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Old 10-09-2016, 03:59 PM   #1
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Question Smoky Mt. NP roads vs 31' motorhome

In a couple weeks, we will be stopping for a few days in Smoky Mountain National Park, camping in the area near Gatlinburg, coming from Knoxville. From there, we will be heading south through Atlanta and Montgomery, AL to Pensacola.

The various trip planners I have looked at all direct me back north and through Knoxville and down I-75.

My question is as follows: I thought it would be nicer to drive south through the park and then connect w/I-75. Highways #441, 19 and 129 are the ones I would be on. Does this seem reasonable driving a 31" class A and towing a Honda CRV?

Any advice appreciated!
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Old 10-09-2016, 05:21 PM   #2
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Your MH has no exhaust or engine brake to assist the service brakes. From the summit you have a continual downgrade to Cherokee NC. with few pull-outs to allow service brakes to cool on both MH and towed.
Time-wise I don't think you'll save, mileage is less but driving in a road full of sighseers means you'' be driving perhaps 15-20 MPH most of the time when climbing to the summit (nearly a mile high). The driver will not get much enjoyment from this driver due to the narrow twisty road and congested traffic.
Remember this is fall, and the park will be full of folks watching the leaves turn color, and bears stoking-up for winter.
I would suggest, if you decide to drive over the mountain, stop at the ranger station as you enter the park and ask for advice.
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Old 10-09-2016, 06:45 PM   #3
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The TN side of 441 is steeper and curvier than the NC side and it has a few tunnels. Personally I would hate to take my RV over it and the mile or so of traffic behind me would hate me even more, especially if it's leaf watching season. It can be done but the road is just not made for big, slow vehicles.
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Old 10-09-2016, 07:00 PM   #4
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Crossing the mountain would be pure torture!!!
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Old 10-10-2016, 03:33 PM   #5
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I've been through the park from Townsend with a Ridgeline and a 17' TT. I do remember that some of the roads were NP narrow with lots of curve s.

If I were to do it with the MH, I would consider disconnecting the CRV, assuming that you have a driver for it. We did that on a steep grade going into Death Valley and it significantly reduced the white knuckles.
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Old 10-10-2016, 03:55 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oldjoe View Post
In a couple weeks, we will be stopping for a few days in Smoky Mountain National Park, camping in the area near Gatlinburg, coming from Knoxville. From there, we will be heading south through Atlanta and Montgomery, AL to Pensacola.

The various trip planners I have looked at all direct me back north and through Knoxville and down I-75.

My question is as follows: I thought it would be nicer to drive south through the park and then connect w/I-75. Highways #441, 19 and 129 are the ones I would be on. Does this seem reasonable driving a 31" class A and towing a Honda CRV?

Any advice appreciated!
You should be good on 441 all the way to GA and I-85. Most of the drive will be 4 lane highways. Motor homes make the drive from Gatlinburg over 441 all the time. You will need to check the weather before you go. October is normally OK, but anything can happen at the higher altitudes. It is a beautiful drive. The traffic can be heavy. I always cross early. There is another mountain climb on US 441 South of Cherokee, but it is easier than the 1st climb up to Newfound Gap.

I found this video of the drive - Cherokee to Gatlinburg https://youtu.be/m0jYg5BAkxo

129 - never - see: www.tailofthedragon.com

441 - 19/74 - to 64 to Cleveland, TN - an easy drive with hills and heavy traffic in the Nantahala Gorge and heavy traffic on US 64 west to Cleveland
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Old 10-11-2016, 08:54 AM   #7
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441 over the mountain: Post #20 by me on this thread is my (strong) opinion and observation about 441 (and 129) You can, but I simply don't think it's appropriate to do so.
Driving the Blue Ridge Parkway in a motorhome

129 - in short, never ever, don't even think about it. No. Not. Don't. No.

If you are not really stopping in Atlanta, why not go back on 75 then south through Chat., through Birminham, etc.? and skip Atlanta altogether?

Otherwise, my suggestion, which is what we do, is take 40 into NC, then 19/23 through Waynesville, and Sylvia, to Franklin then down 23 to 985 into Atlanta. You'll find a couple steep grades (surprisingly) between Sylva and Franklin, but they are short, and while slow, no big deal. Going around the park really isn't that much longer in reality time wise......
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Old 10-14-2016, 09:04 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by Betr2Trvl View Post
441 over the mountain: Post #20 by me on this thread is my (strong) opinion and observation about 441 (and 129) You can, but I simply don't think it's appropriate to do so.
Driving the Blue Ridge Parkway in a motorhome

129 - in short, never ever, don't even think about it. No. Not. Don't. No.

If you are not really stopping in Atlanta, why not go back on 75 then south through Chat., through Birminham, etc.? and skip Atlanta altogether?

Otherwise, my suggestion, which is what we do, is take 40 into NC, then 19/23 through Waynesville, and Sylvia, to Franklin then down 23 to 985 into Atlanta. You'll find a couple steep grades (surprisingly) between Sylva and Franklin, but they are short, and while slow, no big deal. Going around the park really isn't that much longer in reality time wise......
I'll second this motion.
I'm an ol hillbilly, youst to the mountains & just a few months ago, wife & me came home from Gatlinburg across the Smokey. Wife & myself agreed at that time, it would be a hazard to come through there with our motorhome.
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Old 10-14-2016, 09:18 AM   #9
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We did it a few years ago. I-40 to Gatlinburg exit. 40' DP towing a 1999 Sebring Convertible. Yes there was a line of cars behind us and every few miles we'd pull off on a pull out to let them pass. We have a PAC brake that I always use, so don't know what it would be like without one.

I enjoyed doing it once, been there done it now and I probably won't do it again.
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Old 10-15-2016, 06:05 AM   #10
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Thumbs up

Thank you all for the info - seems like the consensus is to skip that route with a motorhome & toad, so we will go along w/the trip planner and take the Interstate.
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Old 10-15-2016, 06:53 AM   #11
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I did it in our 31 ft Itasca last year (not towing) Gatlinburg to Cherokee and it was fine. We've donor it with Motorhomes and Trailers for 3 decades, Never had much of a line and when I had a car or 2 I just did a pull out. Kept up with the posted speed for the most part. Early in the morning was best- cooler and little traffic.
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