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User Content => Road Trips => Topic started by: oscar on May 22, 2017, 06:25:48 PM

Title: Trip to and from May 13 Mississippi road meet
Post by: oscar on May 22, 2017, 06:25:48 PM
I did my first road trip this year, not counting a week and a half in January on Maui (you can't drive out there without flooding the engine). In addition to seeing new and familiar faces at the road meet in and around Jackson MS, I wanted to test out whether I was still up to extended road trips after recovering from my February eye surgery, and also whether my Prius was up to such trips despite a spate of car troubles last summer. The first goal was met; the second was looking good through day 8, but I got ominous dashboard warnings for days 9 and 10 so I had to limp back home (more on that later).

My routing was, as usual, rather zigzaggy, with some major on-the-fly changes after leaving Jackson. I first took Interstates down to the Charleston SC area, to tie up some loose ends from my trip to last October's Birmingham meet. The trip to that meet put me in South Carolina just as the hurricane evacuations were beginning, so I had to head inland a little sooner than planned. This time, I was able to clinch all of US 78 in SC (including the poorly-signed part in Charleston). The recent completion of the long-running reconstruction of the I-95/US 301 interchange near Santee SC let me finish off my last gap in that route, between its south end in Florida and its north end in Delaware.

From there, I went to Nashville via Atlanta (still a bit of a mess since a closed I-85 segment didn't reopen until a few days later). From Nashville, I took a leisurely cruise down the Natchez Trace Parkway, to clinch the parts of that route that weren't open when I first traveled it more than three decades ago. The Parkway has low speed limits (generally 40-50 mph), but is scenic. It's fairly bicycle-friendly, and there were a lot of them out there especially near Nashville. From the south end in Natchez MS, I took US 61 north to Vicksburg, then curled back to Jackson for the meet.

After the meet, I returned to the parts of US 61 in MS and TN I hadn't yet traveled, then east from downtown Memphis just far enough into MS to complete the only part of US 78 I hadn't traveled, then curled back to Memphis on US 72 to snag its west end. Then a brief not-originally-planned foray into Arkansas, to travel the part of US 67 that was recently authorized to become part of I-57 some day. No future or regular I-57 signs yet, lots of construction near Little Rock that might be getting the freeway ready for at least Future I-57 signs.

From there, a bigger itinerary change,back to Mississippi and Alabama to finish off US 72, having previously covered its west and east ends. Then I turned north through Nashville toward Kentucky's Pennyrile Parkway (also authorized for future addition to the Interstate system, but as H.B. cautioned no Future I-169 signs just yet), From there, it was travels on familiar roads back home, including other Kentucky parkways.

After an overnight stay in Lexington KY, the car problems began. First, one of my tires was completely flat, though that was from a slow leak and I could use the electric air pump in my trunk to keep it more or less at the right pressure. Then the warning lights on my dash started up, resembling the ones I got when driving back through Wyoming from western Canada last summer. I had hoped that not driving 85mph in 100-degree weather would head off the problem, but no such luck. The car was still driveable, and I went into limp-home mode (including taking the low traffic US 48 across eastern West Virginia) to get back home, two days later than in my original plans.

The engine problems seem to be fixed, and I think I can get at least one more road trip out of the Prius. The problem was that, to my surprise, the car has two water pumps, and the one for the separate cooling system for the hybrid drive was emitting impeding failure codes. That pump has been replaced, but with a reminder that the more complex drive systems of hybrids means more stuff that can break down as the car grows older (mine is nine years old, and at over 275,000 miles).

A few semi-random notes from along the way:

-- I never liked the often poor lane markings in Mississippi, and still would be uncomfortable driving the highways there at night or in low visibility. (That goes double for the Natchez Trace Parkway, in MS and the other states it traverses, though it's kind of a waste to drive it at night anyway.) But there are rumble strips in some places. In a few others, especially on US 61 in northwestern MS, there is thermoplastic striping that makes a noticeable squeal when you drive over it. That is a big improvement over the usual lane markings in MS. While I'm still not a fan of ripping out the Botts Dots prevalent in California and Hawaii (http://www.aaroads.com/forum/index.php?topic=19585.msg2201190#msg2201190), such thermoplastic striping would not be a bad alternative, especially if it's snowplow-friendly enough to use on roads where Botts Dots or other raised reflectors don't work.

