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Old 03-20-2016, 01:18 PM   #1
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Best Route to Memphis

Good afternoon, We are planning our first trip in our Winnebago Adventurer 38J for the first or second week of May, 2016. Can anyone recommend a safe and easy way to travel from Wilmington, NC to Memphis. Bear in mind we are new at this and will be towing a Jeep, so I'm not sure if I am ready to tackle the NC/TN. mountains. I am sure this stuff will get easier as we progress, but for now, my old brain is full just learning the workings of this new lifestyle. Thank you for your help.
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Old 03-20-2016, 01:26 PM   #2
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Went from Charlotte to Memphis also towing a Jeep a couple years ago when we had an Adventurer 35U. The hills are not a big problem as long as you take your time and are careful. There was one long downhill stretch coming into a town that made me a little nervous, but all worked out. Downshift to a lower gear and let the engine help slow you down.
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Old 03-20-2016, 01:43 PM   #3
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I-20 going thru Atlanta or I-40 going through NC. Both are good roads, I prefer to avoid Atlanta (I-20) and the smokies (I-40) are a great chain to drive through.
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Old 03-20-2016, 02:38 PM   #4
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Thank you for the help. We will probably take the northern route I 40 and see those mountains. I will need to do it sometime, may as well be now.
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Old 03-20-2016, 03:17 PM   #5
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Have done it both ways -- I-20 thru Atlanta and I-40 thru Asheville. Both are good roads, and the mountains on I-40 don't amount to much. If you want to avoid them altogether, I suggest you take your best route to Florence, SC and get on I-20. Make sure you hit Atlanta during a slack period, preferably between 10:00 AM - 3:00 PM. Stay on I-20 to Jackson, MS then take I-55 north to Memphis. Or, you could try I-22 from Birmingham to Memphis. It follows the old US 78 route. I haven't traveled I-22; when I used to go that way, US 78 was the route from Memphis to Birmingham.
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Old 03-20-2016, 08:25 PM   #6
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I40 runs right into Memphis, this would be your best route. Biggest thing is to let the engine help you brake on the down hills.
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Old 03-20-2016, 08:41 PM   #7
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I travel from Deer Lodge TN. 4 to 6 times a year to Lillington n.c. with a 34 ft. 1986 windcruser with a 454 towing a Dodge intrepid . 40 is no problem.
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Old 03-21-2016, 09:06 AM   #8
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Thank you all for the help. We are nervous, but ready to join the club. Never thought I would start something entirely new in my 70s. But, here we are. "Rae and Papas Big Adventure"!
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Old 03-23-2016, 03:16 PM   #9
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Wow, you guys will do great !!!! Enjoy every turn !!!!
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Old 03-23-2016, 05:30 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Papa44 View Post
Thank you all for the help. We are nervous, but ready to join the club. Never thought I would start something entirely new in my 70s. But, here we are. "Rae and Papas Big Adventure"!

You will be fine on the I26/I40 route. Although we are full timers, we spend a lot of time around Gatlinburg and prefer the I40/I26/I95 route to Any route that includes Atlanta. We've done Atlanta many times and don't need any more practice.

You will have an up grade of 6-7% several miles long at the SC/NC state line. Then very shortly a couple of short ups and downs. Then west of Asheville, you will encounter the Pigeon River Gorge on I40. There will be many curves and short grades both up and down. Just relax, watch your speed and enjoy the mountain scenery.
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Old 03-24-2016, 09:17 AM   #11
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Thank you Steve and all. We are getting close now. My beautiful bride has lots of clothes, shoes, and woman stuff laid out all over our house in preparation for the big adventure. I have laid out one pair of my cleanest dirty jeans, one Harley Bike Week tee shirt, one hooded sweatshirt, cowboy boots, one T1G baseball cap (the company near Memphis where my son teaches Marines, et al how to shoot) , and several firearms. I'm ready. Our 2 Shih Tzu daughters and our yellow Lab son are more than ready. Let's get this circus on the road!
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Old 03-24-2016, 09:33 AM   #12
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Thank you Steve and all. We are getting close now. My beautiful bride has lots of clothes, shoes, and woman stuff laid out all over our house in preparation for the big adventure. I have laid out one pair of my cleanest dirty jeans, one Harley Bike Week tee shirt, one hooded sweatshirt, cowboy boots, one T1G baseball cap (the company near Memphis where my son teaches Marines, et al how to shoot) , and several firearms. I'm ready. Our 2 Shih Tzu daughters and our yellow Lab son are more than ready. Let's get this circus on the road!

Love your positive approach. Just relax and enjoy the ride.
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Old 03-24-2016, 10:51 AM   #13
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Going west on I40 isn't difficult. One heavy climb just west of Asheville going up into the Smokies. The other side coming down is much more gradual into eastern Tennessee. Just stay to right and mingle with the long haul truckers. Hit the four way flashers and take your time. Down shift to keep the RPM's up which will also get the coolant flowing faster thru the engine. Do not try and keep up with traffic thru Pigeon Forge. The road has lots of turns following the river and hitting them at speed will cause the fridge to empty it's contents and long with the dish cabinets and your DVD collection.

Coming back is a reverse replay. Keep your speed down thru the Forge. When you hit the big drop into Asheville get your speed down before starting the decent and down shift at the top of the hill. You'll see the signs for a mandatory truck safety stop so you'll know it's coming. If you have to brake don't be meek and mild mannered. Intermittent firm braking with time to cool is better than long soft braking that could overheat the disks. A down shift should hold your speed to around 55 MPH, at least it did for me and I never needed to hit the brakes for the 7 mile or so drop. Again stay to right, left the traffic pass you by and enjoy the view.
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Old 03-24-2016, 11:03 AM   #14
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We live in Asheville and have traveled to and from Wilmington as well as Memphis a lot, both in gas powered rv's and our current dp. We go to Gatlinburg on the other side of the mountains several times a year with no issues at all. I40 is a good road and the grades aren't bad at all, though they will slow you down. I-26 is the same. In fact, you can't get to or from Asheville without dealing with the mountains. If you want to go straight to Memphis, I40 is the best route. If you want to wander around and sight see a little, there are a lot of options. I go through Atlanta when there is no other reasonable way. We have two sons in the Atlanta area we visit regularly and will go from Asheville through Nantahala Gorge to Murphy and down 76/5/575 just to avoid I85 and 285 in Atlanta. Just hitch up and go enjoy your trip. You will be fine. Memphis is great in May. You just might make me plan another visit soon! We love Tom Sawyer campground on the west side of the river in West Memphis. Only if the river isn't flooding though, as the campground is only a few feet above the water in normal conditions.
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