Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Travel Tales: Akron to the North Carolina Shore

Usually when I go on a trip, I travel to visit friends or family. In particular, that is why I travel to Florida and California. North Carolina is an exception. I do not know anyone in North Carolina, but I love to visit the beaches. My daughter and I have had many of our favorite vacations in the Outer Banks. Since my daughter was working in North Carolina this summer, I had the opportunity to visit her at the beach.

The first interstate I used on this trip was I-77, which provides a beautiful drive through southeastern Ohio. After crossing the Ohio River, the interstate continues to Charleston where it turns into the West Virginia Turnpike. I remember when the West Virginia Turnpike was a nightmare to drive. However, things have changed for the better and now the turnpike is a pleasure to travel. Drivers pay a $2 toll three times on this road, so it is not as expensive as some turnpikes are.

My next state was Virginia and my driving time there was just over an hour. In this state I-77 and I-81 join for about eight miles and it is at this point that I like to get gas. The cost was $3.15 in that stretch while it was $3.53 and above in surrounding areas. That was the best price I found on gas during the entire trip at the beginning of the summer. At the end of the summer on my second trip, the gas was $3.09, which was still the lowest price. Over the years I had noticed the great gas prices in this short area, so this is not just a fluke. I do want to point out this was the only time I had to get fuel on my entire trip. The Honda Civic is great on gas!

Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina

After getting gas I drove down Fancy Gap Mountain, which deserves its own post. Once I completed the descent of the mountain, I was in North Carolina taking the very short Interstate 74 to Highway 52. I had never been on this road and it was a nice drive with great views of Pilot Mountain. I was able to get on I-40 in Winston-Salem, but had the misfortune to hit the stretch between Winston-Salem and Raleigh during rush hour on a Friday. On my second trip I traveled that section again during rush hour, but it was a Wednesday, so  I had no delays. Interstate 40 east of Raleigh was a great section of road and took me all the way to Wilmington. From there was was just a few miles to my destination of Wrightsville Beach.

(Photo taken in 2013)
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