May 11th --The Blue Ridge Parkway and the Shenandoah NP--
The Blue Ridge Parkway extends 469 miles along the crests of the southern Appalachian Mountains. From Raleigh it would be a long turn around if I took it from the Southern End. I decided to enter it at around the middle point. I drove along the I-40 to the west, switched to the US-52 to the north until the junction of the parkway. On the way I got a sandwich at Subway for a lunch break. These days I really lack of vegetables, so Subway is a good choice to take vegetables. I crossed the state line of Virginia and got to the junction called Hillsville. When I passed the line, I found a terrible sign say, "Radar Detector Illegal." I didn't know that there is a state prohibiting it. Anyway, I took my detector off the windshield. I entered the parkway and drove north a little bit. It was really a beautiful way with greens and mountains on both sides. I stopped at a picnic area and enjoyed a lunch break. It was 13:00. Then I started again. The green was almost endless. I drove at around the speed limit, enjoying the beautiful scenery. But when I had driven for more than three hours, I got tired of this long monotonous way. In addition, I got really sleepy two or three times. So I stopped many times at some overlook points and had a short break. It took more than 6 hours to get to the Northern End. I realized the length of Appalachian mountains.
The Shenandoah National Park is just on the Northern End of the Blue Ridge Parkway. The parkway continued going along the crest in the park until Front Royal, about 100 miles west to Washington D.C. I dropped by a gas station and went back to the parkway. This time, we need an entrance fee, but I had a Golden Eagle Passport which allows me to enter all National Parks for free. At first I supposed to find a lodge or motel at around the Northern End, but I changed my mind to camp in the park. I asked about the campground at the entrance. She said that it's about 50 miles away. It was about 19:00 and 50 miles are a long distance for my body tired from a long drive. But I decided to go to the campground. The sun was setting and I could see dark green mountains on the faint pink sky. Some people are taking pictures at some overlook point. I also stopped to take a snapshot. When I drove deeper, I saw deer. I also tried to take a picture of deer, but when I stopped my car, the deer slowly walked away. I couldn't take a good picture. At last I got to the campground. Surprisingly many people were camping this Thursday. I took one site near a rest room and finished self registration. It was already dark when I had dinner.
The state line of Virginia
Entering the Blue Ridge Parkway
Green was endless along the parkway
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