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Old 11-22-2020, 02:38 AM
 
Location: Virginia-Shenandoah Valley
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Wife and I are leaving in a few weeks to drive to AZ from VA to see our new grandson. What a crazy time to do this but he is 4 months old now and circumstance for my wife's work and our sons work allows for a good lone trip. We'll get on I-40 and come all the way across and keep going. I realize a lot can still happen in a few weeks but I am curious on what we'll face while in TN. We plan on bringing a couple of coolers and eating sandwiches and such and if we want restaurant food we'll do drive-thru or curbside. But what restrictions are we looking at on this drive? If any. I hate not having as hotel reservations lined up for each night but is this a good idea right now? I know getting breakfast the hotels is likely out but we can live with that. Any suggestions on what me might expect on this drive? Thanks.
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Old 11-22-2020, 07:47 AM
 
Location: Tennessee
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TN basically has no restrictions aside from some county mask mandates and no very large events. Most restaurants are open normally or with some distancing. The rest areas on I-81S as you come from VA are closed.
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Old 11-22-2020, 01:07 PM
 
Location: Virginia-Shenandoah Valley
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Serious Conversation View Post
TN basically has no restrictions aside from some county mask mandates and no very large events. Most restaurants are open normally or with some distancing. The rest areas on I-81S as you come from VA are closed.
In VA?
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Old 11-23-2020, 08:17 PM
 
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No, the rest stops in the TN part of I-81 are closed. We just got back to NoVA from a trip to Cookeville and Chattanooga and we stayed at a Comfort Inn in both cities. No issues so far with C-19 exposure. The hotel offered a grab and go breakfast.


We didn't stop at a rest stop on I-40 so I can't comment on that.
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Old 11-26-2020, 01:28 PM
 
Location: Bellevue
2,059 posts, read 2,230,562 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bigfoot424 View Post
Wife and I are leaving in a few weeks to drive to AZ from VA to see our new grandson. What a crazy time to do this but he is 4 months old now and circumstance for my wife's work and our sons work allows for a good lone trip. We'll get on I-40 and come all the way across and keep going. I realize a lot can still happen in a few weeks but I am curious on what we'll face while in TN. We plan on bringing a couple of coolers and eating sandwiches and such and if we want restaurant food we'll do drive-thru or curbside. But what restrictions are we looking at on this drive? If any. I hate not having as hotel reservations lined up for each night but is this a good idea right now? I know getting breakfast the hotels is likely out but we can live with that. Any suggestions on what me might expect on this drive? Thanks.
You can look up Google for TN rest areas. Most should be open. For the holiday the welcome areas may be unstaffed after day hours. The only area closed is the Johnny Cash on I-40 near Dickson. Everything else is open.

Because of Covid you will need to bring & use a mask as required. Some diners are carry out only. All the leaves are down so too late for any fall color. Traffic seems to be lighter than normal so you can stay on I-40 thru Nashville.
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Old 11-27-2020, 06:39 AM
 
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If you have the time get off the Highway around Nashville..

Take 440 to 6 (Franklin Pike), take 6 down thru Franklin, Spring Hill, to Columbia.
Then take 412 West ( this is the TN scenic byway) thru Hohenwald, Linden, across the TN River, thru Parsons, Lexington, Jackson and back onto 40 heading west..

Sometimes it's about the journey along our routes, not the fastest way..
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Old 11-27-2020, 10:33 AM
 
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We traveled yesterday through GA and TN and a lot of things were closed. Plan your trip carefully. Best of luck and safe travels!
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Old 11-27-2020, 04:21 PM
 
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Natchez Trace State Park is located between Nashville and Memphis, and can be a good place to break your trip. It includes Pin Oak Lodge, which overlooks a lake - it's a rather long drive to the lodge from I-40 but keep going and watch for in-park signs.

Rooms have been undergoing renovation over the last few years, so be sure to ask for a renovated room with a lake view. The lodge includes a restaurant which keeps rather odd hours, so ask ahead about that - might be better to bring your own food if you're there on a weekday (whenever I travel by car, I always take juice boxes and an inexpensive water boiler, for tea, hot chocolate, coffee, oatmeal, etc.)

