Tour de Brushies

Tour de Brushies

Another sunny Sunday afternoon, another good bike ride. It's a tough job, but somebody has to do it!


The second Sunday in May I biked my standard route in front of my cabin, from the top of the Brushy Mountains, down Brushy Mountain Road, to Country Club Road, Pennell Road, Brocktown Road and up Lithia Springs Road, back to Brushy Mountain Road. This was my first bike trip of the spring and it took me a few minutes to remember how the gears work. It was also my first traverse of this route in several years in other than cold weather. I had several serendipities.

The sights, sounds and smells were glorious! The view, of course, is world class. From different places I could see Watauga County, Ashe County, Alleghany County, parts of Wilkes County and Mount Rogers, VA. Some fields and hillsides were a riot of colors. Luscious pink and lavender rhododendron, brilliant red and yellow poppies, flame azalea, white blackberry and pear blossoms and my favorite, deep purple wild iris.

There was a symphony of smells. Deep privette, rich honeysuckle and delicious fresh cut hay. I was raised on a farm and baled hay many summers. To me, fresh cut and just cured hay smells so good I could almost eat it. Some parts of this route are every bit as pretty as the Blue Ridge Parkway and Doughton Park.

The scariest part of the trip is the first long, steep, winding downhill run from the ridge top to the valley. On my prior trips I felt considerable trepidation that my speed was on the edge of control. This time I distinctly felt the resistance of my knobby tires on the pavement, and the wind on my chest. The bike speed was in balance with the conditions. It was pretty much fun to cruise down, without braking, swooping like a bird left and right through the curves!

By a creek I saw a family of two Canada geese and four goslings dabbling in the water. It reminded me of the principal that most living things cannot simply exist. They must either be growing, or they atrophy. I hope to keep growing in all aspects of my life for the foreseeable future.

On my way back, I faced the big climb up Lithia Springs Road. It is about one third of the mileage, but takes about two-thirds of the time. I made my best run to date. I was able to complete the trip without any breaks just to rest. Of course, I stopped a few times to shed clothes, dodge chasing dogs and drink water. Oh, yes, I stopped a couple times to admire the view and smell the flowers!

Walking back up the steps to my cabin I felt like I was wearing 20 pound boots. But my legs will recuperate by tomorrow. Then I hope to be off on another weekday evening mini-adventure. Life is good.

Bob Laney

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Bob is the site curator and writer of Blue Ridge Outing. Since starting the Blue Ridge Outing travel blog in 2002, Bob has written, recorded and documented countless expeditions in the US and around the world.