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Old 05-03-2010, 05:26 PM   #1
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Routing help: Winston-Salem to Bristol, TN

I can go up I-77 and hit I-81, or I can take US 421 through Boone. The interstate route looks like a lot more mileage, but I'm concerned about maybe hitting some two-lane mountain roads between Boone and Bristol. Yes, I'll be towing. Does anyone know the area who could tell me which of these routes would be better? Thanks.
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Old 05-03-2010, 06:18 PM   #2
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I don’t know the area but am pretty good with maps.

With the center of Winston Salem as my starting point, I would go 52 North to 74 to 77 to 81. 162 miles and 2hrs 30 minutes. It is faster and, topographically, it looks as if there are fewer and lower mountains to cross.

W/S to Bristol via Boone and Mountain City on 421 is about 146 miles and 3 hrs 18 minutes. The decreased mileage and increased time should tell you something about the driving conditions.
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Old 05-03-2010, 06:49 PM   #3
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That makes sense to me. I wasn't sure about the driving times and mileage, and your calculations are very helpful. Thanks for sharing your expertise.
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Old 05-03-2010, 10:27 PM   #4
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I live in Winston. Hwy 421 to Bristol is not the best option towing. Hwy 77 North to Hwy 81 is your better bet. Hwy 421 has a section nicknamed the "Snake" by some of us that ride motorcycles. It's a cousin to the "Dragon" which is hwy 129 at Deal's Gap Tennessee. From Lexington, take 85 North to 52 North, to 74 North, to 81 South as posted. The big hill will be right after you get on 77 North, known as Fancy Gap. It is a long slow pull, but there are 3 lanes going up, with trucks in the right lane. Watch for the wind/fog warning signs. The wind has turned rigs over before. Have a safe trip.
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Old 05-04-2010, 01:01 AM   #5
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Using my mapsource software with my Garmin GPS, the Interstate route is only 7 miles farther than 421 route. The maximum altitude is 2850 feet, however the 421 route, Boone sits at 3300 feet, then there is a maximum altitude of 3908 feet between Boone and Bristol, with more climbs and decents than the Interstate, just FYI.
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Old 05-04-2010, 05:12 PM   #6
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Thanks to everyone. It all makes sense now. I'll be on the big road.
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