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Old 05-31-2015, 09:12 PM   #1
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Route 26 from Asheville, NC to Route 81 in Kingsport, TN

Will be leaving NC heading back to New England. Looks like the two routes from my current location are route 26 over to route 81 or head to route 77 up to route 81 in VA. I came down route 77 so I am familiar with the grade that must be climbed on that route. Looking for feedback on the climb out of Asheville on route 26 with a gas coach towing a car on the way to route 81.
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Old 05-31-2015, 11:52 PM   #2
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I never done it in a gas coach but did it in a freightliner with a 460 n14 Cummins grossing about 60,000lbs and she had to really work. It pulled me down to 40mph. I-26 through there has only been finished about 6 or 7 years and use to be hwy 19/23 which was really bad. Just be careful and watch your temp and you will be okay. But if you don't know your weight or have good brakes just run 40 out to 81 then go north. It's longer but safer that way. I been a truck driver for 14yrs now and if I'm anywhere near 80,000 I would go 40 to 81.

I just read it all again. Take 77 to 81, all you have to worry about is fancy gap which is the 7 1/2 mile pull when you cross over into va out of nc. Much better that way.
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Old 06-01-2015, 01:56 PM   #3
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It does have some long pulls and I believe it tops out at the highest elevation of any Interstate east of the Mississippi (3700 feet as I recall). The grades are around 6% and should be no problem if you are not in a hurry,
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Old 06-01-2015, 02:26 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vettenuts View Post
Will be leaving NC heading back to New England. Looks like the two routes from my current location are route 26 over to route 81 or head to route 77 up to route 81 in VA. I came down route 77 so I am familiar with the grade that must be climbed on that route. Looking for feedback on the climb out of Asheville on route 26 with a gas coach towing a car on the way to route 81.

The part of this I26 route from Mars Hill, NC to Erwin, TN is just about ten years old. There are a few up hill grades and of course an equal number of down grades. If you take your time the views are some of the best in the country.


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Old 06-02-2015, 12:44 AM   #5
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I-77 @ Fancy Gap: Where the snow "falls" UP!!

(But only in winter.)
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Old 06-02-2015, 08:26 AM   #6
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I agree with Steve Owenby about the views on I-26 between Asheville and Johnson City. They really are spectacular. I don't think the grades are any worse than I-77 up to Fancy Gap.
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Old 06-04-2015, 01:39 AM   #7
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We just drove I-26 from Asheville to I-81 about two months ago. If I recall, going north from Mars Hill to Sam's Gap you have two pretty good pulls about 4 miles each with a few miles in between them. The downhill from Sam's to Erwin is continuous, pretty steep at first (about 6%) but then tapering off. Just keep your speed controlled from the start, no riding the brakes! You should be OK.


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