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Author Topic: Hastings MI to Union SC  (Read 3064 times)

brianreynolds

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Hastings MI to Union SC
« on: January 24, 2015, 08:31:54 AM »

I will be leaving very early Wednesday morning headed to Union SC.  My friend is doing some genealogical digging, and I have some experience with courthouse research.  The route south:  Local roads to Marshall MI, I-69 to Fort Wayne, US-30 to US-127 to US-33 to I-75, then south to London KY.  All of this so far is familiar roads.  Then the Hal Rogers east to Manchester, KY-11 south to US-25E to the Cumberland Gap.  We will pause here for the hike to the tri-point.  Then US-58 east to VA-70, then south on VA-70 and TN-70 to I-81, east to US-23/I-26, then south toward Union SC.

We plan to overnight in Hendersonville  Then I-26 south to SC-72 east to Whitmire.  Our first order of business is a visit to a nearby cemetery.  Then to Union to spend the rest of the day Thursday and most of the day Friday digging for genealogical treasures.  A couple hours of travel to end the day at Statesville NC.  Saturday, I-77 north to somewhere near Cleveland, some combination of non-toll roads back home in time for the Super Bowl..

Most of the route from London KY to Union SC to Wytheville VA will be new to me.  Anything along the way to take note of?  At this time, the weather forecasts are favorable, I don't expect any issues with mountain driving.  Any worthwhile diversions, excellent eats, speed traps?

Is there a reasonable work-around to avoid WV Turnpike tolls?
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dfilpus

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Re: Hastings MI to Union SC
« Reply #1 on: January 24, 2015, 10:12:04 AM »

Is there a reasonable work-around to avoid WV Turnpike tolls?
Not really. The WV toll plazas are hard to avoid.
The southern plaza shunpike is to exit onto US 19 at Ghent and take US 19 north to I 64 west.
The central plaza shunpike is to exit at exit 54, follow County Road 23, reenter at exit 60.
The northern plaza shunpike is to exit at US 19 connector (Exit 49), take US 19 north, US 60 west to Chelyan. This also skips the central toll. It also crosses the New River Gorge Bridge, one of the tallest arch bridges. The visitor center with its observation platforms is worth the stop.
Skipping all three toll plazas adds thirty miles and about an hour more than driving straight through.
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NE2

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Re: Hastings MI to Union SC
« Reply #2 on: January 24, 2015, 10:27:48 AM »

Perhaps you could interest your friend in highway genealogy and show him old US 21.
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hbelkins

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Re: Hastings MI to Union SC
« Reply #3 on: January 24, 2015, 08:12:57 PM »

Most of the route from London KY to Union SC to Wytheville VA will be new to me.  Anything along the way to take note of?  At this time, the weather forecasts are favorable, I don't expect any issues with mountain driving.  Any worthwhile diversions, excellent eats, speed traps?

Is there a reasonable work-around to avoid WV Turnpike tolls?

Second question first. Is there a reason you all want to take I-77 all the way into northern Ohio, then a lateral route westward, instead of a more direct route? I know you will have done I-26 south from I-81 on the way down, but if you choose to take that route back north, you can take US 23 north through Virginia into Kentucky, and then you have a few options to continue on northward. Or you can take I-40 west into Tennessee and backtrack on US 25E all the way to I-75.

There's a shorter shunpike to the northernmost WV Turnpike toll than US 19 to US 60 (which incurs a toll when you exit). I can't think of the exit number of the top of my head, but you can exit after you descend the mountain where the Memorial Tunnel is (visible on your left). Following that route puts you on WV 61. Turn left, and then re-enter at the US 60 connector. Or cross over the river to the four-lane US 60 and follow that part of the old Midland Trail to rejoin the interstate at the northeast end of the Chuck Yeager Bridge.

First question last. At least the Hopple Street bridge collapse mess will be over and done with when you travel through Cincinnati. You will be tempted to drive faster than the 55 mph speed limit on the Hal Rogers Parkway and four-lane US 25E in Kentucky. Unless you have a good radar detector, don't. I have found these roads to be heavily patrolled by Kentucky State Police.

If you have a hankerin' for baked goods, a stop at the Manchester Bakery (on the right on US 421, north of downtown) would be worthwhile. It's operated by a Mennonite family and their goodies are excellent. They may not be open when you pass through, and they are closed a couple of days out of the week, but my wife has been known to drive over there just to pick up one of their pies.

When you drive around Pineville on US 25E, you will be driving on the city's floodwall. The town has been devastated by flooding in the past, most recently 1977, and when the floodwall was built, the town was bypassed. You'll be passing through the Cumberland Gap Tunnel; Middlesboro traditionally has some of the cheapest gas prices in the area. A drive into downtown Cumberland Gap, Tenn., might be interesting. The old "Tenn-US 25E" sign, now badly faded, should still be present (it was last October when I checked on my way home from Alabama).

VA/TN 70 is a neat drive. The road is narrow and curvy but it passes through some scenic territory.
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brianreynolds

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Re: Hastings MI to Union SC
« Reply #4 on: January 24, 2015, 09:37:48 PM »

Thanks for the tips, H.B.  Yeah, I've been keeping tabs on the Hopple Street mess.  Looks like it should be a non-factor.

The choice for I-77 on the northbound return was mostly for visiting counties in NC, though I do intend to get Wirt County WV.  The three locations for overnight stops are pretty well fixed, but specific routing is not, especially on the return. 

I am looking at the possibility of US-21 from Elkin VA north through Wilkes and Alleghany Counties, maybe US-58/221 east through Galax.

This afternoon I've been checking out the specific shunpike possibilities in WV.  Of the three mainline toll plazas, the southernmost will be the lengthiest shunpike option.  Adds 9 miles and 15 minutes, according to Google.  I'll probably do it anyway.  The other two detours add minimal distance, and only about 10 minutes or less each.  If the weather is good, I'd definitely do those.

I will want to stop at Cambridge and check out the very old National Road bridge.  I've been there before, but it is worth another look.

I have taken US-250 many times, and US-30, US-20, OH-2, there aren't many Ohio Turnpike alternatives I don't know pretty well.  I may do a combo of US-250, US-30 and US-23 back to I-75.

In mid-July I will be spending a week at a big family gathering near Pigeon Forge TN.  I lobbied for KY State Parks, but did not prevail.  While there, I plan to do a few individual day trip explorations.
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hbelkins

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Re: Hastings MI to Union SC
« Reply #5 on: January 24, 2015, 10:55:31 PM »

though I do intend to get Wirt County WV.

You had mentioned that on Facebook, now that I think about it. I had forgotten.

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