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Expect encounters on trails in the wilderness, such as the cute millipede. Watch your steps to avoid unintentional killings! Every living thing has a function in the ecosystem and deserves to live. Respect the environment and enjoy the sight and behavior of these creatures!
Updated Feb 26, 2010
In The 1970’s someone invented the Drive-Thru for fast food restaurants. This meant that suddenly millions of Americans were liberated from the need to walk when getting huge bags of unhealthy food. Yep, exercise was cut right down to make it easier. Now you can see (and I have pictures) lots of cars in a huge line belching toxic fumes into the environment because EVERYONE wants to go through the Drive-Thru! Me? I park and, get this, walk inside the whole 20-40 feet and what do I find? I get served right away and have any table I want usually.
America has an obesity problem. Drive-Thrus? Deadly.
(All pictures taken here in North Carolina)
Written May 13, 2008
Please don’t think you can cover the 469 miles of the Blue Ridge Parkway in a day! This isn’t a highway but a rural road, albeit a well-maintained and very well-known one. You need to be aware of tight, spiralling curves – these help make the Parkway special, but can catch an unobservant motorist (or motorcyclist) off guard. There are also 26 tunnels to look out for. There are posted speed limits, which vary according to the nature of that specific stretch of road (i.e. slower at bends) and you’ll need to drive especially slowly during rainy or foggy conditions, and watch out for wildlife. Also, as this is such a popular destination, you should be aware that it’s travelled by many RVs which can’t manoeuvre very easily on this twisting road so you may have to be patient – and if you’re driving an RV do show consideration for others and pull over to let them past when it’s safe to do so.
Written Apr 1, 2007
This road sometimes gets so foggy that you cannot see 5 feet in front of your vehicle. It took us hours one time to get from one town to the next.
If you are not sightseeing, or going to a specific trail on the Parkway, I would drive on a regular road if you plan on getting anywhere fast.
Written May 19, 2006
The speed limit on the Parkway is 45 MPH. Though, due to traffic and endless views, you may not reach this speed, be aware of numerous road hazards:
1. If it's raining or foggy, visibility is down and the road may be slick. The road twists and turns as it goes up and down the mountians.
2. Wildlife may wander onto the road. Be careful going around sharp turns.
If you aren't comfortable with such winding roads, there are areas that a car can pull off the road to observe views, hike trails, or just let others cars go by.
Updated Aug 21, 2005
I knew about switchback roads from visiting Colorado as a child. I didn't expect to find the same thing in NC because I really had not been to the mountains prior to the trip my husband and I made on our honeymoon in 1959, which is when I took this picture.
The mountain area of NC is called God's Country by some. The main area of interest is roughly bordered by I-26 on the east, S.C. 11 to the south, U.S. 441 to the east and U.S. 74 to the north.
One of the main roads here is the Blue Ridge Parkway which runs along the Pisgah Ridge, passing close to some of the some of the highest peaks in the eastern U.S. Near Richland Balsam the Parkway reaches its maximum elevation of 6,053 feet. N.C. 215 and U.S. 276 both traverse the Pisgah Ridge through passes, as do U.S. 23/74 and U.S. 19 further north (not shown). U.S. 276 is the only road that ascends both the Pisgah Ridge and the Blue Ridge Escarpment.
The road is smooth, twisty, and free from any commercial distractions. To get gas, eats, or accommodation you have to come down off the Parkway into small towns far below. These exit mountain roads are also switch-back experiencesThe Parkways averages 20 turns per mile- talking about blind turns with decent drops on either side. The speed limit is 45 mph
Written May 8, 2005
The Tryon Palace in New Bern does not allow photographs of the interior. The reasons they give for this are variable - one person said it was because of insurance requirements. I think the real reason is probably that they want to avoid flash pictures which can degrade the antique fabrics and they can't rely on photographers not to use flash. I can understand that.
But another person said that there was a North Carolina law against photography inside of historic buildings. I have been completely unable to find such a law, and in any case, the Tryon Palace is NOT a historic building, it is only a reconstruction.
Since they made it clear up front that there were to be no pictures inside the Tryon Palace, I did not take pictures there, or in any of the actual historic homes, but I did take some in the reconstructed kitchen.
Updated May 7, 2005
When you visit establishments along the coasts and sounds of North Carolina, you may find records like this of the high water levels that happened during hurricanes. This doorpost is in a restaurant in Belhaven (The Helmsman). This whole town has gotten FEMA money to raise the houses and buildings up above the flood level. This is because they had flooding three out of four years between 1996 and 1999.
The highest level is Floyd 9/99, and then below that are Fran 9/96, Bertha 7/96, Dennis 9/99, Bonnie 9/98 and Isabel 9/03.
Hurricane Floyd (1999) brought intense rains and record flooding to the Eastern U.S. Of the 56 people who perished, 50 drowned due to inland flooding.
Updated May 6, 2005
I don't know if it's a common thing or if I was just unlucky on the morning of 18 December 2001, but my security agent was as dumb as a bag of hammers. He concentrated more on the size of the bag rather than its contents. I outsmarted him by just pushing my bag through the machine and moving on. It's not really a danger, but be prepared for security agents at RDU with either low IQs, no common sense, or both.
Updated Jan 12, 2005
Growing up in coastal North Carolina, I had the privledge (or curse) of riding out 4 hurricanes. My suggestion is, do not do it. If you are on vacation here and you hear a hurricane watch or warning, please heed it wholeheartedly. The damage done by these storms can be catastrophic. I was in Hurricane Fran in 1996, and it was by far the worst experience I have ever had in my entire life. The picture you see here was taken after Fran. You can see the fishing pier split in two and debris all over the beach. Also take note of the erosion along the jettys. If you look closely to the left of the front jetty, you can see the erosion from the storm surge (water level at the time of the storm). More than half of the dunes are gone.
Updated Jan 10, 2005
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