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2017 Southeast Trip Part 5; US 98 in Florida to US 129 in North Carolina

Following the foray on much of the Gulf Coast section of US 98 my next destination was far to the north in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina.  There was a lot of road between the Gulf and the Blue Ridges so I got off to an early start in the morning.  As I stated previously in Part 4 I took the FL 293 toll road over the Mid-Bay Bridge to FL 20.






Much like the US 98 blog this one would have an absurd amount of shield pictures if I posted them all.  I really thought the previous blog was edging on a little long but that was probably more due to Florida having some substantial destinations worth mentioning.  All the shield pictures from the drive up to US 129 can be found on this Flickr Album:

Road between Destin, FL and Murphy, NC

I took FL 20 east to US 331 and swung north.





US 331 was undergoing a major widening project north to I-10.  I didn't get a solid shield picture of the I-10 junction but I jumped on the Interstate and continued eastward.  Really there was nobody on I-10 early, I always it was strange that you have to call "347" to get assistance from FHP.





My next turn was northbound on US 231 towards the Alabama State Line.





Which wasn't too far to the north on a very high quality divided highway.





Soon I encountered the infamous Dothan Loop.  In simplistic terms US 231 north is a left turn and US 431 north is a right turn, I took the latter.  Apparently the AL 210 was a silent route number until lately, the haggard assembly at the very top of the sign post is amusing.



The Dothan Loop does a full at-grade expressway circle of the city of Dothan.  I wouldn't call it the worst configuration ever but a city of about 70,000 should have something limited access.  I continued northward on US 431 which I would stay on close to the Georgia state line.






Something I really thought was interesting is that Alabama doesn't slow 65 MPH expressway zones down to 55 or 45 MPH near traffic lights like FDOT does in Florida.  US 98 had a ton of pointless slow-downs on the Suncoast to 45 MPH and it definitely is a theme I remember from the center of the state near the Okeechobee Region.





I followed US 431 onto a multiplex around Phenix City.  The first "TO" I-185 shields made their appearance at this junction.






I cut east on US 80 which carried me over the Chattahoochee River into Georgia.





I took I-185 north from US 80 towards I-85.  I-185 is a 49 mile 3-digit Interstate between I-85 and Fort Benning that was completed in the late 1970s.  Apparently there are far flung proposals to extend I-185 south all the way to I-10 in Florida.




 At the north terminus of I-185 I jumped on I-85 north towards Atlanta.





I briefly considered heading into downtown Atlanta to see the bridge repair from the fire on I-85 earlier in 2017.  But....then I remembered how awful driving through Atlanta is on I-75/I-85.





Any bypass of Atlanta is a good bypass in my opinion.  That being the case, I took I-285 northbound.





Luckily the only slow-down I encountered was close to the I-75 junction.  I took I-75 northward off of I-285.





Since my primary destination for the day was in North Carolina on US 129 I took I-575 north.  I-575 is a 31 mile north/south 3-Digit Interstate which continues north to GA 5/372/515.  If I recall correctly I-575 was completed some time in the early 1980s.





Yes, I wasn't mature enough not to get a "Cumming" photo shot.  Insert your own joke, I'm sure there haven't been many that haven't already been done.





Not everyday you get an "END" Interstate shield.  The road north of the terminus of I-575 continues as GA 5/515.  GA 515 is a 76 mile state highway which continues north to the North Carolina State Line.  The Blue GA 515 shields indicate that it is part of the Appalachian Development Highway System.  GA 515 was built to replace GA 5 and US 76 to increase traffic flow south towards Atlanta, my understanding was that it was completed by 1989.







GA 5/515 begin to rise into the Blue Ridge Mountains which a sub-range in the greater Appalachians.  The high peaks of the Appalachians are in the Blue Ridge Mountains with Mount Mitchell being the highest peak at 6,684 feet above sea level.






I turned off at GA 60 and quickly took that to GA 60S in Mineral Bluff.






GA 60S is only about 7.5 miles and travels northeast to the North Carolina State Line. Apparently GA 60S used to be GA 86 until it was renumbered in 1940, seems to me that the previous designation made far more sense.  But then numbering convention in Georgia is all over the place when you consider all the non-silent concurrent routes.





On the North Carolina side the road becomes NC 60.  The GA 60S number makes more sense considering that the North Carolina number has been in place since 1934 apparently.  NC 60 is about 5 miles long and has a north terminus at US 64/74.






It wasn't too long before I swung east on US 64/74.  It wasn't too far east until I picked up US 129 and the real fun of the day began, but that's a story for Part 6.






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