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Author Topic: SW Virginia wanderings and SC/GA county-collecting trip  (Read 1922 times)

hbelkins

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SW Virginia wanderings and SC/GA county-collecting trip
« on: August 20, 2016, 05:05:34 PM »

After resolving a nagging personal situation that has dogged me for three years, I decided to reward myself with a very frivolous trip to finish visiting all the counties in South Carolina and then fill some holes in my Georgia map. I had posted about the possibility of taking this trip a few weeks ago when it looked like it would become possible for me.

The actual trip morphed into something a bit bigger, and turned out to be quite the adventure. My final plans for the trip were to depart the afternoon of Aug. 11 from Paintsville, Ky., after a work event and drive the entire length of Corridor L (US 19) in West Virginia, use the next day to do some exploring of southwest Virginia, and then head south on Saturday the 13th into the Carolinas. However, a problem with the home air conditioning during the hottest week of the year so far caused me to alter that plan. I ended up coming home from Paintsville and fixing (I thought, anyway) the problem. I decided to alter my trip plans and attack southwest Virginia from a different angle. I decided to go to Abingdon, Va., on Thursday night and start from there on Friday morning. The only thing new to note along that route was a wide-format US 23 marker posted on US 119 just before the US 23 intersection, for which I doubled back to get a photo. So let's begin...

Day 1 (Southwest Virginia exploration)

From Abingdon, I headed east on US 58 to Damascus, where I picked up VA 91 north. I found it interesting to note that Tazewell is listed on mileage signs on VA 91 rather consistently, even though there is that gravel section of VA 91 to deal with. It was a fairly easy drive up to I-81 and Glade Spring. I don't understand why a business route exists there, however, or why a bypass route is needed along VA 91.

I drove through Saltville to Broadford (or Broad Ford, if you prefer, I saw it both ways) where I continued east on VA 42, foregoing the gravel section of VA 91 for another day. My destination was Burke's Garden, the bowl-shaped basin-like valley in Tazewell County. I followed VA 42 to VA Secondary 623, and there was a VDOT-installed sign there pointing to Burke's Garden. The road, however, was a one-lane gravel road that was rutted in places and had numerous switchbacks. Thankfully, I did not meet any vehicles while I was on the route, and only saw one other vehicle that was parked at a pullout near the top of the mountain before descending into Burke's Garden. It may have been faster for me to continue on VA 42 to Bland and then go to Rocky Gap and take VA 61 back toward Tazewell. I drove around the loops in Burke's Garden and then headed out to Tazewell.

From there, I took VA 16 south. This route between Tazewell and Marion is being marketed as the "Back of the Dragon" as a knockoff of the US 129 "Tail of the Dragon" in Tennessee. Trucks are prohibited, and with good reason. The drive, especially across Big Walker Mountain between VA 42 and Marion, was torturous. I have a friend who lives in Tazewell and drives to work in Marion every day across this route (or at least she used to, as I have not had any contact with her for a long while). I don't know how she can stand to do that. Once was certainly enough for me.

I've driven VA 16 from Marion to Forks of Wilson at least twice before, both northbound, but don't remember ever having driven southbound. But I did this time, and then dipped south of US 58 into North Carolina to clinch VA 16. I also did the short drive on VA 93 from US 58 to the state line to clinch it.

Once I got to Hillsville, I took US 221 north to Roanoke to clinch it in Virginia. I do not know why this route remains on the US system. Even though it's consistently signed for Roanoke, through traffic is not going to use this route. It's going to use I-77 to I-81. Even VA 100, which I drove a few weeks ago, is a better route. The descent into the Roanoke/Salem area is pretty hairy. In Roanoke, US 221 is for the most part pretty well signed, although it's with those white background markers that Roanoke is fond of using that might be hard to see if you're not looking for them.

Once I reached the intersection of US 11 and US 460 (where the Sheetz is located) I had clinched US 221 in Virginia, so I got on I-581 to reach I-81.

The addition of the truck lane southbound approaching Christiansburg had to be a Godsend for frequent travelers on that road. I can only imagine how traffic might have backed up behind micro-passing trucks before that third lane was added. I'm not sure how old it is but the appearance of the rocks cuts in that area seems to indicate that it's of fairly recent vintage.

