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Old 03-20-2010, 11:52 PM   #1
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Crossing the Smokey Mountains

I am heading out next week from Indiana to Florida. We will be attending the St. Augustine Easter Rally and the Follow Me To Paradise (Key West) National Rally.

I haven't driven to Florida in several years, and never towing an Airstream.

I would appreciate advice on the best routes. Do I want to avoid Monteagle? Are there more enjoyable routes than I-65, I-24, I-75.
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Old 03-21-2010, 12:00 AM   #2
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I would save the wonderful Smokey Mountains for a full trip!

Best route in my opinion would be via Nashville, Atlanta, St. Augustine - still very pretty drive but will get you down efficiently...

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Old 03-21-2010, 12:07 AM   #3
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Not knowlegegable with the highways to well, but you must add Cdes Cove and the small town of Townsend. Close to there is thr Tuckaleechee Cavers.

I love it there.

Shane
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Old 03-21-2010, 12:10 AM   #4
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GM, I can't remember what you tow with, but Monteagle is a piece of cake for my Titan with the Tradewind. I doubt you will have a problem.

If decide to cut over to the east somewhere along the way, avoid route 64 along the Ocoee gorge in east Tennessee. It is closed due to a landslide.
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Old 03-21-2010, 06:20 AM   #5
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A problem with the Smokies this time of year may be the higher elevations, and Cades Cove is beautiful but may still be closed in late March. We are a Class B and don't tow, but notice the mountains here. They are beautiful but it is still very early spring.

We are just East of the Smokies as I write, and the trees aren't yet leafed out nor everything in bloom. It would be a prettier drive a little later in the Spring, like May, when the bears and their cubbies will also be out.

Travel safe.

Maggie
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Old 03-21-2010, 08:40 AM   #6
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Sugarfoot:
I tow a '63 TradeWind with a Grand Cherokee diesel, so I am not worried about the uphill grades.

I am mainly interested in the best trailer towing route over the Smokies. Any opinions whether I-75, I-24, or I-65 is the better path to follow for the most pleasurable drive over the mountains. I am leaving March 25th, so it is still possible to have some weather in upper elevations.

Also, do any of you use a non-Interstate route from the Midwest to Florida?

Thanks.
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Old 03-21-2010, 09:50 AM   #7
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I have driven Chicago to Atlanta several times. The most scenic Interstate route is over to Cincinnati, then down I75. Passing up and over Cumberland is very nice. The time is almost the same for 65-40-75, or 74-75.
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Old 03-21-2010, 11:03 AM   #8
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"Also, do any of you use a non-Interstate route from the Midwest to Florida?"

We drive non-Interstate routes whenever possible, south from Illinois at least once each year. The coastal roads along the Gulf of Mexico are scenic, beautiful and at times in the Florida Panhandle run right next to the beaches, which are white and lovely. Although we are small and not towing, all of those roads are well-maintained, heavily traveled and you won't have a problem with length.

Both of the Gulf Island NS campgrounds are very nice, and there is a little campground in Carrabella, FL., (Ho-Hum RV Park) which is clean, neat and generally unremarkable except for it being right on the beach, with a row of sites literally 10 feet from the water. A beautiful spot and very reasonable.

We would suggest driving only major highways through the Smoky Mountains this time of year, and be very careful. We sat out a snowstorm in Tennessee two years ago in March. Upper elevations could be slick, especially early in the morning, so do your hard driving during the warmest hours of the day and take more time coming back to do scenic routes, if you are staying south at least a few weeks.

Even on the Interstates, you will see and appreciate the Smoky Mountains. Have a great trip.

Doug & Maggie
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