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Old 02-11-2019, 07:11 AM   #1
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Red Bay Route from Gulf Shores, AL...

We very recently purchased our 2018 Phaeton 40 IH. We want to visit Red Bay for annual service, a couple of warranty issues and to take the Factory Tour. This is our first RV, and we will be towing a Jeep Cherokee four wheels down. Full disclosure...This will be our first trip in the coach, other than driving it around Gulf Shores/Orange Beach, and practicing in a parking lot. Needless to say I am a little nervous!


Does anyone have recommendations for the best and least stressful route I should take? Google Maps is showing two alternatives, via US-45 OR via I-65 N. Of course, any other tips for making this trip would be very appreciated.

Thanks,
Chuck
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Old 02-11-2019, 08:21 AM   #2
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Nothing to add in regards to your question, just want to say...you started with a 40' dp with a Jeep Cherokee tailing along???!!! I can't even get through my paralysis (research, fear, etc) to buy a 2012 34TGA :(

Good for you! Enjoy it!
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Old 02-11-2019, 09:26 AM   #3
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I recently conducted a similar trip. We bought our 2010 Phaeton last month and it was in Myrtle Beach, SC and we are in Denver. It is our first motorhome as well, although I have experience driving a big truck and long trailer/boat. I flew out for a solo drive back as my DW is still working.

Since Red Bay was pretty much along my route home, I stopped there for some minor service and to take the factory tour. It's definitely worth it!

I kept to the interstates for the most part even though it made my trip longer. In AL I took HWY 20 to Birmingham and then HWY 22 toward Red Bay. I called Tiffin to seek advice as to whether to take 19 or 23 to Red Bay and they recommended 23 which is the road I took.

I don't think you'll have any problems as long as you take your time. You also have a navigator with you which I didn't.

Safe travels!
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Old 02-11-2019, 11:23 AM   #4
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Your easiest driving route, being your first trip, is I-65 to I-22 to Miss 23N to Red Bay. Your destination is the Allegro Campground ( Tiffin Service Center) Allegro Campground
(256) 356-2769
1402 7th St Nw
Red Bay, Alabama
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Old 02-11-2019, 12:12 PM   #5
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We driven from Navarre FL on the Gulf Coast (90 miles east of Gulfport) to Red Bay twice. Given the more eastern location, I65 was the most logical route. That said, when I’m on a “transit leg” I generally prefer interstates, but’s that’s a call you are going to have to make.

On I65, Montgomery is a fairly easy straight through, and as you approach Birmingham from the south the road surface is a bit chewed up and you’ve got a surprising up / down grade to deal with but it’s something that I can’t see being too difficult even on your first trip. Just before you get on I22, at the Daniel Payne Drive exit, is a Flying J to the left if you need to stop with easy on / off, and transition to I22.

No matter which route you decide, it’s a haul from the coast to Red Bay. At ~400 miles, you need to plan for at least 8 hours travel time, and I would not want to drive MS23 at night, particularly if you’ve never driven it, although during the day you have to deal with trucks / logging trucks coming the other way so you need to be prepared for that. Saturday is better, Sunday best.

400 miles in one day may be a bit much to bite off for your first trip, so you might want to plan ahead and scout out possible places to bail out and “camp” over night someplace. We don’t “Walmart” but it’s probably the most viable option in this case - just plan ahead before you head out, and find a few along the way maybe 250 miles or so into your trip, and call beforehand to ensure you are welcome to stay overnight if necessary and any insight they can offer.

Regards
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Old 02-11-2019, 04:43 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Betr2Trvl View Post
No matter which route you decide, itís a haul from the coast to Red Bay. At ~400 miles, you need to plan for at least 8 hours travel time, and I would not want to drive MS23 at night, particularly if youíve never driven it, although during the day you have to deal with trucks / logging trucks coming the other way so you need to be prepared for that. Saturday is better, Sunday best.

What Betr2Trvl is good advice. Be aware that MS23 is a fairly narrow 2 lane road with very little to no shoulder in many places. To make it more exciting, the speed limit is 55 during much of the route.
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Old 02-11-2019, 06:32 PM   #7
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From GS to Red Bay would be about 350 miles up 45. Itís 300 miles from home to Orange Beach, where we keep our Phaeton most of the summer, and about 50 from home to Red Bay. Clarkco State Park would be half way and itís on 45. Meridian would be another 30-45 minutes and has several parks but I have never stayed at any. Once you get to Columbus there is a series of COE parks about every 20 miles along the Tenn Tom waterway all the way to Pickwick lake at the Tn border. Another option without hitting 23 is to go up 45 to Tupelo and hit the Natchez Trace to Belmont Ms. Belmont is where the paint facility is and is just a couple of miles from Red Bay.
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Old 02-11-2019, 08:44 PM   #8
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One other critical note. Construction. We drove from Birmingham up to Savannah TN (Pickwick dam area, green acres RV park) 3-4 months ago. We went the I65 to to AL157 route and there were a few really bad construction zones on 157 where there was one lane, very narrow, concrete wall on the left, and a 12" drop-off on right caused by big rigs getting off the shoulder. So coming back, we decided to drive down MS25 to I22, and that was no better. Just be prepared to slow down in the construction zones...
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Old 02-13-2019, 06:07 PM   #9
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Thanks everyone for your information and insight. I really do appreciate you all responding!! We will be heading to Red Bay the end of March, after a little shake-down to Biloxi.

Chuck
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