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Old 01-06-2022, 06:03 AM   #1
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Driving through Atlanta on Sunday

I've been searching and reading posts about diving RV's through Atlanta GA for an hour now. Lots of good info and lots of frightened drivers! I have driven I-75 and I-285 through/around Atlanta in a car and on a motorcycle many times and I am familiar with the challenges. This year we will be headed from Michigan to Florida in about a week and for the first time I will be driving a 30' class A motor home towing a car. New challenges. I am not worried enough about the drive to find an alternate route that totally avoids Atlanta, especially in January, so I am committed to I-75 and/or I-285. On our way down we are staying a few nights near Cleveland TN, which is about 2 hours north of Atlanta. We have purposely timed our trip to encounter Atlanta on Sunday morning, which I feel is probably the least worst time to go straight through on I-75. Our departure time from Cleveland on Sunday morning is flexible and I am just asking for any info/suggestions/opinions/ about the timing. We could leave Cleveland at 8am, or 9am, or 10am if it could make a significant difference in Sunday morning traffic in Atlanta. I am thinking it probably won't make much difference, but would like to hear from others on the subject. I am also open to taking I-285 around Atlanta (avoiding those pesky lane changes downtown) if that might make a significant difference in my stress level too. Thanks in advance for any help.
-Ken

PS:Can we legally use HOV lanes with our rig (two of us)? Should we?
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Old 01-06-2022, 06:24 AM   #2
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Unfortunately we have to go through Atlanta many times a year in our coach. What I have started doing, and it makes it a lot easier is getting up very early, obviously. On a Sunday, I could only suggest getting up as early as you can and get on the road. It will still get busy pretty early but not like the weekday. About the only thing you can do is roll with it and deal with what comes. I have to mentally prepare and give myself a talking to, but, I don't always listen so well.
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Old 01-06-2022, 07:04 AM   #3
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I think u have a good strategy. The earlier the better. I would take 285 around.
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Old 01-06-2022, 07:22 AM   #4
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My in-laws live north of Atlanta so we're always driving through there.

I've been through twice in my 40' DP and a couple times in a 34' gasser. I would go straight through on I75 on a Sunday morning.

I tried the bypass once and you have to deal with the big trucks, which I think is worse than cars.
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Old 01-06-2022, 07:42 AM   #5
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Hi Ken,

I think planning to go through Atlanta on Sunday is as good as you can do. You said "in about a week" so I am not sure which weekend you are talking about. If you are planning to come through on 1/9 (this weekend) you will need to avoid the Falcons game traffic. They play at 4:30, so if you come through in the morning you will likely be OK. But the thing about Atlanta is, you never know - a crash, a cop giving a ticket, other events can cause backups any time, anywhere....

I suggest that you go straight through Atlanta on I-75, not taking I-285. On the east side of I-285, there is heavy construction. I haven't driven the west side of I-285 lately, but the last time I did, the pavement was terrible with unavoidable cracks and potholes. And no matter which side you use, the big truck traffic is difficult to deal with.

Once inside the "Perimeter" (I-285 circle around town), the HOV lane is free to use, as long as you have at least two people in the vehicle. I am not aware of rules against driving in the HOV lane with an rv. I have driven our coach in the HOV lane, but usually don't. I am very uncomfortable maintaining the speed of the cars that do use the HOV lane. It seems as if people think the HOV stands for Higher Speed Allowed and they try to go way above the speed limit. So I clog up the HOV lane and that's not good.

As an alternative to driving in the HOV lane, use the third lane from the inside: HOV - 1st regular lane - 2nd regular lane. That way you will avoid the tie-up at the I-20 interchange downtown and you will be set to be on I-75 where the connector splits on the southside of town.

Sorry for the long-winded explanation. Try not to be too nervous about Altanta - it can be bad, but just be patient and watch out for nutty drivers. You will get through. Hope this helps.

Regards.

