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Old 10-06-2014, 12:21 PM   #1
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Heading West to Florida need an easy quick route

On Friday we are taking the AS from Eugene Ore to Ormond Beach Fl. I need to make this a quick trip so need some suggestions. Prefer lowest elevation passes due to no 4 wheel drive on the TV. Also looking to avoid major city
traffic if possible.
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Old 10-06-2014, 12:40 PM   #2
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I think you will find that it is easier to head EAST to Florida from Oregon. That western route across the Pacific, China, Siberia, Europe and the Atlantic is a real bear in an Airstream.

The eastern route is easy. Especially if you head south first.
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Old 10-06-2014, 12:43 PM   #3
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Duhh! Thanks for pointing that out.
If I head south on I5, how far before heading east? Reno? Vegas?


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Old 10-06-2014, 12:49 PM   #4
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Get on I-10 and take it all the way. Texas is going to be a looooong part of the journey!
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Old 10-06-2014, 12:59 PM   #5
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Get on I-10 and take it all the way. Texas is going to be a looooong part of the journey!
But when you get to Baton Rouge, take I-12 north of Lake Pontchartrain and thereby avoid the New Orleans metro area.
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Old 10-06-2014, 01:10 PM   #6
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Stay away from I-70 if you don't like elevation.

As far as low elevation, probably I-5 south to I-40. That will add about 2 (49) hours to the trip as opposed to I-84/I-80 (47). You can detour on to 58 in Bakersfield to avoid LA.

The problem with I-80 is you have to go through Kansas City and St Louis. I-80 crosses the continental divide through Wyoming, which is high desert and no curvy roads. Those cities weren't too bad last time I went through.

The Google Maps default directions starts 126/20, and I've never driven that, so don't know about elevations. I've only driven from Portland to the east coast along I-84/I-80. The default directions will take you through Atlanta, which you should avoid like the plague. There is an alternate route out of Kansas City which would take you through Birmingham and Tallahassee, to avoid St Louis and Atlanta.

I'd drive an extra thousand miles to avoid ever driving through Atlanta or Chicago again.
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Old 10-06-2014, 01:20 PM   #7
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Get yourself to I-10 as soon as possible this time of year to avoid weather.

Avoid Atlanta at all cost.

Long drive any way you cut it.
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Old 10-06-2014, 01:21 PM   #8
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I80 goes to Chicago, not St. Louis. If you do go through St. Louis (coming off I70), there is a 370 bypass which connect eventually to I 55 South, or go on to mid IL on I70, catch I57...or go on over to I65 south in IN.

The St. Louis bypass is pretty easy, especially in non-rush hour times.
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Old 10-06-2014, 01:27 PM   #9
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I80 goes to Chicago, not St. Louis. If you do go through St. Louis (coming off I70), there is a 370 bypass which connect eventually to I 55 South, or go on to mid IL on I70, catch I57...or go on over to I65 south in IN.

