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Old 03-23-2010, 12:27 PM   #1
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I 77 S. Mountain driving through W.V. Help!

New owner of a 33' Motorhome and we are traveling to Kingsport TN from Ohio via I 77 this weekend. First trip with the coach that is more than 100 miles and driving through the mountains makes me very nervous. We've taken this route through the mountains many times over the years in an automobile but not a motorhome. Any tips would be greatly appreciated. We will be in no hurry so we are not rushing down and plan on stopping somewhere in WV to break the drive up.

Thanks
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Old 03-23-2010, 01:33 PM   #2
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I've done the section from the I77/I70 junction through Parkersburg down to Charleston, WV and it is an EASY route.

Two cool places to stop along the way are Fenton Glass in Williamstown, WV and Blennerhassett Island on the Ohio River in Parkersburg.

Safe Travels!
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Old 03-23-2010, 04:06 PM   #3
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We've run the entire route through WV. Just enjoy the drive. There are no steep hills, just nice grades & the interstate rolls mostly between the mountains. Only things I would say would be avoid going thru Charleston during rush hour times & if traversing any part of it at/near dusk, watch for deer. You'll see them grazing in grassy areas close to the interstate & you never know when they'll want to take off across the road.

Since you're in NE OH, I'd say about the half-way point for a rest would be Beckley. Pull in at Tamarack as it's an easy-on/easy-off right beside the interstate. It's a huge place, plenty of room for parking a rig & great for stopping to stretch your legs. Has a food court, large/clean restrooms & artisan shopping...etc.

For a quick, pit-stop before then if ya need one, there's a rest area at mile marker 36, south of Cambridge.

BTW, if I missed you in the New Member section, welcome to iRV2. Please check out the North Central & Pond Piggie (regional camping group from NE OH & W PA) Forums for upcoming campouts. We'd love to have you join us.

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Old 03-23-2010, 06:26 PM   #4
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Agree with Lori. We've traveled I-77 from VA all the way to I-70 and it is not a bad road at all. Did it in our old '97 gasser and three times in the current coach. Just south of Charleston and all the way to Princeton, WV it is toll road but not too pricey. Try and use the toll booths all the way to the right since the others are quite narrow (ask me how I know that ). Some of the road is curvey and there are some long grades but nothing that is really a challenge. Last time we were on the road, the surface through Beckley was rough but not worse than many interstates in the U.S.

As Lori also noted, stop at the huge travel plaza at Beckley and visit the Tamarack Gift Shop at the top of the hill. They have some real classy stuff made by WV artisans. There is also a great food court operated by the folks at the Greenbrier Resort so the food is quite good but not too pricey.

Welcome to IRV2 and enjoy your travels.
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Old 03-24-2010, 08:25 AM   #5
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Thanks for all the info. We planned on stopping at the Tamarack for the night to break the trip up. The toll booth lane info was great, didn't think about that. Any suggestions about the best places to fuel up at? What stations have better access to pumps for Motorhomes?
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Old 03-24-2010, 10:42 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by jramlester View Post
Thanks for all the info. We planned on stopping at the Tamarack for the night to break the trip up. The toll booth lane info was great, didn't think about that. Any suggestions about the best places to fuel up at? What stations have better access to pumps for Motorhomes?
The most convenient place to fuel up along the toll portion of I-77 is at the Beckley Travel Center....at Tamarack. It is huge and access to fuel pumps is really good. There are fuel options at the Beckley exits but not as easy on/off as at the Travel Center stop.

If you will travel as far as the connection with I-81, there are two Flying J's in that area at Fort Chiswell/Wytheville.
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Old 03-29-2010, 03:29 PM   #7
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We returned on Sunday morning from our trip and the first thing I did was take a screw driver, nut driver and socket wrench to every bolt, screw and nut I could reach and find. I77 through WV was horrible. It seemed like we shook the whole way down. Not to mention this was our first long trip and was absolutly no fun!!! Mountains did't give me the trouble I thought, it was the wind, it scared me like nothing has ever scared me. I white knuckled the steering wheel the whole trip it seemed. Really had a hard time relaxing. Now I'm 43 years old have 3 boys and one is a Marine so I've had my share of scares and none compared to this drive. Do you ever get use to the wind gusts and night driving in rain. I was shocked several times as I was nearing 60mph in a 70 and an 18 wheeler flys by me inches from my mirror when I feel like the next gust will put me on my side. Now I know the wind wasn't gusting enough to tip us but it felt like it was pushing me into the left lane. My wife had to go to the back of the motorhome because she was feeding off my anxiety and she wasn't making things any better. Will these anxiety pass? Not looking forwarded to our next long trip and that saddens me.
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Old 03-29-2010, 05:16 PM   #8
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Oh, I'm sorry you had such a bad experience. We travelled a large portion of that route last year & didn't have anywhere near the experience you did, especially no wind. There may have been a place or two of rough road or construction, but nothing that would rattle us all the way. Being that it sounds like it was your first experience behind the wheel of a MH, you would be more highly aware of what was going on. Yes, those semi's do drive like they're doing a NASCAR race, but you will get used to them in time. Plus, I'm sure, the mountains of WV & the higher speed limits WV has wasn't the exact best for your first extended MH trip.

