Tuesday, May 22, 2012

The Mecklenburg Saga, Part 2: What I Came For

If you missed part one, here it is.

Continuing from yesterday's post, getting off I-85 at the first North Carolina Exit, US 1 & 401, you first see only a US 1 shield.

Just after the bridge is another US 1 reassurance shield as well as the first US 401 reassurance shield.

You know you're in the middle of nowhere when...

A pair of I-85 trailblazers and another US 1 reassurance shield behind them.

US 401 ends at the bridge.

Which means it ends pretty much right here.

When heading southbound on US 1, this is what you see coming to the interchange. At the exit ramp to and from I-85 southbound, there's a US 401 trailblazer with a straight arrow.

Heading towards the border now, crossing a bridge. The border is about half a mile north of I-85 and US 401.

Crossing the border back into Virginia, which is at the pavement change. What's that on the left?

Looks like an old welcome center that also had a gas station.

Turning around to see the old building. Most of the primary routes in Mecklenburg County just have their numbers spelled out on street blades. VA 4 and VA 386 are the exceptions.

A Pine State Ice Cream sign and a historical marker for North Carolina are in the parking lot of the old building.

Signage on the North Carolina side of the border.

SR 713 takes you to VA 4, but I wanted to approach it from the north.

Beginning back up US 1 into Virginia now, the welcome sign is past SR 713.

The first reassurance shield you see in Virginia, along with the first "Historic Route 1" sign.

Until the early 2000s, the 3 lane setup here included a suicide lane instead of what you see here.

Crossing the Roanoke River, which is briefly not part of a lake.

This part of Mecklenburg County is Palmer Springs, the birthplace of NASCAR's Rick Hendrick.

Approaching US 58 at Big Fork.

Looking west down US 58.

US 1 and 58 run concurrently from Big Fork to South Hill. My destination, however, is in the other direction.

Beginning westbound down US 58, which has a speed limit of 60.

Approaching VA 4, which was created from several secondary routes, including SR 674, in the 1950s.

US 58 distance sign just past the VA 4 intersection.

The first VA 4 reassurance shield, as well as a US Bike Route 1 shield.

Beginning down VA 4, which is named Buggs Island Road.

An old Gulf sign. Gulf returned to Virginia last year with a similar logo, albeit on a background of clouds.

An old BP station that still functions as a country store and perhaps an independent gas station.

This station is totally closed.

Approaching the Kerr Dam, probably the main reason VA 4 was upgraded to primary status. The speed limit drops to 35 from 55 here.

SR 678 is another route that VA 4 partially usurped.

Going over Kerr Dam now.

Past the dam is Kerr Lake, which extends all the way out to Clarksville.

Here we stopped at an overlook to take pictures of the dam and lake.

Mandatory car photo 1.

VA 4 makes a sweeping left here.

Looking down.

I'm not pointing at anything in particular.

Mandatory car photo 2.

At the bottom of the field below where we parked is a little beach.

Back on the road, heading southbound to clinch VA 4.

Of course, that means heading back into North Carolina briefly.

Back into Virginia, for good this time.

The first VA 4 posting is this white rectangle.

Old Pepsi sign at Lucky's, which looks to be a hamburger stand or something.

I don't remember what was supposed to be in this picture, if anything.

The first northbound VA 4 reassurance shield, 2 miles from the dam.

Approaching the dam again.

Going over the dam again.

Leaving the dam.

The first stand-alone VA 4 reassurance shield northbound.

Most random Mercedes-Benz sighting ever.

VA 4 ends at US 58. An older unisign is still up here.

Beginning down US 58 westbound again.

At last, VA 386, which goes to the now-closed Mecklenburg Prison. It's thought that VA 386 will get axed as well.

If so, it'll probably become an extended SR 883.

The roped-off Mecklenburg Prison.

A smoke-free prison? Are you serious?

Back on US 58, approaching its next business route.

What lies ahead? Find out tomorrow.

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