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Old 09-21-2017, 08:35 AM   #1
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I-57 vs I-65?

Hi, I'm looking for a way to avoid I-65 in Indiana. We have been on it way too much recently and just can't face it again. We're traveling from the Chicago area to NC next week and are thinking about taking I-57 through Illinois. I don't mind the extra time if the road is better. I'd love to hear from anyone that has traveled both for comparison, or at least I-57. I already know how bad I-65 is; I'm not too optimistic about 57 because I cannot imagine Illinois spending money on any road anywhere.
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Old 09-21-2017, 10:03 AM   #2
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With that desire I'd run IH77S from the 80/90 Tollroad. (Look into national tolltags).

Yes, the miles out of town to the split are a pain. But not afterwards. Depending on construction, this is a "fast" road (easy for a big truck to roll without time delays; higher average mph).

I'd be on IH294 southbound a little after 0900 so as to be past Portage, IN by a good time when truck traffic is lowest & commuters at work.

From there to Cleveland, OH and south on IH77

This avoids the traffic jams on IH75 at Cincinnati, OH and the funnel created at Knoxville, TN where it meets up with IH40.

Except locals or regional, the national truck traffic avoids hilly or mountainous as is possible. Traffic composition changes quite a few times on 77.

On your way back, use IH64W from Charleston, WV to catch IH57N to home. But it's longer (plus slower; Louisville a pain) and a lot less scenic.

Think of both as reconnaissance: route familiarity.

Somewhere south of Canton, OH for first overnight.

One can use the really first rate Travel Plazas on the 80/90 Tollroad for fuel, etc (would be my recommendation). Also for overnight.

The WV Turnpike rest area at Beckley (mm 66) is a must due to terrain.

.
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Old 09-21-2017, 10:17 AM   #3
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Hi

Don't know about now, but a few weeks back the Ohio Toll Road was construction from one end to the other.

If you want to stay off of Interstate 65, there's always Highway 52 .... Running on it for a while will make you *love* I-65..... I have data on this ....

If you head east, don't go as far east as PA. We don't spend money on foolish things like pavement. We *do* deploy a lot of orange cones here and there .....

Bob
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Old 09-21-2017, 10:40 AM   #4
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We pulled the Airstream down I 57 last week, from up around Rockford to I 24 to Nashville. It was, over all, a pleasant experience. Most of it good. Some construction but not too bad. Some very good road. I would recommend that route.
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Old 09-21-2017, 11:00 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by uncle_bob View Post
Hi

Don't know about now, but a few weeks back the Ohio Toll Road was construction from one end to the other.

If you want to stay off of Interstate 65, there's always Highway 52 .... Running on it for a while will make you *love* I-65..... I have data on this ....

If you head east, don't go as far east as PA. We don't spend money on foolish things like pavement. We *do* deploy a lot of orange cones here and there .....

Bob
Winter on a clear day is the best time on 80/90. Still, the lack of metro traffic make it "best" even in construction season. The Travel Plazas are the other bonus.

77 is the reason for the choice.

And country highways in Ohio and much of the Midwest are slow. Design, speed and towns. Unless divided the whole way, I avoid them (unlike TX or north when west of the dryline 50' out from IH35; where one can move along).

.
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Old 09-21-2017, 11:16 AM   #6
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I57 is in pretty good shape. Drive it frequently.
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Old 09-21-2017, 11:20 AM   #7
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Take I57 South in Illinois down to I64 East in Illinois. Follow I64 East through Louisville Ky to Lexington KY. Depending upon where you want to go in NC you can NOW make your decision as to which route into NC to take.

Here are some options:

You can continue on I64 East thru Charleston WVA to Beckley WVA and pickup I77 South in Beckley down into NC. This would be good route if your destination is central or eastern NC.

Assuming you are wanting to avoid Knoxville I75 and I40 traffic and are looking to go to Western NC you can also jump on I75 South in Lexington Ky to Corbin Ky and take Highway 25E out of Corbin KY to Middlesboro Ky. From there you can continue on 25E to Morristown and get on I81 SOUTH back back towards Knoxville a few miles to catch I40 East and on to Asheville NC.

OR

You can also take 25E out of Corbin Ky to Middlesboro KY and take 58 East out of Middlesboro KY over to Kingsport TN. Pickup I26 South out of Kingsport right down into Asheville NC. Not much difference time wise or mileage either way. Nice scenic drive however it is hilly. This is Eastern Kentucky after all!

Both of these routes are longer than I75 South to Knoxville TN and then I40 East to Asheville HOWEVER they avoid much of the areas you mentioned.

Really depends upon what part of NC is your ultimate destination.

Happy Trails!
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Old 09-21-2017, 11:29 AM   #8
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If you're headed to NC from Chicago and want to avoid 65, how about this...

Not sure where in Chicago you're coming from, but get to 80/90 in Indiana (some construction on 94 right as you get to the toll road access). Catch US-31 south at South Bend exit 72 south to Indy. They just added a bunch of bypasses on this highway, and it's no longer the Kokomo stop and go. The improvements take :30 off the trip between SB (my hometown) and Indy (there's a little construction the last ten miles to Indy). Try to avoid rush hours in Indy, and take 265 around to I-74 to Cinci. Take 275 around Cinci to 71/75 (avoiding the jams at the river), then 75 to Lexington where you hit I-64. Keep left in Lexington and take 64 to I-77 down into NC. Some mountains, but a really pretty drive through eastern KY and WV/VA. None of that I-40 traffic if you came through TN. I heard there's a fair amount of construction on 75 between Cinci and Lexington.

