US 70, Day 8: Smithfield, NC - Atlantic, NC - Williamston, NC


A few catch-up remarks. There's an old iron bridge over the French Broad River east of Knoxville for US 70. However, a new bridge is under construction. I'm surprised that US 70 wasn't just routed onto I-40 at this point, which is right next to it and has a newer bridge. US 70 crosses this river several more times as it goes up into the Smokys.

Around Smithfield, NC, it looks like the road through Pine Level was US 70A at one time. I didn't see any shields posted, but a street sign mentioned US 70A. Plus, the official NC map shows it.

US 70 can't make up its mind as to whether it wants to be a freeway or not through NC. Grade-separated interchanges seem to alternate with traffic lights. I saw a few left-turn signals with red arrows, but most use dual red balls, with a "LEFT TURN SIGNAL" sign.

On the road again. There's a freeway section of US 70 near New Bern. Although NC doesn't put milepost signs on most of its highways, it does seem to for freeways, even the non-interstate ones.

There was a high bridge over the Intracostal Waterway at Morehead City, and a drawbridge near the marina. US 70 then winds around some tidal flats, with water lapping at the sides. I imagine it would have to be closed in a storm.

And yes, finally, there it was -- the END US 70 sign. I'll have some pictures up soon. It was a total of 2981 miles to get there. Whew. I got there almost exactly a week after I passed the beginning of US 70 at Globe, AZ.

Now the hard part -- I have to drive home. Just an easy cruise down the interstate, or so I thought. But more on that later.

I wanted to see Cape Hatteras, so I drove over to NC 12 and took that to the Cedar Island ferry terminal. For $10, a state ferry takes your car on a 2 1/4 trip to Ocracoke Island. There's another shorter, free ferry crossing from there to Cape Hatteras.

Unfortunately, the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse was closed for the day by the time I got there. But I was still able to walk around the outside. The Park Service just finished moving it inland earlier this year. The shore at the original site had eroded to within 150 feet of the light, and all efforts to keep the ocean back had failed, so it was jacked up and slowly moved on rails to a new site.

I had dinner at a waterside seafood place. It was an interesting concoction of shrimp, scallops, mushrooms, sausage slices, scallions, cheese and grits. It was near sunset at this point, so I headed out. Like I said before, I wanted to start inland before the Labor Day crowds headed for the beaches. I drove up NC 12 to US 64, then followed that inland. This marks the eastern end of US 64, which also ends in the west in Arizona, near Four Corners. Maybe I'll drive that some other trip. I'd like to see more of the Cape, but not on a big holiday weekend.

I stopped for the night, rather late, at a Days Inn in Williamston. Days Inn typically has pretty good AAA rates.

I drove 365 miles today, not counting ferry miles, for a total of 3181 miles.

Next day: 9/1
Previous day: 8/30
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