Chuck

PS - I grew up in Cleveland TN and travel there very often to visit family/friends. We usually stay at the KOA, but when it is full, we stay at Harrison Bay SP.
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Old 01-06-2022, 08:02 AM   #6
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It has been about 2 years since we have been thru Atlanta. I screwed up and took the west side 285. The road was so bad, it was horrible. The traffic was really bad, then getting close to where 20 connected, wow.
So next time right done the center on 75 for us.
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Old 01-06-2022, 08:06 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Air Conditioned Gypsy View Post
Hi Ken,

Sorry for the long-winded explanation. Try not to be too nervous about Altanta - it can be bad, but just be patient and watch out for nutty drivers. You will get through. Hope this helps.

Regards.

Chuck

PS - I grew up in Cleveland TN and travel there very often to visit family/friends. We usually stay at the KOA, but when it is full, we stay at Harrison Bay SP.
Thanks Chuck,
Just the kind of info I am looking for. We will be going through Atlanta on the 16th and I am not overly nervous, but just trying to make the best of it. I have a capable co-pilot with me and we have done ok in other cities. As a matter of fact we have reservations at the KOA near Cleveland, thanks for the vote of confidence. We are visiting relatives in Cleveland too, we got word they had snow a couple of days ago, but the long range forecast is for temps in the 50's while we are there so not too bad compared to Michigan.
Thanks to others who offered help and suggestions too, it sounds like it will be I-75 straight on through for us. The Weather Channel says it might rain on the 16th, but that is still pretty far out for a forecast, it's still better than snow though!
I was still wondering about a "rush hour" on Sunday morning (6am-9am) so I thought maybe a later start might be better, probably no real answer to that though. Unless it is an after Church rush for the all you can eat buffet!
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Old 01-06-2022, 08:52 AM   #8
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VIBEMAN-Your thought process seems sound- the earlier you go through the better. All that said I avoid the entire ATL metropolitan area always when traveling north south or vice versa.

I use a very RV friendly, relaxing and comfortable route by exiting off I75 onto GA 53 at Calhoun when southbound out of TN. I then travel west to Rome to get US 27 south and take it to LaGrange. At LaGrange I turn left onto GA 109 and take it for 3 miles to I-85 then access I-85 northbound for about 1000 yards to the entrance on to Interstate185 south. I take I-185 to the entrance to Ft Benning south of Columbus and exit to the right under the infantry bridge on to GA 520/US 280 (it becomes US 82 at Dawson but its the same road) to Albany. At Albany I take the north bypass around to US 82 to Tifton and I-75-- or-- I take GA 133 to Valdosta and I-75. We prefer 133 to Valdosta but its a choice.

This may seem like a lot but its very easy 4 lane route all the way with nice speeds (55-65 mph except in a few towns). Lots of great places to stop refuel/ rest along the way. Roughly same amount of time when you factor possible jams in and around ATL, about 40 miles longer, but an awesome scenic and relaxing drive with zero traffic to contend with. None of the Atlanta and I-75 stress and mess to deal with.

I know you are committed to plowing through on I-75 but this is worth considering and trying out. Just a thought ---and a fun, easy relaxing way around Atlanta we always use.
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Old 01-06-2022, 08:56 AM   #9
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I have gone through a couple times and both I did at 6 am on Sunday and had now problem and traffic moved very well. I was towing also and did not feel any pressure. Good luck.
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Old 01-06-2022, 09:08 AM   #10
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Having been through Atlanta more times than I can count my choice is straight through on I-75. If you go early in the morning or late at night that's probably the best. All that said, Americanrascal's route sounds inviting. It doesn't sound like you're in a hurry so it might just be the ticket. Good luck whatever you choose. P.S. if you go through at 4:00 a.m. watch out for over-zealous cops that seem to think going the speed limit is a reason to stop you after tailgating you for 5 miles - it's not.
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Old 01-06-2022, 10:31 AM   #11
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Driving thru or around atlanta

