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Old 06-30-2012, 06:30 PM   #1
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Best Route for a ROOKIE Driver from FL to TX

Hi Friends
Well we are getting ready to leave Naples FL and head over to Austin TX.
Once in North Florida, we can catch US 10 along the coast into Houston but I was a little nervous about that route because of bridges and the tunnel in Mobile AL. This is our very first trip. We will be driving a 2002 Winnebago Brave and for the very first time... we will be flat towing a jeep. All new experiences. We are excited and planning to take it easy... so back to the route.
Do I stay on US 10 and face the bridges and not be afraid of the tunnel and possibly have to deal with more of the storms coming off the Gulf.. or do I move off the main freeway and take a smaller hwy like 84 over to Texas.

I would really appreciate any advice if you've traveled these roads and want to share your thoughts. Thanks in advance.
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Old 06-30-2012, 06:39 PM   #2
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In my opinion stay on I-10. For me it's easier to travel the bigger interstates without much stopping rather than trying to navigate on some of the smaller hwys through small towns.

The tunnel in Mobile isn't really all that bad anyways.

Just my 2 cents.
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Old 06-30-2012, 06:39 PM   #3
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If, you don't have a deadline, take the alternate route. The tunnel in Mobile is really nothing to be concerned about. I always drive slow- 40 thru that. Everyone will pass- no biggie.
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Old 06-30-2012, 07:51 PM   #4
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I-10 all the way just make sure you have a mouth guard handy for the long stretch near New Orleans, it'll rattle your teeth and your dishes!
Don't stay on I-10 into NO, use the by-pass interstate.
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Old 06-30-2012, 08:21 PM   #5
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The tunnel is no problem at all, drove it all the time in a charter bus and will be heading that way from the Panhandle of Fl next week on the way to New Mexico in my class A. Just take it easy in the tunnel,let them pass and it is no sweat. Houston is a little hairy but try to pass through in the slower times of day. Expect delays in traffic there as I almost always run into a backup.
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Old 06-30-2012, 08:32 PM   #6
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Take I-10 to the Louisiana border, then I-12 W to Baton Rouge to bypass New Orleans. At Baton Rouge I-12 will merge back into I-10. The roadway between the Atchafalaya swamp and Lafayette is pretty rough. The Mobile tunnel is wide and no problem to get through, so don't worry about that.

From Houston you'll probably want to take 290 to Austin, or you can stay on I-10 all the way to Columbus (west of Houston) and then take Hwy 71N to Austin. Either route is easy, but there will be more traffic on 290. Good luck and enjoy the trip. (Oh, and Austin traffic is worse than Houston. )
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Old 06-30-2012, 08:37 PM   #7
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I drive I-10 all the time. Use I-12 bypass around New Orleans. Yes the roads are a little rough in places in Louisiana but OK. Not any roadside rest areas between Lafayette and Lake Charles. Houston is heavy traffic anytime but make sure it is not in the rush hour. I always use the Flying J truck stop in Orange TX exit 873. Don't forget to stop at the Blue Bell Ice Cream plant on the way to Austin.
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Old 06-30-2012, 09:28 PM   #8
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Old 06-30-2012, 10:34 PM   #9
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I-10 is a good route all the way to your Austin turn off. The Mobile tunnel is no problem. As stated just slow down a little until your comfortable. In Louisiana take I-12 unless you want to see New Orleans (and add a bunch of unnecessary miles.) I've run this route several times in the Big Truck and in the Class A.

Getting close to I-10 exits 84 or 70, if you need a place to stop for meals, supplies, break or sleep, you are in a good area. Exit 84 (DeFuniak Springs) has WalMart for parking and some good eateries.

Exit 70 is Dixie RV. Pull into the marked parking lot lanes and take a break or get some sleep. If the security guard greets you tell him Steve sent you in for a stop over (I am the security manager and we allow RV's to get off the road and park for a break or for the night.)

