Dec. 10-12 2011

This was sure to be the last out-of-town trip for a while, and it took us as far as Charleston. I might have had more photos except that much of the time I was doubled over in laughter because of old memories of neighbor kids breaking stuff (which has absolutely nothing to do with the content of this trip).

We'll start this photo shoot going southeast on US 25E near Corbin, Ky. US 25 is split into 25E and 25W here, but US 25E actually outdistances the split on the north to reach I-75.

Who is this? This individual of an indeterminate age was sighted on billboards all around Corbin, but who is he? He looks like a King Of The Hill character!

US 25E is starting to rule! We're about to enter the Cumberland Gap Tunnel near Middlesboro, Ky. Middlesboro is the boyhood home of Six Million Dollar Man actor Lee Majors. The town is also spelled Middlesborough, and the spellings are used interchangeably.

Entering the tunnel. I think the roadway to the right is for hazardous cargo trucks to pick up escorts.

The 4,600-foot-long Cumberland Gap Tunnel opened in 1996, and we enter Tennessee in the tunnel. Before the tunnel was built, US 25E just barely entered Virginia. The old stretch of US 25E has reverted to a wagon path as it was in frontier days.

Trying to adjust to leaving the tunnel.

Just after the tunnel. Up ahead is the interchange to the western terminus of US 58. US 58 did not enter Tennessee until the tunnel was built.

US 25E/TN 32 crosses the J.M. Walters Bridge over the French Broad River near Newport, Tenn. The framework only covers the above-water part of this 1934 bridge, as the bridge has unusually long approaches.

Burn headlights! It melts! Entering North Carolina on I-40. This depicts one of North Carolina's iconic BURN HEADLIGHTS WHEN USING WINDSHIELD WIPERS signs.

Northeast on I-85 in Charlotte, N.C.

A view of Charlotte from I-85. Although Charlotte has some of the tallest buildings in America, it's hard to photograph from this road.

A traffic jam on I-85 just inside the I-485 loop around Charlotte.

I don't know what this is on I-85 just outside Charlotte. It looks like they're building a ramp from the median.

In this video, we enter South Carolina. NC 522 conveniently becomes SC 522.

Here's this bit of ridiculousness. We're about to reenter North Carolina going north on I-95, and the development you see here is called South of the Border. South of the Border is a cluster of businesses on the South Carolina side using Mexican imagery like that 165-foot-high sombrero.

This exit actually straddles the state line. (Should it really be exit 0?)

US 301/501 at South of the Border.

Pedroland Park is named for the development's sombrero-crowned mascot. The mascot is not without controversy, as he is sometimes seen as too much of an ethnic stereotype.

This is just dumb. Here we're on NC 710 crossing what is both US 74 and I-74. A few questions: 1) Why is there an Interstate here? 2) Why is it I-74? It's a little far south, and it doesn't connect with I-74 that ends in Cincinnati. 3) Wasn't the Interstate numbering system designed to avoid conflict with U.S. route numbers?

Big Bird Day Care! Like on Sesame Street! This is NC 211 near Bladenboro.

North on Wright Road from NC 211.

This ferry came as a surprise, even though it's on Elwell Ferry Road. The ferry crosses the Cape Fear River, and it's free! That's right, I said F-R-E-E!

On the ferry.

Right after the ferry.

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