In May friends biked the 650 miles of the Skyline Drive and the Blue Ridge Parkway, from Front Royal, VA, to Cherokee, NC, and I got to go along. It’s an amazing stretch of road, ranging in elevation from about 560 feet at the northern end of the Skyline Drive in Virginia to 6,053 feet near Richland Balsam, NC. Little traffic before Memorial Day. Virtually no potholes. Consistently stunning views of mountains in all directions. Overlooks, tunnels and turnouts. Your federal tax dollars at work. There were eight people and eight bikes and all the gear jammed into the big blue heavily bumper-stickered Sprinter van borrowed from another friend’s indie rock superstar nephew, Chadwick Stokes (of Dispatch and State Radio) and his band. Along the way there was a 13-mile climb and a 10-mile descent and lots of other ups and downs. Top, sunset near Big Meadows Lodge, VA. Below, the road and views from it as it winds over the ridges. And flame azaleas and a note stuck along the Appalachian Trail in Virginia. Click here for a slideshow from the trip.