: Leica M (Typ 262). Lenses: Leica Summicron-M 2/50mm (Typ IV), Leica Summicron-M 2/35mm ASPH (Typ V), or Voigtländer Nokton Classic 40mm f/1.4 MC. Processed with Capture One Pro.