Once I got to Fort Chiswell, I headed south on I-77 to reach VA 69 to clinch that short (four-mile) route. I find Virginia's primary system and its endpoints to be interesting. The road does not go all the way to Austinville, on the New River. The primary designation ends a couple of miles from Austinville. I turned around at the parking area for the New River Trail, then headed back to US 52, turned around and went north on I-77 to Wytheville, which was my stopping point for the night.

Accomplishments -- clinched VA 16, VA 93, VA 69 and Virginia's portion of US 221. Significant new mileage on VA 91 and VA 42.

Coming up -- Day 2, wherein I have to run back home to deal with another air conditioner issue.
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74/171FAN

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Re: SW Virginia wanderings and SC/GA county-collecting trip
« Reply #1 on: August 20, 2016, 06:10:40 PM »

The addition of the truck lane southbound approaching Christiansburg had to be a Godsend for frequent travelers on that road. I can only imagine how traffic might have backed up behind micro-passing trucks before that third lane was added. I'm not sure how old it is but the appearance of the rocks cuts in that area seems to indicate that it's of fairly recent vintage.

I believe it was completed late in 2013.  I know for certain the lane was there during my last semester at Virginia Tech in the Spring of 2014.
I am sure I know someone from college that commuted to Salem or Roanoke that would have a better knowledge of backups there than I would (actually maybe Michael Summa would know).  (I barely used I-81 unless traveling to/from my parents' house.)

Quote
I drove through Saltville to Broadford (or Broad Ford, if you prefer, I saw it both ways) where I continued east on VA 42, foregoing the gravel section of VA 91 for another day.

I will say I really needed to do more clinching in college because the gravel section of VA 91 should have been a much higher priority than it was as I have not clinched it.  (or really anything in VA southwest of Bluefield that was not related to the Pikeville meet)
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hbelkins

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Re: SW Virginia wanderings and SC/GA county-collecting trip
« Reply #2 on: August 21, 2016, 05:11:11 PM »

Day 2 -- Wytheville to Beattyville and back to Wytheville

After I had settled into my motel room Friday night and called home, my wife told me that the air conditioning still wasn't working well and she was miserable. I said I would come home and fix it, she told me not to, but my mind was made up. So I slept a bit later Saturday morning than I would have if I had continued with my plan to head south on I-77, then headed home. The fastest route, if not the most direct route, from Wytheville to home is to take I-81 to Abingdon, then Alt. US 58 and US 23 into Kentucky. It involves a lot of zig-zagging -- southwest on I-81, northwest on US 19/Alt. 58, west on US 58, north on US 23, southwest on US 119, then northwest and north on KY 15 and west on KY 52. A direct route would probably be I-77 north to Bluefield, US 52 west to Delbarton, WV 65 back to US 52 at Naugatuck, then into Kentucky at Kermit and over to Salyersville to reach the Mountain Parkway, but that would take forever.

I-81 southbound traffic wasn't too bad on a Saturday mid-morning. The drive from Abingdon to home was a reversal of what I had done on Thursday evening, and I'm pretty familiar with the route, so there's really not a whole lot to say about it. I did notice that a large number of the mileage signs along Alt. US 58 and US 23 have been changed to Clearview.

I had been ignoring my wife's texts, wherein she had presumed I was heading home and was scolding me for it, until I stopped at my office to pick up a personal package that had been delivered on Friday. She didn't believe me until I sent her a picture of the package and a location update via iMessage.

I came home, got the air conditioning situation resolved, then pondered my next move. She told me I ought to go somewhere since I had already planned a trip. I briefly considered going to western Kentucky to check out the completed I-69/Pennyrile Parkway/Western Kentucky Parkway interchange, but a thought hit me -- why not go back and resume my trip? She concurred, so I was out the door again, reversing my route back to Wytheville.

I noticed a gathering of cumulonimbus clouds in the distance as I headed east from Norton on Alt. US 58, and the clouds were darker as I approached Abingdon, where it had already rained. It started raining just as I got on I-81 northbound at the end of Alt. 58. Lightning was flashing in the distance as I headed northeast on I-81. When I got to Marion the storm hit in full force. The light show was something to behold, and I was driving in a torrential rain. Most traffic slowed down on I-81, but the truckers didn't. They kept barreling down the road at 70 mph, endangering every other driver on the road who had slowed to a reasonable speed. I finally ran out of the rain somewhere around the Groseclose or Rural Retreat exits, and could still see some lightning off to the northwest when I arrived back at Wytheville. There had been some rain there, but basically the storm had rained itself out before it ever got that far east.

No accomplishments on this day, since I had already driven every mile of this route in both directions multiple times.

