QUOTE(Northernmom @ May 8 2010, 02:26 PM)
We are planning a trip to NC in August. We just were on Google Maps and tried a few different routes and one route is taking us from Tenn thru the NC mtns. By the way we are coming from northern MN so this will be a 24 hr drive no matter what. Anyway, we would like to know which route thru the mtns is better? Initially, I think it has us on 23 thru Tenn then 221 into Greensboro. The whole point is avoiding Chicago as much as we can. Has anyone been on this route?
The best way through the mountains is I-40. It is now re-opened so that isn't an issue. It has AFAIK the gentlest grades of all the options (I assume this is your concern). Take I-39 to Peoria, I-74 to Cincinnati, I-75 to Knoxville, then I-40 to wherever in NC you are headed. Be aware the 30 mile part through the actual mountains is, by interstate standards, narrow and winding, and full of trucks, but it's still better than any other.
I-64 to I-77 may be another route; I'n not familiar with it, but doubt it would be better--it's certainly longer, and involves a toll.