Columbus, OH to Asheville, NC

Discussion in 'Campground / Trip Planning & Suggestions ?' started by Bruce Hull, Aug 27, 2019.

  1. Bruce Hull

    Bruce Hull New Member

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    Hi,
    Anyone have any route recommendations for Columbus to Asheville? This will be our second outing/ longest distance with our PUP, and we have to drive in the middle of the night.
    Google gave 3 options listed in order of travel time:

    (1) US33/I77/I81 - 445 mi, 7h9min
    (2) US23 - 404 miles, 7h22min
    (3) I71/I75 - 486 mi, 7h41min

    I was inclined to stick with interstates, but heard the first route was through the mountains and very curvy. US 23 is through many towns, so if we had any issues, assistance wouldn't be far away. ANY info appreciated. We will be departing Aug. 29.

    Thanks!
     
  2. RockyRoo

    RockyRoo Just because you CAN doesn't mean you SHOULD

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    What are you towing with? Does the pup have brakes?
     
  3. Bruce Hull

    Bruce Hull New Member

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    2008 Pathfinder. PUP doesn't have brakes.
     
  4. Bigantlers

    Bigantlers Active Member

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    Hey fellow Buckeye!

    Is the pup the only thing you have towed? What are you towing with? How old are your tires? That's a long trip for your second time out.

    We've been going to the Smoky's every year for the last 6 years (without the PUP) and we've changed it up several times. We've done Routes 127,27 on the west side and Routes 25, 320, 321, etc. on the east side. The country is awesome and some of the poorest areas of our country. Resources can be hard to find especially at night. If you have to call for assistance, you might be easier to find on the interstate as opposed to a stoplight in Dorton KY.

    My suggestion is to stay on the Interstate. All those times you listed are going to go up because you shouldn't be driving 70+. Plus at night its going to be marked better, no blind corners and dark curves. There's extra lanes when you need to go up a mountain in low gear and people should be more understanding if you need to drive with the hazards.

    With that being said I'd do option 1. US33/I77 is an awesome drive once you get down into the hills. Keep your eyes peeled for the Mothman as you get close to the Ohio River! Option 2 just seems a little scary at night. I don't see why you need to but over to 75 for option 3.
     
  5. Bruce Hull

    Bruce Hull New Member

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    2008 Pathfinder. PUP doesn't have brakes.
     
  6. Bruce Hull

    Bruce Hull New Member

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    Thanks for the info. I have towed a 5x8 UHaul trailer about 10 times over the past couple of years, and the PUP twice. Tires are brand new. 2008 Pathfinder, V6. PUP doesn't have brakes (2010 Rockwood Freedom). I'm considering option 2 bc my 25 y-o daughter may drive a stretch. Why does opt 2 seem scary to you?
     
    Last edited: Aug 27, 2019
  7. RockyRoo

    RockyRoo Just because you CAN doesn't mean you SHOULD

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    I think I would stick to 75 were I you considering the tow vehicle and lack of trailer brakes and traveling at night. It will take you thru some bigger cities and although it will have mountains they won't be as steep of grades as the US and state routes can be. I think 75 will just be a better drive overall. Now, with a more substantial tow vehicle and during the day I would be all for the other routes. Just think 75 is a better option this time
     
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  8. Bruce Hull

    Bruce Hull New Member

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    Thank you! That is great info! So US23 is steep in places? I'm trying to plot this out, taking bathroom and rest breaks into consideration. We MAY stop and try to catch a few zzzz's on the way. I know I can probably use a Walmart parking lot if we need to. I don't think KY allows you to sleep in your car at rest areas. We're leaving at night because the campgrounds we're staying at doesn't allow check-in before 8 am.
     
  9. Bigantlers

    Bigantlers Active Member

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    US23 is going to have a lot of small dark places and curvy roads with steeper grades (like @RockyRoo says). Does your daughter have experience towing? It might be good to get a little practice before setting off.

    I worry about your tow vehicle and a PUP with no brakes. I've towed mine down to Dillon SP and was glad to have the brakes. I would be careful and take it slow. You'll be pulling close to a ton behind you assuming its not empty. I assume you have an LTD (click here for the brochure), which model is it?

    What shape is your TV in, specifically brakes and transmission? Does your TV have a tow package? What worries me most is long stretches of driving moderate ups and downs, not necessarily less but long ups and downs. You may want to schedule some stops so that your TV brakes can cool. I know my TV's brakes are getting hot when it shudders, then my senses are on alert.
    There are people on here who have pulled through the Rockies and I can't imagine the clench factor on some of those downhills so the Appalachians aren't nearly as bad. Still along 75 I know there are a few places that will be interesting.
     
  10. Bruce Hull

    Bruce Hull New Member

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    Thank you very much! The PUP probably weighs in around 1400lbs, and yes, it is an LTD. Brakes were done about a month ago (rotors and pads). Trans seems ok, had it flushed earlier this year. Good advice for allowing the brakes to cool down, hadn't thought of that (but that's why I'm asking questions :). I want as little travel-drama as possible (NO clenching), so it looks like 75 will be our best bet.
     
  11. Bigantlers

    Bigantlers Active Member

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    Good luck and enjoy! God I love a good road trip...
     
