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Old 05-30-2008, 12:06 PM
51 posts, read 122,920 times
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What about the speed limits? Is it 65 most of the way? Or are we passing through towns with a slower limit most of the way? Thank you again for all of this great stuff!
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Old 05-30-2008, 02:07 PM
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It's an interstate highway - 55 to 65 (depending on state laws) the whole way on a divided, limited access highway , maybe a short stretch or two of 50 mph in the crowded urban areas.

Personally if I were traveling from S. California I would travel on I10 to I20, much less pesky truck traffic. Truck traffic on I-40 is just unbelievable and makes driving really really unpleasant, also you get to make up time going 75 MPH on that stretch of I-20 in west texas. You miss Alb however and will take the southern route through El Paso.
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Old 05-30-2008, 02:34 PM
Location: North Carolina
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I-40 around Nashville is a snarl You might want to study your maps carefully to sort out the interchanges. And time yourself to not hit that area during rush hour.

Between Nashville and Knoxville is an easy drive. TN sets up some nice rest areas along that stretch. Once past Knoxville, well .. get ready for one of the rough patches. From there until you get to Old Fort in NC. Somewhere around the exit for Newport, TN (x432) you should be seeing a sign that says something about winding roads/trucks stay to the right/speed limit lower (it's 50 for trucks, probably 55 for cars). That's because you are getting ready to go through a notorious mountain pass that is narrow and winding. I don't know if the construction is ongoing; it was when I drove through there the second week of May; but one of the eastbound lanes of I-40 is closed thru much the length of that pass. So get ready to be bottlenecked by slow traffic and possibly have an 18 wheeler ride your tail. It might sound scary, but I haven't heard of any serious accidents along that stretch recently. Most people do tend to use common sense, at least along that portion. Bad thing is, there's really no way to get around that stretch. You can get off at Newport and take 25/70 to 19/23 to 240 then back to 40 on the other side of Asheville. That's the route I use when I ride my motorcycle west. It is an extremely scenic drive, but it will double - maybe even triple - your driving time because it's 2-lanes most of the way and very curvy itself. There's just little traffic.

Now the mountain pass drive is about 30 miles of a route you have to be careful about. I think there's one tunnel. I get mixed up about that because it's one tunnel going this direction and two going thataway. I can never remember. Anyway, once you get closer in to Asheville; somewhere around Clyde; the road gets easier. Oh, and the stretch going past Clyde stinks. Just thought I'd warn you. There's a paper mill in that town that creates a bad stench as you pass. Nasty.

Thru Asheville should be a breeze. Watch out for the I-26 interchange. There'll be signs warning you which lanes to stay in to continue on 40. Once out of Asheville, I think it's exit 66, you get your final roller coaster to the flatter Piedmont. I-40 takes an abrupt drop out of the mountains. Trucks have to stay in the right lane (there are three lanes going down); the road hairpins several times. Stay in the middle lane. People familiar with the road sometimes treat it like an amusement park ride. Stay out of the left lane so they can pass. Once you reach Old Fort, the road levels out and turns into a boring drive until you get past Greensboro and closer to Raleigh. Then it turns into your usual urban mess.

Editing to add: if you want an official introduction to Krispy Kreme, creators of those deadly sugar bombs that took the world by storm a few years ago, their HQ is in Winston-Salem, off Business 40. Though, I dare say you'll have plenty of opportunities to eat them once you settle here. Just make sure you find a shop where they are made fresh and wait until you see the HOT sign go on before you buy. Eating them cold is like dumping a cup of sugar in your stomach. It just sits there and reminds you that you've just gone one step closer to becoming a diabetic. Mygawd those things are sweet.

Last edited by silverwing; 05-30-2008 at 03:03 PM..
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Old 05-31-2008, 07:07 AM
Location: Southeast Idaho
4,659 posts, read 15,777,016 times
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Originally Posted by leavincainjuly View Post
Wow! this is great information about stuff that we never even thought of seeing. Please keep it coming! Also, if anyone has driven the whole way out 40 from CA to NC, or at least long stretches of it, what it the terrain like? I am driving a Neon, that will have my breakable stuff and some luggage in it. Is it mountainous? Flat? full of potholes? I know it will be hot, so I am trying to find out about the potential of overheating my tiny little car. Thank you for all of the info!
You will have passes to go through along with the flat areas. Plan on road construction, it's pretty much a given.

Have your car checked by a qualified mechanic before the trip. You certainly want to make certain your coolant is ready to handle the heat. Most cars today don't have overheating issues if kept in decent condition.

