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Author Topic: Trip Report: Chicago to Johnson City  (Read 601 times)

CtrlAltDel

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Trip Report: Chicago to Johnson City
« on: January 10, 2018, 06:57:21 PM »

As some of you know from earlier posts, I regularly travel between Chicago, Illinois, and Johnson City, Tennessee. Most of the time, it’s a fairly mundane, if scenic, trip, but this last one turned out to be a bit more interesting than usual.

I was about halfway back, making my way along southbound I-75 in Kentucky, when I read on the various VMSes that the road was going to be closed in Berea because they were installing some new bridge girders on an overpass. This, I thought, was no big deal, since 75 parallels US-25 in the area. Looking at the GPS, though, I saw way too much red on the road for the middle of the night, so I stopped off at a truck stop to plan out something a bit less “popular.”

The route I came up with is KY-595 to KY-21 to KY-1617 to KY-1787 to KY-1912 to KY-1004, and from there back on to I-75. I knew the route would be twisty and turny, and it was, but that was just the beginning. First, all of these roads (except 595 and maybe 21) were about 16 feet wide for two lanes, and in many places, they were built right onto a precipice that I could not see the bottom of. The view, I’m sure, would have been magnificent had it been daylight, but it wasn’t. In fact, it was the exact opposite of daylight in that it was foggy in most places, sometimes very much so, and with the twists and the turns, it was harder than you might hope to stay on the road. I quickly gave up staying to the right, and I drove pretty much right in the middle of the road, hoping that the glow of oncoming cars (which never showed up) would be enough warning for me to get over. I was able though to avoid hitting a dog that seemed attracted to my headlights, though. I also remember seeing some W1-5’s with warnings to reduce my speed to 40, and not having to be concerned with that because I was already going about 25.

Finally, I get back on I-75, and I am fully appreciating Interstate design standards, when blue and red lights began to appear through the fog, about three times over the course of ten minutes. The color changed the “mood” of the fog a bit, and it was interesting to see the gloomy blue mix with the smoky red. Anyway, It turns out that on the northbound side, police cars and an ambulance were heading to the very bridge that had led to the closure of I-75 because someone had driven his RV through the barricades on southbound I-75 and eventually hit the various cranes and whatnot at the construction site. I found this article here:

http://www.wkyt.com/content/news/Deadly-crash-on-I-75-in-Rockcastle-County-construction-zone-468550893.html

I don’t really understand what drove this man to ignore the signs and barricades and everything on the road and just keep going. Part of me wonders if the guy really, really, wanted to complete his clinch of 75, since nothing else makes sense to me. He probably wasn’t a road geek, though.

The rest of the trip was mostly unremarkable, although there were about 40 more miles of fog just past Knoxville on I-40 and I-81. Here though, I was able to go faster than I was previously, but those few occasions when I could see red lights in front of me were something I was grateful for. I also wondered now and again if I had in fact chosen the best day to come back.

On a different note, I-65 in Indiana was rough. There are just too many trucks on that road. The new lanes in Lafayette are almost complete, which I was happy to see, but the whole route needs 6 lanes, and has for quite some time. Scenically, I liked seeing the vast expanses of farmland covered in snow, but there wasn’t too much time to look at it.
« Last Edit: January 10, 2018, 07:08:39 PM by CtrlAltDel »
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Interstates clinched: 4, 57, 275 (IN-KY-OH), 465, 640

hbelkins

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Re: Trip Report: Chicago to Johnson City
« Reply #1 on: January 10, 2018, 08:06:46 PM »


The route I came up with is KY-595 to KY-21 to KY-1617 to KY-1787 to KY-1912 to KY-1004,

Welcome to my neighborhood. I drove those four-digit routes, although not exactly in that order, one Saturday afternoon a few years back. It's pretty country in the daytime.

