So, the first two days: fairly successful in terms of driving. Today, not so much. Since things had gone well we decided to stick with the plan of the Blue Ridge Parkway. First problem - I-40 near the North Carolina border was down to 45 mph (fairly curvy road - it was in a national park, so makes sense). But we stuck with it and took it over to the parkway. Now, the speed limit on the parkway is 45 mph the whole way, which we hadn't realized. Also, the drive is kinda scary if you go 45 mph - there are tight turns, especially with changing altitude (think roller coaster!) Finally, for some reason they let bikers go on the road (it's one lane both directions with absolutely no shoulder, and usually the trees are very close to the road). Now I'm sure it's an awesome (but tough!) ride with the scenery, but this is seriously dangerous because you have to either slow to a low speed to stay behind them or try to pass them quickly, which is scary because the road is fairly narrow and on a lot of the turns you're lucky if you can see a second in front of you. So that was scary.
Having said that, the view was absolutely gorgeous - we switched off drivers so we could both see the scenery. There are lots of overlooks where you can stop and take pictures, which I did :-)
So originally in my mind we were going to take the Blue Ridge Parkway the whole way to Roanoke, then spend the night in Charlottesville (another 120 miles). This was right out, because the 45 mph speed limit meant we would get there at like, oh, 3 am or something. (don't forget, we changed timezones which cost an hour as well) So we took the first "exit" off of the parkway (which were few and far between - I was a bit worried about running out of gas!) and decided to take some roads to get back to I-81. Apparently "state road" in North Carolina means "nice mountainous road where speed limits are 35 mph for long stretches of time", so this took for freakin' ever. Finally we were going to stop before Roanoke in Wytheville, but the hotels I called were all full up, so we bit the bullet and drove to Roanoke, where we are now. Yesterday we averaged 58 mph for the day, including stops (500 miles in 8.5 hours) - today it was 45 mph (500 miles in 11 hours) which makes a huuuge difference.
Luckily tomorrow's drive will only be around 300 miles so we don't have to get up early or anything.
Last night we watched The Break-Up while in the whirlpool. The movie ordering system was weird - you had to tune the TV to channel 2, then pick up the phone and press the "movie" button (which was on a box also tapped in to the phone line), then use the remote to select the movie, then swipe a credit card through the box to pay for it. Seems unnecessarily complicated...
- This morning right before we checked out, a guy in the hall said "so, you're from Texas" (I was wearing my Texas ARML shirt). I said yeah and he asked where my Kinky for Governor bumper sticker was. I was surprised to hear this in Tennessee :-)
- At lunch today (Subway for the third lunch in a row!) the girl making my sandwich said I looked like George from Grey's Anatomy (which I haven't seen). After looking at the picture, I guess I can see a resemblance...