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Old 02-06-2015, 02:13 AM   #1
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Phoenix to Franklin, NC

The DW and I have been pondering a trip from Phoenix to Franklin, NC sometime this summer. We have been talking about going to Mason's Ruby and Sapphire Mines this summer. Our planned route is to take I-17 to Flagstaff, then I-40 to Nashville, I-24 to Chattanooga, and so on. Franklin is about 3 hrs east of Chattanooga. I would like some advice, or suggestions for points of interest along the way, because we absolutely don't mind sightseeing along the way. It will be the two of us, our 11 & 9 year old daughters, and the father and mother in-law who will be following along with us. Also, I'd like some suggestions on campgrounds along the way that are Big Rig Friendly, because we have an HDT with a 41' toyhauler. Thanks in advance,...look forward to hearing from you all.

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Old 02-06-2015, 07:01 AM   #2
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I would stay on I-40 across the mountains and go through Waynesville to get to Franklin. Not a real good way across from Chattanooga to Franklin

Jerry & Patsy Potter, Taz & Jake Jr.
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Old 02-06-2015, 08:34 AM   #3
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Good morning. We traveled from Colorado to Franklin last spring. We dropped down to Amarillo and took I-40 to Loop 840 just W of Nashville, following that to I-24, then on to Chattanooga. From there, we had to continue to Atlanta, then E to the Athens area to pickup relatives. You could simply go E from Chattanooga to Franklin, but we cannot give any advice on that part of the route. Hopefully, someone will chime in and help you with that part, Google Maps shows it to be a windy road.

My wifey is an avid rockhound, and after talking to others like her, decided we would go to the Cherokee Ruby Mine first. She does not like the places that salt the materials with stuff from other countries. The Cherokee Mine is a very small, family-owned place that was perfect for us. The owner is an elderly lady rockhound full of advice and knowledge of the area, and actually sat with us for several hours showing us how to pan for the gemstones. We found several large, quality pink sapphires during our stay at the Cherokee! We also found moonstone, garnets, siliminite, and a beautiful rutile. The other larger mines are a bit closer to Franklin, and you can easily visit several in a day. They are busier and have different things to do, so check them all out. Be sure to visit the Gem and Mineral Museum in downtown Franklin, they have wonderful exhibits of local finds and can point you in several directions. We also visited the Great Smoky Mountains NP. A ride along the Blue Ridge Parkway is a must see, too!

We did not stay in any CG's in NC, we stayed in Georgia and just made day trips to the mines.

On our way back to Colorado, we took I-40 to Little Rock, then followed I-30 towards Texarkana. We spent a week in SW Arkansas at the Crater of Diamonds SP in Murfreesboro, SW of Hot Springs. Wifey found a small diamond, and of course had to purchase a larger one found in the park that was for sale at a wonderful shop in Murfreesboro, so hang on to your wallet. The CG is great, and there is a water park for the kids located inside the park. We really enjoyed our stay there, the CG is newly renovated and heavily treed, and has full hookups.

You could then either go back to I-40 (Meteor Crater has a nice CG and is worth a day or two stay, also), or continue to Texarkana and take I-30 to I-20 to I-10, or take the back roads. Carlsbad Caverns is along that route, if you are still looking for more to do on your way home.

Cherokee Ruby Mine:: Ruby Gem Mining Treasures in North Carolina

Diamond Mines - Crater of Diamonds State Park

Meteor Crater Meteor Crater in Northern Arizona

Hope this helps, holler if you need more.

Bruce and Judy
Bruce & Judy, living the dream in Salida, CO!
2005 Nat'l Dolphin W22 Chassis, 2004 Jeep Liberty
"Let's Roll 'em, Let's Roll 'em!"
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Old 02-07-2015, 09:23 PM   #4
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Any route from Chattanooga to Franklin, NC will involve hills and curves. One of the most scenic is US-64. The section thru the Ocoee River gorge is one of those scenic areas, as well as one of the most challenging. A little less than 10 miles of winding 2 lane road with no shoulder. Also in summer heavy traffic do to rafting. See water release schedule in link. http://www.tva.com/river/recreation/sched_ocoee2.htm If you are going to go between Chattanooga and Franklin on a day when TVA is running water I would advise not using US-64. From near Copper Hill TN to Hayesville NC you will have no problems, haven’t been east of Hayesville.
US-76 thru north GA would also work well getting to Franklin. Adds about 30 miles. Take US-76 to Clayton GA and then go up US-23 This route should not present you any issues. I use US-76 to get to western NC in the summer when I don’t want to us US-64 thru the Ocoee River gorge area.
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Old 02-08-2015, 07:58 AM   #5
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I can recommend Cardinal Ridge RV and B in Franklin. This is a small park on private land. Very quiet and you are treated like family. It is just south of Franklin. No amenities other than friendly people and peace and quiet. The owners serve a great breakfast on request.
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Old 02-08-2015, 04:52 PM   #6
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We live in NE Georgia - south of Hayesville, NC. We have traveled the Ocoee River Rd, US 64. As stated by jaycocamprs you don't want to take the road when the water is released. If it's not on a day when the water is running, you could use the road. Take your time. 18 wheelers travel this road so it is doable. We have not taken our Class A on this road. DH prefers to drive 76 in GA - again as jaycocamprs suggested. It has a bit of windy, mtn road, but DH would rather drive our rig on it than take Ocoee over to Chattanooga.

76 between Hiawassee & Clayton, GA (then you'd go N on 441 to Franklin) has some curves to it. We have had our rig on this road. We just take our time and when there's a passing zone, make sure we let anyone behind us around!

If you decide to take 74 in Tennesse to 64 in North Carolina, you will find that once away from the river, it's fairly easy until you get closer to Franklin. It's not curvy, but mountainous, steep grades.
You might want to look at the roads on google earth & get an idea of what each one has in store for you!
Traveling with DH, our 3 cats, Katrina, Pas & Missi
2014 Georgetown 378
the toad, 2014 Jeep Patriot
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Old 02-21-2015, 10:33 PM   #7
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I appreciate the information from everyone. The bummer part, is that we have to wait til next year to do this particular trip. My BIL won't be able to get off from work, to travel with us. We are gonna have to have a campground with full hookups. Dry camping with 10 people will not last us very long til we will have to empty tanks. I will keep researching points of interests along the route.

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