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Old 06-19-2015, 08:11 AM   #1
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Best Route? Northern FL to Cincinnati

Hi - we're new Streamers and will be towing our first 'long' trip - the first leg is to Cincinnati OH. We don't have any real time constraints but would like to avoid Atlanta. 2015 23'FB pulled by 2002 Toyota Tundra V8/4WD.
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Old 06-19-2015, 08:25 AM   #2
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We take rt 441 all the way to North Carolina. Then get on rt 23 through va and ky. Get to Ashland kentucky and stay on 23 into Ohio and find a west route to cincy. No interstate except a short shot around Asheville into Va. You can also stay on 441 and drive through the smoky mt park and take a rt north from there. Easy to get on interstate 75 to cincy. We are in Gainesville and make that trip to Ohio at least once a year.
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Old 06-19-2015, 08:34 AM   #3
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Kacnps - You didn't mention if you were closer to I75 or I95 but I'm guessing I75 seeing as you wanted to avoid Atlanta.

We live in the Tampa Bay area and travel that way often and have learned to actually leave the night before, say around 7'ish just to get out of FL. (Actually, we're leaving next Wednesday to head up to Ashland, OH!)Our goal is to get to the Georgia Welcome Center and call it a night. There is dedicated camper parking that is far enough from the trucks to be comfortable. Or, sometimes we drive to Exit 5 and spend the night at the Cracker Barrel. Either way, if you do this and get back to driving around 7:30 AM, that should put you in Atlanta around 12:30'ish and that's not really a problem - just stick to I75 and go straight through. Of course, after 2PM, all bets are off, you may get through in 1/2 an hour or it could take you 4 hours - Atlanta is just that way.

Your next challenge will be the Cumberland Gap just past Knoxville, TN; you need to keep an eye on your speed and enjoy the view - lots of twisty up and downs, but well designed if you want to pull into the truckers lane and crawl up/down at 40 MPH - all about what you are comfortable with. Past the Gap, the bridge construction crossing into Ohio will be your last challenge.

It's been my experience that if you give yourself plenty of room to maneuver and use your signals much earlier than you're used to, people will usually let you in - most truckers are courteous in that regard.

Good luck and remember to enjoy the ride!
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Old 06-19-2015, 08:37 AM   #4
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I live in Atlanta and hate the traffic here, very aggressive and dumb drivers. If you do have to come through here, avoid the times between 7-10 am, 3-7pm, and take outer loop (I285) instead of going straight through downtown. Also, when you get to Tennessee take the split on i75 that takes you to Lexington and on to Cincinnati. I have been burned 3x going through Nashville of all places, their traffic was just as bad as Atlanta at rush hour, no place to be towing an Airstream. Weekend traffic is lighter, but they also plan a lot of construction on weekends in Atlanta. I actually have a traffic App on my phone (INRIX Traffic) and don't even back out of the driveway until I have checked traffic along my route living here.

I'm planning a trip to Colorado this summer and taking my own advice and sticking to secondary highways and not be in a hurry.
Hope this helps.
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Old 06-19-2015, 09:30 AM   #5
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On our annual spring trek from the Ft Myers area to Iowa, we travel I 75N to I 10W. Then I 10W to Mariannas, FL and Hwy 231 N to Montgomery, AL. Hwy 231 is a nice 4-lane. I 65N from Montgomery will take you through Birmingham as well, but we don't find them awful to go through like Atlanta. It looks like I 65 to Louisville and then I 71 to Cincy may work. We leave I 65 at Nashville so I have no experience on I 65 beyond there. This WILL be a longer route to get you into Cincy though.

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Old 06-19-2015, 11:20 AM   #6
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Doesn't I-75 go the entire way? It is a very busy road, though, with 3 lanes northbound and 3 lanes southbound the entire way.
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Old 06-19-2015, 11:54 AM   #7
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I've made that trip many times. Like MTBGUY says, you need to be going through Atlanta between 10 AM and 3 PM, although I prefer 10-2. This applies to weekends too. Of course, if there's an accident, it doesn't matter. I use and like the Waze app on the smart phone, lots of good information provided by other drivers.

The mountains in northern Tennessee aren't bad either, but there is a spot where I've dropped to 50 pulling my 23' with the 4.7L V8. Just drop to 3rd and it'll pull just fine. You don't actually go through Knoxville but you come close. Traffic on I-40/75 is heavy and watch your exits (2) for I-75 North towards Lexington as you approach Knoxville. The second one is a one lane exit and people will cut in front of you.

