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View Poll Results: Have you driven all of I-40 in Tennessee?
Yes 17 65.38%
No 9 34.62%
Voters: 26. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 08-07-2012, 05:58 PM
 
Location: The canyon (with my pistols and knife)
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This past (extended) weekend I just did something that few who don't live in Tennessee or drive trucks for a living have done: I completed driving I-40 through Tennessee. I'd already driven the segment between Lenoir City and the North Carolina state line, plus a few miles in Nashville, but now I've driven the entire thing, and it's actually an exhausting drive.

The segment between Memphis and Nashville is hillier than I thought it'd be, and they should probably just six-lane it all since there were lots of rolling road blocks created by 18-wheelers trying to pass each other. Even small hills can make it hard for the big trucks to pass each other. The view of Kentucky Lake from the highway was nice, though.

East of Nashville, I don't understand why they don't have climbing lanes for the 18-wheelers as the highway ascends the Cumberland Plateau eastbound. It's more gradual than the (south)eastbound ascent on I-24, but it was enough to slow the big trucks down. Both I-40 and I-24 have dramatic eastbound descents, though.

Overall, I'd say that Tennessee is a lot like Pennsylvania, but more Southern, and with its two largest population centers being somewhat smaller. No other states east of the Mississippi River have the same combination of total land area and proportion of difficult terrain.
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Old 08-07-2012, 07:14 PM
 
11,603 posts, read 31,766,251 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gnutella View Post
This past (extended) weekend I just did something that few who don't live in Tennessee or drive trucks for a living have done: I completed driving I-40 through Tennessee. I'd already driven the segment between Lenoir City and the North Carolina state line, plus a few miles in Nashville, but now I've driven the entire thing, and it's actually an exhausting drive.

The segment between Memphis and Nashville is hillier than I thought it'd be, and they should probably just six-lane it all since there were lots of rolling road blocks created by 18-wheelers trying to pass each other. Even small hills can make it hard for the big trucks to pass each other. The view of Kentucky Lake from the highway was nice, though.

East of Nashville, I don't understand why they don't have climbing lanes for the 18-wheelers as the highway ascends the Cumberland Plateau eastbound. It's more gradual than the (south)eastbound ascent on I-24, but it was enough to slow the big trucks down. Both I-40 and I-24 have dramatic eastbound descents, though.

Overall, I'd say that Tennessee is a lot like Pennsylvania, but more Southern, and with its two largest population centers being somewhat smaller. No other states east of the Mississippi River have the same combination of total land area and proportion of difficult terrain.
Yes, that section of I-40 between Cookeville and Monterey can be aggravating when trucks try to pass each other using the left lane. Trucks are not allowed in the left lane along that stretch, but they pass each other anyway and slow down the traffic for everyone else. FYI: that was one of the first stretches of I-40 built in Tennessee, and at the time it had the steepest incline of any interstate in the country. Of course, that's not the case anymore.
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Old 08-07-2012, 08:16 PM
 
Location: Hometown of Jason Witten
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I have driven a tractor-trailer rig the length of I-40 several times and it has always been one of my favorite stretches, especially with a light load. Mile for mile, it is actually less difficult than I-26 from Kingsport to Sams Gap and I-75 from Knoxville to Jellico.

Last edited by JMT; 08-09-2012 at 08:55 PM.. Reason: Let's keep this just about Tennessee.
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Old 08-07-2012, 08:56 PM
 
Location: The canyon (with my pistols and knife)
12,994 posts, read 17,113,637 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ridgerunner View Post
I have driven a tractor-trailer rig the length of I-40 several times and it has always been one of my favorite stretches, especially with a light load. Mile for mile, it is actually less difficult than I-26 from Kingsport to Sams Gap and I-75 from Knoxville to Jellico.

If you ever have an opportunity to drive I-40 from Wilmington to Barstow, I highly recommend it.
I have driven all of I-40 between Little Rock, AR and Asheville, NC. The only segments of I-40 east of the Mississippi River that I haven't driven are both in North Carolina, from Asheville to Winston-Salem, and Raleigh to Wilmington. I've also driven it between Barstow, CA and Kingman, AZ. Eventually I plan to drive another big chunk of it when I go take the challenge at the Big Texan Steak Ranch in Amarillo, TX.

I-40 was more fun east of Nashville than it was west of Nashville. Maybe that's because there's less traffic on it. I also drove I-55 between Memphis and St. Louis, and that was a relaxing drive. It's neat how flat it is out there. I-75 is easy between Knoxville and Chattanooga, but tricky between Knoxville and the Kentucky state line. Now that I think about it, I've driven every mile of two-digit Interstate in Tennessee, including I-55 in Memphis, and I-26 and I-81 in the Tri-Cities area.
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Old 08-07-2012, 09:04 PM
 
Location: Knoxville, Tennessee
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gnutella View Post
I have driven all of I-40 between Little Rock, AR and Asheville, NC. The only segments of I-40 east of the Mississippi River that I haven't driven are both in North Carolina, from Asheville to Winston-Salem, and Raleigh to Wilmington. I've also driven it between Barstow, CA and Kingman, AZ. Eventually I plan to drive another big chunk of it when I go take the challenge at the Big Texan Steak Ranch in Amarillo, TX.

