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I hesitate to post this because it is only marginally baseball related, but I couldn't think of where else to go... My wife and I will be heading east for my son's opening weekend on February 20... After baseball is over on Sunday in Philadelphia we are going to drive to Nashville through the Blue Ridge Mountains to visit family, then head back to the DC area for the next weekend of baseball.

Do I need to worry about snow being a problem on this drive?  We're not in a particular hurry but don't want to get stuck for a night unexpectedly...

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Very little chance in Tennessee during baseball season.  You might see some on the tops of highest mountains but unless freak weather pattern there is very rarely any snow in Tennessee/Virginia during baseball season.  It may depend on what you term Blue Ridge Mountains.  That is usually North Carolina/Tennessee/Virginia.  I would make it a big circle and make sure you take the Blue Ridge Parkway from Western NC to Eastern Virginia.  Just make sure it is completely open.  They have a tendency to close parts of it for repairs at times.

Would agree with PitchingFan, BRP or I-40 is your best bet.  If you are going through
Asheville, the Biltmore Estate is literally right off of I-40 and is very cool to visit if you haven't see it.  Good or newer tires are usually all you need around here.  This area tends to get some ice at times, so just watch out for ice in the forecast.  Sounds like a fun week..enjoy the trip and the baseball!

@PitchingFan posted:

Very little chance in Tennessee during baseball season.  You might see some on the tops of highest mountains but unless freak weather pattern there is very rarely any snow in Tennessee/Virginia during baseball season.  It may depend on what you term Blue Ridge Mountains.  That is usually North Carolina/Tennessee/Virginia.  I would make it a big circle and make sure you take the Blue Ridge Parkway from Western NC to Eastern Virginia.  Just make sure it is completely open.  They have a tendency to close parts of it for repairs at times.

Oh do I beg to differ!

Son opened his freshman year at Ol Miss.  We decided to cut the drive by flying in to Nashville, and drive from there to Oxford, so on the way back back  we could sightsee for a day or two in Nashville.

On Saturday morning, it was decided that they would play a double header that day due to 'weather coming in' on Sunday.

So Sunday morning we hit tailed it to Nashville.  At the first sign of a snowflake, hubby decided we needed to head to the hotel.  (We did get to walk around Broadway and tour the Country Music Hall of Fame and Studio B).

And then it started to snow.  And ice.  We quickly took the car rental back to the airport and used  the hotel shuttle to get back.  And then we were stuck for 3 days in Nashville while the airport was shut down.  Thank goodness the Embassy Suites was full service so we could get dinner and breakfast!

The good news:  we got to go to the Grand Ol Opry and have first row seats due to a connection.  The tour of the Opry is also well worth it.  We wouldn't have been able to do that otherwise.

The bad news:  The team was stuck in Memphis and couldn't get out.  Trying to get a full team even on two different flights was difficult.  The players were NOT in a full service hotel and had to walk to a convenience store to get snacks.  They FINALLY rented a bus and drove all night to get back.  Son missed several tests.  It was a rough start to his college travel baseball experience. 

JUST WATCH THE WEATHER!  And then adjust if necessary. 

(Def go see the Biltmore in Asheville if you haven't seen it)

@Hookslide posted:

Would agree with PitchingFan, BRP or I-40 is your best bet.  If you are going through
Asheville, the Biltmore Estate is literally right off of I-40 and is very cool to visit if you haven't see it.  Good or newer tires are usually all you need around here.  This area tends to get some ice at times, so just watch out for ice in the forecast.  Sounds like a fun week..enjoy the trip and the baseball!

The most direct route seems to be I81 through Blacksburg and Knoxville... how would you suppose that would work out?

@keewart posted:

Oh do I beg to differ!

Son opened his freshman year at Ol Miss.  We decided to cut the drive by flying in to Nashville, and drive from there to Oxford, so on the way back back  we could sightsee for a day or two in Nashville.

On Saturday morning, it was decided that they would play a double header that day due to 'weather coming in' on Sunday.

So Sunday morning we hit tailed it to Nashville.  At the first sign of a snowflake, hubby decided we needed to head to the hotel.  (We did get to walk around Broadway and tour the Country Music Hall of Fame and Studio B).

And then it started to snow.  And ice.  We quickly took the car rental back to the airport and used  the hotel shuttle to get back.  And then we were stuck for 3 days in Nashville while the airport was shut down.  Thank goodness the Embassy Suites was full service so we could get dinner and breakfast!

The good news:  we got to go to the Grand Ol Opry and have first row seats due to a connection.  The tour of the Opry is also well worth it.  We wouldn't have been able to do that otherwise.

The bad news:  The team was stuck in Memphis and couldn't get out.  Trying to get a full team even on two different flights was difficult.  The players were NOT in a full service hotel and had to walk to a convenience store to get snacks.  They FINALLY rented a bus and drove all night to get back.  Son missed several tests.  It was a rough start to his college travel baseball experience.

JUST WATCH THE WEATHER!  And then adjust if necessary.

(Def go see the Biltmore in Asheville if you haven't seen it)

Oh man, I'll definitely plan on being flexible as the weather dictates.

I don't disagree with checking weather but it is rare to get it in late February.  Most direct is 81 and you can stop in Pigeon Forge/Gatlinburg if you have not been or Blue Ridge Parkway runs parallel with it with it only being about a 30-45 drive to get on it at most points.  You can still take it part of the way if not the whole way.  You will still see some beautiful country.  Lived in East Tennessee for 15 years right where you are going through and only had snow 2 times in mid to late February those 15 years.  You could always stop in Knoxville and catch a UT weekday game or go to a Vandy weekday game.  Should be a good trip any direction you go.  PM me if you have specific questions.

