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Old 03-08-2020, 09:38 AM   #1
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1-75, I-65, or I-77 between Florida and Michigan

I just came on to ask the same question as a recent post, after researching several other threads and on different forums. People seem to be seriously split on the subject of the best/least mountainous route between Florida and Michigan (many prefer 1-75, many prefer I-77, still others prefer I-65). I've driven the full stretch of I-75 several dozen times in a car (once with a big U-Haul), and there are a few grades I'm not completely sure about in an RV.

Can anyone chime in with their pros and cons about each route (perhaps keeping the Newbie status of the driver in mind? We'll only have our 36-footer and tow car for a day or two before hitting the mountains, and we're not sure we want even a gentle trial by fire at that point.
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Old 03-08-2020, 09:47 AM   #2
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It depends on where you are going in Florida. I-65 is great for the panhandle but kinda long for the east coast.

I have done I-65 & I-75 and would do I-65 again just for the slightly less traffic and hills. That said, we have towed a car trailer on I-75 and the hills slowed us down somewhat but nothing really drastic (you already know that Jellico mountain is a long climb each direction).

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Originally Posted by bigthinkers View Post
I just came on to ask the same question as a recent post, after researching several other threads and on different forums. People seem to be seriously split on the subject of the best/least mountainous route between Florida and Michigan (many prefer 1-75, many prefer I-77, still others prefer I-65). I've driven the full stretch of I-75 several dozen times in a car (once with a big U-Haul), and there are a few grades I'm not completely sure about in an RV.

Can anyone chime in with their pros and cons about each route (perhaps keeping the Newbie status of the driver in mind? We'll only have our 36-footer and tow car for a day or two before hitting the mountains, and we're not sure we want even a gentle trial by fire at that point.
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Old 03-08-2020, 09:54 AM   #3
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I should have been clearer. We're departing Florida from the Lake Buena Vista/Windermere area, heading to Okemos Michigan before heading north, then west to Alaska.

PS: Jellico is exactly what I'm concerned about. O_O
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Old 03-08-2020, 09:56 AM   #4
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Our preference has been I-65 through Birmingham. None of the roads are in great shape, Birmingham roads are horrible, but manageable. This route has hills, but not the climb like the one north of Chattanooga. My reason for taking I-65 has nothing to do with the climb/descent, but with the traffic in both Atlanta and Chattanooga.
Just my $.02 worth.
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Old 03-08-2020, 10:24 AM   #5
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Our preference has been I-65 through Birmingham. None of the roads are in great shape, Birmingham roads are horrible, but manageable. This route has hills, but not the climb like the one north of Chattanooga. My reason for taking I-65 has nothing to do with the climb/descent, but with the traffic in both Atlanta and Chattanooga.
Just my $.02 worth.
avoiding hot-lanta is our reason for preferring i-65/US231/i-10.
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Old 03-08-2020, 06:07 PM   #6
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I should have been clearer. We're departing Florida from the Lake Buena Vista/Windermere area, heading to Okemos Michigan before heading north, then west to Alaska.

PS: Jellico is exactly what I'm concerned about. O_O
We took I-75 from Cincinnati to SW Florida all the way in early December. Jellico was no big deal, maybe 2,000 feet total elevation. It was lightly snow flurrying at the top.

38' gasser pulling 4,000 lbs of car on a dolly. We just stayed in the right hand lane and followed a semi all the way. If your GPS does not show you any upcoming sharp curves watch for the signs. Actually, watch for the signs anyway.

This was our first time and I was worried about Jellico but it really was a non-event. Stay off the brakes and use downshifting to control your speed if needed.

I-77 would have been an hour shorter for us but we'd been through those mountains in a car.

Everything I'd read about Jellico said to keep an eye on the weather at Jellico and do not go if it's actively snowing.

We did go through Atlanta about noon on a Wednesday and the slowest we got was about 25 MPH. The lane widths are a bit narrow at 11'. Do not stay in the right-hand-most lane because there are a lot of people getting on and off and several right-hand lanes are exit-only. We tried to stay one lane over as much as possible. Trucks are not permitted to drive I-77 through Atlanta but can use it if they are exiting in the city. The truck thing is one reason we go through Atlanta rather than take the bypasses which are heavy with truck traffic.

HTH,

Ray
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Old 03-08-2020, 06:32 PM   #7
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38' gasser pulling 4,000 lbs of car on a dolly. We just stayed in the right hand lane and followed a semi all the way.
Good to know! We've done it dozens and dozens of times in a car, but dealing with the mountains (albeit, small mountains, relatively speaking) was a bit unnerving when we moved from Michigan to Florida and drove it in a U-Haul. Thought for sure we'd only get half-way up some of those inclines and then roll backwards all the way back to Michigan. Worrisome stuff.

Happy to hear it's not such an ordeal in an RV. We know the route well, we're not bothered by Atlanta (my brother lives in Buckhead, so we may stay overnight if we fancy it), we just don't want to be rank newbies driving that thing and then fail spectacularly in the mountains!
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Old 03-08-2020, 06:50 PM   #8
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You will be fine.
1. Dont panic
Rvs and semis run all those routs 24/7.

2. Stay the speed limit.
Check tire pressure.

3. When you get to half a tank find fuel.

4. Stop lots
Dont get fatigued
Take your time.

Every rout will get you down and back.

Your Attitude will determine your travel success .

Chill out andgo with the flow.

After the first trip or two you will be a pro.
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Old 03-08-2020, 08:32 PM   #9
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We're allowing a month to get from Florida to Michigan and then on to Alaska, so your advice is well taken, HJLowell. SO excited for this to happen, though we're still a little way off from actually being able to go.
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Old 03-08-2020, 09:06 PM   #10
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We have done 75 through Ky. to Tampa for the last 3 years. I77 was hard to find a rv park that was open in the winter. I77 has a lot more hills with a lot more curves than I75. I75 hills are longer but not as many curves.
We have a large 5th wheel with a duramax diesel and had 0 issues making the hills.
Also, plenty of RV parks in Southern Ohio, Ky, Georgia that are open in the winter.

If you travel at night, open fuel stops are kind of scarce through WVa(I77).
Go through ATL on the weekend.

Good Luck.
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Old 03-15-2020, 09:07 PM   #11
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We just drove, from south of Nashville, the I-65/US-231/I-10/US-19 route in February. The really roughest part of I-65 was thru Birmingham, AL.

We went that way because we usually stop on the way down at Hudson, FL which is on US-19. The trip back home started in Ft. Myers, FL. We went up I-75, then on US-27 to US19 and back the reverse.

Going this way takes a little longer, but we did not miss going thru/around Atlanta, GA at all.

On some stretches of US-19 and US-27, you hardly have any traffic at all.
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