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User Content => Road Trips => Topic started by: Brandon on March 31, 2014, 11:09:25 AM

Title: Joliet to Lebanon and Back
Post by: Brandon on March 31, 2014, 11:09:25 AM
Never done a road trip report before, so stick with me here.

Started out about 7:30 am leaving Joliet, Illinois on March 28 for the Nashville Road Meet.  I took I-80 east out of town.  Not much new along I-80 or the Tri-State Tollway.  There are a couple of new big blue signs along the Borman Expressway in Indiana for travel times to Cline, I-65, and the Toll Road.  I took Exit 11 to I-65 south.

South along I-65 was fairly uneventful.  InDOT has prepared I-65 for widening of six lanes through much of Lake County.  The newly widened section around Lebanon looks nice, and the added lane continues until I-865.  I then took I-465 south.  InDOT has done a nice job with I-465, widening it to eight lanes on the stretch I was on.  I got off at I-70 west.

I then took I-70 west to Terre Haute.  For me, it was all freeway I had never been on west of IN-267 until I got off at US-41.  It's a nice four lane freeway, but mostly flat and otherwise uneventful.  With this, I now have clinched I-70 from Cove Fort through Denver (I-76), and from the west side of Topeka (I-470) to Frederick (I-270).  Now I've got to find an excuse to go on I-70 through Kansas and eastern Colorado.

I exited at US-41 and had lunch in Terre Haute.  Then I proceeded south on US-41 to I-64 north of Evansville.  US-41 is a decent four lane divided highway south of Terre Haute, but there is a very annoying series of signals on the south side of Terre Haute.  I can see where IN-641 will be very useful to avoid the commercial strip south of town.  South of IN-641, the road opens up with minimal signals to Vincennes.  The freeway around Vincennes is nice, but doesn't last very long.  From there, US-41 has only a few signals to I-64.  I then took I-64 east to I-164.

I-164 still exists (at least as of Friday March 28, 2014).  Both I-164 south and I-69 north are signed at the exit on I-64 east.  I-164 was busy from I-64 to the Lloyd Expressway in Evansville.  I'm surprised that I-64 was built so far north of Evansville.  It would have made more sense to me to have I-64 bend closer to Evansville instead of heading straight across Indiana from Louisville to Illinois.  I-164 loses much of its traffic south of the Lloyd Expressway until I got to US-41.  InDOT does use "Exit 0".  I then took US-41 south.

The Indiana section of US-41 there really has very little, but just across the line in Kentucky (on land), there is the racetrack and several other businesses.  The Ohio River Bridges were cool metal monsters.  I've always liked truss bridges to plate girder bridges.  Upon landing in Henderson, Kentucky, the road turns into a busy commercial strip until one gets to the entrance to the Pennyrile Parkway.  There is a tight curve to enter the parkway that goes uphill.  Were this to be upgraded to I-69, it would be easy for Indiana, but very difficult for Kentucky.  I took only a short stretch of the Pennyrile to the Audubon Parkway.  There is still an old Audubon Parkway shield on one of the overhead signs.  I tried to snag a photo of it, but was unsuccessful.  I do suggest that someone host an Evansville meet sometime in the future.  There's plenty of neat stuff around there that I wish I had more time to see.

I then took the Audubon Parkway east to Owensboro.  The first 10 miles of the Audubon were very bumpy.  The median was narrower than I would've expected as well.  The parkway looked like it had been repaved after the first 10 miles.  It was a bit different as I had never been on a Kentucky parkway before.  I also saw my first of four toll plaza interchanges.  I had never been through a place where a toll plaza had been under a bridge.  What would possess someone to place a toll plaza under a bridge instead of away from the interchange?  I then took the Owensboro Bypass to the Natcher Parkway.  The Bypass is bizarrely signed for 55 mph.  65 would've been more appropriate IMHO.