The St. Louis bypass is pretty easy, especially in non-rush hour times.
Oops, I should have mentioned that what Google Maps calls the I-84/I-80 route actually drops down to I-70 via I-29 outside of Lincoln.
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Old 10-06-2014, 01:31 PM   #10
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I'd drive an extra thousand miles to avoid ever driving through Atlanta or Chicago again.
I've driven through Atlanta. I've driven around Atlanta on I-285. Between the two, going through downtown was infinitely easier. I-285 was bumper-to-bumper semis in every lane, all jockeying for just the right off-ramp, and all at fifteen miles over the limit. Which might not be so bad for someone accustomed to SoCal driving, but it unnerved me badly enough that my butt was biting a chunk out of the upholstery!
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Old 10-06-2014, 01:41 PM   #11
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I've driven through Atlanta. I've driven around Atlanta on I-285. Between the two, going through downtown was infinitely easier. I-285 was bumper-to-bumper semis in every lane, all jockeying for just the right off-ramp, and all at fifteen miles over the limit. Which might not be so bad for someone accustomed to SoCal driving, but it unnerved me badly enough that my butt was biting a chunk out of the upholstery!
I agree the direct route is better than the bypass. I actually lived in Atlanta for almost three years and never did get used to the traffic. 285 alternates between a race track and a parking lot. SR 400 north out of Atlanta is affectionately known by the locals as the North Georgia Autobahn. It's downright terrifying.
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Old 10-06-2014, 01:52 PM   #12
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So looking at Google maps, if I head south from Oregon is Hwy99 a full blown highway through California? I have only traveled on I5 going to LA. Google says take it to Bakersfield and get on 58 to I40 to Amarillo. Get on 287 in Wichita Falls then to 114 outside of Dallas. Take 30 to 20 East of Dallas to Jackson MS. Then 49 to 98 to Mobile get on 10 to Jacksonville and then 95 S to destination. Only 3300 miles 48 hrs! Yikes!!
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Old 10-06-2014, 02:30 PM   #13
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If I were you I would avoid the entire Wichita Falls Dallas area. 287 thru Wichita Falls and the whole Dallas 30/ 20 exchange is a mess. Narrow roads, Construction, heavy traffic, bad storms.
Better off taking 40 to I-25 south at Albuquerque down to I-10 East and stay on 10 all the way across Texas. Much better travel and consistently better weather. Fewer big cities to go through.
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Old 10-06-2014, 02:49 PM   #14
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No 4X4 bothers you? You got snow in those passes already? Surely on the Interstates they keep the roads clean. I'd go 84 to SLC the 80 to Cheyenne, then 25 to Denver and 70 to St Louis. The bypass around the south of St L. is easy. Then go to Nashville and pick your way south from there. It's got to be shorter than going around the outside of the square.
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Old 10-06-2014, 02:52 PM   #15
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So looking at Google maps, if I head south from Oregon is Hwy99 a full blown highway through California? I have only traveled on I5 going to LA. Google says take it to Bakersfield and get on 58 to I40 to Amarillo. Get on 287 in Wichita Falls then to 114 outside of Dallas. Take 30 to 20 East of Dallas to Jackson MS. Then 49 to 98 to Mobile get on 10 to Jacksonville and then 95 S to destination. Only 3300 miles 48 hrs! Yikes!!
99 is not limited access all the way, but most of the way. No lights that I know of. But LOTS of truck traffic, and almost all 4 lane (two lanes each way.) It has a lower speed limit (65) than I-5 and you should heed it. Immensely more interesting than I-5 if you like local flavor.

Having just towed my 23 ft Safari from Florida to Sacramento, I researched many routes. Elevation was one of my considerations, as was temperature (heat) having driven it in August. I have driven just about every possible route from West Coast to East over the years. My first was in the 70s in a ford pinto station wagon when I left Georgia to work for the Forest Service in Gasquet, CA (Six Rivers National Forest.) My route there was via I-10 and up the 101 and PCH. My route back was south on I-5 to US 50, which I opted for to keep off the interstates... Got lost a couple of times, semi-intentionally, but that was before GPS.

Most recently I drove out via I-95 to I-16 to I-75 and north, eventually stopping for a week in Iowa and then on to Sac via I-80. Same trip I've made a dozen times. Its OK, but perhaps the most important thing is the CONSTRUCTION zones. Almost every state had at least one or two major zones. These are now done with diverting you off at least halfway onto the shoulder into a narrow single lane channel with concrete walls on both sides. Not all states bother to grade the rumble strips off, and if you end up on these for any time, it will rattle your trailer, and its content to hell. I really got tired of the construction zones.

I'd opt for whichever route has the least miles under construction!

