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Author Topic: Hastings MI to Houston TX, Day one and day two  (Read 2146 times)

brianreynolds

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Hastings MI to Houston TX, Day one and day two
« on: November 25, 2013, 09:42:11 PM »

Coming to you tonight from Days Inn in Monroe LA.

Day one – Hastings Michigan to Grand Rivers Kentucky.  Nothing noteworthy road-wise in Michigan.  Indiana now has I-69 mile markers and exits renumbered, exactly a 200 mile differential.  I wonder - is it really is 200 miles from the old southern terminus to the Ohio River?  Or did they exercise a bit of creative license for convenience sake?

Lunch at Indy’s Family Restaurant in Martinsville.  Good food.  Big portions.

I-69 is not signed in any fashion along I-465 around Indianapolis, nor along IN-37.  The very first hint of I-69 is at the interchange of IN-37 and IN-45, a single shield “TO I-69” at the exit (no advance notice) and another at the top of the exit.  From there, the I-69 advisories are very sparse.
 
I think I know why.  IN-45 is handling much more traffic than it should.  INDOT probably doesn’t want to encourage more traffic volume in that direction.  Not yet anyway.

Lots of visible progress on the next segment north from US-231 near Crane.

Very few interchanges, and virtually no convenient services along new I-69.  We needed gas, exited at US-50, had to go into town of Washington to get it.  There’s a business opportunity.

No control cities listed for NORTH I-69 BGSs.  I-69 is not yet signed along I-164. 

The Pennyrile Parkway is signed with “FUTURE I-69 CORRIDOR” signs.  I guessed it was because the road was not up to Interstate standards.  But the (former) Western Kentucky Parkway is signed as I-69, and I could see no difference in standards.
Dinner at Patti’s in Grand Rivers.  Good place.  Monstrous big pork chop.  Really tasty.

Overnight at Kentucky Dam Village Lodge.  Nice place.  Thank you, H. B. for the tip.

Day Two – Kentucky Dam Village to Monroe LA
We were up early, and based on comments from the lodge desk, we tuned in to the Weather Channel.  Probably a good thing we did.  Virtually the entire state of Arkansas was shown as a looming weather disaster loaded with ice and snow, potential for death and dismemberment.  None of this sounded inviting.

I kept part of the original plan (parkways to Fulton KY, US-45E to Jackson, TN-18 to Bolivar).  Rather than turn west toward trouble in Arkansas, we continued south into the hill country of MS.  Lunched at a deli in Oxford.  I really like the downtown area of Oxford.  Nice place to visit. 

From there, continued south on MS-7, then I-55 to Jackson.  I-220 and I-20 west into LA.  From Bolivar south, the weather was slowly deteriorating, but rapidly went to hell on I-55.  This was only my second visit to Jackson MS (the first being almost exactly 17 years ago).  The common thread is that during both visits, the rain was so heavy that it was impossible to see 200 feet ahead along the road. 

The heavy rain lasted well into LA, but eased up some as we were approached Monroe.  We dodged the really ugly weather, but what we saw would win no beauty contests.

There were scattered road-related oddities along the way, but I’ll be danged if I can remember them.  Tomorrow promises to be better weather.  More later.

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hbelkins

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Re: Hastings MI to Houston TX, Day one and day two
« Reply #1 on: November 26, 2013, 02:00:58 PM »

Very few interchanges, and virtually no convenient services along new I-69.  We needed gas, exited at US-50, had to go into town of Washington to get it.  There’s a business opportunity.

Didn't we do lunch at Hardee's in Washington when we did the first day of the Indianapolis two-day meet?

Quote
The Pennyrile Parkway is signed with “FUTURE I-69 CORRIDOR” signs.  I guessed it was because the road was not up to Interstate standards.  But the (former) Western Kentucky Parkway is signed as I-69, and I could see no difference in standards.

Part of the deal with FHWA was that I-69 could be signed on the WK once projects were under way to bring the roadway up to current standards. At least two bridge clearances have been increased (by lowering the roadway) and there's one old cloverleaf toll booth interchange that's being converted to a standard diamond interchange. The ramp to westbound I-24 was also improved.

The project to convert the interchange at the WK and Pennyrile to make I-69 the through movement is supposed to go to bid in December. At least one other project to improve an interchange is either underway or also supposed to go to bid soon. The thought in Frankfort is that once those projects are underway, they can sign I-69 on the Pennyrile as well.

I'm told that a long-range goal is to have all of the affected parkways signed as I-69 within the next two years, when the current governor leaves office.

Quote
Dinner at Patti’s in Grand Rivers.  Good place.  Monstrous big pork chop.  Really tasty.

Overnight at Kentucky Dam Village Lodge.  Nice place.  Thank you, H. B. for the tip.

I've never had the good fortune to eat at Patti's, although a number of my friends and relatives have. Given it's location, it's not a place that I could just jump in the car and head off to to have lunch since it's on the other side of the state from me. One of my meet thoughts is to organize a day-long tour of western Kentucky and I would love to make Patti's our lunch stop.

Glad Kentucky Dam Village worked for you. As I said, I have never stayed there, but I know a number of people who have and it gets high marks. A lot of the Kentucky state park lodges are older, but they're decent places.
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brianreynolds

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Re: Hastings MI to Houston TX, Day one and day two
« Reply #2 on: November 27, 2013, 11:20:31 AM »

Very few interchanges, and virtually no convenient services along new I-69.  We needed gas, exited at US-50, had to go into town of Washington to get it.  There’s a business opportunity.

Didn't we do lunch at Hardee's in Washington when we did the first day of the Indianapolis two-day meet?

Now that you mention it, yes.  We stopped at Hardee's there on this trip too, for restroom and drinks.  It was the first thing we encountered in town.

Two things to note from day two.  The entrance to the duplex of I-24/I-69 at US-62 near Kentucky Dam is very well marked with shields for both interstates.  At the interchange with the Purchase Parkway there is no mention of I-69 at all.  This confused me, as I was expecting some sort of I-69 advisory.  I interpreted this as I-69 continuing along I-24, thus did not exit.  About 1/4 mile down the road, where the last ramp merges, there is a sign advising that "I-69 ENDS".    The "ENDS" advisory would be more timely, more useful if it was back about a half-mile.

We exited the Purchase Parkway at Wingo for drinks.  The less-than-interstate-standard status really shows there.  The cloverleaf interchange is very compact.  The combination exit/deceleration and entrance/merge lane is very short, maybe 200 feet, maybe not.  I can see where there is a major upgrade in order.
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hbelkins

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Re: Hastings MI to Houston TX, Day one and day two
« Reply #3 on: November 27, 2013, 12:22:52 PM »

We exited the Purchase Parkway at Wingo for drinks.  The less-than-interstate-standard status really shows there.  The cloverleaf interchange is very compact.  The combination exit/deceleration and entrance/merge lane is very short, maybe 200 feet, maybe not.  I can see where there is a major upgrade in order.

This is where one of the former toll booths was located. Before the toll plaza was removed, all traffic had to stop and pay toll, eliminating hazards associated with the short accel/decel area and any weaving.

Several of these still remain on the former toll roads. Very few have been converted to diamond interchanges.
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