What a surprise as our motorcycles rounded the bend on my favorite section of the Blue Ridge Parkway July 4 to find a familiar and highly visited overlook feature missing. We had to stop for a closer look.
It’s one of those classic photo opportunities on your Blue Ridge Parkway motorcycle ride – the highest point of the 469 mile roadway is prominently marked with a large sign at the popular overlook. You can pull your bikes right in front of it and get that great picture to commemorate your visit – until now. That sign is missing.
My first though was it had been struck by a car. It would have had to be a big car though, at least an SUV, maybe even a small truck, but the evidence did not show signs of a collision.
The damage was too high, and it appeared more as if it had occurred from the top down. The twisted steel and fractured rock indicated the sign had probably been forced down by high wind, though it must have been one heck of a blow. Perhaps it was a tornado or one of those micro-burst events. At over 6000 feet elevation you can experience some pretty severe weather.
Still, this sign has stood through harsh conditions for many years. I’m glad I wasn’t up high when this damage occurred. We’ve had extraordinarily unusual weather in the Smoky Mountains this year. Until now, I would have told you tornados don’t happen in the mountains. Great Smoky Mountains National Park has experienced a couple, you can still see the twisted steel tower in the middle of the lake at Deals Gap left when that cyclone blew through, and I no longer know what to expect. Times are changing and the southeast has been pummeled with twisters this year.
If it’s the end-of-times, I’m going out riding my motorcycle. Watch me flash by in the twister like the wicked witch in the Wizard of Oz. See you on the yellow brick road.
You’ll find this outstanding motorcycle riding area featured on America Rides Maps “The Best Motorcycle Rides South of Great Smoky Mountains National Park”