Saturday, June 26, 2010

Blue Ridge Parkway

Let's face it, if you are staying 20 minutes from one of the most famous roads in America (Route 66, that myth of the American West has to be number one, I expect) you don't fail to see it in all it's summer glory.The Parkway is not strictly a park, but the National Park Service has jurisdiction over the road and the land on either side. Statistically it is the most visited "unit" in the National Park Service. If you think the Parkway is a cool place you'll be delighted to know it was born in the administration of Franklin Delano Roosevelt a public project (carried out by private contractors) under government supervision to create something of lasting value and put unemployed Americans to work. This was in 1935 when 25% of Americans were unemployed. These days unofficial shadow statistics put 22% of Americans on the dole. Yet all we manage to build is bigger better (!?) banks... 13 trillion modern dollars handed out by President Obama could have built miles of passenger rail lines instead of saving the big banks. Never mind, the parkway is lovely. The speed limit is even slower than the Florida Keys, a mix of 45mph (70kph) and 35mph (60kph) but it's easy to dawdle up here. I am proud to say I never held up anyone driving faster than me and there are tons of pull outs and overlooks to stop on and let the busy people by. There are some passing areas but the dotted yellow lines are few and far between so patience,as they say, pays. The road is not open to commercial traffic so the surface is as smooth as the proverbial billiard table. The Parkway is amazingly informal, no tolls, no particular rules, just a road 469 miles long that took 52 years to complete, from Virginia almost all the way to the North Carolina/Tennessee state line in far western North Carolina. There are parks and picnic areas and we took a break one afternoon to sit in a most shady delightful spot at a picnic table undisturbed for hours. we had to bus our own space but there was no trash left anywhere that I could see in the park area. The Park Service provides a dumpster and recycling bins at the exit and it was the work of a moment to dump all trace of our afternoon's picnic. Cheyenne wandered on her leash and had a great time. I was a bit fussy about leashing her but there were plenty of dogs playing in the park.The views are spectacular and we enjoyed an approaching thunderstorm. I took a few pictures before we got lashed with rain.
Not exactly the Florida Keys but quite lovely nonetheless.

Ingles is a family owned grocery chain in this neck of the woods.My wife and I read the name in Spanish and call it ingles,("English") just for fun. It's a good yuppie chain similar to Publix in Florida.I was not impressed by the American Owned logo on the Spruce Pine store. As the economy continues to sour us immigrants will get in the cross hairs more and more no doubt. Judenrien will take on a new 21st century flavor and I wonder how legal from illegal, desirable from not will be decided. I'm white, will that work in my favor? Second class perhaps but allowed to stay? And own a store...Ingles- English owned!