Next -- Day 3, into the Carolinas
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VTGoose

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Re: SW Virginia wanderings and SC/GA county-collecting trip
« Reply #3 on: August 21, 2016, 09:22:02 PM »

I followed VA 42 to VA Secondary 623, and there was a VDOT-installed sign there pointing to Burke's Garden. The road, however, was a one-lane gravel road that was rutted in places and had numerous switchbacks. Thankfully, I did not meet any vehicles while I was on the route, and only saw one other vehicle that was parked at a pullout near the top of the mountain before descending into Burke's Garden. It may have been faster for me to continue on VA 42 to Bland and then go to Rocky Gap and take VA 61 back toward Tazewell. I drove around the loops in Burke's Garden and then headed out to Tazewell.

That is the "back way" into Burke's Garden. The pullout at the top of the ridge is a parking area where the Appalachian Trail crosses the road there. Most people who head into the garden come in from the VA 61 side. I've parked there for hikes south to Chestnut Knob and back. I did drive down that gravel road after one hike and that was enough.

Quote
Once I got to Hillsville, I took US 221 north to Roanoke to clinch it in Virginia. I do not know why this route remains on the US system. Even though it's consistently signed for Roanoke, through traffic is not going to use this route. It's going to use I-77 to I-81. Even VA 100, which I drove a few weeks ago, is a better route. The descent into the Roanoke/Salem area is pretty hairy. In Roanoke, US 221 is for the most part pretty well signed, although it's with those white background markers that Roanoke is fond of using that might be hard to see if you're not looking for them.

You should have seen some recent construction near the bottom of that drop that took out some nasty curves. There are people who use that route to commute to and from Roanoke from Bent Mountain and other parts of southwestern Roanoke County. That is also the main route down to Floyd and Floyd County.

Quote
The addition of the truck lane southbound approaching Christiansburg had to be a Godsend for frequent travelers on that road. I can only imagine how traffic might have backed up behind micro-passing trucks before that third lane was added. I'm not sure how old it is but the appearance of the rocks cuts in that area seems to indicate that it's of fairly recent vintage.

This is from the Roanoke Times, July 23, 2014:

The final cost for the truck-climbing lane on southbound Interstate 81 in Montgomery County was $88.1 million,
according to the Virginia Department of Transportation.
That breaks down to $79.8 million for construction, $4.7 million for preliminary engineering,
$2.4 million for administration and $1.2 million for land acquisition, the state agency said.
The state funded the addition of a third southbound lane and expanded shoulders along five miles of the
interstate between Christiansburg and Roanoke. Work began in 2011 and ended late last year.


The extra lane has made travel on I-81 through there somewhat better. As part of the improvements to exit 118 (C/D lanes and the new connection to the U.S.460 bypass of Christiansburg) a climbing lane was added up to the exit. The new lanes connected this section with the original three lane section from the Ironto exit. The next project should be to add another lane to the downhill side, so there is a bit more of an option when the almost daily wreck occurs in that section.

Bruce in Blacksburg

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CYoder

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Re: SW Virginia wanderings and SC/GA county-collecting trip
« Reply #4 on: August 23, 2016, 01:46:44 AM »

I drove through Saltville to Broadford (or Broad Ford, if you prefer, I saw it both ways) where I continued east on VA 42, foregoing the gravel section of VA 91 for another day. My destination was Burke's Garden, the bowl-shaped basin-like valley in Tazewell County. I followed VA 42 to VA Secondary 623, and there was a VDOT-installed sign there pointing to Burke's Garden. The road, however, was a one-lane gravel road that was rutted in places and had numerous switchbacks. Thankfully, I did not meet any vehicles while I was on the route, and only saw one other vehicle that was parked at a pullout near the top of the mountain before descending into Burke's Garden. It may have been faster for me to continue on VA 42 to Bland and then go to Rocky Gap and take VA 61 back toward Tazewell. I drove around the loops in Burke's Garden and then headed out to Tazewell.

Definitely a hidden jewel of a scenic drive -- even better when the leaves change.  I come in from the north, drive around the loops, head south and park at the AT trailhead for a short hike to a spectacular overlook, then back in the car down the dirt road southwards.  The flat farmland reminds me of growing up back in NE Ohio.  (Apparently the area is a draw for the Amish as well.)

