We departed Conway and made our way up 501 and out to the I-95. The engine ran great but somehow the paranoia snuck in and I was unusually listening with attentive ears and always scanning and watching the instruments. Nothing to report, except it was running hot, straight and normal.
Passing Florence, SC we fueled up at a Pilot for 2.559 before getting on the 95. I hate it when they only take $75 bucks at a clip plus the pump was out of paper. Had to go inside and run around back and forth a couple of times. On the last trip in, I brought our travel mugs in and topped them off with fresh coffee. Just for giggles I tried to use my Flying J card at the Pilot and they took it. So good News there.
We went I-95 out to the I-20 to Columbia. We passed the losers, Clemson and passed the winners USC. What a game!
Continuing into Columbia, we merged onto the I-26 and we began our climb to the Smoky Mountains. It’s not a bad run but it’s continuously uphill. The Interstate out of Columbia to Spartanburg isn’t that bad with slightly rolling hills. I ran this stretch doing about 2200 RPM in cruise most of the way.
The road begins to take on a different personality once you get up toward Asheville, NC and the truck lanes start opening up. The I-40 takes you up through the Pisgah National Forest and some 7% grades. Not too bad over all. The engine if left to its own devices would have liked to climb at 4200+ RPM but I held in the reins and climbed at 3800 quite nicely. I had to pass a few trucks but they caught up of course on the downside while I was using my grade brake. Ya still have to watch your rate of descent cause the car has a VNE of 65 but that got pushed sometimes up to 70 without breaking a sweat.
Crossing over the summit of the Blue Ridge Parkway, a sign read Continental Divide, altitude 2150 feet. We continued up the I-40 reaching 3200 feet (on the GPS) before we started coming down the other side. On our way down my “Average MPG” indicated 9.4 MPGs
If you can recall last year and early into this year they had a rock slide on the I-40 just before the TN border. Well – That’s been all cleaned up and aside from construction equipment and job shacks you would not know that anything went wrong. Last year at this time the I-40 was closed so we had to go over Sam’s Gap. Additionally the I-385 off of the I-26 is open which goes NW to Greenville, SC from Clinton, SC.
We arrived at the Newport Smokey Mountains KOA off of the I-40 by about 4:00PM and that was enough for the day. For the first time that I can recall, we are the only motorhome in the park!
The weather was perfect, we had a good run, the engine ran great.Research Campgrounds, Plan RV Safe Routes & Turn your phone into an RV GPS.
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