Blue Ridge Parkway Tour
MINIs and 469 Miles of Curves
Back in the early days of the Tar Heel MINI Motoring Club, the founder had an idea to travel the entire length of the Blue Ridge Parkway = all 469 Miles. In June 2008, 27 (or so) MINIs gathered together in Waynesboro, VA to start a journey south to Cherokee.
Since then, the Tar Heel MINI Motoring Club has organized an event each June to run the entire length of the Blue Ridge Parkway. The route alternates each year from North to South, South to North.
In 2015 the BRP Tour took a hiatus while THMMC did a special 10th anniversary run in June during MINIs Take North Carolina, which took motorers from the Mountains of Western NC to eastern ocean shores of Nags Head.
We are back in 2016 with the original North to South Blue Ridge Parkway Tour!
The Blue Ridge Parkway
The Blue Ridge Parkway (BRP) is one of the most visited sections of the National Park System. The BRP has been called “America’s Favorite Drive” and stretches 469 miles from Rockfish Gap near Waynesboro, Virginia (Milepost 0) to just outside of Cherokee, North Carolina (Milepost 469). The Parkway was originally suggested to connect the Shenandoah National Park at the north end and the Great Smoky Mountain National Park at the southern end. Construction began in 1935 near Cumberland, North Carolina. The last 7.7 mile section to be built was the Linn Cove Viaduct that was not completed until 1987. The Viaduct was built from the top down to protect the fragile habitat on Grandfather Mountain, North Carolina. The BRP changes elevation in a serious way, at the lowest it is less than 500 feet above sea level and at its highest point it is 6,053 feet above sea level.
The goal of the BRP Tour is to travel the entire length of the BRP over the course of three days. Typically, this means participants gather at one end by a Thursday evening so they can get an early start on Friday morning. Traditionally, a welcome dinner has been held on Thursday evening for everyone to get together to enjoy some chow, go over basic info about the event, and get their t-shirts and other swag.
Friday morning the participants (all wearing their new t-shirts!) will meet for a short driver’s meeting, the off to the first stop the terminus, for a group picture. We then head off on the journey!
While the format of the days have changed over the years, with different events and ways of accomplishing the motoring, we eventually make it to our first stop for an overnight stay. The process is repeated for Saturday and Sunday. One night we usually have a raffle to giveaway items provided by sponsors. The schedule generally wraps up around lunch time on Sunday as folks head back home or wherever their next planned stop may be.
In more recent years the club uses the BRP Tour as an opportunity to give back to our community. Whether donating time to clean up sections of the parkway or collecting funds to donate to Friends of the Blue Ridge Parkway, we are proud to be a part of helping to maintain the BRP for future motorers.
Information and Parkway Map:
The Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation takes care of raising funds to support the parkway beyond what the federal budget can provide. The Foundation has an “End to End” program where you can apply for a certificate commemorating your completion of the Parkway. The Foundation also publishes a FREE iPhone application (BRPTracker) that lists each landmark with milepost and elevation. The app also lets you enter notes and mark the landmark as one you have visited.