Assuming that since you live in Chicago you have your Ipass, so I haven't mentioned tolls.
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Old 09-21-2017, 11:47 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by uncle_bob View Post
Hi

Don't know about now, but a few weeks back the Ohio Toll Road was construction from one end to the other.

If you want to stay off of Interstate 65, there's always Highway 52 .... Running on it for a while will make you *love* I-65..... I have data on this ....

If you head east, don't go as far east as PA. We don't spend money on foolish things like pavement. We *do* deploy a lot of orange cones here and there .....

Bob
I57 in Il. not bad very little construction as far so. as Neoga [Matoon] area. Ohio toll rd expensive pulling trailer.
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Old 09-21-2017, 01:49 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by slowmover View Post
Winter on a clear day is the best time on 80/90. Still, the lack of metro traffic make it "best" even in construction season. The Travel Plazas are the other bonus.

77 is the reason for the choice.

And country highways in Ohio and much of the Midwest are slow. Design, speed and towns. Unless divided the whole way, I avoid them (unlike TX or north when west of the dryline 50' out from IH35; where one can move along).

.
Hi

The other 90% of the days in winter, lake effect snow is coming down somewhere along 90 between Chicago and Buffalo (or blowing / drifting across creating the same sort of problems) .... I have a *lot* of data on this ....

Chicago to Detroit used to impact 90 quite a bit. Not so much anymore though.

Bob
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Old 09-21-2017, 08:53 PM   #11
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Thank you everyone! All good advice, I'm mapping my options now. I should have explained we are heading to western NC, Cherokee to be exact and then going east from there. I-57 sounds very promising.
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Old 09-22-2017, 12:19 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by upnorththree View Post
I should have explained we are heading to western NC, Cherokee to be exact and then going east from there. I-57 sounds very promising.

If you are going to Cherokee NC make it easy on yourself:

Take I57 south in Illinois to I24 East in Illinois and continue through Kentucky on I24 East to the north side of Nashville TN. Take Briley Parkway TN155 East exit on the north side of Nashville going East on TN155 by Opryland to avoid the downtown traffic and then take I40 East towards Knoxville. EASY DRIVE and the only traffic you will see will be around Nashville at the Rush hours otherwise clear sailing. Only 3 hours or less to Knoxville from Nashville.

When you get to the West side of Knoxville you have 2 choices to get to Cherokee NC:

1. Continue on I40 East through Knoxville to the 407 exit (Pigeon Forge) on I40. Go right (South) and continue thru Pigeon Forge, Gatlinburg, the Smoky Mountains park and you arrive in Cherokee NC. It's and OK way to go however you have a lot of touristy stuff to go through and therefore not the way I would go.

2. Second choice is to take I75 South off I40 right BEFORE you get to Knoxville TN and go a couple miles on I75 to the first exit which is Lenoir City TN. Turn left (East) at the bottom of the exit and follow that road through Lenoir City, thru Maryville TN, thru Townsend TN, thru the Smoky Mountains park to the Park welcome center, turn right and continue on that road to Cherokee NC.

This is actually the same road you would drive out of Gatlinburg to Cherokee NC outlined in choice #1 by going to the 407 Pigeon Forge exit just a different way to get there to the Smoky Mountain Park Welcome Center and the curvy road to Cherokee NC. Don't forget to stop at Klingman's Dome.

Going thru Lenior City is 4 lane road all the way to Townsend TN and the entrance to the Smoky Mountains Park. This is a much easier drive with lots of scenery and very little traffic compared to going thru Knoxville on I40 to the I40 407 exit for Pigeon Forge TN as described in option #1. Going thru Lenoir City is longer mileage wise but a much more leisurely drive!

If you are really adventurous you could get on US/TN129 "The Tail of the Dragon" near Townsend TN and drive out of Tennessee over to NC and ultimately to Cherokee. Here is a link below to see if you might like to DRIVE "The Tail of the Dragon" over to NC!

http://tailofthedragon.com/details/

By the way DO NOT FORGET to stop at the "Wheels Through Time" Museum in Maggie Valley NC. You will be amazed as it truly IS worth your time and the cost of admission!

https://wheelsthroughtime.com/#/ms-2745/1

Happy Trails!
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Old 09-22-2017, 05:27 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by vintageracer View Post
If you are going to Cherokee NC make it easy on yourself:

Happy Trails!
Concur - Good route. Avoid Nashville at Rush Hours. Try Patti's 1880's settlement east of Paducah, KY for lunch or dinner. :-)
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Old 09-22-2017, 07:23 PM   #14
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Well I like easy and I like leisurely so this sounds like a plan. Patti's is about 6.5 hours from home so that sounds like our dinner spot. Maybe we will leave a day early, I've been wanting to see Land Between the Lakes. Any campground recommendations?

The campground in Cherokee warns against 441 if you are towing, they direct us east on I-40 to 276 to 74 and 441 from the other side. Any thoughts?

Thank you for the link on the Dragon, it pops up everywhere and now I know exactly where it is. I'm sure Popeye will enjoy the drive (sans trailer) but I will probably have my eyes squeezed shut while I white knuckle it. It's either that or gasp at every turn, and that is not good for my marriage.

I was so looking forward to Clingman's Dome but the observation deck is closed for repairs. Ah well. We'll go anyway. We'll plan on the Wheels Through Time. It does not sound like my thing but the train museum in Lancaster County, PA did not sound like my thing either and Popeye had to drag me out of there. Any other recommendations in the area?

As I mentioned, we are heading east. Plan to see Mt. Mitchell, Grandfather Mountain, Beech Mountain, not sure what else. All suggestions are welcome. Thank you for all the help!
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