I don't mind putting my (security business) cell number out there for those that may need it. If your close to exit 84 or 70 on I-10 and need information or assistance we help as we can. 850-428-9389. Make sure you say you are calling from the IRV2 forum. And please be reasonable with the call hours but I will understand and do what I can for an emergency situation at any hour.
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Old 06-30-2012, 11:54 PM   #10
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Saw the mention about Blue Bell Creamery, thought that would be a nice side trip.
Went to their web site to check them out, where it states
"Parking limited No RV parking available"
This just might be something to keep in mind.
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Old 07-01-2012, 07:14 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SteveCal View Post
I-10 is a good route all the way to your Austin turn off. The Mobile tunnel is no problem. As stated just slow down a little until your comfortable. In Louisiana take I-12 unless you want to see New Orleans (and add a bunch of unnecessary miles.) I've run this route several times in the Big Truck and in the Class A.

Getting close to I-10 exits 84 or 70, if you need a place to stop for meals, supplies, break or sleep, you are in a good area. Exit 84 (DeFuniak Springs) has WalMart for parking and some good eateries.

Exit 70 is Dixie RV. Pull into the marked parking lot lanes and take a break or get some sleep. If the security guard greets you tell him Steve sent you in for a stop over (I am the security manager and we allow RV's to get off the road and park for a break or for the night.)

I don't mind putting my (security business) cell number out there for those that may need it. If your close to exit 84 or 70 on I-10 and need information or assistance we help as we can. 850-428-9389. Make sure you say you are calling from the IRV2 forum. And please be reasonable with the call hours but I will understand and do what I can for an emergency situation at any hour.

I think the DeFuniak Springs is exit 85.

I grew up in Mobile and the tunnel and bayway are not a problem. If you do not want to drive the bayway( 8 mile bridge over Mobile Bay) you can exit at Spanish Fort (Bass Pro Shop exit) and drive the Causeway to the Wallace tunnel.
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Old 07-01-2012, 07:36 AM   #12
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We often drive that route and normally stop at the French Quarter RV Park just off I-10 in New Orleans. Walking distance to the French Quarter if that is your thing. Good park.
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Old 07-01-2012, 11:20 AM   #13
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Hmm, I read on various forums for years that I-10 would beat up your RV, shake things off the walls, throw dishes on the floor, bang you around, damage stuff on your RV.

Has I-10 been resurfaced? Or is it just a couple areas that are bad?
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Old 07-01-2012, 11:26 AM   #14
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For your first trip out, I-10 to Hwy 71 is going to be your fastest route. Not as scenic as some of the others, but you can do those on the way back.

I don't know if you are a Passport Amereica member but the campgrounds that participate offer a 50% discount with some limitations. Check them out at passportamerica.com. It's worth the price. As an example, Oak Forest RV Park in Austin is a member. The last time I checked you could use PA there for 1 week per year. That would surely get a return on your membership money of $44 real quick.

Just remember that driving your rig is not a difficult task. You are going to run into some construction, and construction means some of those curb side barriers, made of indestructible concrete. Always know where your tires are, and that is just a 1 second glance in you side mirror. Be careful you don't get into the habit of riding the mirror to make sure your wheels are between the lines. Just glance if you have a concern. Don't look at the line on the right in front of you. Don't look at the walls in the tunnel. You have a tendency to steer in the direction you are looking, so look to where you want to go with just the occasional glance to where you don't want to go, mainly crossing the line(s). We have all gone through this at one time or another, and after many, many years I am still learning.

Be watchful of the 18 wheelers coming up to pass you. They create a draft that has a tendency to want to suck the two vehicles together. When I notice them coming I move over to the right white line, not crossing or riding it, to give some leeway.

Set a limit on the first long haul of 250 miles or so. You don't have to be exact. Look to see what CG's are within that distance and pull over so you can unwrap your fingers from the steering wheel and enjoy a cool drink for the night. You can expand or shorten your miles later-on in life as needed.

Happy trails. Austin is a wonderful city and very dog friendly, in case.
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