The Natcher is an interesting parkway.  It goes up in steps or stages away from the Ohio River.  The hills up were steep and tall, then would level out for a bit with another following shortly.  There is no warning that the first interchange is 22 miles south of the Owensboro Bypass when you enter the Natcher.  The interchange with the Western Kentucky Parkway is a basic cloverleaf.  If, and this is a huge ass if, the Owensboro mayor got his way, there'd still be a ton of work to do to get this to Interstate standards.  I continued along the Natcher to US-231 south of Bowling Green.  In the Bowling Green area, there is a pretty nifty bridge across the Natcher for a local street of some kind.  I got a photo I will post later.  I then took US-231 south after a stop in Bowling Green.

US-231 starts as a divided highway to Scottsville.  In Scottsville, it then turns south and joins US-31E into Tennessee as a two-lane road.  In Tennessee, US-31E separates from US-231, and US-231 then becomes a hilly two-lane road with minimal shoulders into Lebanon.  I stayed at the Knights Inn there (last rooms left - I'll book ahead next time I do this) and ate dinner with Steve Alpert at a decent BBQ joint in town (Tom's).

I took a quick jaunt down to Murfreesboro the morning of the 29th prior to the meet.  I took US-231 south to TN-96.  Murfreesboro likes red light revenue machines..er..cameras.  They use the same sign as the City of Chicago for the warning (a supplemental plaque under a signal ahead diamond).  I then took I-24 to TN-840.  I-24 is eight lanes in the area, IIRC.  I then exited to TN-840 east.  TN-840 is a nice four lane freeway, but not particularly busy.  Then I took I-40 east back to Lebanon and the restaurant for the meet.

On the way back, I took I-40 west to TN-109.  Just after the Cumberland River, we had to detour for an accident scene.  After the short detour on some local roads, I followed TN-109 up to TN-52.  Around and north of Gallatin, TN-109 turns into a decent divided highway.  At TN-52, I went west to I-65.  I then followed I-65 north to I-80/94.

I-65 is in the process of being widened through Kentucky.  The six lane sections were very nice, especially with the truck traffic.  I went straight through Louisville, and it appears that the construction on I-65 north has not started yet.  Southbound appeared to have lane closures.  I then went across into Indiana, and again, InDOT has done a nice job with the road.  North of I-265, I-65 shrinks back to four lanes until the south end of Indianapolis.  Had a very interesting event happen just north of Columbus.  A few of us moved into the left lane to let a hearse onto the freeway.  I was judging its speed and was about to move back to the right lane when I saw something amazing in my left side mirror.  A sports car was attempting to pass me on the left!  I wound up turning off the cruise control and moving to the right shoulder as fast as I could.  In my rearview mirror, I could see the driver of the sports car lose control and do a 720 in the middle of the freeway before landing in the median.  I am so glad he was not next to me when he lost control.  Otherwise, the trip back was uneventful.  I got back about 3:15 am Central Time.
Title: Re: Joliet to Lebanon and Back
Post by: froggie on March 31, 2014, 11:32:25 AM
Your trip from Evansville down to Lebanon is similar to how I left after lunch (except I opted for US 231/I-64 between Owensboro and Evansville).  A couple comments:

- I had a different opinion of the shoulders on US 231…they were adequate.  8ft paved is fine for a 2-lane rural arterial and is far more than you'll get on a typical 2-lane Tennessee road.

- Regarding I-64's routing, it should be noted that I-64 was originally planned to follow US 50 much more closely (the US 50 freeway between Lawrenceville and Vincennes is a legacy of this).  So they probably took what they could get.
Title: Re: Joliet to Lebanon and Back
Post by: hbelkins on March 31, 2014, 03:07:23 PM
Kentucky's toll roads had most of their plazas at interchanges, and very few mainline plazas. In most cases, the fees for entering or exiting were half of what they were for going straight through. I'd have to look at some old toll schedules to see what the toll was for the one toll plaza on the Audubon, but I do remember that for the KY 11 exit on the Mountain Parkway, it cost 50 cents to go straight through and a quarter to enter or exit. At the Leitchfield (KY 259) exit on the WK Parkway, it was a dollar to go through and 50 cents to enter or exit.

A few of the exits had different rates depending on in which direction you were entering or exiting. And in one case (the US 231/Natcher interchange near Bowling Green), it cost nothing to exit from the northbound Natcher onto 231.