Monday, March 26, 2012

Rain-soaked trip to the NC border

Once again, I was alone on my off weekend. The weather was much worse, but warmer, than two weeks ago, but that didn't stop me from my goal of the trip: traveling down to North Carolina and getting a state map. I had originally planned to continue to Roanoke Rapids, but given the weather, I decided to forgo that for the time being.

I took I-95 down to the border, where the welcome center is, and US 301 back. Here's what almost all of the I-95 photos look like, because I traveled at the worst possible time when it was raining hard:

Crossing the border. By the time I got here, the rain had let up some, but a truck moved into my lane, causing its spray to hit my windshield like rain.

Getting off the interstate, heading into the welcome center.

A look at part of the welcome center. I-95 is a Blue Star Memorial Highway in NC.

Map acquired.

Now back on I-95 briefly, getting off at the first exit, NC 48.

That's Exit 180.

Leaving the interstate for good this time.

NC 48 goes east-west here, but it's signed north-south because it mostly goes north-south. It's sort of like VA 2, in that it's a third way to get between two places (while VA 2 is a back-door route from Richmond to Fredericksburg, NC 48 is the same for the VA/NC border to Rocky Mount.

Heading north/east on NC 48.

The first northbound NC 48 reassurance marker.

NC 48 is pretty quiet.

Another NC 48 reassurance marker, just past a secondary route (I think it was SR 1306).

NC 48 ends at US 301, meeting it at an odd angle.

Beginning up US 301 northbound.

Entering Virginia again. They didn't mark the state line, just the county line ("Entering Greensville County").

This flashing light is for SR 662, which goes into a Georgia Pacific plant, and is just past the state line.

US 301 distance sign with a 2-digit shield, highly unusual for Virginia.

Passing a train on US 301.

Now in the Skippers area. US 301 is a very smooth, quiet route south of Emporia. The road to the left, SR 629, goes to the first I-95 exit in Virginia.

Now on the outskirts of Emporia.

Trucks are restricted through Emporia. US 301 truck traffic is to use I-95, while US 58 truck traffic is to stay on the bypass. To do this from the south, a truck has to get onto I-95 to reach the bypass.

Last access to I-95 from US 301 before Emporia.

Entering Emporia.

At the intersection of US 301 and Low Ground Road, which was old VA 88. This was the west end of VA 88 from 1943 to 1948, when the route was decommissioned. From 1940 to 1943, the route continued through town and exited to the northwest towards Purdy.

Now in downtown Emporia.

Approaching US 58 Business in downtown Emporia.

Another 2-digit US 301 shield, plus a widely-spaced US 58 shield.

Now approaching the US 58 bypass.

Leaving Emporia, back into Greensville County.

Another unorthodox exit between US 301 and I-95.

This distance sign lists Colonial Heights instead of the usual Petersburg.

Now entering Sussex County. This is the Reste' Motel. The posting for it on I-95 explicitly shows it how I typed it, but the motel itself has the accent on the E.

This is a long-closed Gulf station. It still has neon letters, though in this photo they'd be obscured by the trees even if the weather was nice. I'm definitely going to come back to check this out.

US 301 between the Sussex-Greensville border and Jarratt. I think I was trying to photograph things in these photos, but they didn't turn out.

Approaching VA 397, which goes to a prison.

Approaching VA 139 in Jarratt.

I pushed the button a little too early in this one!

The VA 301 shield is still around.

An old entrance

North of Jarratt US 301 drops to 2 lanes as it becomes I-95's frontage road. This was done in the early 80's, when I-95 was completed. The southbound I-95 lanes were made from the northbound US 301 lanes.

When US 301 meets a road coming from the east in this area, it either goes under the road and uses a connector road, or it goes up a chicane to intersect with it directly, like this example, SR 645.

US 301 uses this old bridge over the Nottoway River. You can see I-95 just to the right.

The only stop sign on this segment of US 301, at VA 40 near Stony Creek. This is the east end of VA 40 Business, which follows US 301 north here for a bit.

Reassurance shield for US 301, but not VA 40 Busines.

VA 40 Business leaves US 301 and goes into town.

Entering Prince George County.

I'm now on US 301 ALT in Petersburg. 301 ALT is slower than the mainline, but more residential and nicer-looking.

Old US 301 ALT reassurance shield. There are a handful of these left. I think they go back to the early 1970s.

US 301 ALT's bridge over I-85.

The signals in downtown Petersburg were painted black. This is at Sycamore St (US 301 ALT) and Wythe St (US 460 Business eastbound, VA 36 eastbound, US 1 northbound).

The original yellow is showing through.

This is a block north, at Sycamore and Washington St (US 460 Business westbound).

Now almost home, at the intersection of US 1/301 and VA 144 in Colonial Heights. This is another one of those city-installed signs. There used to be a unisign that infamously had a US 144 shield on it.

As it turns out, had I left at about the time I got home, I wouldn't have had so much rain to deal with. Oh well, wasn't a total loss.

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