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The twists and turns of NC 80

This past weekend, I headed down to Gastonia to visit friends and partake in the annual fantasy football draft we have. I headed down on Saturday and then went on a drive into the NC mountains.

The trip (from Gastonia, NC) - US 321, I-40, US 70, NC 114, I-40, US 221, US 70, NC 80, NC 226A, NC 197/TN Secondary 395, I-26, US 74, I-85.

A few notes on the way down. Clearing and grading has begun on what will be the I-74/US 311 freeway interchange with I-85 near High Point. A long way from finished but nice to see things moving along there.

My friend Steven went along for the NC 80 ride and our first stop was an abandoned truss bridge he located off of Hardin Road. The surprise was that a number of sections of the bridge have collapsed. It appears that this bridge has sat abandoned since the 1960s.


This is definitely a site I would recommend exploring with at least one other person with you.

There wasn't much of anything eventful on US 321 or US 70 or NC 114 (except for trying to figure out what the exact point of that designation is...conclusion: there isn't)

Got back on I-40 to Marion where we took 221 to get to highway 70 west to NC 80.

NC 80 is a great twisty drive from Lake Tahoma up to the Blue Ridge Parkway. Since I was driving, I didn't get any photos showing what the drive was like. However, we did stop at a small Baptist church in one of the turns.

Below - an example of how curvy NC 80 can be.

It never fails in the number of trips Steven and I have made over the years into the mountains that it rains. Either, we run into a mountain shower (like this day) or come through right after a thunderstorm (2003 & this day), it never fails. The ride up NC 80 to the pass was off and on showers. However, it gave a great backdrop to where the Parkway crosses NC 80. We're at about 3350' above sea level at this point.

Below - looking back down NC 80 towards Lake Tahoma.

I just thought these clouds were awesome.

Now down, the mountain wasn't as bad as going up. Not long after, we came across Still Fork Creek which provided these great views.


The next stop was the small village of Micaville. There's not much to Micaville - this general store (which our NC mountains are full of...each unique to oneself) - a church - post office - and a few other homes.

Now north of Micaville. NC 80 gets even more twisty. It was a treat to drive. Fortunately, the sun had come out from this point and in the small community of Kona, I spotted this church off a side road.

When I am out in the mountains or in the Eastern part of the state along the farms, I always wonder who all and how many go to these tiny churches, and what are their services like.

From there, we wound our way to the end of NC 80 then along NC 226A - NC 226, and 197 into Tennessee. We took a few secondary roads into Erwin, stopped got a bite to eat at Sonic and then headed down I-26 towards Asheville and eventually back towards Charlotte. As you head East (actually south) on I-26 before the NC/TN line there is a scenic viewpoint on the Tennessee side. Steven, who isn't a fan of the Interstates, commented "now this is one gorgeous highway."



When you have views like above, it's not hard to feel that way.

Comments

H. B. Elkins said…
I've always enjoyed I-26 in Tennessee, even since it was US 23 only.

And there are some very picturesque churches all over the mountains -- not only NC but Virginia, WV, Kentucky and Tennessee as well.

Nice pics, Adam!
John said…
Two summers ago, I made a detour just to drive on I-26 although I drove it north (west) up the mountain from Asheville to TN. It is a great drive. Last month, I got to drive I-26 north from the junction of US-74 up to Asheville. There were an awful lot of trucks on that section as opposed to north of Asheville.

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