-- On I-55 in the Memphis area, there are rush-hour HOV lanes, but in addition to carpools and motorcycles, they are open for rush-hour use by solo drivers of "inherently fuel-efficient vehicles", whatever the heck that means.  I found later that drivers can get a sticker (http://www.tn.gov/tdot/topic/smart-pass) certifying that they meet the requirement, though that doesn't help infrequent and especially out-of-state drivers on Tennessee highways with HOV lanes, who probably wouldn't know about the program (I don't recall the sticker requirement mentioned on the HOV signs). I'm also unsure such drivers could get off the hook, if they drive a qualifying vehicle without a sticker.

-- US 48 in West Virginia is now fully signed as such all the way west to I-79. This includes one sign on SB WV 32 at its junction with WV 93, directing you to the older part of US 48.

Title: Re: Trip to and from May 13 Mississippi road meet
Post by: 74/171FAN on May 22, 2017, 07:58:19 PM
Quote
-- US 48 in West Virginia is now fully signed as such all the way west to I-79. This includes one sign on SB WV 32 at its junction with WV 93, directing you to the older part of US 48.

I think this is the third time that this was reported.  It is like I never drove it on the way to the NRG/Beckley Meet on its original date.   :-D
Title: Re: Trip to and from May 13 Mississippi road meet
Post by: hbelkins on May 23, 2017, 12:13:07 PM
I'm curious as to if US 48 is signed on the signage for Exit 99 on I-79, and if so, how. Did they move the existing US 119 and US 33 markers on the green portion of the sign to accommodate US 48 (WV uses demountable copy and route markers), did they install a brand new sign, or did they just slap a US 48 marker on the post below the sign, as they did when US 33 was rerouted between Ripley and Ravenswood?
Title: Re: Trip to and from May 13 Mississippi road meet
Post by: oscar on May 23, 2017, 12:34:22 PM
I'm curious as to if US 48 is signed on the signage for Exit 99 on I-79, and if so, how. Did they move the existing US 119 and US 33 markers on the green portion of the sign to accommodate US 48 (WV uses demountable copy and route markers), did they install a brand new sign, or did they just slap a US 48 marker on the post below the sign, as they did when US 33 was rerouted between Ripley and Ravenswood?

The US 48 marker was added neatly, looking to me like a brand-new sign was used. But maybe 74/174FAN has a photo?
Title: Re: Trip to and from May 13 Mississippi road meet
Post by: vdeane on May 23, 2017, 12:42:05 PM
Here's southbound:
(http://nysroads.com/images/gallery/WV/i79/101_6369-s.JPG)
Title: Re: Trip to and from May 13 Mississippi road meet
Post by: oscar on May 23, 2017, 12:45:15 PM
^ Similar sign on NB I-79.
Title: Re: Trip to and from May 13 Mississippi road meet
Post by: hbelkins on May 23, 2017, 02:50:22 PM
After looking at the photo Valerie posted, I'm guessing they just removed the US 33 and 119 markers, spread them apart, and added a US 48 marker. The sign doesn't look new and the white portion on the US 48 sign appears to brighter than the white on the other two markers.
Title: Re: Trip to and from May 13 Mississippi road meet
Post by: 74/171FAN on May 23, 2017, 04:24:13 PM
I'm curious as to if US 48 is signed on the signage for Exit 99 on I-79, and if so, how. Did they move the existing US 119 and US 33 markers on the green portion of the sign to accommodate US 48 (WV uses demountable copy and route markers), did they install a brand new sign, or did they just slap a US 48 marker on the post below the sign, as they did when US 33 was rerouted between Ripley and Ravenswood?

The US 48 marker was added neatly, looking to me like a brand-new sign was used. But maybe 74/174FAN has a photo?


Yeah I did not take any photos on US 48 as it was still dark when I was driving it for the most part (it was about 7:45 AM when I reached I-79) plus it was dreary most of the day.  I drove straight down on the morning of the meet while I believe Valerie was there the day before.