2008 Atlanta Road  Meeting Trip, Day 1
Jan. 11, 2008
Kentucky-Virginia-Tennessee-North Carolina

These photos are from my trip to the 2008 roadgeek meeting held Jan. 12 in Decatur, Ga., a suburb of Atlanta. These photos are from Day 1 of my trip, through southeastern Kentucky, southwestern Virginia, east Tennessee and southwestern North Carolina. To view the full-sized photos, click on one of the thumbnails on this page. You will then be presented with navigation controls to view the images on individual Web pages as a slide show.

Pictured many times on this site, the green guide sign on US 119 in Letcher County, Ky., approaching Payne Gap and the US 23 intersection. This is near the source of the North Fork of the Kentucky River.

A surface JCT US 23 sign is placed next to the guide sign.

Overheads at the US 23-119 intersection near Jenkins.

Country Music Highway sign on the ramp from north US 119 to north US 23.

Underpass that carries northbound US 119 traffic beneath the US 23 mainline.

KY 3086 is the old route of US 23 from Payne Gap down into Jenkins.

Surface US 23/119 signage.

KY 805 is the very old routing of US 119 southwest of Jenkins.

The intersection of KY 805 is approaching.

A left turn is required to access KY 805. When the US 23 route was relocated in this area, the portion from the Virginia state line at Pound Gap down through Payne Gap to KY 805 was opened first; the portion from here north to the Dorton area in Pike County was not opened until later. For awhile, all US 23/119 traffic had to exit here and use KY 805 into downtown Jenkins to access the old routing of the US routes.

Signage for KY 805 at the end of the ramp. Notice two different fonts.

The KY 805 sign is contractor-installed. The US 23 and US 119 signs are Kentucky DOH installations and are there because the US routes used KY 805 to access the old alignment in Jenkins while the portion from Jenkins to Dorton was under construction. The original contractor-installed US 119 sign was one of the wide ones like the KKY 805 sign shown here.

The bridge carries US 23/119 and the advance sign is for the ramp from KY 805 to the northbound US routes.

For many years, downtown Jenkins was the intersection of US 23 and US 119. KY 805 is the old routing of US 119. When US 119 was relocated south of the old alignment, the intersection with US 23 was relocated to a sharp hairpin curve at Payne Gap. The reconstruction of US 23 resulted in the creation of the interchange photographed earlier. Now the old routing of US 23 carries the KY 3086 designation.

This is looking east on KY 805, which was at one time US 119. The truck is beginning to turn right onto KY 3086, which at one time was South US 23/119 and later just South US 23. North 23/119 continued straight.

Another look at the intersection that, years ago, constituted the end of a very early incarnation of US 123.

This is looking west on KY 805 (former south US 119 and for a time in the 1990s, both US 23 and 119.)

This is looking west on KY 805. Years ago, US 23 turned to the left and US 119 continued straight. Prior to US 119's certification through West Virginia and Kentucky, this was the northern terminus of an old incarnation of US 123. When US 119 was relocated, old US 119 became KY 805 and US 23 continued to turn left to climb Pine Mountain to Payne Gap and then on up to Pound Gap and the Virginia state line. Temporarily in the 1990s, until the completion of the four-lane US 23 routing in Letcher and Pike counties, US 23/119's routing followed KY 805 a mile or so out to the four-lane.

Another shot looking west on KY 805.

Heading south on KY 3086 out of downtown Jenkins toward Payne Gap, you can see the massive road cuts for the four-lane US 23, which obliterated much of the existing two-lane road and its truck passing lane.

The bank in the background is the fill for existing US 23. Prior to its construction, the road here made a sharp upward climb and began a sharp hairpin curve to the left, where US 119 intersected near the location of the present intersection. Now the road curves to the right where it runs into the four-lane US 23/119.

Approaching US 23 and US 119 on Ky 3086.

Guide sign for US 119 south's departure from US 23 south.

Surface signage for US 23/119 south of the KY 3086 intersection and just prior to US 119's split.

Surface advance turn sign for US 119.

Cumberland and Hazard are alternate destinations for US 119.

Overheads where US 119 and US 23 split.

