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Old 09-28-2010, 09:10 AM   #1
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Skyline Drive - Blue Ridge Parkway

Planning a trip west from Ohio via Skyline Drive and Blue Ridge Parkway in mid Oct. I was wondering about the downhills and braking or any other information. This will be our first trip in a MH.

We have a 2002 Itasca w/ Workhorse chassis 8.1 L pulling a 2001 CRV w/ Readybrake.

Any comments appreciated. thanks Bob
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Old 09-29-2010, 10:14 AM   #2
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I will be there myself Second week of Oct. ( was there last year the same time) Big Meadows campground is wonderful.
The Skyline, once you get up on it is really easy without alot of steep climbs. Getting up to it is the hardest part but not a problem with your rig.
I have not done the blue ridge in a MH and haven't done it in a car for 20 years. I am just in the process of figuring out the Blue ridge ... there are some low bridges on the Blue ridge so make sure you check that out. Skyline is a clear shot and the tunnel at marys rock is no problem.
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Old 09-29-2010, 04:28 PM   #3
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We've traveled all of the Blue Ridge Parkway with the various RV's we've owned, except the part with several low clearance tunnels (less than 13'). All these are from mile marker 458 to 461 on the southern end in NC. We got off at US19 (when going south) to go around those. Everything in Virginia is no problem.

Grades in Virginia are generally less steep than in NC, but in both you will want to use lower gears to allow the engine to do some braking when going downhill.

We found we need to travel slower than the speed limit, especially around the curves, some of which are decreasing radius and very tight. With the larger MH we have now, it is not surprising to go 30MPH in the 45MPH zone, especially in some sections in NC. We pull over at most vistas to enjoy the view and let traffic go by.

Here is a webpage that has a planned itinerary on the BRP with some notes.

On Skyline Drive in Shenandoah National Park, we've stayed both at Loft Mountain and Big Meadows and liked both, both offer hiking to waterfalls nearby. There are lots of ranger programs to attend, be sure to check those out.

On the BRP (Blue Ridge Parkway), we have stayed at most of the campgrounds, even with our 34' rig we still can find a site that is level enough for use, though we sometimes have to use the "pull through" sites, some of which are really just wide spots in the campground road. Still OK for several nights camping.

IMHO, using a motorhome to drive the BRP is a great way to see the fall colors! Be prepared to go slow and stop a lot to see the vistas and other sights on the Parkway.

Have Fun!
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Old 09-29-2010, 04:44 PM   #4
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We were at Big Meadows in Aug. Do you have a reservation for a site. The reason I ask is some of the large pull-thru sites are not level. When we were there in Aug (4 nights / Sun -Thur) it was 1/2 to 2/3 full. We like Big Meadows because it is a large park, and close to other things....

One other item, The first time we visited we started a Royal Front (mile marker 1). Its curvy going up, but not too bad. This time we came in at Thornton Gap and coming off of I-81 at New Market. Well, there is another mountain range between the freeway and Shenandoah and it was nasty.....The grade into Shenandoah wasn't too bad, but that mountain between New Market and Luray on Route 211 was a killer.
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Old 09-29-2010, 09:03 PM   #5
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That is Massanutten Mountain between New Market and Shenandoah NP. It is a real killer.

I have found its much better coming in to Shenandoah NP from Front Royal, VA as it is a steady upgrade. Any of the 'side routes' into Shenandoah go right up the side of the mountains and are much steeper.

Front Royal and New Market have some 'city driving' so watch out for tight turns and read the signs so you are in the correct lane to make some quick turns.

Big Meadows is great but make sure you have a reservation and the site can fit your rig. Some loops prohibit genset use so be careful of that too. Last time we stayed in H214 with a 35-footer and had plenty of room. Our friends were in H215 with a similar sized RV.
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Old 09-29-2010, 09:23 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RVThere View Post
That is Massanutten Mountain between New Market and Shenandoah NP. It is a real killer.

I have found its much better coming in to Shenandoah NP from Front Royal, VA as it is a steady upgrade. Any of the 'side routes' into Shenandoah go right up the side of the mountains and are much steeper.

Front Royal and New Market have some 'city driving' so watch out for tight turns and read the signs so you are in the correct lane to make some quick turns.

B
I stayed at Yogi Bear two weeks ago on 211 near Luray. I took 340 down from Front Royal. It has some narrow bridges that I would not have wanted to pass a big truck on, especially at speed. I took 211 over the mountain (large hill) going back. Gearing down and taking it slow was a much better route than 340. Better because I didn't have narrow bridges to worry about and the route is not very long before you're back on a divided 4 lane road (211) toward Warrenton.
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Old 10-02-2010, 08:08 AM   #7
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The Blue Ridge Parkway is a great drive:

Be sure to stop at the new visitor center in Asheville. Very nice.

Your MH is a 2002. If you have never changed the brake fluid, do it now. We drove our Trek down off the parkway through the "Little Switzerland" area, very slowly gearing down and not riding the brakes, but had total loss of pedal after getting to the bottom. Brake fluid absorbs water, and this boils and turns to a gas which doesn't function as a hydraulic fluid anymore. I knew I was due for a brake fluid change, but put it off. We were lucky to find a place to stop and, after about 45 minutes, the steam in the brake lines condensed back to a fluid and we drove home - where I promptly changed the brake fluid.

We drove part of the parkway last spring in a car. Exited on what looked like a normal road, and drove down a very narrow twisty route great for a small sports car but literally impassable for a MH. Check your map for a main road designation if you leave the parkway

Quote:
Originally Posted by rbates1944 View Post
Planning a trip west from Ohio via Skyline Drive and Blue Ridge Parkway in mid Oct. I was wondering about the downhills and braking or any other information. This will be our first trip in a MH.

We have a 2002 Itasca w/ Workhorse chassis 8.1 L pulling a 2001 CRV w/ Readybrake.

Any comments appreciated. thanks Bob
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