Many years ago we used to drive around Atlanta on the by passes. Starting about 8 years ago we changed to driving right thru Atlanta on I-75. We are about 56 foot long with our coach and Toad. For us there are too many trucks that use the bypass now as only trucks having deliveries in Atlanta are suppose to be on I-75 in the city. The only good time to go around or thru Atlanta, IMO, is at 2 AM in the morning. If we drive thru Atlanta on our way south we do it between 9:30 am and 10 AM or when going north between 3 and 4 PM in the afternoon. Over the years we have run into slowdowns or stopped traffic because of accidents and such as far as 30 miles before, after or in the city of Atlanta. I-75 is very well marked in painted markings right in the road to keep you in the correct lanes and good over head signage when going thru the city of Atlanta. A good GPS will also let you know what lanes to be in also. Lots of traffic, people driving too fast, making to many bad decisions, cutting in and out. With our length and weight of over 17 tons, we have to look way ahead watching for brake lights because the traffic can come to a stop around a corner and such. Try to keep a safe braking distance as best you can, be a defensive driver and you will be fine. In our many travels over the years, Atlanta is tough just as driving in or around Washington, DC or Boston, to name a few as we have experienced. We are very courteous to truck drivers every where we drive. We use our turn signals when passing, give them lots of room after passing and use our turn signals before pulling back into their lane. Many will flash their lights telling us when to turn back into their lane. Some do and some don't. I had a special switch put in our coach when we had it built back in 2014 that I can blink on and off the top 5 running lights on the rear of our coach to acknowledge the truck we had passed that we saw his flashing lights telling us when to pull back in. I also flash my head lights on and off to tell a trucker when I feel it is safe for him (her) to pull back into my lane. I wait a while so that they have a lot of room, about 3 or 4 full truck lengths as least. Even when I flash some will wait longer. In heavy traffic I flash sooner as they are usually trying to get back in my lane as to not back up the traffic trying to pass them. Truckers will usually acknowledge my head light flashing after turning back into my lane ahead of me by turning on their 4 way lights on and off. Some do and some don't It all comes with experience and the amount of miles you put on and the types or roads you travel. Wishing you safe travels. Stay well, Stay safe

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Old 01-06-2022, 10:52 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by Americanrascal View Post
VIBEMAN-Your thought process seems sound- the earlier you go through the better. All that said I avoid the entire ATL metropolitan area always when traveling north south or vice versa.

I use a very RV friendly, relaxing and comfortable route by exiting off I75 onto GA 53 at Calhoun when southbound out of TN. I then travel west to Rome to get US 27 south and take it to LaGrange. At LaGrange I turn left onto GA 109 and take it for 3 miles to I-85 then access I-85 northbound for about 1000 yards to the entrance on to Interstate185 south. I take I-185 to the entrance to Ft Benning south of Columbus and exit to the right under the infantry bridge on to GA 520/US 280 (it becomes US 82 at Dawson but its the same road) to Albany. At Albany I take the north bypass around to US 82 to Tifton and I-75-- or-- I take GA 133 to Valdosta and I-75. We prefer 133 to Valdosta but its a choice.

This may seem like a lot but its very easy 4 lane route all the way with nice speeds (55-65 mph except in a few towns). Lots of great places to stop refuel/ rest along the way. Roughly same amount of time when you factor possible jams in and around ATL, about 40 miles longer, but an awesome scenic and relaxing drive with zero traffic to contend with. None of the Atlanta and I-75 stress and mess to deal with.

I know you are committed to plowing through on I-75 but this is worth considering and trying out. Just a thought ---and a fun, easy relaxing way around Atlanta we always use.

I've done a variation of this route an confirm it is a very nice drive. The few towns you hit are small and quickly passed. Roadway was in very good shape.
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Old 01-06-2022, 11:15 AM   #13
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I live north of Atlanta and so travel 75 with the RV every few months. Early Sunday morning is the best from my perspective. Stay in the middle lanes as you approach 285 coming South, otherwise its a pain as there may be congestion for everyone entering 285. The its clear sailing until you start coming into downtown Atlanta, as you have to watch as there are two or three right lanes that become exit only or merge. Unless thereís an accident or really bad tie up I stay straight on 75.
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Old 01-06-2022, 11:20 AM   #14
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I too go around Atlanta on US-27 if I'm going west of the mountains, and US-441 on the east if going to North Georgia, South Carolina, etc. I just will not do Atlanta any more. Although the other routes may be longer, one bad traffic jam erases any time you might gain by going near Atlanta.
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