I'm assuming mapquest sent you up 40 and down 85. Oddly enough, that is probably the fastest way to go.
If you want something more direct (shorter, but not quicker) try 17 to 74 and follow that into Charlotte.
Unfortunately, due to the southern road system, it took over two-hours. There aren't a lot of direct routes in that part of the state. It's just a lot of squiggly lines:) We passed Rockingham Speedway on our way there and I seem to remember mostly two-lane roads with relatively low speed-limits.
So as an option, it looks like you might be able to go south and connect somehow with 74 through Rockingham. Whether it's faster or not than the route that takes you way north on 40, I couldn't tell you. I can definitely see though why you would want to avoid Mapquest's over five-hour prediction. Good luck.
The thing is that it's probably about the same whether you take the interstates or whether you take 74 (for you' you'd probably take 41 over to Lumberton and pick up 74 there. The difference is that 40-85 is pretty straightforward, while if you take 41-74, you're going to go through a bunch of little tiny towns where the speed limit slows down. From Jacksonville, there probably isn't much difference timewise, it's just a matter of whether you want to go 70 the whole time, or whether you want to speed up and slow down more. Personally I'd take the interstates, because at least there's some signs of life on those, whereas there's not much in the backwoods of Hwy. 74.
Using Google Maps, it says to take I95, I26, I77. That route would take you thru Columbia. It didn't say if that would be the fastest or the shortest. I just asked it for directions. It would seem most direct to me.
Those would be great directions if he were coming from Jacksonville, FL. :)
(it's Jacksonville, NC)
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