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Old 08-18-2008, 07:35 PM
 
Location: Middleton, Wisconsin
4,229 posts, read 16,521,649 times
Reputation: 2309

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Well folks I've been lurking in the shadows here on the Tri-Cities forum lately. I had to put some time into thinking when I wanted to visit and I've decided that I will leave Friday October 24th and stay through Thursday the 30th or Friday the 31st...

What I plan on doing is mainly visiting the Smoky Mountains. Check out Western North Carolina. I want to get as many pictures as possible during the fall colors... I'm so excited I just have to get my boss to approve my vacation request. I may only be there for 5 or 6 days but that is long enough to take in the beauty. I plan on basic day trips to the mountains. No Pigeon Forge, yuck! I'm not into cheesy tourist stuff. I just want to sit atop a mountain and think.... I've been planning for months now and I had to postpone due to a new job etc.

The whole trip is supposed to take 12 hours and 49 minutes with a total of 826.12 miles one way. I figure if I leave at 2 I can drive for 6-8 hours and at least make it to southern Indiana for the night. I will probably just sleep in the car. Wake up the next morning, eat breakfest and get to Johnson City... I figure it will take around 5-6 hours from the Louisville area where I will spend the night Friday... So I should arrive in Johnson City, TN no later than 3 p.m Saturday... I will probably check town out and get some shuteye. Wake up early Sunday and see some mountains...

My Schedule-We'll see how well it goes. lol
  • Friday October 24th-- Leave Portage, WI around 2 P.M
  • Hopefully arrive in Louisville or Madison, Indiana around 9 P.M?
  • Sleep overnight in my car.
  • Wake up Saturday Morning and get to JC already.lol
  • Sunday October 26th-check out some rural towns in the mountains
  • Monday October 27th-Go to Western North Carolina
  • Tuesday October 28th-Check out More of Beautiful Tennesee
  • Wednesday October 29th- unscheduled day? I like the sound of that!
  • Thursday October 30th-Leave east Tennesee and drive up to Carrollton, KY Spend the night there.
  • Friday October 31st. Check out Carrollton a little more then head home.... Arrive 10 P.M?
I will be traveling solo. I've never driven 1000 miles by myself. I'm only 20 and inexperienced... I think that this will be a great experience and will help me in ways not even describable. I can't wait for the solitude of driving alone.


Hopefully I get some fall colors!
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Old 08-19-2008, 07:56 PM
 
Location: Kingsport, TN
1,697 posts, read 6,342,364 times
Reputation: 1766
Glad you'll finally be able to make it down here! The weather at that time should be ideal and the foliage should be at or near peak if it's a normal year.

Where do you intend to sleep in your car your first night on the road? Unless you already have a place in mind, keep in mind that it may be extremely difficult to find somewhere to park safely & legally, since you'll be looking at night in what I assume is unfamiliar territory.

As your departure time approaches, I'll be happy to help w/ your itinerary while you're in this neck of the woods. But one caveat I'll put out there right now is that much of the Smokies will be extremely crowded that time of the year, quite possibly to the point where you'll find yourself looking more at the vehicle in front of you rather than the scenery around you. There are other options in East Tenn. (including Roan Mtn.) that offer comparable beauty and far smaller crowds.

Here's a very handy guide to the mountains of TN:
Sherpa Guides | Tennessee | Tennessee Mountains

And another for NC:
Sherpa Guides | North Carolina| Longstreet Highroad Guide to the North Carolina Mountains
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Old 08-19-2008, 10:40 PM
 
Location: Seattle
6,761 posts, read 15,335,613 times
Reputation: 3351
I agree with Kamoshika. A couple weeks ago I decided to wing it in Buffalo (yes, Buffalo NY -- I'm insane). Arrived late at night in PARTY CITY. It was hell. I would strongly advise either to mapquest directions to a Walmart and park near the doors to sleep OR find a really cheap hotel somewhere. Rural motels can easily run $35 a night if they're off the path a bit.

Western North Carolina is HUGE. Instead of planning one day there, could you plan to spend overnight there, moving your day back in east TN forward one day, to your unplanned day? If you're serious about WNC, that could help you check out some different areas. You can easily spend a day in the Asheville/Black Mtn area.

Where do you plan to spend your time in JC? There are some really nice areas that seem like they'll fit your bill of a quieter place - outskirts of Jonesborough, or Erwin, Piney Flats, Elizabethton. I really like Erwin (and Unicoi) as it seems like it's outside the Tri-Cities, but a quick 10-15 minutes to Johnson City on I-26.

I see that you're young. (I'm twenty, too. And just got back from a road trip to Toronto!) I'm going to PM you my contact info so if you need anything while you're here, directions or a safe place or just some advice, you can get in touch.

Stay safe! We got totally lost coming back through West Virginia and I called my friend in Toronto. She relayed Mapquest info to us so that we got back onto Mountaineer Expressway easily enough. Thank God - we were en route to Charleston!
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Old 08-20-2008, 07:36 PM
 
Location: Middleton, Wisconsin
4,229 posts, read 16,521,649 times
Reputation: 2309
Thanks Kamoshika and jabogitlu!

The main thing is to get a look at a widespread area. Considering I may only be off for a week and need a day to get back home I will only have 5 or so days to see so many things. I more about seeing the beauty without any corny tourist stuff like in Gatlinburg... I will look at Roan Mountain for sure... I thought if I needed more time to see tennessee I could always come back in early January between school and work...


Kamoshika, I actually intend on staying somewhere at a Wal mart parking lot like jabogitlu mentioned. I've seen people do it at out local wally world... I just want to save as much money as possible. I figure every dollar I save is more I can use for gas to see more and more....


I just want a Comfort suites or Comfort in, something by Choice hotels.. They always seem clean and friendly... I want to be within 10 minutes of Wal-mart in case I need something... Something with wi-fi! Anyone have any recomendations?
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Old 08-20-2008, 09:17 PM
 
Location: Tri-Cities
232 posts, read 621,585 times
Reputation: 127
Default Southern Indiana

We recently moved to the Tri-Cities area from southern Indiana. On I65, at exit 68 (Columbus) there is a new Wal-Mart, several restaurants and several hotels.

Further north, at exit 76 there are also several fast food restaurants and hotels, but no nearby Wal-Mart.

This is about an hour further north than you planned to stay, but the Wal-Mart is very convenient. It's on the east side of the highway. It is about 6 hours driving time from Columbus to Johnson City.

Also, as you pass through Indiana, I highly recommend Ritter's Frozen Custard if you like ice cream and need a snack!!

Ritter's Frozen Custard - Legendary Ice Cream

The one there in Columbus is on the other side of town, but you can find all their locations on the website. Very, very yummy!
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Old 08-21-2008, 12:27 PM
 
Location: Middleton, Wisconsin
4,229 posts, read 16,521,649 times
Reputation: 2309
Thanks Pacers fan!
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