Fun fact: it was the first choice for the Biltmore Estate (Wikipedia):
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In the late 19th century, agents for the Vanderbilt family contacted local farmers about selling land so that the family could build a large estate there. Nobody wanted to sell, and the Vanderbilts instead constructed their Biltmore Estate near Asheville, North Carolina.
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hbelkins

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Re: SW Virginia wanderings and SC/GA county-collecting trip
« Reply #5 on: August 23, 2016, 12:19:35 PM »

(Apparently the area is a draw for the Amish as well.)

Yes, there were several "watch for horse-drawn vehicle" graphic signs, and I did get behind one buggy, and they graciously pulled over to let me by.

One thing I found interesting was the signs showing the directions to everyone's farm or residence. I did get pictures.
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hbelkins

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Re: SW Virginia wanderings and SC/GA county-collecting trip
« Reply #6 on: August 24, 2016, 11:26:59 AM »

Day 3 -- Carolina collecting

Started out early to head south down I-77 from Wytheville. A little fog around the VA 69 exit and the New River crossing, but nothing but sunshine when I headed down Fancy Gap.

After a stop at the North Carolina welcome center to grab maps, I continued south. Everything past the I-74 exit was new for me on I-77. It was a pleasant drive to Statesville, whereupon the quality of the road got much worse.

Noted some construction north of Charlotte in the median of I-77. What's that all about? I thought the toll lane project got cancelled.

Also, what's the deal with the 24/7 HOV lane restrictions?

A nice widening and paving project greeted me upon hitting South Carolina, but the 60 mph speed limit seems awfully low. Is that due to environmental concerns?

I had driven a small portion of I-77 in South Carolina a few years ago, but for the most part this was all new territory for me despite having been in those counties before. I found the ride along I-77 to be very good and not at all like the stereotypical SC freeways. Most of the exit signs still have the old-style SC route markers.

After clinching I-77, I headed east on I-26 for a few miles. The road was bumper-to-bumper in both directions, and a wreck around mile marker 133 had traffic tied up for quite some distance. Despite plenty of signs noting which lane was closed, drivers failed to move over and zipped up the closed lane to the point of closure and then tried to cut into traffic. Unless a "zipper merge" is specifically promoted, that's one of my gripes. I moved into the correct lane well ahead of time, why should you get to cut in front of me?

I followed my original routing plan, exiting at US 601. The only set of old-style SC route markers I remember seeing were for SC 6 at US 601. All other route markers that I recall seeing have been changed to the new style. Signage is inconsistent at some intersections but when it's installed, it's generally pretty good.

Followed US 378 east to Sumter, then took US 521 south. After seeing that I could pick up Georgetown County without having to go all the way to Alt. US 17, I adjusted my route a little at Andrews, taking US 521 to Business SC 41 and then back to SC 41 south. I followed Alt. US 17 and then US 52 south to the Charleston area, then after a short detour back to the northwest to enter Dorchester County, I took I-26 and I-526 around to meet US 17.

As I approached I-95, I realized that my best overnight option was the Days Inn at Hampton, which I had hoped to make all along. Otherwise, I would have no good choices along my planned route until I got to the Savannah area, which would have been 2 1/2 to 3 hours away. So I followed my original routing of I-95 north to SC 68 west, which led me to US 278 west.

i overnighted, as noted earlier, at the Days Inn in Hampton, which had very much of an independent mom-and-pop flavor to it. Hampton reminded me a lot of Irvine, Ky., where I worked for several years and had an apartment for a few of them -- or Jackson, where I work now, but without the Walmart.

Accomplishments -- clinched I-77 in its totality, visited 13 new counties in South Carolina.

Next -- Day 4, wherein I flash back to Missouri 2013 with car trouble
« Last Edit: August 24, 2016, 12:00:30 PM by hbelkins »
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LM117

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Re: SW Virginia wanderings and SC/GA county-collecting trip
« Reply #7 on: August 24, 2016, 08:02:34 PM »

Noted some construction north of Charlotte in the median of I-77. What's that all about? I thought the toll lane project got cancelled.

Nope, not cancelled. There was massive opposition to the I-77 toll lanes and a last ditch effort to put a stop to it failed in the NC General Assembly. There was bipartisan support in the state House for stopping the toll lanes, but it was DOA in the Senate since they never took up the House bill.

http://www.charlotteobserver.com/news/politics-government/article85111847.html

This is the part that pissed many people off.

