Yeah pretty much especially trying to get in and first 35mi. And watch for speed traps there will be many.
@OP if you want to avoid crowds 2nd half from Medows of Dan, MP 51 is usually better, accessible from US 33.
Blue Ridge parkway is also good alternative and free. The repaving there is only from James River down to before MP103 and some sections south to NC border. I was there eclipse weekend and chip sections we're very good, only 3 bad transitions around Rocky Knob.
It is a beautiful drive, but in the summer with all the vegetation and greenery, a lot of the "scenery" is obstructed, so check out the pull-off scenic stops along the way. The best time, IMO, living here just 15 minutes away, is fall when the leaves are turning color, or have fallen, revealing all the terrain and vistas.
I personally like the Blue Ridge Parkway to the south of Skyline Drive. It is free and just as beautiful of a drive. Plus, there are some dirt roads and trails in the George Washington Forest you can take the V-Strom on.
It's a bother to have to work for a living and only have weekends and holidays to go ride. The best time is during the week especially after the kids are back in school and vacations are over. This seems to be true for the interesting, scenic places all over the country.
Some of our local Los Angeles rides are horrible on the weekends. Yesterday was no traffic for the 60 miles of Angeles Crest. Wonderful lunch run.
I like the SkyLine and its 35mph limit is not so crazy like the Nat.Trace 45. On the trace you can do 100 mph lots of places and be safe .The SkyLine is lots of bends and with all the green now lots of good sites hid. I like the BlueRidge all so and on it every year for last 35 I bet. Its so close. Wheels Through Time museum in Maggie Valley if ever near it on the B.R.P well worth the time to go.I can stay in it a day easy.:grin2:
Big B when we were deep into the wilds of Canada one year we were feeling we are bad and a kid 22 I think ,rode in on a petal power with a small one wheel tent camper behind! We got in a nice chat with him and he was telling us how bad his english was and far better than our Kentucky hill billy.:grin2: We shared a little whisky with him and he sat on each bike and wanted a strom so bad.He was going across most of Canada that summer. We were impressed. He though the whiskey was moon shine at first from all he had seen about Kain-tuckiee >
Sr pass has saved me so much.Used it more in Colorado than any where.They went us this month from$10 to $80! but still cheap if you go much.Had mine nine years now.Good for life for you and wife on same card.Wife is off if you die.
I rode it down and back on the Saturday before the eclipse and on the Wednesday After the eclipse. I also rode the Blue Ridge for over a hundred miles from Rocky Knob on up. The road at Rocky Knob has a good stretch of heavy gravel. I was surprised that there was not too much travel on either day and had some good riding. Mostly 40-50 mph. I actually liked the Skyline better then the Blue Ridge, there are no services on the Blue Ridge, you need to get off the parkway at the road crossings every 30 to 40 miles. The road was in great shape on the Skyline.
The Skyline cost me $20 for a 7 day pass for the park. I used it down and back. I have always heard tell of how crowded the both the Skyline and Blue Ridge can be and might be worried about the Memorial Day weekend, but both were great rides for me. Some of the best roads on 1700 miles down and back. That said there are a bunch of nice riding roads all around the Shenandoah Valley.
The hard pack gravel on the Blue Ridge was pretty easy riding, I only hit a few patches of loose gravel. I did have the back wheel step out on me once or twice in the looser stuff.
My brother on his GS and I on my Tenere, are going to Deals Gap on 9/8. We are doing forest service roads, Cherohala, the D Tail, moonshiner etc. till 9/12. Then he heads back to work and I am soloing the BRP from Cherokee to the Skyline. I plan on doing a bunch of side-roading, camping, maybe a little fishing and just generally screwing around. Getting home some time around 9/17. I try to do this ride every 3 years or so. I have a ton of vacation, so if the weather holds I may just get lost in Virginia.
I'll echo others....waste of time. You'll be crawling behind campers and bicyclists, and if you do happen to get any clear pavement the speed limit is judiciously enforced by LE and the fines are ferocious.
I rode it once, never again. Not pretty enough to justify that frustration.
Been on it more than a few times but never a week end. All my trips were good but its not that long any way! Just a drop in the bucket next to Blue Ridge's 469 miles. I hate heavy traffic all so and will go a 100 miles to stay out of a big city if I have the time. O glad he's gone town is the worse to me to go through. Toll road in a city! Makes feel better to just tell my self ..worth it to get out of it..
Woman down the road that has a small farm like I do just had her brother come for a week.She has been here 45 years now and does not want to be any where else. He is looking for a place in Kentucky now.To get away from the crazy tax'es he says more than any thing since he has retired.He is scared of the way any part of the city that starts to decline in working class and welfare move in will soon become the jungle of crime like parts of any big city has.
I been on it twice, first time, I hit Front Royal about noon on a Sunday, first 30 miles or so was jam packed, I was riding "Vermont style" passing every opportunity (ignoring yellow lines) about the same time that traffic tapered off, we came up behind a green suv with federal plates, we followed him for nearly 50 miles staying 8-10 seconds behind him, he was blowing his horn at deer, clearing the road for us, running at a 50-60 mph+ pace. We were in Roanoke by 5pm from Front Royal @ noon, via Skyline & BRP
next time I was on Skyline Drive, it was socked in with fog, got off at first opportunity to take 81, but made a wrong turn in the fog, rode down the wrong side of the mountain, ended up taking 29 & 64 to get over to 81
I was just there the Tuesday after the eclipse and the road was empty, total blast to ride.
Started down at Roanoke on the Blue Ridge and ended up at Front Royal. Perfect ride and yes there was loose gravel for about 30 miles on the Blue Ridge north of Roanoke it wasn't bad but a lot of full dressers decided to opt out, their loss.
Last year I did it 2 weeks after Labor Day and again it was deserted, absolutely perfect.
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