I ran today on my "home court". Many of these miles I have run before. We stopped just before Milepost 300 at a parking area for the Tanawha Trail.
Day 15 Run
Today's run began at Grandview Overlook near Parkway School. We ran through a construction zone--paving and road shoulder work. We ran past my house near Bamboo Gap, over Goshen Creek, up to Aho, across to Thunderhill Overlook, across Hwy 321 between Boone and Blowing Rock, past Moses Cone Estate, down to Julian Price Park, then finally up 4 miles of Grandfather Mountain.
Dozens of people greeted us as we ran through. A few stopped and gave us a verbal pat on the back. Thanks so much for your support!!!
Darby Teander, a senior Music Education Major, ran the first 12 miles and was great company. Tracy Brown, TDA Director for Blowing Rock, took the baton at Hwy 321 and ran to Price Lake. Tracy needed no emergency medical care during the run. 🙂 That left me less than 4 mile of climbing up Grandfather. Thanks so much to Darby and Tracy.
After the run, since it's my home town. I got a quick check up at App Ortho with Dr. DeVault. Two year ago, Dr. DeVault saved my running career with the simple change of shoes (I now run in Hoka Clifton 2s) and a cork-based insole. Following the checkup, I headed to Heavenly Touch Day Spa for much needed massage work on my left leg. I think we are ready for the last 9 days of RelayWithRay...
It's been a hectic day after the run. We must make visits in Boone and load the car in preparation for the last 9 days on the road. We placed a few photos on http://www.BRPWeather.com/ but more will come in the next day or so for the area between Grandview Overlook and Grandfather Mountain. By the way, you can upload your photos to BRPWeather.com also; just click on the Photo link and follow the process--it's quick and easy!
Three videos today: 1) the start, 2) a Tracy Brown cameo, and 3) the end.
There's so much along today's stretch of the Parkway. Boone is just too the north--Appalachian State University, Mast General Store, and so much more. Boone is home to cool springs, mild summers, colorful autumns. The region is home to so many outdoor activities: biking, hiking, fishing, zip-lining, kayaking, rafting, or tubing. Or maybe your idea of excitement is a leisurely stroll through a street festival or listening to live music on the front lawn of the Jones House in Downtown Boone.
Boone also has a vibrant art, history and cultural scene. Appalachian State University's Performing Arts Series and annual Appalachian Summer Festival bring some of the most well known performers to the area all season long.
Blowing Rock, a storybook mountain village, is just to the south. Rhonda and I, even after 25 years here, still feel like we are on vacation strolling downtown Blowing Rock--exploring shops, eating ice cream, getting a cup of coffee, or eating in some of our favorite restaurants anywhere. Chetola Resort offers fine dining, a spa, and wonderful lodging.Want outlet shops, Blowing Rock has those too. Running near Moses Cone Manor today, the sound of the Tweetsie Train filled the air.
Of course in the winter, the region boasts a cluster of ski slopes, including several black diamond slopes for the truly daring. For others, there is snowboarding, snow tubing, sledding, ice-skating, snowshoeing and cross country skiing. In November and December, come "up the mountain" to one of the many choose and cut Christmas tree farms.
Today between Aho Gap and Blowing Rock, I ran atop Blackberry Road. Blackberry goes down the Blue Ridge to one of my favorite spots/organizations--ZAP Fitness. ZAP is a training organization for elite runners, but also holds summer camps and provides clinics, coaching for "mere mortals" like me. ZAP was founded by Zika and Andy Palmer; however, Andy died not long after it began. Now, ZAP is led by Zika, Pete Rea, and Ryan Warrenburg. I have been to 3 or their camps--the camps are tremendous. Ryan has been my running coach for many years. All three of them and their athletes have provided immeasurable assistance and information. Relay with Ray would have been unthinkable without their friendship and professional guidance.
Parkway Attractions and History
Today, I begin running the last stretch of the Blue Ridge construction. Even though Parkway construction began in 1935, it was not completed until 1987 when the Linn Cove Viaduct was opened for traffic.
Moses Cone Estates became property of the National Park Service in 1950 after the passing of Bertha Cone. The estate has 27 miles of carriage trails of varying levels of difficulty. I read with sadness recently that at in 1950 there were over 50 structures on the 4200-property, but all but 5 were torn down in the next few years. However, preserving the Cone Manor House is a current project that needs your support. For more information about this project, see the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation's Cone Manor Rehabilitation information page.
And Julian Price Park... It was owned by Jeferson Pilot Standard Life until 1946 as a mountain getaway for family and employees. The park was donated to the National Park Service after the death of Julian Price, who was president of the company. The park is a regional favorite--camping, hiking, picnicking, and many other forms of recreation abound in this park. I even performed a wedding along the creek at Julian Price Park (yes, I went to college initially to be a minister).
The Day 16 finishes the climb on Grandfather Mountain with a highlight of the Linn Cove Viaduct. Then begins a long descent to Linville Falls. The day's run ends with a little climbing. Here's a link to the plan... http://www.mapmyrun.com/routes/view/341035825