View Full Version : Driving NC into TN or vice versa 40 closure

Oct. 31, 2009, 03:58 PM
Has anyone pulled a loaded trailer from NC into TN or vice versa since 40 has been closed? The DOT website says the detour around the rock slide can add
two to three hours to the trip. Trying to plan our route to Murfreesboro for next week....didn't really want three more hours....

Oct. 31, 2009, 04:10 PM
Must be further west than greensboro, because i was on hwy 40 last week.
yeesh that sucks!

Oct. 31, 2009, 04:39 PM
We were told that the rock slide on 40 is not going to be cleaned up for at least a couple months. The folks speaking often go to Tennessee, so it was a real problem for them.

We were on vacation when we stopped to visit, not headed that way at all. Sure glad of that!

Oct. 31, 2009, 08:02 PM
I have no idea where you are in NC, but if you are near or east of Greensboro and Winston 40 is the wrong way to go anyway.

I found out years ago that whether pulling horses or just driving, the best way to go by far is up 52 to the connector to 77 just south of Mount Airy, thence up 77 to 81.

Looking at it on the map, it looks longer but it takes the same time in hours and minutes and that is what really counts.

What you don't realize when looking at the map is how crooked 40 is going through Pigeon River Gorge.

There are times when westbound that your compass will read east and the sun will be in the opposite direction of where it should be for the time of day.

In addition to that, 40 is not only crooked, but the lanes are very narrow in the Pigeon River Gorge. Passing or being passed by large trucks leaves no room for error.

Truck traffic is very heavy west of Asheville because of the truck traffic out of SC going to the west and midwest.

The road surface is always rough and bumpy as well.

On the other hand, the lanes on 77 and 81 are wide, curves are gentle and you can set your cruise control on 70 and relax.

Of course, you may not be able to go up the mountain on 77 at 70 MPH, but you can go up it as fast as your truck will pull the trailer.

I traveled both routes for years and I know what I am talking about.

The only reason for driving 40 is if you have a reason to visit one of the towns along that route.

Also there are so many good places to stop for food, coffee breaks, P-stops, etc....far better than 40 west of Hickory.


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Oct. 31, 2009, 09:56 PM
Yea, I'm in Hickory. I drive up to Virginia Tech and was considering that route. This detour business is adding much more time to the trip than I was
wanting for this load of horses....got two two years olds going that I would
have not entered if I had know the detour would be present. It was just at
the outside limit of how much I want to haul young ones.

Oct. 31, 2009, 10:34 PM
Where are you in Hickory?

Without looking at a map....

Unless you are most of the way to Lenoir, you should be able to make it back to 77 in about 30 minutes.

That beats 3 hours detouring.

Plus my experience with detours is that you will spend a lot of time standing still, which is not good for horses. They ride better when they are kept moving.

It will only add the time from HKY to statesville and that should be no more than 35 minutes or so.

I have not driven it in years, but I don't think from my last trip that I would pull horses over 321 to Johnson City, which is really the only other choice you have.

40 to 77 to 81 is the way to go.

If you don't think I know what I am talking about, drive it my way and come back any other way you choose.

I will bet I win.

By the way, up the hill on 77 is a hard pull heavily loaded but the way I have come down it is to let the truck build up to about 70 and at that point my trailer, a 4h Sundowner, starts acting like a drag chute.

I have come down it in my old 1999 F350 manual shift without touching the brakes. I was not heavily loaded. Only had about 1200 lbs of hounds, no horse, on the day I did that.

I have not gone that way since I bought my 2008 F350 with the tow/load mode. That would work even better.

The point is that down 77 no matter how you do it is a lot easier than down the hill at Black Mountain. The curves are more gentle so you can be easier on the brakes.

Of course, what you are pulling makes a lot of difference in how you go downhill. 6 horses would push a lot harder. Might even run away with you.

Please don't try my method unless you are expert. I would hate to cause you to get a run-a-way.


Oct. 31, 2009, 10:39 PM
Thanks, appreciate the input. I also like not using braking coming off the hill. I have a big dually one ton and it drag chutes quite nicely even with the whole load on. Thanks again for weighing in on the options. Just hate the DOT idea on it....

Nov. 1, 2009, 12:04 PM
I mapquested the detour to my hay source in TN and it added 95 miles to the trip, which is much less than the 130 miles that the news is reporting. The new part of I-26 is a lovely road, though it does have a long hill on it. More like the one on I-77, but not as long if memory serves. I guess if you have to do Black Mt and then I-26, you will do just as much mountain-climbing either way. If you're that close to I-77, its a bit of a wash in terms of effort; you might mapquest to see if there's a significant diff in miles.

I'm sure there is a significant increase in the traffice on I-26, because I-40 west of Asheville was very light yesterday. Just us locals, of course; first time I've been able to drive it using cruise in eons. But the I-26 road is fairly new and really quite nice; a couple of bridges in TN need to be resurfaced, but I wouldn't hesitate to haul on it. Getting from I-40 to I-26 using I-240 in Asheville is a bit gnarly from the west; get on 240 east of Asheville and take it across town, rather than staying on 40 to the 40/26 interchange.

Nov. 1, 2009, 12:29 PM
Maybe this article from the Tennessean will help some.

The Tennessean is a Nashville/Murfreesboro metro newspaper:)