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Finally, I get back on I-75, and I am fully appreciating Interstate design standards, when blue and red lights began to appear through the fog, about three times over the course of ten minutes. The color changed the “mood” of the fog a bit, and it was interesting to see the gloomy blue mix with the smoky red. Anyway, It turns out that on the northbound side, police cars and an ambulance were heading to the very bridge that had led to the closure of I-75 because someone had driven his RV through the barricades on southbound I-75 and eventually hit the various cranes and whatnot at the construction site. I found this article here:

http://www.wkyt.com/content/news/Deadly-crash-on-I-75-in-Rockcastle-County-construction-zone-468550893.html

I don’t really understand what drove this man to ignore the signs and barricades and everything on the road and just keep going. Part of me wonders if the guy really, really, wanted to complete his clinch of 75, since nothing else makes sense to me. He probably wasn’t a road geek, though.

Yeah, that's been big news in these parts today. At least after the guy ran the roadblock in Berea, they were able to get in contact with the construction crew to alert them this guy was on the way. They're concerned about the integrity of the three beams that had already been set because of the resulting fire.

If you were driving from Chicago, I'm really surprised you weren't routed via I-65 and US 150 to connect with I-75 at Mt. Vernon; or the Mountain Parkway, KY 15, US 119 and US 23.

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The rest of the trip was mostly unremarkable, although there were about 40 more miles of fog just past Knoxville on I-40 and I-81.

Why not cut across to Morristown on US 25E? Unless I was roadgeeking, there's no way I'd take I-75 and I-40 through Knoxville instead of cutting across 25E.
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Re: Trip Report: Chicago to Johnson City
« Reply #2 on: January 11, 2018, 05:47:23 PM »

If you were driving from Chicago, I'm really surprised you weren't routed via I-65 and US 150 to connect with I-75 at Mt. Vernon; or the Mountain Parkway, KY 15, US 119 and US 23.

I just went the way I usually go. In the winter, at night, getting off the beaten path to do something a bit more interesting seems less important to me than just getting back. I did take the KY-15 route last summer heading home, which I believe was something you suggested. As it was, I didn't turn on the GPS until I saw the signs indicating 75 was closed. Then, it was time to improvise.

Why not cut across to Morristown on US 25E? Unless I was roadgeeking, there's no way I'd take I-75 and I-40 through Knoxville instead of cutting across 25E.

I did look into taking 25E long ago, but I rejected it for some reason I can no longer recall. To be honest, it may very well have been because it's a suffixed route, which I do not like. I know that's not the best reason, but there you go. I did, though, do a quick bit of roadgeeking in Knoxville, completing my clinch of all the Interstates within the 40-640 "loop." (I took 275.) On this trip, I have also completed inside the loop in Indianapolis, and progressed with Cincinnati (I don't have 471 yet).
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Interstates clinched: 4, 57, 275 (IN-KY-OH), 465, 640

roadman

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Re: Trip Report: Chicago to Johnson City
« Reply #3 on: January 12, 2018, 10:04:04 AM »

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I don’t really understand what drove this man to ignore the signs and barricades and everything on the road and just keep going. Part of me wonders if the guy really, really, wanted to complete his clinch of 75, since nothing else makes sense to me. He probably wasn’t a road geek, though.

Impairment and/or microsleep due to sleep apnea (remember, it was nighttime in foggy conditions) could be likely causes.
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"And ninety-five is the route you were on.  It was not the speed limit sign."  - Jim Croce (from Speedball Tucker)

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hbelkins

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Re: Trip Report: Chicago to Johnson City
« Reply #4 on: January 12, 2018, 10:50:05 AM »

Quote
I don’t really understand what drove this man to ignore the signs and barricades and everything on the road and just keep going. Part of me wonders if the guy really, really, wanted to complete his clinch of 75, since nothing else makes sense to me. He probably wasn’t a road geek, though.

Impairment and/or microsleep due to sleep apnea (remember, it was nighttime in foggy conditions) could be likely causes.

I'm hopeful that an autopsy report will be released to the public before too long. But it's since been reported that the police tried to stop the guy by putting a rolling roadblock in front of him, but he rammed the police cruisers and continued on. Doubtful that sleep apnea or foggy conditions caused that. He was a 60-something from Portsmouth, Ohio, and my understanding is that he entered I-75 southbound from the KY 21 exit in Berea instead of continuing south on the interstate. I'm guessing intoxication.
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