Ah Prepster I have driven it many times and each time as I drive thru the mountains I think of my ancestors.

They lived in Charlotte before the Revolutionary War and decided to go West. They left with Daniel Boone and settled Kentucky. The drive is tiring and to think they walked and drove wagons is just amazing.

I actually found the fireplace and chimney from their home in Kentucky.

I'm a little west of Prepster, and my area mostly missed the ice. Just a couple degrees can make a huge difference.


Reading this thread reminded me of an interesting story last season. My son was a freshman pitcher, and his team was traveling to play a game in Rome, GA. It was a Saturday afternoon game, and only about 3 1/2 hours from me, so I made the spur of the moment decision to head over there.

The trip took me from western North Carolina through the north Georgia mountains, usually a nice scenic drive. As I left the house, it began to lightly flurry snow, but I didn't think much about it. About an hour into the trip, I stopped for some fast-food breakfast, and the TVs in Mickey D's place were showing snow covered roads around the Atlanta area.

But it was still just a light dusting where I was. The roads along the route from the NC border over to I-75 in north Georgia are mostly 4-lane and in great shape, so I truly didn't expect any issues. I've never been an exceptionally bright guy, and I didn't even think twice about heading into the teeth of the approaching storm. :-)

The problem was, that my timing was exactly perfectly bad. The snow started really dumping. It was an unexpected storm, so there were no salt or scraper trucks out on the highways. The road was undulating, with multiple long uphill and downhill sections. Oh, and did I mention that I was driving my wife's little Buick 2wd SUV with half-bald highway tires...

I am fairly experienced in snow driving and think I'm able to handle most conditions, but it gets pretty interesting when you're sliding down every hill and spinning the tires struggling for traction going up the hills. Cars and trucks were dropping like flies all around me. I bet I saw 20 cars either in the ditches or stopped on the side of the road. And two tractor trailers jack-knifed going the opposite direction.

After struggling to just barely make it to the top of a hill, I pulled off the roadway into a gas station parking lot. The station was closed, but at least it gave me a relatively safe place to assess the situation. I sat there for several minutes watching the snow falling. The only traffic I saw was now off-road adventure capable 4wd rigs, and they were sometimes struggling. I was a couple miles from a little town in the direction I was headed. Behind me was 15 miles of nothing. The car was full of gas and I had an emergency backpack with food, water, blankets, etc..., but I really didn't want to hole up there and wait who knows how long for things to clear.

The road was still passable (barely), and I knew from past travels that there was really only one more hill before the next town. So - I slid my way out of the parking lot and back onto the highway. In that stretch of a couple miles, I passed several more cars in the ditches, and saw another tractor trailer sideways on the side of the road. Thankfully the traffic was sparse enough that I could keep up my momentum going up the hills, and I made it into the town. I spotted a Bates Motel at the first intersection, and gratefully slid into the parking lot, almost taking out a trash can on the way because they had an uphill entrance and I had to keep my speed up to get off the road.

So, I checked into a room, walked across the parking lot to a Food Lion to get some provisions, and hunkered down to wait it out. Fortunately they had internet and I had a phone charger, so I was able to pull up the video feed of my son's game. The players actually had to push snow off the field before they started. But it wasn't nearly the amount of snow as my location. There wound up being about a foot in just a couple hours. I heard on the news that there were about 400 wrecks and stranded cars reported in the county.


Next day, after the plows had done their thing, I made it back home with minimal drama. But I had a great story to tell about "spring" baseball in north Georgia...

Two fascinating stories just above!

M son's team is hosting Morehead State this weekend. As of the report last night, they were going to make it over the mountain from Eastern Kentucky to Charlotte. What a relief for two of the many teams that have been prevented from playing against anyone but themselves since last March!

You'll be fine on I-40 and I-81, unless another major weather system comes through.  The interstates are almost always passable, except right in the middle of blizzards like I described above.  But those are very rare here.

But like others have said, that's not the most pleasant drive.  40 is mostly flat and boring, and 81 is usually full of tractor-trailer traffic.

The problem is that there's really no alternate routes unless you're willing to really increase the trip time and mileage.

Good luck and have fun.

Last edited by T_Thomas

I looked into flying.  Oddly, there's no direct flights from Nashville to DC, so we'd be looking at 6-8 hours of travel time plus a couple hours of airport overhead.  I prefer to drive anyway, and routinely drive to Phoenix and LV (5-6 hours), no big deal. I'm actually looking forward to it.  I like the quirky truck stops and cafes we always seem to find along the way.

@Smitty28 posted:

I looked into flying.  Oddly, there's no direct flights from Nashville to DC, so we'd be looking at 6-8 hours of travel time plus a couple hours of airport overhead.  I prefer to drive anyway, and routinely drive to Phoenix and LV (5-6 hours), no big deal. I'm actually looking forward to it.  I like the quirky truck stops and cafes we always seem to find along the way.

Did you check the small regional carriers?

Son lives in Bristol and has flown to Florida via a small regional carrier out of the local regional airport.  I forget the name of the carrier, but they had two flights to Florida per week.   And for cheap too!  His last flight to Florida was less than $100 round trip.  Flew out of a small airport near Bristol and landed at a small regional airport near Orlando (not the big Orlando airport).

Otherwise, the closest main airport is Charlotte, NC.

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