Be especially alert when you first enter KY, lots of really bad accidents happen down there, not sure why. After the Welcome Center it's a long way to the next rest stop. Traffic will be heavy but it moves faster then you'll want to go. The road widens and narrows, 4 lane (2x2) to 6 lane and back. Around Richmond it goes to 6 lane and stays there to northern KY where it goes to 8 lane after it joins with I-71. You won't be speeding but the northern KY police patrol I-75 quite heavily.

Exit 108 in Lexington is a really nice area, places to shop / eat / gas up. The Shell on the right of the exit may be OK but the Shell and Marathon stations on the left side are too narrow for trailers (IMO) but Meijer gas has lots of room. (left at the exit, right at the 1st light, left at next light). Exit 120 is the KY Horse Park. Dump station is $5 at the campground store but you'll pass the dump station on the way in. Nice place to camp.

You didn't say where in Cincinnati you're going. Just as you cross the I-71/75 bridge, I-71 splits off on the right 2 lanes. If you're going that way, stay to the right (there is a left side exit for downtown that looks like the regular Interstate.)

If you're continuing up I-75 you're OK if you avoid rush hours (like Atlanta). Heaviest afternoon traffic is from downtown to where the I-275 bypass joins I-75. There is construction north of Cincinnati through Dayton. It's slow but doesn't last long, maybe 5-10 miles.
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Old 06-19-2015, 12:12 PM   #8
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Also, Northbound entering Cinci is a long steep grade. Be sure you have brakes and hit a slow lane. It's very easy to get up past 75mph without using the gas peddle!
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Old 06-19-2015, 12:17 PM   #9
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Stay the hell off of RT 95 north of Richmond VA..........it is mostly a rolling parking lot.
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Old 06-19-2015, 12:35 PM   #10
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We live in North Orlando with family in Dayton and have made that trip in our Interstate about 6-7 times in the past two years. I prefer 95 to 26 to 40 to 75. SC and NC in particular have above average size rest stops with quite a bit of trailer parking capacity. This route avoids Atlanta and there are really no major cities to pass through with traffic once you are north of Jacksonville. First half of trip is fairly flat, but NC and Tenn are hilly but certainly manageable. We do not tow but I see many towed trailers and fifth wheels on that route. I also like to fuel (me and the rig) at Pilot/Flying J's for the relatively clean restrooms and decent hot and ready coffee and they are well placed on that route.
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Old 06-19-2015, 06:35 PM   #11
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Travel to Columbus, OH frequently and leave Brooksville, FL by 4:00 a.m. and drive straight through. Always travel straight through Atlanta and have no problems unless there is an accident in Atlanta. All good roads and best for winter travel.
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Old 06-19-2015, 06:47 PM   #12
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We make this drive from Northcentral Ohio to Tampa, FL area quite often. We hate, Atlanta, too, especially how one has to keep shifting lanes to stay on I75 and not get forced into a must turn lane. We avoid rush hours at all costs. We sometimes go up the east route which is I95 to I26 to I77. This is much more scenic (and mountainous) as it goes up through WVA, but mileage-wise for us is not much further.
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Old 06-19-2015, 10:16 PM   #13
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Depending on where exactly in the Cincinnati area you're going, once you've reached I-275 you may want to consider using I-471 or I-275 to get across the Ohio, rather than I-75 itself. As DanB noted, there's a long steep grade down into the Ohio River valley that is locally-notorious as the "Cut in the Hill." The other route also have grades, but they're either less steep or shorter. Also, the southernmost 6 miles or so of I-75 in Ohio are currently the site of major highway construction through 2016 at least, and the 10 southernmost miles are particularly prone to major traffic accidents. For example, just yesterday night, a tractor trailer accident near mile 6 caused a 12+ hour closure of I-75, and today an accident near mile 7 reduced took a lane out of service for several hours. The western I-275 crossing of the Ohio River is currently undergoing roadwork, as well. I guess what I'm saying is that I-75 inside the I-275 loop is just downright bad. I haven't towed any of this, but I do reside in the general area and thought a warning on current local conditions could be helpful.
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Old 06-20-2015, 08:26 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FlaBucki View Post
We live in North Orlando with family in Dayton and have made that trip in our Interstate about 6-7 times in the past two years. I prefer 95 to 26 to 40 to 75. SC and NC in particular have above average size rest stops with quite a bit of trailer parking capacity. This route avoids Atlanta and there are really no major cities to pass through with traffic once you are north of Jacksonville. First half of trip is fairly flat, but NC and Tenn are hilly but certainly manageable. We do not tow but I see many towed trailers and fifth wheels on that route. I also like to fuel (me and the rig) at Pilot/Flying J's for the relatively clean restrooms and decent hot and ready coffee and they are well placed on that route.
Has anyone taken I77 to I64 over to US35 and then I71 into Cincinnati?
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