Even though it's technically the "foothills", the views are impressive right off the hop.
We camped our way along, spending 2 full days (and parts of 2 others) riding from mile 0 to mile 458 of the parkway.
We got soaked with rain on our way to the highest elevation accessible via the road, and got to contemplate the wisdom of riding big, metal things on mountaintops through a thunderstorm when lightning crashed down just to one side of the road ahead of us.
But still camped that night with one hell of a view over our fireplace - at 5,000ft just Southwest of Maggie Valley, NC.
Eight days and 3,409.1km / 2,118.3mi later after: riding through North Carolina, Virginia, Tennessee, Kentucky and West Virginia in one day; spending an interminable amount of time staring at Ohio cornfields and negotiating construction on I75 into Michigan; piercing a pair of nipples (long story) and fostering a pair of very sore bums, we were home again.
The memories, though, will remain with us always.