RWR Day 16 – Linn Cove Viaduct

The highlight of the day and of the entire run is Linn Cove Viaduct. We began the day just below Milepost 300. The fourth mile of the run was Linn Cove Viaduct--it was even better than I imagined.

Day 16 Run

Neal and Steve taking a quick break
Neal and Steve taking a quick break

I enjoyed running with Steve Simmons from Banner Elk for 8 miles today--great guy who took up cycling and running three years ago and has lost 60 pounds. Neal Stubblefield drove all the way from Atlanta to run with us today--Neal and his wife Jo Anne have been friends of ours for 33 years. He was my idol as a runner in Atlanta--35 marathons with a PR of 2:32. Neal has also run with the bulls at Pamplona--the only person I know who has done that! Neal is a mild-mannered engineer and fellow Georgia Tech alum. He's about the last person you would expect to have run with the bulls.

Linn Cove Viaduct views were everything I had hoped. I uploaded about a dozen photos to BRPWeather.Com, you'll have to zoom way in to the map there to see them all because they are placed so close together. But one vista after another was spectacular--check out the photos!

Yellow Meadow between Grandfather and the Linville River
Yellow Meadow between Grandfather and the Linville River

Neal and I settled into some 8:30/min pace miles in the downhill and flat run from Grandfather to the Linville River. After crossing the river, it was back to climbing mode and slow miles. Then about .75 miles from Milepost 320, the floodgates of heaven opened and we were soaked. Rhonda picked us up about .33 miles from the intended finish. But we still had 20.41 miles in for the day. The NPS needs to do a sobriety check for whoever put out the mileposts through this section. Over the course of about 8 miles, they were about half a mile off making this a longer run than intended.

Here are details of the run...

Photos and Video

The App Ortho Photo of the Day

North End of the Linn Cove Viaduct
North End of the Linn Cove Viaduct

There are dozens of great photos uploaded to From the map on BRPWeather.Com, zoom into the region between Grandfather and Linville Falls. We uploaded so many photos from Grandfather, you have to zoom way in. By the way, you can upload your photos to also; just click on the Photo link and follow the process--it's quick and easy!

We created two videos from the day: 1) at the start and 2) at lunch after being soaked.


Location Information

Big Lynn Lodge
Big Lynn Lodge
We end the day at a Big Lynn Lodge. We'll be here for 3 days. It's named after a tree named Big Lynn that marked the spot--75 feet tall and 13 feet in circumference. The tree died in 1965, but two huge seedlings from Big Lynn still are in front of the Lodge. The lodge has been in existence for over 70 years. It's a quaint motor lodge, the room includes breakfast and dinner. Friendly, down-home, comfortable.It's a popular spot for riders on The Diamondback. I'll share more tomorrowl
Rhonda stopped by the Linville Falls Winery, and we enjoyed lunch at a great spot--Christa's--at the corner of Hwy 181 and the Parkway.

Parkway Attractions and History

Linn Cove Viaduct
Linn Cove Viaduct
Of course the Linn Cove Viaduct was the last section of the Blue Ridge Parkway to be completed (in 1987), 52 years after the first shovel of dirt was moved at Low Gap in Alleghany County, NC. The Grandfather Mountain section of the Parkway became the most controversial section as well. In May 1955, the NC Highway Commission posted a notice in the Watauga County Courthouse to acquire 779 acres on Grandfather Mountain for Blue Ridge Parkway right-of-way. Hugh Morton, owner of the mountain, fought the process leading to the State of North Carolina deeding back the property to Hugh Morton. Mr. Morton objected to the "high route" wanted by Parkway planners, proposing instead that the road be build on property already sold to the National Park Service (near the existing Hwy 221). After a bitter, 13-year, public dispute, Mr. Morton and the NPS reached an agreement on a "middle route" in 1968. However, because of engineering complications, construction on the Viaduct did not begin until 1979. After 8 years, this fabulous viaduct was complete.


The Day 17 run will be a long day with constant up and down. Here are the details...

9 Comments on “RWR Day 16 – Linn Cove Viaduct

  1. Loved seeing and reading your blog tonight. You would be proud of your 80-year old Mom for figuring out how to see all the pictures “zoomed” into the map. Neat!!!

  2. Ray, what an honor to run with you and new friend Steve today – the vistas across the viaduct were spectacular, the weather and topography were superb (well at least until the last when, as you noted, both sort of headed south in tandem), and it was just plain fun! You are THE IRON MAN on this epic journey and I’m confident that in 8 days, 149 miles hence you’ll be crossing the finish line strong down in Cherokee. I would encourage as many others as can, especially if within hailing distance of the Parkway, to celebrate this centennial voyage with Ray – pick a day (or more) and whatever miles you can run with him will be delightful, your soul will be enriched with the beauty of God’s creation around you, you’ll be an encouragement to Ray (he will keep it conversational if you let him and will give you plenty of history on this magnificent roadway if you like), and you’ll have a terrific time being part of his historic trek. And did I mention, his “pit crew” (many times his wife Rhonda as it was today) knows how to extend North Carolinian hospitality by depositing water, apples and bananas at strategic mileposts to keep the runners fueled and moving forward! I was glad to have had this opportunity to run with you, my friend, and wish you Godspeed and you head south in this last third of the course toward the finish!

    1. Thanks so much Neal. I’m still in awe that you would drive so far to come run with me. It was a great day (minus getting caught in the thunderstorm at the end). Glad you are home safe. You are indeed a great friend!

    2. Well said Neil. I was so inspired that I went out for another 8 miles today. This was truly a once-in-a-life-time experience for me. My next goal is to help raise some money.

      1. Steve, again, many thanks to you and Nancy. You were a beast to get to 8 miles two days in a row. And the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation is a great organization!!! I can’t express how encouraging you were.

        1. Ray & Steve,
          Enjoyed our time together today on Day 17 – great two day effort Steve…HUZZA!!!

          Ray, I sent you a couple of emails…let me know if I need to do anything else and I need to figure out how to get a 16MB video to you!
          Marc Bowen
          Morganton NC

  3. Ray, I have read about the mile markers on the Viaduct section but can’t find it now. What I remember is that when they placed the mile markers on the existing Parkway prior to the building of that last section, they had to guess at where the road might go and how far it would be across that missing section. As I am sure you know, it was then many years before it was completed and the location was not where they first thought it might be. So on that section from Holloway Mountain Road to the intersection at 221 near Grandfather Mountain Entrance, they just made the mile markers “fit” by stretching the distance between each set of markers. I’m thinking I read that it was approximately .1 mile extra between each pair. They thought that would be less noticeable than adding all of the extra between any 2 markers. So yes, you did get a little bonus that day! It’s been very interesting to follow your blog and I wish you all the best as you finish the journey!

    1. Correct. When the roads on either side of Grandfather were built, they had no idea how long the Grandfather section would be. Thanks. My legs are more tired tonight than ever.

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