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Old 12-31-2015, 01:12 PM   #1
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Driving the 40' DP in the Smokey Mtns.

On account of the flooding in Missouri my lovely wife and I may have to go through the Smokey Mtns to get to Savannah...starting in Iowa. I WAS planning on going south trough St. L and then down I 55 to Memphis...but the flooding has messed this idea up. We may have to go through the Smokies and I have never driven our DP, with an SUV on the dolly, through ANY mountains. I do have an engine brake and an Allison 6 speed to work with. I would appreciate any thoughts on routes or how to work our DP up and down the Smokies........be gentle I am a flatlander...but willing to learn....
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Old 12-31-2015, 01:21 PM   #2
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I pull a expedition from Cherokee to gatlinburg and ALL the time it's a slow poke leave looker causing trouble.
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Old 12-31-2015, 01:22 PM   #3
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Looks like I75 south to I16 east would work. Just one steep grade near Chattanooga. Turn on the engine brake and have the speed you want as you crest and start down the grade. Use service brakes when you get 5 mph above desired speed until you get to 5 mph below desired speed down the grade. Should be an easy transition to flat country.
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Old 12-31-2015, 02:24 PM   #4
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Agree, I 75 south would be a better route.

If you go I 40E you will have pretty good grades both up an down going across the mountains all the way into Asheville. I've done this route many times, it can be done and some of the views are breath taking. If you DP has an exhaust or engine brake you wouldn't have a problem if you watch your speed. Just depends on what you want to see.
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Old 12-31-2015, 02:27 PM   #5
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My first trip driving a motor home was when we picked up our DSDP in Virginia and took it to Kentucky. The route took us through West Virginia on I-64.

It only took a short time to get used to using the engine brake. Going down hills I keep one hand on the brake switch. Push it to low if you start to gain speed, switch to high if low won't maintain speed.

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Old 12-31-2015, 02:37 PM   #6
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Just drove my 38 foot Dutch Star DP on I-40 through the Smokies without any issues. Just take your time. As you are heading east towards Asheville, there are two fairly short tunnels but the lanes are Interstate width.
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Old 12-31-2015, 02:49 PM   #7
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Not knowing your starting point. Think about this.
I64 east
I65 south
I24 east
I75 south

As I recall there is only one serious climb going into Chattanooga. I forget what the grade is. But it is not that long. You could consider it your baptism under fire if you should ever go out west. It is not a big deal. If you are doing 25mph at the top. You start down at 25mph and hold it there till almost the bottom. One other thought, follow the slow big rigs down.

The ugly of this route is the bigger cities you have to go through or around. They are all a pain. The good part is you stay north for the most part and from what I read south is where water is a real problem.

You are right in not following any big river at the moment.
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Old 12-31-2015, 02:59 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paramedic 1 View Post
On account of the flooding in Missouri my lovely wife and I may have to go through the Smokey Mtns to get to Savannah...starting in Iowa. I WAS planning on going south trough St. L and then down I 55 to Memphis...but the flooding has messed this idea up. We may have to go through the Smokies and I have never driven our DP, with an SUV on the dolly, through ANY mountains. I do have an engine brake and an Allison 6 speed to work with. I would appreciate any thoughts on routes or how to work our DP up and down the Smokies........be gentle I am a flatlander...but willing to learn....

If it were me, I would go
1. I80
2. I74
3. I75
4. I40
5. I26
6. I95

No grades of consequence. The few you encounter are no issue with basic use of the engine brake. I26 has the longest down hill at the NC/SC state line.
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Old 12-31-2015, 06:35 PM   #9
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Hi Paramedic 1,
If you take I 40 east over the Smoky Mountains you will have no problem. From the base of the mountains in Tennessee to Ashville the speed limit is 55 MPH. The right lane is reserved for trucks and slow moving vehicles. The only down hill grade to pay attention to is south of Ashville on I 26. There are plenty of signs and a truck lane. Speed limit is lower than 55 MPH for trucks. For me, just turn the engine brake on and let it do its' thing. I 1/2 time in the Smoky Mountains. My coach has been all over these roads many times per year.
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Old 01-01-2016, 08:16 AM   #10
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Takes bug breath and ho for it. Stay in slow lanes, dibt be afrausd to pass a semi uphill to maintain speed, use your exhaust, engine brake going down and keep it at no faster than speed limit. Read your manuals about ysdung that aux braking system on wet roads. If its gonna snow just park and cwait it out
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Old 01-01-2016, 10:16 AM   #11
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If you stay on interstates through the Smokies there are no worries. Just let your GPS or Google Maps plot the route. You will be surprised how how easy it is.
Your are not going to go up grade like a car so just accept that and putz up the hill with the semis. Same for going down grade. Start off slow and use the engine brake. You do not want to banzai a 6% down drake at 60 mph. Start off slow and use the engine brake to maintain a comfortable speed. DO NOT ride the service brakes down hill. If you need to slow the coach use the service brakes in short bursts. Bring the coach speed down below where you want it then let off to allow the brakes to cool. Repeat as necessary.
There are no really scary parts of any interstate that goes through the smokies.
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Old 01-01-2016, 10:48 AM   #12
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Having done both I-75, through Atlanta, and I-40, take I-40. The scenery will blow you away, common sense will get you through safely.
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Old 01-02-2016, 10:27 AM   #13
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You will have no problem in the Smokies on I-40 as you go through the mountains rather than over them. It is a little curvy along the river with a 55 mph, but I've taken it several times in my coach and many, many times in a car. Sometimes the traffic can be a little heavy but usually way less than you'll find on I-75. They are rebuilding the bridge at Douglas lake and there can sometimes be a back up there.
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Old 01-02-2016, 10:49 AM   #14
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I'm a retired trucker, been all over the Smokies
In your rig with the jack brake and auto trans it should be like driving your car
Just be on the look out for slow moving trucks going up and down the hills. You can get trapped behind pretty quick
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