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Old 09-12-2011, 06:35 PM
 
Location: Columbus, Ohio
406 posts, read 1,359,123 times
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I have to take I-77 through your wild and wonderful state comeing from Ohio heading southbound. I have never driven through any mountainous region such as this therfore not sure how I would handle the sudden drop offs, steep inclines, sharp turns over cliffs without guardrails etc... am I being overly paranoid or is the highway not as bad as the media has made it out to be? Ps.
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Old 09-12-2011, 07:49 PM
 
Location: Western Pennsylvania
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Overly paranoid.

From Parkersburg to Charleston, I-77 is mostly level to rolling hills, probably no different than on the Ohio side of the Ohio River.

From Charleston to the Virginia state line at Bluefield, you'll be following the West Virginia Turnpike, which is a bit twistier, and has a couple of good grades. But it's built to Interstate standards, there are no steep cliffs or sharp turns without guardrails, etc. This summer I towed a 33' travel trailer over the Bluefield to Beckley portion without drama.

It's a very pretty drive, especially this time of the year. If you have time, on your way through Beckley be sure to stop at Tamarack.
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Old 09-12-2011, 09:53 PM
 
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snorpus nailed this one!
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Old 09-13-2011, 03:43 PM
 
71 posts, read 163,598 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bballjunkie View Post
snorpus nailed this one!

Gotta agree. WV has tamed it's main routes,the worst you'll encounter is steep upgrades, and they're only a concern if you're badly overloaded.

If you've really got to experience somewhat like you've heard, take a left on 148 at the Fancy Gap VA turnoff, and stroll on down to the NC line on 52. This is what used to be waiting for folks who made it through those 'terrible' WV roads!

(somewhat, because this route has been upgraded from 5mph to 20 mph curves since the 60's, it was reputed to cause first time experienced OTR drivers to pull over in NC and shake for a while before they could pry their hands from the wheel!)


Here's a sample... if it's allowed.


Fancy Gap - The Old Road.wmv - YouTube

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Old 09-13-2011, 03:59 PM
 
Location: NW Penna.
1,758 posts, read 3,582,349 times
Reputation: 1876
Quote:
Originally Posted by iwantyall2know View Post
I have to take I-77 through your wild and wonderful state comeing from Ohio heading southbound. I have never driven through any mountainous region such as this therfore not sure how I would handle the sudden drop offs, steep inclines, sharp turns over cliffs without guardrails etc... am I being overly paranoid or is the highway not as bad as the media has made it out to be? Ps.

Overly paranoid. I-77 is nothing like that. It's a little annoying to navigate through Charleston (okay, it's #@$%@#$% a lot annoying ), and will be a left hand exit right near downtown Charleston in order to continue south on it. And then there's a badly designed section of twisties on the south side of Charleston, after you cross the river and near the Sharon exit. The road there is crowned when it should be banked, and trucks flip over all the time. Allllll the time. Aside from that, I can't think of anything outstanding about it. I've often suspected that the southbound follows the old WV Turnpike a.k.a. the "Treacherous Pathway" roadbed, and the northbound lanes are the new ones. But I don't know if that's true. Vehicles handle a lot more awkwardly going South, but coming back up North was always a ton of fun, esp late at night with a good performance car that hugs the road.

added: iwantyall2know, WV roads like you describe still exist, but they'd mostly be 'way out in the old coal camp counties: Boone, Logan, McDowell, etc. Lots of those places relied on railroads from the earliest days, b/c rail was easier and cheaper to build through all of that rock. The roads are just buffalo trails used as Indian trails, then widened to wagon roads, and then maybe widened to 2 lanes per 1920s standards, then not improved after that. When the railroads pulled out of the coalfields, those people were out of luck. One thing: After I lived in southern WV for so many years, I have never seen a truly bad or dangerous road in western PA, lol. What I used to think was bad here, looks darned decent to me now.

Last edited by SorryIMovedBack; 09-13-2011 at 04:19 PM..
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Old 09-13-2011, 04:09 PM
 
Location: NW Penna.
1,758 posts, read 3,582,349 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MINITRUCK83 View Post

If you've really got to experience somewhat like you've heard, take a left on 148 at the Fancy Gap VA turnoff, and stroll on down to the NC line on 52. This is what used to be waiting for folks who made it through those 'terrible' WV roads!

...
Holy Hades, Minitruck! Now, that's a hill, lol! Now I know what my dad was talking about.
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Old 09-13-2011, 06:56 PM
 
Location: Western Pennsylvania
2,429 posts, read 6,896,811 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MINITRUCK83 View Post
...

If you've really got to experience somewhat like you've heard, take a left on 148 at the Fancy Gap VA turnoff, and stroll on down to the NC line on 52. This is what used to be waiting for folks who made it through those 'terrible' WV roads!

(somewhat, because this route has been upgraded from 5mph to 20 mph curves since the 60's, it was reputed to cause first time experienced OTR drivers to pull over in NC and shake for a while before they could pry their hands from the wheel!)

Small world. We camped at the KOA in Fancy Gap for 2 nights this summer, on our way back south from Blackwater Falls. We drove down 52 to Mt. Airy ("Mayberry"). As I recall, they've banned big trucks from that stretch now that I-77 is open.

Back in the 60s, my family would always stay in Fancy Gap at the end of our first day of driving south on summer vacation. We kids knew we were in the south now, because the motel had a swimming pool. That was back in the days when the Turnpike was 2 and 3 lanes (the middle lane was the passing lane for either direction), and you had to cross the northbound lanes to get to one of the rest areas.

My nomination for "roads like they used to be" is Route 20 in Wetzel County. It's got guardrails now, in most of the worst places, but it still crosses two good-sized hills just in the 15 miles from New Martinsville to Pine Grove, with plenty of hairpin curves, sharp turns right after the crest of a grade, etc.
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Old 09-14-2011, 04:52 AM
 
71 posts, read 163,598 times
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Back 'in the day' Rt 52 was the only North-South route available for freight trucks coming into or out of WV. Fancy Gap was widely known as the ultimate 'truckers nightmare' east of the big muddy. The only way to avoid it was either up the coast and across rt 60 from the east, (Gauley mtn was almost as bad) or come in from the west. The video shows only a part of how bad it was in the 60's, with escape roads removed, berms widened, and wider lanes.better paved, etc. Truly had a 'pucker' factor!
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Old 09-14-2011, 09:09 AM
 
Location: Plano, TX
714 posts, read 2,774,171 times
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I was born in Southern WV, and returned for a family reunion last week. The trip on I 77 from the Va line to Princeton is breathtaking. It makes me want to come back home. It have been awhile since I travelled the turnpike from Princeton to Ohio.

Don't speed, take time, and rnjoy the view.
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Old 09-14-2011, 10:29 AM
 
Location: Columbus, Ohio
406 posts, read 1,359,123 times
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Looking at this video it doesn't look bad at all. Just some winding roads.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MINITRUCK83 View Post
Gotta agree. WV has tamed it's main routes,the worst you'll encounter is steep upgrades, and they're only a concern if you're badly overloaded.

If you've really got to experience somewhat like you've heard, take a left on 148 at the Fancy Gap VA turnoff, and stroll on down to the NC line on 52. This is what used to be waiting for folks who made it through those 'terrible' WV roads!

(somewhat, because this route has been upgraded from 5mph to 20 mph curves since the 60's, it was reputed to cause first time experienced OTR drivers to pull over in NC and shake for a while before they could pry their hands from the wheel!)


Here's a sample... if it's allowed.


Fancy Gap - The Old Road.wmv - YouTube

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