Since you're from NE OH, take some extended weekend trips to local OH campgrounds & get used to driving on the interstates here where it's mainly flat. You'll eventually settle down & be at ease with your trips. Don't be afraid. Getting out & driving is the best remedy to your anxiety.

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Old 03-29-2010, 06:22 PM   #9
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Bad roads, 18 wheeler, teens texting while driving. All part of the road trip experience.

The great thing about an RV is that if it's raining at night or the wind is kicking up, you can find a local campground and change your plans!
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Old 03-29-2010, 06:53 PM   #10
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Bad roads, 18 wheeler, teens texting while driving. All part of the road trip experience.

The great thing about an RV is that if it's raining at night or the wind is kicking up, you can find a local campground and change your plans!
That's a true RVer attitude. Rain, winds, traffic, whatever could ruin your trip, pull over and wait or spend the night until you feel comfortable moving on. If you're in a hurry to get there, drive the car. I love setting the cruise on 62 and watching all those folks in a hurry pass by. It's so relaxing
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Old 03-29-2010, 07:02 PM   #11
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I can understand your concern, but unfortunately driving a MH in the wind is a challenge.
Having driven the I-77 route many times you hope that it is not windy. The rough road is something kind f new to me, most is not as bad as some other areas.
You might look into tire pressures. If you have the tires maxed out with air pressure you might be able to reduce the pressure and improve the ride.

Consider have the unit weighed at a truck stop and then check the axle weights with a tire inflation chart. If you have Michelein Tires they have a very good chart

If you thought I-77 was windy, wait until you get on I-90 in South Dakota, I pulled over and waited until the next day, worst wind I have ever driven in.
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Old 03-29-2010, 07:07 PM   #12
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You get used to the semi's passing you by. I find the older "cab-over" semi's give ya the most trouble. I keep an eye out for when the next semi will pass. You get used to it over time.

The last time we traveled I-77 was 5-6 years ago going back and forth from Cleveland to Myrtle Beach. I remember the section south of Charleston was concrete and very uneven. I was only pulling a pop-up then, but remember really getting bounced around. We will be coming back from Myrtle Beach that way this Aug. My current tow vehicle has a firmer suspension, so will see if we get tossed around as much.
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Old 03-29-2010, 07:07 PM   #13
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Hi Richard,
I'm sorry to hear about your driving experience. If after a few more trips, you feel the same way about the coach, please consider:
1. make sure the tire pressure is correct for the weight the tires are carrying. If you have not weighed the coach, please do so. Each wheel being weighed is best, but axle weight is a good start.
2. Have the chassis gone over by a certified shop and double check the front end alignment. Tell the tech about your concerns.
3. If 1 and 2 check out okay, consider after market devices to tighten up the chassis and steering.
3a. front and rear anti sway bars
3b. steering stabilizer
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Old 04-01-2010, 08:55 AM   #14
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Thanks all for the great advice!! Wondering if having a full tank of gas and the potable water tank full could of made the ride alittle less enjoyable. I understand that the weight noted in the coach is an accurate true weight. Damon weighs every coach. Did not check tire pressure before we left and will do that now. Where would I find the right tire pressure for weight scale at? I have taken several trips 1+ hours in the past with no issues at all. The only difference would have been both tanks were full and the weather. Tires are high end and all new and allignment is right on. The semis really didn't bother me as I was ready for the little tug as they passed, I just wonder if they feel the same forces I do but have grown use to them. It was the uexpected bump when the wind caught the coach that scared the living dickens out of me. Really hope this is somewhat normal and not a major problem with our motorhome.
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