Once you leave the lodge, be sure to ask about the short cut back to I-40 which takes you through Lexington, TN. It will save you at least ten or fifteen miles and connects back with westbound I=40 just east of Jackson, TN. However, the long way is still the quickest way if you're coming to the park from the east, so enjoy the wooded scenery.

Good luck, and enjoy your trip and grandbaby!
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Old 11-27-2020, 04:33 PM
 
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The Memphis welcome center is considerably east of Memphis, not visible from I-40, and was very lightly visited on each of my previous stops there. Due to the lack of traffic, it might be a safer place to stop than are more heavily visited rest areas.

Across the big river from Memphis, the Arkansas welcome center is marked on a highway sign, but if you miss the turn, forget it - you can't go back again, at least not easily. But if you DO manage to get to it, it is very pleasant, located in a log structure containing brochures about every attraction and accommodation in the state, plus small displays of Arkansas crafts and natural attractions - don't miss the beautiful Arkansas quartz crystal cluster. The staff is very informative and helpful, and the "facilities" have been neat and clean on each of my past visit. I have no idea if it is open as usual now or not.

Ditto the Old Sawmill Restaurant in Forrest City - when I was there a year ago this fall, it had a wonderful buffet with lots of traditional Southern favorites: sweet potatoes, fried chicken, rice, banana pudding and more, and prices were very reasonable. Again, I have no idea how or if it's open now. But it's a good place to stop, after many miles of driving across the Grand Prairie, the l-o-n-g flat Mississippi Delta between Memphis and Little Rock.

Forrest City is next to Crawley's Ridge, the only ridge you'll encounter until shortly before reaching Little Rock, so enjoy the brief glimpse of pretty wooded rolling ridges while you're there. Actually, the Grand Prairie is interesting the first time you're there - look for rice and cotton fields - but is very flat, and heavily trafficked with lots of trucks, so keep your eye on the (four-lane) road.

Good luck with your trip.
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Old 11-30-2020, 10:19 AM
 
1,872 posts, read 3,684,867 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CraigCreek View Post
The Memphis welcome center is considerably east of Memphis, not visible from I-40, and was very lightly visited on each of my previous stops there. Due to the lack of traffic, it might be a safer place to stop than are more heavily visited rest areas.

Across the big river from Memphis, the Arkansas welcome center is marked on a highway sign, but if you miss the turn, forget it - you can't go back again, at least not easily. But if you DO manage to get to it, it is very pleasant, located in a log structure containing brochures about every attraction and accommodation in the state, plus small displays of Arkansas crafts and natural attractions - don't miss the beautiful Arkansas quartz crystal cluster. The staff is very informative and helpful, and the "facilities" have been neat and clean on each of my past visit. I have no idea if it is open as usual now or not.

Ditto the Old Sawmill Restaurant in Forrest City - when I was there a year ago this fall, it had a wonderful buffet with lots of traditional Southern favorites: sweet potatoes, fried chicken, rice, banana pudding and more, and prices were very reasonable. Again, I have no idea how or if it's open now. But it's a good place to stop, after many miles of driving across the Grand Prairie, the l-o-n-g flat Mississippi Delta between Memphis and Little Rock.

Forrest City is next to Crawley's Ridge, the only ridge you'll encounter until shortly before reaching Little Rock, so enjoy the brief glimpse of pretty wooded rolling ridges while you're there. Actually, the Grand Prairie is interesting the first time you're there - look for rice and cotton fields - but is very flat, and heavily trafficked with lots of trucks, so keep your eye on the (four-lane) road.

Good luck with your trip.
We stop at the visitor centers along I-40 whenever we're traveling, and they are pretty much always well-maintained and not crowded. Not sure how COVID has affected them, if at all, but I wouldn't hesitate to stop for a needed break, if you see one.

There are plenty of gas station exits along I-40, so bathrooms and refreshments should be available. I would pack sandwiches and a few drinks just in case, as the OP mentioned. We do that even if we're traveling two hours away, because you never know if you'll get a flat tire or have another issue.
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