  12. hammb

    hammb Member

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    If it were me I'd do the I77 route. IT's easy driving and all of the mountainous areas of WV are pretty tame and plenty of lanes. Of course I'm also biased because I would detour to the east to hit Lexington for some Western NC style 'Q (not a terrible detour!)...there's a reason why my wife included "allowing me to plan our road trips around BBQ restaurants" in her vows :)

    Detour notwithstanding the trip from Columbus to NC via 33->77 should be a relatively smooth drive. I have yet to take our PUP that far (may hit the OBX with the pup next year) but I wouldn't hesitate to do so. Our PUP is much bigger than yours (but does have brakes), my 4 Runner is about the equal of your pathfinder for towing. Wouldn't hesitate to head that route with my rig.
     
  13. Bruce Hull

    Bruce Hull New Member

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    Okay. Further investigating has made me aware of a stretch of I40 called "The Gorge". People have said this is "terrifying", among other things. Anyone have any experience driving this?
     
  14. BillyMc

    BillyMc Well-Known Member

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    Driven it with motorcycles up to 18 wheelers, I wouldn't consider it terrifying. Everyone has a different comfort level, so it's hard to know what another will have issue with. You are going to have to do some mountain driving to get to Asheville regardless of the route you choose. I wouldn't have an issue with any of those routes, but know a couple people that will not drive in the mountains at all. All of those routes offer some beautiful sites, so don't get distracted. Be careful, drive within "your" comfort zone, make memories, and post pictures. If you like coffee you may want to check out The Dripolator Coffeehouse in nearby Black Mountain. We were on our anniversary trip in 2014 (5 days of riding the mountains on the Harley). I generally don't care for the coffee house thing, but DW saw it and wanted to stop. Great coffee, good prices, and those "indestructible" mugs are still in one piece.
     
  15. Bruce Hull

    Bruce Hull New Member

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    Thanks for the response. The mountain driving doesn't bother me much. I just want to choose the best route hauling our pup.
     
  16. WrkrBee

    WrkrBee Well-Known Member

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    If it shudders, you are using your brakes too much. You can damage calipers, seals, pads, and boil moisture in the brake fluid when it gets too hot. Downshift and let the engine hold your speed down.
     
  17. Bruce Hull

    Bruce Hull New Member

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    20190831_202424.jpg 20190831_234150.jpg 20190901_095204.jpg 20190901_175724.jpg 20190901_193933.jpg Okay. The trip was great! We ended up taking US33/I77I81/I26. The route was mountainous, but not bad; uneventful for the most part. I stayed around 60mph on the average. My Pathfinder is an automatic with a manual shift option. I used the manual shift mostly, especially on up/down grades. Downshifting definitely made a difference going downhill. I tried to stay under 3000 rpms on the tachometer. Our Pathfinder has had the transmission cooler/radiator bypass. Let me explain: Nissan and other car manufacturers have the transmission cooling lines running through the transmission cooler AND the radiator for extra cooling capacity. The problem is that the tranny lines could (and have) crack inside the radiator, ruining the transmission AND the radiator – a VERY expensive fix. I had the lines from the transmission cooler routed around the radiator when I bought the car 3 years ago (it looked like the previous owner had already had that problem, as the radiator and transmission looked newish). According to my local Nissan dealership, the stock transmission cooler was more than adequate to cool the transmission when towing. The cost to reroute the lines: $45. Short story: I wasn’t concerned about transmission overheating. Oddly, the thing that we were concerned about was tire inflation on the trailer. I was checking the pressure before we got on the highway, and saw that the MAX pressure on the tires was 65psi. That seemed like a lot. The tires are new, and when I had them mounted, the shop had inflated them to 28psi. The manual wasn’t a big help. It was midnight when we were about to hit the road, so all we could do was internet searches; and the cyber consensus was to inflate the tires to accommodate the load of your trailer (guess work to me). I ended up inflating to 35 psi. The next day after we arrived, I called Camping World, and the tech there said they usually inflate to 45-55 psi! He said most car doughnuts are at 65psi. I ended up inflating to 45. Anyway, the trip was good. Bear Creek campground in Ashville was excellent! They let us choose a site, even though they had a specific one reserved for us. One caveat I did not realize – they don’t have fire pits. You can bring your own, but because of city regulations, it has to be off the ground. My wife came up with the idea of using a small grill, and we picked one up from the local Walmart for $10, and got wood from a local Lowe’s. She lined it with heavy-duty foil and viola! we have a portable fire pit we can take apart and use when we need to. We did break a spring on our Pathfinder when I hit a pothole on the Blue Ridge Parkway, but it broke in such a way that we didn’t know it until we got back home. If anyone has any specific questions about our experience, I’ll try to answer them. Thanks to all who responded to my earlier questions.


    20190831_202424.jpg 20190831_234150.jpg 20190831_202424.jpg 20190831_234150.jpg 20190901_095204.jpg 20190901_175724.jpg
     
    Last edited: Sep 6, 2019
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  18. BillyMc

    BillyMc Well-Known Member

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    Lower air pressure equals higher temperatures. My tires are rated for 80 psi, I've been running them at 70 psi. The center tread has worn a little more than the sides, but they will be outdated before worn our anyway.
     

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