Overcast skies caused some motion blur on this photo. It says "Hometown Francis Gary Powers U-2 Pilot" and is located on US 23 near Pound, Va. Powers was a native of Letcher County, Ky, but he or is family must have moved across the state and county line at some point for Pound to claim him.

A rarity -- a dual bannered US highway. Alternate Business US 58, which really is Business Alternate US 58. But any way you look at it, a dual bannered route is highly unusual.

Approaching VA 74 on eastbound Alternate US 58.

Turning onto VA 74.

These signs are recent installations that replaced cutouts that were visible from the US 23/Alt. US 58 four-lane.

There are still some VA 74 cutouts left in the Norton area, and there are lots of references to Old Alternate US 58.

Another shot of the same assembly.

Another example of the Clearview font's incursion into Virginia can be found on this sign.

The directional sign has been changed from an older photo I have of this assembly from about 10 years ago, but the US 58 cuthouts and the US 23 unisigns are still the same.

US 23, US 58 alternate and VA 74 cutouts in Norton.

A cutout for US 23 approaching the 11th Street connector from downtown Norton to the four-lane.

Cutouts for US 23 and US 58 Alternate approaching 11th Street.

More cutouts. These are newer, reflective cutouts.

At the 11th Street-Kentucky Avenue intersection in Norton.

US 23 Country Music Highway near Norton.

This sign looked unusual from a distance because the white backgrounds on the US 58 and US 23 signs were a lot brighter than the US 421 sign or the directional shields.

VA 224 is now signed on US 23/58/421 near Gate City. Construction is ongoing in this region and the intersection of the US routes has been relocated.

These signs face north and as a result have a nice growth of moss on them.

More VA 224 signage at the relocated intersection of US 23, US 58 and US 421.

The US 23 sign was removed from this mileage sign when it was moved south from its former location.

Sign noting that US 23 turns from the surface route onto the freeway at the state line of Tennessee and Virginia. This is in Virginia but the sign looks to be done to Tennessee standards.

A daylight shot of the same photo I took at twilight in September when I was on my way to Bristol and Greensboro.

This shows the Tennessee state line in relation to the Kingsport city limit sign seen in the previous photo.

To East -26 ground mounted sign below the support post for the overhead seen two photos ago.

All the exits along US 23/I-26 in Tennessee have been renumbered,and the old exit number has also been posted. Most of the following photos are of the renumbered exit signs and commentary won't be provided on all of them.

The official beginning of I-26 is this spot in the middle of the bridge over US 11W.

Stopped for a shot of the "End I-26" sign in the westbound lanes (northbound US 23) just prior to entering the US 11W bridge.

Another shot of the End I-26 sign.

The first I-26 sign. This sign assembly used to say "South I-181/US 23" but the directional banner and interstate route marker were replaced. This condition exists on all the assemblies until you pass I-81, at which time US 23 gets its own, correct directional banners.

The highway is still known as the James H. Quillen Parkway but many of the signs designating the naming of bridges for individuals have been removed. TDOT claimed this had to be done to meet federal regulations to sign US 23 as an interstate but obviously several other states (West Virginia for one) didn't get that memo.

This shows the more traditional signage treatment for I-26 and US 23.

Hallowed ground for NASCAR fans.

Look in the distance, on the left side of the exit ramp, and you can make out Tennessee state secondary route signs instead of primary route signs, as they should be.

US 19W joins the mix of I-26 and US 23.

I always liked this view of the exit sign with the tall mountains in the background.

Nice view of the mountains approaching the Unicoi-Erwin area.

Another great view of I-26 in Tennessee.

Crossing into North Carolina.

Truckers' informational signage at the truck pull-off just into North Carolina.

A classic -- the "burn headlines" instead of "use headlights" verbiage found on NC's motorcycle law signs.

Pretty welcome sign on I-26.

A look at the first of three runaway truck ramps.

Nice I-26 NC Scenic Byway sign.

A view of the second truck ramp.

This sign is seen as you exit the NC welcome center. The entrance ramp back onto I-26 is just before the third truck escape ramp.

View of the mountains, some obscured by clouds, heading east on I-26.

The third truck ramp.

