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  1. #1

    Default Need Help! Wife had phobia of traveling in mountains.

    I was hoping someone might could help me. My wife has a phobea of traveling in the mountains. I want to go to Iowa from central North Carolina, and I was hoping someone might know a way that has the least mountainous route. It has been a while since I traveled though the mountains in Virgina and I was thinking there might be a more gentle passage that way. Otherwise, I might have to go far south and go around.

    All help is greatly appreciated.

    Start point is Vance County, NC, about 50 miles n of Raleigh, NC. End point is Des Moines IA. I don't mind going out of the way, does not have to be the shortest or fastest way. I just need the gentlest pass through the mountains.

    Last edited by WaynieBob; 08-02-2012 at 11:18 PM. Reason: Add information

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    Exact starting and ending point, please? NC and IA are both relatively large states.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Mountains and Perceptions of Same

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    I sympathize with you and your wife, especially with the Appalachians serving as an effective barrier to easy transit to large areas of the country. Now, it is true that the Interstate Highways are built to specifications that limit both the grade (steepness) of any climbs or descents, as well as the radius of curvature (tightness) of any turns so that even large tractor-trailer rigs can maintain 'highway' speeds without tipping over or running off the road. But that doesn't really help the perception that you are driving through the mountains and occasionally seeing drop-offs to the side of the road. And the two main Interstate crossings of the Appalachians that you might use, I-77 up through Virginia and West Virginia or I-40 across North Carolina and Tennessee, are both beautiful mountain roads. Perfectly safe but with the perception of large elevation changes just off the roadway's edge.

    So, what else is a reasonable alternative. The shortest route to Des Moines would be north on I-77 to Charleston WV, using some US and state roads to get to Cincinnati, I-74 to the Quad Cities, and I-80 the rest of the way. That would be about 1125 miles of driving taking a solid two days (maybe even a little bit more, depending on your driving pace and stamina). Taking I-40 across the Great Smoky Mountains to Knoxville and then I-75, I-64 and I-65 to Indianapolis and joining I-74 there would be just over 1200 miles and a very solid two days, if not two and a half. Any other route through the mountains is going to involve at least some seriously curving narrow roads with steep grades and shoulderless drop-offs.

    But there is a third alternative that is not a whole lot longer than either of those. Rather than trying to find a way to fight through the mountains, go around them to the south. Take I-85 down to Atlanta, I-75 to Chattanooga, I-24 to southern Illinois, I-57/I-64 to St Louis, US-61/US-218 up the Mississippi River into Iowa, and finally US-34/US-63/IA-163 to Des Moines. That's a shade over 1300 miles, and starting to get close to three full days of driving, but it's all fairly scenic and interesting, and a lot flatter and straighter than the more direct routes


  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    I apologize for not responding sooner, but I had no way of knowing that you edited your post after my reply. You shouldn't do that - you should have posted a new reply with the requested information!

    Buck's suggestions may not be all that good either - I-40 in western NC and eastern TN is worse than anywhere on I-77, and I-24 out of Chattanooga is also quite mountainous for a stretch.

    The only way I see to avoid all of this is about 1500 miles - I-85 to Atlanta, I-20 to Birmingham, I-65 to Nashville, I-24 to I-64 to IL-4 to I-55 to I-155 to Peoria, I-74 to I-80 to DSM. This is 3 full days.

  5. #5


    Thanks AZBuck. Thats what I was looking for. I don't have time constraint and I plan to enjoy the trip. The last time we went, we flew, and I didn't get to see any of the country. We use to enjoy the mountains, but my wife had a panic attack (in the highlands, no less), and she has had a fear of going back ever since.
    Thank you for your help.

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