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  1. Default From Central Virginia to Northwestern Indiana

    In about a week we will be traveling from central Virginia to Purdue in West Lafayette, IN. Weíve done the trip many times so know our regular route. Itís almost 700 miles so I refuse to do it in a day so you donít have to give me that warning! What Iím after is any knowledge of the alternate routes just for variety.

    We usually take I-64 through West Virginia to US 35 west in Ohio to I-75 north and I-70 west to Indy then I-65 north.

    Iím looking at either Ky AA Rt 9 West across Kentucky to Cincinnati then go up from there but I also notice US 52 runs right along the Ohio River in Ohio from the Huntington WV area to Cincinnati. Does any one know how these two roads, KY 9 and US 52 compare through this area? We once took KY 9 back to VA and I remember it as a two lane road. What about US 52?

    I know there are connections, etc in there that I havenít detailed. Iím just now looking to see if thereís another road that could be interesting since the trip will be over night. Iím not looking at going further north and taking I-70 across Ohio. Been there, done that. Thanks.

  2. #2
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    Default Have a Look at This

    When I first read your query, US-52 along the Ohio was the first road that popped into my thoughts. I have driven it, on a trip from central North Carolina to Chicago, but it's been more years than I care to admit to. I too am retired. At the time, it was just two lanes and I doubt that there has been any widening as it is hemmed in on its southern side by the river, but you can look at satellite or street-level views in most mapping programs to check that. What I can tell you is that I thoroughly enjoyed the drive along it. Like the Great River Road along the Mississippi, it surprises me a bit that our nation's rivers aren't more populated than they are. So I'd recommend that between roughly Huntington WV and Cincinnati.

    Prior to that, I'd look at using US-33 from Harrisonburg VA to Ripley WV. That's a scenic and under-utilized four-lane, near-freeway-quality road through the Appalachians that I always suspected the late Senator Byrd wanted to get designated as the continuation of either I-66 or I-68, but never managed to get upgraded. Between US-33 and US-52 I'd probably be looking at WV-62 and WV-2 as connecting roads.

    And after US-52, which I'd leave near Cincinnati, I'd take I-275 around the city to the north, US-27 north to Richmond IN and then US-35 to I-69 north for a short bit before finishing up on IN-26 into West Lafayette. Anyway, that's one possible alternative to the Interstates.

    AZBuck
    Last edited by AZBuck; 08-07-2018 at 04:28 PM. Reason: Added Link

  3. Default

    Thanks. Iíll have to look at Google earth and see what 52 looks like as I thought I had read else where it was four lane, or was in parts. I hadnít even thought of Rt 33 but thatís a good idea. I grew up just off of it in Decatur IN and now live just off of it in Louisa VA so always joked about taking it all the way. Will also have to look at US 27 for the same reason. It also went through Decatur IN and I got a kick out of seeing it in Florida, imagining thatís most likely what my aunt and uncle took back in the early Ď60ís when they went to Florida.

  4. #4
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    Default

    I plotted out a Google Map from Charleston WV to Lafayette IN. The recommended (fastest) route is what you normally take.

    First alternate, exactly 1 mile and 17 minutes longer, is KY-9 to Cincy. KY-9 is also known as the AA Highway. From Wikipedia:

    The AA Highway follows a general northwest-southeast orientation. For most of its length, the AA Highway is a two lane road that passes through a sparsely populated rural area of Northern Kentucky. While the highway passes through terrain that is rolling to hilly, the highway is generally level with moderate grades and no steep grades. Except for Carter County, all counties that the AA Highway passes through border the Ohio River. The only municipalities on the highway are Vanceburg and Maysville and suburban areas of Cincinnati at its western terminus. Those areas are also the only areas with any services used by motorists such as motels, gas stations, restaurants, convenience stores, etc. The only traffic signals on the AA Highway are near Maysville (along a commercial strip with many retail establishments and restaurants), suburban Cincinnati, and at its eastern terminus just north of Interstate 64 near Grayson. There are no rest areas on the AA Highway. Other than the portions that traverse the edge of Maysville and enter suburban Cincinnati, there are no shopping centers or major retail stores along the AA Highway.

    High accident rate
    The AA Highway is a rural two-lane highway for most of its length and traverses through some desolate terrain. Driver inattention and speeding, in combination with the numerous side road entrances and at-grade intersections have made it a dangerous and deadly road. To address these issues, guide signs comparable to interstate-styled signs have been installed along the highway at major intersections, along with additional overhead lighting. Other measures to improve safety and increase capacity are under consideration.

    Another possibility is OH-32 west from US-35 to Cincy. It's 4 lane divided the whole way.

    You could take US-52, the stretch along the river is designated as a scenic byway. It's not a particularly fast road but it does have a few expressway and freeway sections.

  5. Default

    glc, thanks. Had not seen 32 cutting off of 35 to Cincinnati before. Weíve been on Rt 9 through Kentucky and the write up you gave is what I remembered. Interesting to do once, but I donít think again. The more I look at it the more 52 looks interesting. There are four lane portions, I think more than 9. I tried on the map to follow 33 through the mountains of W. Va and had a hard time. Maybe some day we will do it but I donít think this trip. Given our loyalty and connections with the university this is a trio we will be doing many more times.

  6. #6
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    Default Just a Hint

    US-33 through West Virginia may be hard to follow, especially on electronic maps, because it is frequently duplexed with other roads, particularly US-48 and US-119. To get an idea of where it goes (on the map) connect the dots of the following cities and towns: Harrisonburg (VA), Franklin, Seneca Rocks, Harmon, Alpena, Elkins, Buchannon, Weston, Camden, Glenville, Spencer, and Ripley (WV). That's just to get your mapping program to show you the route. The reality is a whole lot easier. Just get to Harrisonburg VA and follow the road signs!

