The first thing you need to know about the Blue Ridge Parkway is that it isn't designed for speed. This is referred to as America's favorite drive. It's a mostly shoulderless , two-lane road that meanders through leafy hollows and along mountain ridges following the crest of the southern Appalachians. We got on it at Asheville, North Carolina, and drove 80 miles of it to the Great Smoky Park. There were a couple of detours caused by black ice. It had rained and snowed at elevation the night before and there were some sections of the road on the north slopes that didn't thaw out. At one point we had to wait 2 hours before they opened the gate to let us continue.
It felt like summer in the valley, but by the time we climbed to the top it changed to early spring.
There was a lot of damage from the heavy snows last winter.
For those of you who have read the book or seen the movie, "Cold Mountain", imagine walking across these mountains to get home.
We hiked the entire width of the Appalachian Trail.