Exit numbers have been added to the exits along US 23 (future I-26) to correspond with I-26 numbers, and the exit numbers have been changed beyond what was previously the old terminus of I-26 at I-40. These exit numbers were present when I last traveled this route in January 2007.

The next several photos are of the exits along US 19/23 (future I-26). Commentary will not be provided on all the photos.

I-26 disappears south of the US 19/23 split.

This is the first reference to Future I-26. It comes after passing the NC 197 exit

A business route for US 19 begins at the Weaverville exit.

Here you can see that US 25 and US 70 are signed just beyond the exit for the two routes heading back into Tennessee.

Nice shot of the Future I-26 markers showing how the word "Interstate" is not used.

US 25 departs the freeway at the Woodfin exit.

Since US 70 joined the freeway along with US 25, apparently NCDOT found it necessary to tell motorsts that although US 25 exits at Woofin, US 70 does not.

Now that US 25 is gone, only three US routes are signed.

The state name sign for I-26 that was here a year ago, on Jan. 14, 2007, is now gone.

Two older signs and one newer one. The left and center signs are button copy and you can see the black outline on the US 70 marker. The rightmost sign is newer.

Lots of signage, lanes and traffic in the area where US 19/23 and I-26/240 come together.

US 19/23 leave the interstate.

Overhead signage, as seen earlier, does not indicate the presence of US 74 Alternate on this route, but surface signage does.

US 19/23/Alt. 74 and NC 63.

This intersection marks the western terminus of US 74A.

Terminus of NC 112.

Terminus of NC 151.

US 19/23 is also signed as an alternate for I-40 due to construction in the area.

Terminus of NC 119.

NC 215 intersects US 19/23.

Overheads for US 19/23 and I-40, with a US 74 sign included even though US 74 is not a part of the mix yet.

Approaching the Great Smoky Mountains Expressway, US 74.

Ramp signage to East US 74, which connects to I-40.

US 74 joins US 19/23.

The three US highways.

Truck US 64 is also signed on the route, which follows I-26, I-40, US 74 and US 23 from Hendersonville to Franklin.

Typical view of the US 74 expressway. Signs are located in the median here.

The university is located at Cullowhee.

Split of US 19 and US 23/74. You can see signs in the background designating the expressway as Truck US 19 as well.

Truck US 19 signage. US 74 is a better route to Bryson City, where US 19 rejoins, than is US 19 proper.

US 19 leaves US 23/74.

More truck route signage.

With US 19 gone, the route is just US 23/74 along with Truck US 64.

The US 276 exit is one mile ahead.

US 276 exit.

The Appalachian Regional Commission corridor routes are well-designated in western North Carolina.

Great view of the mountains as the US 23/74 route runs along the south side of the Great Smokies.

Approaching the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Intersections with the BRP use this type of sign instead of the BRP's logo signage.

The BRP's overpass of US 23/74.

There are several U-turns that have been widened for long vehicles along this section of US 23/74. This signage is located beneath the BRP overpass.

The Business US 23 loop here reconnects with the mainline after US 23's split from US 74.

Cullowhee is reached by NC 107.

The Truck US 64 sign is posted on a separate post.

US 23 splits from US 74, but US 441 joins both routes here.

Atlanta is well-signed as a destination in North Carolina, but Georgia does not treat its capital city quite so well. There are many more references to Atlanta on the highways of SW North Carolina than in northern Georgia.

Truck US 64 follows US 23/441 south from Dillsboro to Franklin.

This sign shows how US 74 sheds US 23 and picks up US 441. Nice mountain scenery in the background.

These signs are at the south end of the bridge that carries the ramps from west 74 to south 23/441 and from north 23/441 to west 74/north 441.

Business 23 rejoins the mainline route at Dillsboro, just south of the US 74 expressway.

The terminus of Business US 23.

Heading south on US 23/441 toward Franklin and Atlanta.

More US route signage.

Approaching NC 116.

The western terminus of NC 116.

Nice view of the US 23/441 four-lane and the mountains the route passes through.

Warning sign for a steep and winding mountain that the four-lane descends on its way toward Franklin.

No mention of Truck US 64 here.

Another view of the road and the mountains.

