There was a lot of "repair" work done around here over the summer, mainly chip/seal which is just now starting to get grooved with lots of nice gravel patches in the corners, most notable, US267, and 215.
I've never been on Hwy 18, but I came up the mountain (in a car) from Charlotte / NC (TSO concert in Charlotte) into SW Va via Hwy 16 a few nights ago, and I suspect the ride is similar. Many years have passed since I was on that road last. I usually make that trip via other roads.
If you liked Hwy 18, I suggest you get on Hwy 16 near Wilkesboro and ride it through Virginia and as far into West Virginia as you wish. I believe Hwy 16 ends around Beckley WV......
I've only ridden Hwy 16 from the Wilkesboro area through part of its Virginia path (say to the Tazewell Va area), but I'd say it's about the same in WV. Just the Virginia portion would be quite a ride.
We went through Sparta on Rt 21 on our way to Charlotte (down the mountain on 21). Then on the way home back up the mountain via 16. I believe 18's in between so the mountainside terrain is probably similar. Maybe I'll try it sometime.
Half my daily work commute is on (mountain) roads like these. It's just awful