I-40 was more fun east of Nashville than it was west of Nashville. Maybe that's because there's less traffic on it. I also drove I-55 between Memphis and St. Louis, and that was a relaxing drive. It's neat how flat it is out there. I-75 is easy between Knoxville and Chattanooga, but tricky between Knoxville and the Kentucky state line. Now that I think about it, I've driven every mile of two-digit Interstate in Tennessee, including I-55 in Memphis, and I-26 and I-81 in the Tri-Cities area.
Can I ask why it is tricky? Bad roads? Lots of turns? Hilly?

Thanks!
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Old 08-07-2012, 11:09 PM
 
Location: Seattle
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I've driven I-40 between Memphis and the I-81 intersection a LOT lately! Friday I'm headed out again from Greeneville to Memphis. I-40 between Jackson and Memphis can be quite boring (at least for this Appalachian). I like the drive between Cookeville and Knoxville.

I've also driven I-26 between Johnson City (or sometimes Erwin) and Asheville many, many times. In a car I find it an exciting and engaging drive, not sure how I would like it in a big truck.

I-81 in Tennessee is very annoying. When you hit the VA state line in Bristol and the third lane is added, traffic flows much smoother.
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Old 08-07-2012, 11:55 PM
 
Location: A Yankee in northeast TN
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I've done the Bristol - Memphis run a lot too. I-81 doesn't bother me, it's not the smoothest ride, but there's not usually much traffic when I'm on it in the evenings.
I love I-40 between Cookeville and Knoxville, although there are a few spots that make me a little nervous and I stay on the inside lane when I can, lol.
I like the area around Nashville, very scenic, but going thru Nashville itself is something I don't like at all, too much lane switching, too much traffic.
And the I-40/240 exit for Little Rock is Memphis is a pain, too many people that don't pay attention and wind up trying to scoot over several lanes at the last minute. It's aggravating.
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Old 08-08-2012, 09:56 AM
 
Location: southwest TN
8,175 posts, read 14,249,488 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DubbleT View Post
I love I-40 between Cookeville and Knoxville, although there are a few spots that make me a little nervous and I stay on the inside lane when I can, lol.
I like the area around Nashville, very scenic, but going thru Nashville itself is something I don't like at all, too much lane switching, too much traffic.
And the I-40/240 exit for Little Rock is Memphis is a pain, too many people that don't pay attention and wind up trying to scoot over several lanes at the last minute. It's aggravating.

We are looking at our first drive on that road. What makes you nervous about it? I'm petrified of heights and don't do well on roads hanging off the sides of mountains or over bridges.
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Old 08-08-2012, 12:53 PM
 
6,385 posts, read 10,362,926 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NY Annie View Post
We are looking at our first drive on that road. What makes you nervous about it? I'm petrified of heights and don't do well on roads hanging off the sides of mountains or over bridges.
There aren't many bridges (nothing large, anyways)...the heights aren't incredible, but there are some spots that require increased concentration...primarily a 5 mile stretch between Cookeville and Monterey (the rise from the Highland Rim to the Cumberland Plateau) and the 4 mile descent into Rockwood/Harriman (dropping from the Cumberland Plateau into the Tennessee Valley).

There are a few other stretches with some big curves (the Buffalo Valley stretch between Carthage and Cookeville, just past the 5 bridges of the Caney Fork), and the curves through the Crab Orchard area.

It's a beautiful stretch of road, but I wouldn't call it treacherous. Even in Tennessee, it's not as difficult or taxing as traversing Monteagle Mountain (I-24 between Nashville and Chattanooga).

Here are the specific stretches on Google Maps (terrain setting), going west to east:

Buffalo Valley
https://maps.google.com/?ll=36.11444...69086&t=p&z=13

Cookeville to Monterey
https://maps.google.com/?ll=36.13773...69086&t=p&z=13

Crab Orchard
https://maps.google.com/?ll=35.89252...69086&t=p&z=13

Descent to Rockwood (the initial curve is really the only "tough" part)
https://maps.google.com/?ll=35.89461...69086&t=p&z=13



For comparison, here's the Monteagle run on I-24:
https://maps.google.com/?ll=35.24982...69086&t=p&z=13

https://maps.google.com/?ll=35.19737...69086&t=p&z=13

Last edited by JMT; 08-08-2012 at 04:48 PM.. Reason: Corrected spelling of Monterey
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Old 08-08-2012, 12:56 PM
 
Location: A Yankee in northeast TN
9,483 posts, read 13,334,142 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NY Annie View Post
We are looking at our first drive on that road. What makes you nervous about it? I'm petrified of heights and don't do well on roads hanging off the sides of mountains or over bridges.
I'm afraid of heights too. There are a few spots that are quite scenic, but also at or above tree level with nothing but a guard rail there.
What's worse is my son will take his eyes off the road to admire the view when we drive it, and I can't help but think about the other drivers who are probably doing the same thing.
Don't get me wrong it's not terrible, I've been on worse in NC and out west, but it does make me nervous enough that I do make sure to stay to the inside lane.
Quote:
Originally Posted by nashvols View Post

Descent to Rockwood (the initial curve is really the only "tough" part)
https://maps.google.com/?ll=35.89461...69086&t=p&z=13

^ There, that's the one that gets to me the most, coming across that ridge, but it's worse coming from west to east, going in the opposite direction isn't as bad IMO

Last edited by DubbleT; 08-08-2012 at 01:00 PM.. Reason: Using Nashvols post
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