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traveling interstate 81, from connecticut to tennessee

traveling interstate 81, from connecticut to tennessee

Old Jun 26th, 2012, 07:39 PM
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traveling interstate 81, from connecticut to tennessee

please help! is anyone familiare with i-81? im traveling alone from ct to tennessee, where can i get off to get gas, food and souveneirs?
alieskia is offline  
Old Jun 27th, 2012, 02:16 AM
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Have traveled this route a few times as far as southwestern VA. There are few traditional rest stops, but well-marked service info at exits - the usual fast food places. Also some semi-historical sites, especially once you hit Virginia if you are into Civil War stuff.

Times I have driven this route it is fast, not congested - although quite a few big scary trucks. The scenery is beautiful in many areas. Disclaimer on the scenery - on a recent trip daughter and I were almost begging for the congestion of NJ/Baltimore/DC on the more eastern route - trees get really boring quickly.
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Old Jun 27th, 2012, 02:48 AM
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There are signs for gas, food, lodging all along the road. Stop at the VC as you enter a new state and pick up information. Be sure to give yourself a break every couple of hours. Do pick exits that have an intersection with another route, not just a town road as sometimes the gas/food etc is a couple of miles off the hwy if there is no main route crossing the hwy.

If you get bored with 81, in VA you can use 11 which parallels it a lot of the way and is mostly 2 lanes and is a bit more relaxed than the hwy.
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Old Jun 27th, 2012, 03:26 AM
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Be aware that parts of 81 are VERY VERY heavily used by trucks. A couple of years ago it was felt to be so scary in Virginia the Governor mandated an increased highway patrol coverage.

I've traveled the route many times over the past 30 years. Basically the road in Virginia and Tennessee is in good repair. You'll obviously have a lot less traffic and fewer trucks if you can use it very early in the morning or much later at night. I realize that is not always convenient.

As to places to get gas, but things, etc., don't worry. You can do that, do cave tours, etc., etc., without any problems whatsoever.
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Old Jun 27th, 2012, 03:30 AM
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Some of these, marked with stars **, are a few miles off the main route.

**Harper's Ferry, West Virginia, is an interesting place to explore, historically and scenically.

Good civil war sites at New Market.

**If you are not in a hurry, you could go off I-81 to Charlottesville and view Monticello, but it will take you several hours.

Staunton, VA is charming, a good place to stay with excellent restaurants, as is Lexington, which is also home of Washington and Lee University (burial place of Robert E Lee) and Virginia Military Institute.

The Skyline Drive/Blue Ridge Parkway parallel I-81 and are very beautiful but had a 35 mph speed limit last time I took them. It is pretty easy to get off the Interstate and drive a while on the parkways.

There is an extremely interesting mosque, somewhat incongruously near Christiansburg. It will be on your left as you go south.

Gas is frequent along the interstate, but for anything more than a fast food lunch, I would get off on the parallel highway or go into one of the towns for a local cafe.
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Old Jun 27th, 2012, 10:49 AM
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Ditto New Market Battlefield also the Museum of Frontier Culture in Staunton. A collection of homes and out buildings from USA and europe. www.frontiermuseum.org

In Winchester, Museum of the Shenandoah Valleey

In Woodstock, exit 283, the 1795 still in use courthouse.
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Old Jun 27th, 2012, 11:25 AM
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I have driven this route some 50 times in the last 25 years going from either Memphis or Chattanooga to Long Island. Good road and pretty scenery. Speed limit for the most part is 70 mph and you can do 5 over with no problem. Plenty of stopping areas for food and gas. Usually no more than a 10-15 mile gap at widest between exits with decent services. I would not call the truck traffic "heavy" as it is less than anything you would experience in the Northeast either on Conn Tpke or I-95.
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Old Jun 27th, 2012, 11:41 AM
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thank you, nygvic. I always wonder what people would call real heavy truck traffic who feel it is an issue on I-81. To be fair, more truckers are holing up during the day and driving at night, so that removes some of them. The only place I have found it an issue is around the New River crossing, where steep grades cause trucks to bunch up on the upside and go rocketing past on the downgrade. But not as bad as Black Mountain, NC, on I-40.
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Old Jun 27th, 2012, 01:30 PM
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I guess "heavy" is a subjective term then. But that increased Highway Patrol presence is quite real.
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