US 70, Day 7: Knoxville, TN - Smithfield, NC
Whew, this was an exhausting day. Up to now, traffic has been very light outside of towns. Not today, though. But first...
The drive on old US 70 over the Smoky Mountains is extremely pretty. There are some nice views, and the landscape is amazingly green.
Once out of the mountains, US 70 joins up with future I-26. US 25's exit is only marked by one shield and an angle arrow at the exit. Tsk. In my opinion, *all* US and major state highways should always appear on the big green signs. Even if it's going to be rerouted soon, it should have a temporary sign by the roadside.
Once into Asheville, US 70 exits and goes through a tunnel. The tunnel's path is noticeably arched. US 70 parallels I-40 for a while, then joins with it for a rather steep descent. There are many warning signs for trucks, including a mandatory information stop, warning lights for too-fast trucks, and three runaway truck ramps.
After reaching Old Fort, US 70 exits. You can see a turnoff to an old alignment of US 70, though I understand that it no longer goes through. Shortly after this, it started to rain. I actually don't mind too much, because I don't get to see much rain in Arizona. It never rained hard, but it sprinkled and misted for the rest of the day.
For some of the towns with bypasses, NC signs them as BY-PASS with the in-town route being BUSINESS. Marshal has this, and so does Morganton. Morganton has a TRUCK designatino for the BY-PASS as well.
From Old Fort through Salisbury, it was one big traffic jam. Very heavy traffic, and lots of slow-moving old drivers. Even where the speed limit was 55, they never went over 45. And tons of traffic lights. At Salisbury US 70 joins I-85 for a little while, and then turns off onto a four-lane expressway. The traffic wasn't quite as bad after exiting, but there were still a lot of traffic lights. It had just gotten dark while I went through Raleigh.
I stopped for the night near Smithville, on Business US 60 at I-95. There was a motel called the Log Cabin that looked interesting, but there was nobody at the desk. The lights and TV and "OPEN" sign were on, but the lobby was locked and no one was around. There wasn't a bell, and knocking didn't raise anyone. After 5 or 10 minutes I went back to the Howard Johnson Express by I-95. This is a motor court that's had a two-story section added. I'm in the old one-story section.
Today I drove 433 miles, for a total of 2816. I pushed a little further today because I want to get to the Outer Banks tomorrow, and then start back to Knoxville on Friday. I don't want to be out there for the Labor Day weekend crowd.
Next day: 8/31
Previous day: 8/29
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