One word of warning:"gators", nope not the FL kind, but when truckers go through constant temperature changes they sometimes blow a tire and the debris is left on the highways.... if one of those flies up and hits you it can be deadly. All the more reason to give the trucks their respected space. To know the trucks blind spots; if you can't see them in their mirrors, they can't see you.
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Old 05-31-2008, 03:15 PM
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Originally Posted by Bob The Builder View Post
Cracker Barrel breakfast is a must. I would pass on them for lunch and dinner.
OR...you can just have breakfast any other time of the day there! We prefer their breakfast to any of their other meals and have had breakfast for lunch or dinner!

The Big Texan is in Amarillo, TX at Exit 74 (Whitaker Road) Just seeing the gift shop is worth the stop. And even if you can't eat the 72 oz. steak, the rest of their food is pretty good. Hope you get to see someone tackle that 72-ouncer!

About 40 miles east of Amarillo (Groom, TX; near mile marker 110), there's a HUGE cross. Even if you're not religious, it's an interesting sight. especially at sunrise/sunset.

Cleosmom's advice is spot-on. As long as you get your Neon checked out before you leave, you should be fine. There are long, isolated stretches of highway until you get over towards Arkansas. But a well-running car should get you over those with no problem.

Have a wonderful trip!

Last edited by Crew Chief; 05-31-2008 at 03:42 PM.. Reason: Mo' better info!
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Old 06-01-2008, 09:36 PM
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Does anyone know any good tours in Nashville? NashTrash is full when we will be there.
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Old 06-01-2008, 11:22 PM
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what are you looking to tour?
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Old 06-01-2008, 11:34 PM
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Well, I would like a tour that emphasizes the music history of the city, and i would like to know where Tim McGraw lives.
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Old 06-02-2008, 10:30 AM
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Default East on HWY 40

I did that drive a few years ago. It was so much fun.

You should have no more worries re the interracial thing than you would in any other part of the country. You're just as likely to "get looks" from folks in CA as you are in the south. Besides, people not from the south luuuv to scare people with the southern stereotypes gleaned from TV and movies (and newspapers and novels...). Keep an open mind and a sense of humor, and be as friendly and polite as you expect folks to be with you. And don't be in a hurry. Southerners hate being pressed by out-of-towners in a tizzy or a hurry. If something's taking longer than you expect, there's usually a good reason. Especially when it comes to food.

Since you'll be travelling in July, be prepared for extreme heat.

Keep drinkable water in your car at all times. You might want to get a couple of thermoses (thermi?) or a thermal jug for this so you don't have to keep buying bottled water. Soft drinks, of course, are one of the joys of roadtrips.

Anything that could be destroyed by being left in a hot car? Consider shipping it instead, or pack in such a way as to insulate it against the heat.

Think about how to get storm/weather warnings. Radio is usually a good bet, but you'll need local forecasts. Read up on thunderstorm and tornado watch/warning safety and what do in downpours if on the road (e.g., don't drive through pool of water unless you are absolutely certain of it's depth).

Definitely ask the locals where to eat when you get into town. Ask a few folks, to get a couple of options or a consensus. Don't dismiss a place just because it doesn't look shiny and well-groomed. Some of the best eats can be found at pretty homely places.

If you want a neat splurge in Nashville, stay at the hotel which used to be the railway station. (I'm blanking on the name) It's worth it! Gorgeous, great service, close to downtown.
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Old 06-02-2008, 11:34 AM
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i don't know of any guided tours for just music - i'm not a big fan of modern country (although I really like the old stuff) and honestly we did just as much musical stuff in memphis than nashville (sun studios, stax museum, beale st & WC Handy Park, etc)

in nashville the wife and I picked up the following:

Music City Total Access Attraction Pass - Nashville Convention & Visitors Bureau (http://www.visitmusiccity.com/visitors/TotalAccess - broken link)

ended up saving us a few dollars

you could probably craft together a pretty decent musical tour of the city - I loved the Ryman tour and found benefit to the backstage portion (which was an upcharge)

I didn't go to the country music hall of fame - although I hear it's nice

Grand Ol' Opry was a fun show and last summer before the show they had an outdoor stage setup and a lot of activity on the plaza - kind a cool party scene going on

spend some time around Music Row (Music Row in Nashville)

then get some live music by checking out the bluebird cafe (The Bluebird Cafe) and then a honkeytonk or two on broadway (many have live music all day)

if you like history the Stones River Battlefield a little south of the city was a neat trip to see - the estate at the Hermitage was very impressive - the Cheekwood Gardens were a nice bit of green for us desert dwellers

really a lot to see & do there - my friends/coworkers thought we were nuts for making that our vacation - but we loved it
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