I've driven I-80 East in the midst of a BLIZZARD leaving Sac the weekend after Thanksgiving, and it followed me all the way to my home in Wisconsin. Three days of 45 MPH in whiteout conditions and passing wrecked cars every quarter mile overturned and on their roofs. Fortunately I had a brand new XC90 with AWD and could continue when others could not. I-80 is a MAJOR truck route and passing those suckers in the snow is a white knuckle affair for sure.

I-10 is BORING, but it is fast and is likely to be snow free. I-70 is very interesting, but as others have said hard on the brakes and they are already heading into snow season in Colorado.

I-40, is OK but coming into winter has some elevation that may see snow as well esp around Albuquerque. You can always opt to drop down to I-10 if its a problem (take I-17 south from Flagstaff to Phoenix).

Taking the 99 through Bakersfield and then out through the desert toward Tehachapi, is a cool drive and lots of neat things to see. Going that route, you can opt for I-40 and a bit of the old Rt 66 attractions along the way, stop off in Joshua Tree for a diversion, and don't forget to stand on the corner in Winslow Arizona...

Thats probably the route I'd take (and yes, I've been there and done that too). And yes, I resemble this song:

I've been from Tucson to Tucumcari
Tehachapi to Tonopah
Driven every kind of rig that's ever been made
Now I've driven the back roads
So I wouldn't get weighed
And if you give me weed, whites, and wine
Then you show me a sign
I'll be willin' to be movin'
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Old 10-06-2014, 03:12 PM   #16
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98 in Mobile gets a little congested, stop and go, traffic lights. It cuts miles, but towing the trailer, I might go 49 all the way down to 10. I make the trip from Gainesville Fl to Oklahoma City fairly regularly, and I do take the 49/98 rout from I-20 down to I-10, been a couple years since I've done it, but it seems there's a little bit of confusion/lane swapping when you start getting close to I-10. Check out that end of it pretty close before you decide to do it.

Every time I've been through Dallas, it seems like rush hour. Lots of sitting still in three or four lanes of traffic. I think if I was going to come 297 out of Amarillo, I'd get on 380 in Decatur take that all the way over to Greenville, then 69 south to I-20... I usually take 69 all the way up to 82 then over to I-35, just to avoid that 635 traffic around Dallas. Usually by Dallas though, I've been driving for about 18 hours, and I'm a little twitchy anyways... I don't do that much anymore.

Is there a need to hurry, or is it just to beat the snow? Once you get as far south as I-40, the chances of snow this early in the year are practically zero, I would think...

Best to you on your trip!

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Old 10-06-2014, 03:17 PM   #17
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It's better to drive Hwy49 south to I-10 then taking Hwy98 across to Mobile. I live here and know those routes well.
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Old 10-06-2014, 03:47 PM   #18
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I've crossed on 40 in December and January from Portland, OR to Greenville, SC. Going west to east we saw snow on the ground in Northern California near Mount Shasta and in Flagstaff, AZ, but the highways were clear. Coming back we hit a snow storm in Oklahoma City. We stayed one night in a motel and by the next morning the highways were clear.

But I'll never do it again. Not because of the snow, but high cross winds in New Mexico. We were in a Eurovan and everything else on the road were tractor trailers. Seeing them swaying in the wind and barely able to keep my own vehicle in the lane was an extremely unpleasant experience.

I think it's too early in the season for that. But it's something you want to check on. I approach driving cross country like a sailor. Always know the weather ahead and always have a contingency plan/alternate route.

If you do choose I-40, The Red Barn in Amarillo has the best country fried steak west of the Mississippi. And A&R Bar-B-Q in Memphis serves some of the best Memphis style dry ribs you'll ever eat.
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Old 10-06-2014, 04:38 PM   #19
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So I will re-route and see what you all think based on some of the earlier posts...
Eugene, Or to Sacramento 99 to Tehachapi Rt 138 to Rt 10 Palm Springs to Phoenix to El Paso to Houston to Jacksonville then South on I95 to Ormond Beach.
48 hrs 3360 miles!
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