Skip to main content

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.

Popular posts from this blog

Small Towns of Virginia Series - Charlotte Court House

This sleepy little rural town in Central Virginia can easily be overlooked.  Located miles from the Interstate or four lane US and Virginia Highways, Charlotte Court House in many ways is easily forgotten.  However, this tiny town of slightly over 400 residents holds a lot of Virginia and American History.

In 1799, Charlotte Court House saw the passing of the torch from an aging Patrick Henry and a young John Randolph.  The great debate over states' rights was the last for the fiery Henry and the first in public for Randolph.  Randolph would go on to serve in the US House of Representatives and U.S. Minister to Russia.  Henry, who was serving in the Virginia General Assembly representing Charlotte County at the time of the debate, died three months later.

Charlotte Court House is not the original name of the town.  Originally named The Magazine, then Daltonsburgh, followed by Marysville (which was the town's name at the time of the Henry-Randolph debate), Smithfield, and finally…

Old California State Route 41 on Road 425B

While researching the history of the Lanes Bridge crossing of the San Joaquin River I noticed an oddity on the 1935 California Division of Highways map of Madera County.  Today California State Route 41 takes a crossing of the Fresno River west of the confluence with China Creek.  Back on the 1935 Map of Madera County the crossing is very clearly east of the confluence crossing on what are now Road 425B and Road 426 in Oakhurst.   CA 41 can be seen traversing southbound from Oakhurst on Road 425B towards Coarsegold on the 1935 Madera County Map.

1935 Madera County Highway Map

After viewing Road 425B on the Google Street Vehicle it was clear that the path downhill from the top of Deadwood Gulch was substantially more haggard than the modern alignment of CA 41.  I finally had occasion to visit Oakhurst today so I pulled off of modern CA 41 at Road 425B.   Immediately I was greeted by this warning sign.






Road 425B ahead was clearly a narrow road but barely wide enough for two vehicles.  T…

2018 Mojave Road Trip Part 2; The deadly desert highway (California State Route 127 and Nevada State Route 373)

After leaving Barstow via Old Highway 58 my next destination was in Death Valley.  To access Death Valley from rural San Bernardino County required a trek on north on Interstate 15 to California State Route 127 which becomes Nevada State Route 373 at the state line.


Along I-15 I encountered the road sign oddity that is Zzyzx Road about eight miles south of Baker.   Zzyzx Road is a four mile road that used to go to the Zzyzx Mineral Springs and Health Spa.   The spa was founded in the 1940s and the owner made up the name "Zzyzx" to claim it was the last word in the English Language.  The spa has been shut down since the 1970s and is now part of a Desert Studies Center for California State University.






The southern terminus of CA 127 in Baker is located at I-15 exit 246.  CA 127 is a 91 mile north/south highway which runs to the Nevada State Line in Inyo County.  CA 127 is called Death Valley Road from I-15 northward.  South of CA 127 the road continues as Kelbaker Road which c…