    AZBuck
    Last edited by AZBuck; 08-07-2018 at 08:27 PM.

  7. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by AZBuck View Post
    US-33 through West Virginia may be hard to follow, especially on electronic maps, because it is frequently duplexed with other roads, particularly US-48 and US-119. To get an idea of where it goes (on the map) connect the dots of the following cities and towns: Harrisonburg (VA), Franklin, Seneca Rocks, Harmon, Alpena, Elkins, Buchannon, Weston, Camden, Glenville, Spencer, and Ripley (WV). That's just to get your mapping program to show you the route. The reality is a whole lot easier. Just get to Harrisonburg VA and follow the road signs!

    AZBuck
    Thanks! That was interesting to follow through and to see what they claim are the distances and time. Also shows why a good paper map would be much easier and better. Just need to pull them out. Iíve been sharing with DH so we can see what we want to do, especially since I found out today I donít have to detour through my hometown in NE Indiana. Iím tempted to try the Rt, 33 through W. VA then hop over to our standard Rt. 35 through southern Ohio going out then do the Rt. 52 along the Ohio River on our way back, hopping over to the interstates to finish out the end. We have the time so itíll be more weather depended than anything else.

  8. Default

    Update. First half of trip report.
    Donít know if this is the right place to do a partial trip report but it is tagged on to my initial inquiry about alternative routes. Today we did the Rt 33 drive through West Virginia and totally had a great trip. Thank you AZbuck for the various towns to use along the way. That helped me figure out times and mileage.

    We followed Rt. 33 west from Louisa, VA to Ripley, W. Va. Perfect day. Temps in the Ď70ís so we had the top down on our car as we went through George Washington National Forest and up to about an hour to go when the storm clouds rolled in. I was wondering what you meant about the four lane road as hadnít seen it at all until suddenly it showed up east then for 35 miles west of Elkin W. Va. Seemed very strange but Iím sure it helps get the tourists from I-79 over to the Canaan Valley area.

    A few comments. It certainly does help to have an actual map. I forgot to dig out a W. Va map before leaving so we tracked down the Visitors Center in Elkins and picked one up. That was interesting as I mentioned driving 33 west then in a few days taking 52 in Ohio along the river this one gentlemen visitor kept laughing and chuckling, I think he figured we didnít know what we were in for. Then the lady assisting us tried to convince me to take I-79 from Ripley and 33 over the Ohio and back down to 35 instead of going across WVa on 62/9 to Pt. Pleasant. We pulled off in Ripley to look at the map again, figure mileage and time and stayed with the two lane roads. I think some people are scared of two lane roads but we were fine.

    Another note on mileage and times. We all know not to use the times on the navigator programs so hereís my assessment of our trip today. The mileage on the programs was 341 miles. We actually drove 348, much closer than I expected. Times. Total time on the program was 7.9 hours and we actually took 10.4 hours. That included three stops, Harrisonburg, Va, Elkins, W.Va and Ripley W. Va. finishing up in Gallipolis, Ohio. We traded driving each time and both agreed it was just as much as we wanted to do for one day. Tomorrow will be shorter and faster as we take our normal route. Iím glad we did it. Now looking forward to our alternative going home.

  9. #9
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    Default We've All Been There

    First off, thank you for coming back and letting us know how your trip has gone. When you finish up with your tales from the road, we'll move this entire discussion to the RoadTrip Report forum so future visitors can see how your planning and executing - and enjoyment - went.

    I will say this for starters. This site is not one that will simply tell you the same things that you can get from any mapping program. The dozen or so regular contributors here have all been in exactly your position at one time or another. For many of us, learning how to RoadTrip pre-dated the Internet by more years than we care to acknowledge. The main things that we learned were basically twofold: 1) There are far more interesting and enjoyable ways to get from Point A to Point B than simply following the biggest straightest highway between them, and 2) In order to take advantage of (1) you need good paper maps and the ability to read them. Those two things, and a realistic sense of pacing are the main things we constantly return to in our advice, as well as the specific knowledge of roads and venues gained by (and I'm not exaggerating) roughly 10,000,000 miles of collective driving.

    I am, I must say, a bit surprised that the attendant at the Elkins visitors center tried to put you on the Interstate rather than encouraging you to enjoy the smaller roads and towns of her state. That has, thankfully, not been my experience by and large when I stop at such centers for advice.

    As well, and especially, thanks for reporting your actual 10Ĺ hour driving time vs. the computer estimated 8 hours. That's roughly in line with our general recommendation to add 20% to the 'fantasy' times that come out of mapping programs. And yes, 10 hours or so on the road, even with two drivers changing off every so often, is as much as you want to try in a day. It's good to hear back from people who have found that what we try to tell people about having an enjoyable trip has helped them to do just that.

    AZBuck

  10. Default

    Thank you AZBuck fir the kind words. I shake my head myself when people use the times on Nav systems and wonder what they really are thinking. Thatís why I outlined our actual driving times. I have to admit though I was surprised at how close the mileage comparisons was.

    Seeing the country was such a part of this. West Virginia is beautiful but also important to see the poverty, or so it appeared, in many of the homes we passed. What else I did for the first time was when I was the passenger I jotted down in the Notes app on my phone things I spotted and wanted to learn more about when sitting in my hotel room. Good example was a farm near Glenville, WVa that had the name Morris and was the largest mansion Iíve seen, totally out of character with the area. Then in Glenville seeing Waco Oil and Gas company. That led me to discover Ike Morris was the founder and found a wonderful story about him and another man in the area and how they started from nothing. Totally enjoyable reading I would have never discovered on the interstate.

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