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Author Topic: Tennessee-Alabama trip  (Read 1093 times)

hbelkins

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Tennessee-Alabama trip
« on: March 17, 2023, 11:09:29 AM »

A couple of weeks ago, I went with my brother on a scouting trip, as he was looking for places to fish and camp in Tennessee and Alabama.

I met him in Owen County and we traveled to Hopkinsville by way of US 127, the Bluegrass Parkway, the Western Kentucky Parkway, and the Pennyrile Parkway. From Hoptown we used backroads to reach the Piney campground at Land Between the Lakes, off US 79, and then south on US 641 and various Tennessee state routes to get to Pickwick Landing.

The next day, we visited several spots in Alabama on Lewis Smith, Guntersville, and Weiss lakes before overnighting in Scottsboro. On the third day, we headed back north into Tennessee where he looked at some campgrounds on Tim's Ford Lake before returning to Kentucky.

One thing of note is just how good most of the county roads are in Tennessee and Alabama. The pavement is decent, and many of the roads have good centerline markings and warning signage -- better than a lot of state roads.

This was my first time to see the I-165 signage posted in Kentucky, and the WK west of I-165 is marked as the Future I-569 Corridor. I don't know why there is not an effort to extend the interstate designation all the way east to I-65 at Elizabethtown. Similarly, the Pennyrile is marked as Future I-169 Corridor.

Tennessee's state route signage remains baffling. Concurrencies are not well-signed at all, and hidden route segments make many routes appear discontinuous. We re-entered Tennessee on what becomes TN 16, and that route just disappears at US 64 despite continuing as a hidden route for US 41A. Apparently there is also a transition in Winchester of TN 50 from signed secondary to unsigned primary somewhere in the area.

My brother was using his GPS for routing purposes. At one of our stops on Tim's Ford Lake, he punched in "home" and Google Maps laid out a route that led to TN 111 at Cookeville, and then would have taken us back to north-central Kentucky via US 127, KY 90, KY 80, and KY 461 through Albany, Monticello, Somerset, and Mt. Vernon, hitting I-65 at Exit 62. He then decided to check out yet another campground on the east side of the lake. Once we left there, Google Maps changed its mind. It routed us to I-24 and home through Nashville, where traffic was horrible on the I-24/I-40 concurrency and leading to the I-24/I-65 concurrency. It's probably a good thing we were in a slowdown, because there were potholes the size of moon craters along that route.

There's a good widening project as you approach the Kentucky state line. When that's done, it will leave a segment with two lanes in each direction with some discrete passing lanes in a few locations yet to be widened.

We passed the site where the new Buc-ee's will be built at Smiths Grove. There's a huge field in the southeast corner of the KY 101 interchange. There's a barn there with a "Coming Soon" banner on it.

This was my first time to be on the widened portion of I-65 immediately south of E-town. The KY 222 Glendale interchange, which was modified during the widening, is being rebuilt due to the nearby battery factory that's under construction.

Photos from the trip are posted on my Flickr page and a link is in the "Photos" board here.
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froggie

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Re: Tennessee-Alabama trip
« Reply #1 on: April 01, 2023, 04:52:04 PM »

One thing of note is just how good most of the county roads are in Tennessee and Alabama. The pavement is decent, and many of the roads have good centerline markings and warning signage -- better than a lot of state roads.

In fairness, it's been 15 years...but this is *NOT* the backroads Alabama I remember, especially across western and southern (outside of Mobile and Baldwin Counties) Alabama.
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formulanone

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Re: Tennessee-Alabama trip
« Reply #2 on: April 01, 2023, 07:32:41 PM »

One thing of note is just how good most of the county roads are in Tennessee and Alabama. The pavement is decent, and many of the roads have good centerline markings and warning signage -- better than a lot of state roads.
In fairness, it's been 15 years...but this is *NOT* the backroads Alabama I remember, especially across western and southern (outside of Mobile and Baldwin Counties) Alabama.


County roads in Alabama are a bit of a crapshoot in upkeep; usually I reference the ones in the state map, as they're usually great-quality roads.

Choosing a random route with a pentagon on it is not an automatic indicator of pavement quality and road safety, as there's many with giant potholes, one-lane wooden bridges, blind corners, steep drops, et cetera. Some can be pleasant surprises and great shortcuts, but I would avoid many of them if weather and visibility is poor.
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hbelkins

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Re: Tennessee-Alabama trip
« Reply #3 on: April 01, 2023, 08:37:57 PM »

One thing of note is just how good most of the county roads are in Tennessee and Alabama. The pavement is decent, and many of the roads have good centerline markings and warning signage -- better than a lot of state roads.
In fairness, it's been 15 years...but this is *NOT* the backroads Alabama I remember, especially across western and southern (outside of Mobile and Baldwin Counties) Alabama.


County roads in Alabama are a bit of a crapshoot in upkeep; usually I reference the ones in the state map, as they're usually great-quality roads.

Choosing a random route with a pentagon on it is not an automatic indicator of pavement quality and road safety, as there's many with giant potholes, one-lane wooden bridges, blind corners, steep drops, et cetera. Some can be pleasant surprises and great shortcuts, but I would avoid many of them if weather and visibility is poor.

The worst county roads we were on were better than some of the signposted state highways in Kentucky.
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formulanone

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Re: Tennessee-Alabama trip
« Reply #4 on: April 02, 2023, 10:28:33 AM »

One thing of note is just how good most of the county roads are in Tennessee and Alabama. The pavement is decent, and many of the roads have good centerline markings and warning signage -- better than a lot of state roads.
In fairness, it's been 15 years...but this is *NOT* the backroads Alabama I remember, especially across western and southern (outside of Mobile and Baldwin Counties) Alabama.


County roads in Alabama are a bit of a crapshoot in upkeep; usually I reference the ones in the state map, as they're usually great-quality roads.

Choosing a random route with a pentagon on it is not an automatic indicator of pavement quality and road safety, as there's many with giant potholes, one-lane wooden bridges, blind corners, steep drops, et cetera. Some can be pleasant surprises and great shortcuts, but I would avoid many of them if weather and visibility is poor.

The worst county roads we were on were better than some of the signposted state highways in Kentucky.

Usually if they're a connector between two state-maintained roads, you'll generally be alright. If one has to play hopscotch along five different routes, just use a fair bit of caution.
« Last Edit: April 02, 2023, 10:31:31 AM by formulanone »
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