Quote
The billís sponsors, Republican Reps. Charles Jeter of Huntersville and John Bradford of Cornelius, argued that the problem isnít the tolls but the contract that would, among other things, make it all but impossible for the state to add any additional free lanes for 50 years.
« Last Edit: August 24, 2016, 08:24:39 PM by LM117 »
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hbelkins

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Re: SW Virginia wanderings and SC/GA county-collecting trip
« Reply #8 on: August 29, 2016, 02:02:59 PM »

Day 4 -- Car trouble redux

Those who attended the 2013 Wichita meet, or may remember my narrative about it, will recall that I had car trouble on the way west, had to rent a car to continue the trip since the breakdown occurred on a Friday afternoon and the part (a serpentine belt) could not be acquired until Monday morning, and had to alter my travel plans to go back through Springfield, Mo. to pick up my car and had a drop-dead date to be home since my wife was leaving on Tuesday on a trip of her own.

Prior to my departure on this trip, I had my serpentine belt checked twice. Once when my air conditioner compressor was replaced and again when I had my car serviced. Both times, it checked out fine. I had threatened to pick up a belt to keep with me in case it ever broke again while I was on the road, since apparently it's not commonly found in stock anywhere.

The car had been making a noise, but I suspected that was the new AC compressor, so the morning started without a hitch. I headed west out of Hampton, SC on US 278 to US 321 north to US 301, then U-turned after visiting my penultimate South Carolina county, Bamberg. A short detour on SC 300 to visit my last SC county and clinch the state (Barnwell), and then it was back to US 301 to head into Georgia.

If you ever want to see a good example of vanished Americana, US 301 in this region of South Carolina fills the bill. There are tons of abandoned service stations, restaurants and motels along the route, showing how it was once a major route from the northeast and eastern seaboard to Florida, but now has been supplanted by I-95.

Headed into Georgia, then turned south on GA 21 to reach I-95 near Savannah. From there, I continued south on I-95 to Exit 42, where I headed south on GA 99 and then west on GA 32, clocking off counties (including the best-named county in the country, Bacon County) before I turned north on US 1.

Shortly after I crossed Altamaha River on US 1, I heard a loud noise, felt a thump and noticed the "Service Hybrid System" message on my dash. My first thought was that my hybrid battery had blown up, which wouldn't be too much of an issue because I've driven with hybrid system not working many times. But when the AC started blowing hot air and the battery light came on, I figured out what had happened -- or so I thought. I found a safe place to pull off the road just south of the US 1/GA 15 split, noted that I had good phone signal there, and looked under the hood. Just saw the engine pulley spinning and shreds of the belt hanging off something. I shut the vehicle off and called AAA, which told me that I'd be towed to Statesboro, about 50 miles away. I called the repair shop, told them was was going on, and they said the belt could not be gotten until the next day. So much for my decision not to order a belt to have with me.

I was towed to the shop in Statesville via US 1 through Lyons, GA 152 to Cobbtown, GA 23/121 to I-16, then US 25/301 to the garage. They told me there they'd take me to a motel and I found one not far away with restaurants within walking distance. There was a momentary false alarm when they thought they'd found a belt that would fit, but turned out it didn't matter. The belt had broken because the belt tensioner had locked up, and a bolt had broken off that they had to drill out. The tensioner had to be ordered as well, so an overnight stay couldn't be avoided.

If you ever need vehicle repair in Statesboro, Ga., I recommend D&R Intensive Car Care. They did a really great job for me.

Accomplishments for the day -- clinched South Carolina's counties, 12 new counties in Georgia, one unexpected detour and an extra overnight stay.

Next -- Day 5, back on the road again and back to the mountains
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hbelkins

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Re: SW Virginia wanderings and SC/GA county-collecting trip
« Reply #9 on: August 30, 2016, 02:33:13 PM »

Day 5 -- on the road again

(I'm slowly getting my photos from the trip up on the Millennium Highway Facebook page and also my Flickr page.)


After an evening of being stuck at the Days Inn on Fair Road in Statesboro, Ga., I was taken back to the garage to find that my vehicle repairs were well underway. The lady at the counter, who had been so helpful, told me she had been after them to get me back on the road as soon as possible. And yea verily, about 23 hours after my breakdown, I was back behind the wheel. I made a short loop to ensure that everything was in working order, and to get some photos of a few old US 25/301 signs I'd seen when the garage courier brought me back to the garage from the motel, and off I went. I went back to I-16 and by the time I reached Exit 78, I was back on track, about a day later than anticipated.