And yet another view as US 23 descends into the Little Tennessee River valley.

A truck escape ramp.

Even though US 23 is the lower-numbered route, US 441 is the route that gets the business designation through Franklin.

Business US 441 departs the bypass.

In some places North Carolina still signs both business and by-pass routes instead of just one or the other. So here we have one route serving two bannered purposes -- truck and by-pass.

US 64 joins the bypass and the long truck route comes to an end outside downtown Franklin.

The US 64/NC 28 exit.

With the truck route gone, mainline US 64 is now part of the mix.

US 64 heads to Murphy while US 23/441 go to Clayton, Ga.

Business US 441 reconnects with its parent. The main route continues as US 64 so US 23 has to exit.

The exit on the south side of Franklin is a partial cloverleaf, with two exits for traffic westbound on US 64/southbound on US 23/441.

Signage for the Scottish Tartans Museum has this nice pattern.

Overheads for US 23, US 64 and US 441. Again, some nice mountain scenery is the backdrop.

Overhead for the departure of US 23/441 from US 64.

Wire-mounted overheads looking north on US 23/441 toward downtown Franklin.

At the ramp to US 64 west.

Business US 441 marker.

In downtown Franklin.

NC 28 sign in Franklin.

Bike routes are numbered and well-signed in this region of North Carolina.

Business US 441 with a NC 28 sign featuring very small numbers.

In downtown Franklin.

Directing traffic to US 23/441 on what was formerly US 64 through downtown Franklin.

This is on the northeast side of Franklin, where US 441's business route and NC 28 split.

NC 28 connects downtown with the bypass where US 64 meets US 23/441.

Junction signage on NC 28.

Signs for US 441 Bypass and US 23 on NC 28.

The US 64 signage is almost an afterthought.

This is west of the US 23/441 interchange on Franklin's south side. US 64 is an Appalachian corridor here.

Looking west on US 64.

US 64 goes from four lanes to two about five miles west of Franklin.

Typical view of US 64 between Franlin and Murphy. Much of the road has been improved although there is a distinct lack of passing lanes on the mountains.

US 64 climbs from the Little Tennessee valley to Winding Stair Gap.

This is how North Carolina signs warnings to motorists that there may be ice on the pavement.

View of US 64 heading west, into the afternoon sun.

Nice view of the mountains as seen from westbound US 64.

Northern terminus of NC 175. Note the lack of a state name for Hiawassee, a town in Georgia, not to be confused with Hiwassee (no "a"), a town in North Carolina. Notice again that Atlanta is signed.

A bypass of Hayesville splits the US 64 routing.

Approaching NC 69.

Again note that there is no state name for Hiawassee, Ga., and that Atlanta is mentioned.

Getting closer to Murphy.

The western end of the Business US 64 routing at Hayesville, which was not named after me. (My first name is Hayes, in case anyone's curious).

Southern terminus of NC 141.

Construction project on US 64 near Murphy.

US 64 intersects US 19, US 74 and US 129 at Murphy. You can see other signs which have been taken down because of the construction at the right. This is the first mention of Chattanooga along US 64.

Four US routes again in Western North Carolina.

A "well, duh" moment: North Carolina signs many streams as being part of another stream's drainage basin. In this case, why sign that the Hiwassee River is part of its own basin? This also occurs at many crossings of the Little Tennessee and French Broad rivers as well. Someone please help me understand the redundant signage.

No, this isn't I-75, which serves both cities shown in this sign.

US 19 and US 129 depart US 64/74 west of Murphy.

US 64 and 74 continue on past the departure of US 19 and US 129.

NC 60 connects US 64/74 to GA 60 Spur, which leads to GA 515 which leads to I-575 which leads to I-75 which leads to Atlanta. It's yet another access route from western NC to Georgia's capital city.

Once again, Atlanta is signed, here at the northern terminus of NC 60.

Hiwassee is in North Carolina (as opposed to Hiawassee, Ga.) yet the signage at the southern terminus of NC 294 includes the state name. Seems the logical thing to do would be put the state name on the out-of-state destination, even though the two towns are spelled differently.

About eight miles from the Tennessee state line heading west.

