Monday, March 6, 2017

Skyline Drive (3/6/2017)

Monday, March 6, 2017 (continued)
Before detouring to see the Manassas National Battlefield Park, our plan was to drive along Skyline Drive. We went ahead towards Skyline Drive, despite some drizzling rain.
Since this was an unplanned activity, we did not realize that Skyline Drive is in the Shenandoah National Park and that there was an entrance fee. That was no problem, as we had recently purchased our Senior Lifetime National Park Passes.
Skyline Drive is 105 miles long and there are no places for gas that would be open until March 23rd. We did not have enough gas for the full length of the drive, but fortunately there are several entrances/exits along the way.
The speed limit on Skyline Drive is 35 mph, and we were already running behind schedule!
Finally, Skyline Drive runs along the crest of the Blue Ridge Mountains, and a rainy day does not offer the best views.  We did see several deer, which were much more skittish than the deer in our neighborhood!  We watched their "white flags" (tails raised) as they ran off into the woods.
Shenandoah Valley Overlook at Mile 2.8 (elevation 1390')
Signal Knob Overlook at Mile 5.5 (elevation 2085')
Range View Overlook at Mile 17 (elevation 2810')
Range View Overlook wall
Skyline Drive was constructed from 1931 to 1939. Funds were allocated by the Federal Drought Relief Administration to employ Virginia farmers and apple pickers suffering from the severe drought impacts on the apple and produce harvests in 1930. In 1933 President Franklin D Roosevelt formed the Civilian Conservation Corps/CCC to grade the slopes on either side of the roadway, build the guardrails and guard walls, construct overlooks, plant hundreds of thousands of trees and shrubs and acres of grass to landscape both sides of the roadbed, build the picnic areas and campgrounds, comfort stations, visitor contact and maintenance buildings, and make the signs that guided visitors on their way. Many served as the first park interpreters.
We departed from Skyline Drive at the Thornton Gap Entrance at Mile 31.5, and soon found a gas station!
We found Highway US-29 to take us into North Carolina, and eventually took I-85 to the Charlotte area to stay at a Comfort Inn in Matthews, NC, arriving at 10:15 pm.

Next: Plantation Estates.

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