My route took me to US 221, which I followed north to the point where GA 47 splits from it. GA 47 was closed, but a well-marked detour allowed me to get back on course.

The first sign of something that might resemble a hill came as I traveled on US 378 west toward its terminus. My route then involved US 78 west to GA 17 north, then US 29 south. From there I took GA 145 north and made my way to I-85, which I followed south almost to the metro Atlanta area.

I had a "doughnut hole" of four counties directly north of Atlanta, and had no desire to wander into that traffic mess, so I bailed off I-85 at Exit 126 and took GA 211 and GA 53 over to the southern edge of Gainesville. By this time it was getting dark and I knew my goal of reaching the Murphy, N.C. area that day was unreachable. So I stopped at a Quik Trip in the shadows of the I-985 interchange and made a room reservation at Dahlonega. I did not intend on going that far north on US 19, but it wasn't that far out of the way.

To get there, I took GA 369 west to US 19 (and GA 400) north, which I followed to the arbitrary endpoint of GA 400 where US 19 turns north to Dahlonega, and headed to my room for the night.

Accomplishments -- 16 new Georgia counties.

Day 6 -- closer to home

I could have made it all the way home on Day 6 (Wednesday), but wanted to do a little exploring in southwestern Virginia, so I set the Tri-Cities area of SW VA/NE Tenn as my goal, with the intent of re-clinching US 19E.

From Dahlonega, I headed back south on US 19 and then headed west on GA 53 to pick up Pickens County, the last of the counties I needed north of Atlanta. I was a bit surprised not to find tributes to Bill Elliott everywhere in Dawsonville.

From there, it was north on GA 515 and its various tag-along routes until I got past Blue Ridge, where I opted for a new (for me) crossing into North Carolina. I took GA 60 north to GA 60 Spur, which becomes five-lane NC 60 at the state line (see post in the Southeast board for my comments about that). Once I reached Murphy, this was fairly familiar territory. I got behind a terribly slow truck through the Nantahala Gorge which had about a dozen cars stacked up behind it, and the land rush was on once US 74 expanded to four lanes.

Along the way, I had a thought -- why not clinch the Blue Ridge Parkway? The last family vacation that I ever went on with my parents, we drove to Elkins, WV and then across into Virginia and then south on Skyline Drive/BRP to the Boone, NC area. The next morning, it was so foggy that my dad bailed off the BRP near Asheville and we took old US 19 (at the time, US 74 did not exist west of Asheville, and the four-lane was signed US 19A/US 23 to the point where 23 splits south, then just 19A back to where 19 merged back in) to Cherokee.

So I exited on US 441, went to Cherokee, and then headed out on the BRP. In North Carolina, armed with a V1, the 45 mph speed limit was just a suggestion for me, but a number of slow vehicles that would not pull over for faster ones behind them slowed my progress. Plus, I got into some rain and fog that limited the views. I lost more time than I expected, so when I achieved what I think would have clinched the BRP for me at US 70, I decided I didn't have time to exit at Mars Hill and take US 19E into Tennessee. So I used US 70 to I-240 to I-26 and crossed into Tennessee on a very familiar route, then north on I-81 into Bristol, Va., where I was lucky enough not to be gouged by Bristol race weekend motel rates.

Accomplishments -- one new Georgia county, clinched the Blue Ridge Parkway (I think.)

Day 7 -- home at last

I had expected to be home on Tuesday, but the air conditioner issues and the car trouble delayed that by two days. I was more than ready to be home, but I still had a little exploring I wanted to do.

I left Bristol via US 421 south to TN 44, which I followed north into Virginia, becoming VA 75 (not sure why VA doesn't change the number to match its neighbor since VA 44 is no longer on the VA Beach Expressway). From Abingdon, US 19 north to VA 80 west to Honaker, where I took VA 67 north through Richlands to its arbitrary endpoint at Jewell Ridge. I wanted to make my way back over to US 460 southeast of Grundy, and from what I discovered later there were a couple of options from the Jewell Ridge area that would have gotten me there, but I used my GPS. It eventually got me on that road (Dismal River Road) but it had me take SR 640 instead of staying on SR 638, which led me to VA 83 east of Grundy. No big deal, though. From Grundy, it's a road I know reasonably well -- US 460 and its hangers-on to Prestonsburg, then KY 114 to Salyersville, a short reunitement with US 460, then the Mountain Parkway (where construction continues on the widening project) to my home area.

Accomplishments -- clinched VA 75 and VA 67.


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