Somehow it seems appropriate that there would be a sign advertising a fireworks shop right at the Tennessee state line.

The speed limit jups to 65 mph once you cross into Tennessee.

The first US 64/74 signs in Tennessee.

Mileage to Cleveland, where US 64 intersects I-75, and on to Chattanooga.

The Tennessee welcome sign is well beyond the state line.

Turning around and heading back toward Murphy, this is the last US 64/74 reassurance marker in Tennessee.

Got some motion blur going on in this shadowy photo, but at the NC state line is a sign reading, "Manteo 563." The phrase commonly used in North Carolina to talk about something statewide is "From Murphy to Manteo." Manteo is a town located on Roanoke Island in the Outer Banks area. US 64 traverses the width of the state. A similar saying in Kentucky is, "From Pikeville to Paducah."

The first US 64/74 signs in North Carolina.

Looking east on US 64/74.

The road takes two separate alignments to negotiate this curve.

Once again, the state name is used with Hiwassee, NC as opposed to not being used for Hiawassee, Ga.

The route is well-marked as the Appalachian Highway.

Back to the intersection with NC 60, and Atlanta again.

Heading east, US 19/129 joint he route.

The four US routes signed on one stretch of highway.

Nice sun-soaked view of US 64/74 east and US 19/129 north heading toward Murphy.

The business route through Murphy is signed as US 19.

Looks like someone has banged up the corner of this sign.

Even with the presence of a winding two-lane route through the Nantahala Gorge, NC wants to keep trucks off US 64 between Murphy and Franklin, so truckers are urged to stay on US 74.

Once again -- why proclaim that the Hiwassee River is part of the Hiwassee River basin? Shouldn't that be obvious?

A sign for road construction is in the way here, but US 64 east is signed only for Hayesville and not for Franklin (unlike in Franklin, where Murphy is the destination).

US 64 is gone from the route now.

The US 19 business route has merged back in here.

Mountains in the distance as US 19/74/129 heads north toward Andrews.

Northern terminus of NC 141.

This stretch has a 60 mph speed limit as can be seen in the background.

This area has to be beautiful in the spring and fall. The wintertime's not bad, either.

US 19 has a business route through Andrews.

At the turn to US 19's business route.

Another set of US 19/74/129 markers.

Another beautiful shot of the highway with the western sun highlighting the mountains.

At the intersection of Business US 19 north of Andrews, the route narrows from four lanes to two and enters a tight valley.

The transition from four lanes to two.

Typical view of the two-lane section of US 19/74/129 heading north out of Andrews.

Another shot of the two-lane portion, as afternoon shadows from the setting sun begin to overtake the landscape.

Interesting warning sign. I didn't see the caution in question, however.

Approaching the split of US 129 from US 19/74.

There's no warning here that trucks shouldn't use US 129 to get to Knoxville because of the infamous "Tail of the Dragon" section.

Beyond the US 129 split.

This sign cautions of slower traffic that may be encountered in the Nantahala Gorge.

Darkness and motion blur again, but this sign reads "Slow Moving Rafting Buses Next 10 Miles." Why does it make a difference what kind of buses they are? Why not just say "Slow Moving Buses?"

US 19/74 in the Nantahala Gorge area.

NC 28 intersects on the northeast side of the Nantahala Gorge.

Wrong-way multiplex time -- North US 19 and South NC 28. With the presence of East US 74, you're going three directions at the same time.

Fading light played heck with most of the rest of the photos I tried to take in the late afternoon, so there is some motion blur present and the pics aren't sharp, but I've included them anyway. This is the split of NC 28 from US 19/74.

The two US routes continue on as the road expands to four lanes once again beyond NC 28.

US 19 exits the freeway, only to rejoin in the Lake Junaluska area closer to Asheville.

This sign is a bit misleading since you're already on US 19.

This sign reads US 19, Cherokee/Sylva, straight ahead arrow.

The US 19 exit.

Neat view of the Great Smoky Mountains with the peaks bathed in fading sunlight.

The Bryson City exit.

US 441 south joins US 74 here.

The twilight sky is in the background as I'm back at the intersection of US 23, US 74 and US 441.

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