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Old 10-21-2019, 06:01 PM   #15
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Well Ray, I'm not here to argue, just stating my opinion. I used to have to drive 175 to Knoxville & Oak Ridge about once a month for work. There were many times in the winter months that the roads were clear and dry in Kentucky, and as I climbed that mountain the snows began at higher elevations, and the roads were iced over. Those things combined with the slopes, and truck traffic lead me to avoid that route in my retirement while driving a 35 foot class A towing a car.
Bob
Thanks. This will be our first trip on that route and I was wondering what your concerns were since they probably would be mine as well. We'll be driving a 38-footer an towing a car so that's pretty similar.

Ray
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Old 10-25-2019, 04:28 PM   #16
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Having family and having lived in both TN and OH I've traveled I-75 from Jellico to Knoxville more times than I can count. You do have to pay attention to the weather and time your trip accordingly if you choose to use I-75 in the winter months. Not a big deal otherwise.

Another option you may want to consider is US 23 from Columbus (or wherever you would get 23) to I-26. You do go through Portsmouth and Ashland, KY among other smaller towns, but the route is 95+% 4lane and over half is divided highway. It avoids Cincy and Atlanta which is a big plus, And isn't as far out of your way as I-71 and I-65. Weather can still be an issue, but that is true of any route you take that goes over the Cumberland's or the Appalacian's.

We have gone south using I-75 and gave it up because of Atlanta. I-77 worked, but US 23 is a little more direct for us and is an easy drive.

However you choose, safe travels!

Safari could you elaborate on your US 23 route? We usually make our January trip to FL via I77,I26 I95, but getting from north central OH Willard) to I77 is usually a pain. Any problems with campgrounds or gas on 23? Where are your usual stop overs at? Any info will be appreciated. Thanks
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Old 10-26-2019, 11:24 AM   #17
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John,

We pick up I-26 at near Kingsport TN then use it and I-95. There is no problem with making a gas stop on US 23. There are enough towns that gas is never very far away. Camping is a little sparse late in the year as some of the KY and VA state parks are closed. If you can handle a 370 mile day, you could make it to Jessie Lea RV Park in Big Stone Gap, VA. We have stayed there, but usually try to get a little further on the first day (probably further than you'll want to travel from Willard). There is Bob Amos RV Park in Pikeville KY that would be a shorter first day. Gets OK reviews, but we haven't stayed there.

If you do long days, there are a number of parks around Kingsport TN. Warrier's Path State Park is great, but back in sites only. Also, the TN Welcome Center on US 23 will allow overnight even though posted as 2 hours only (if you want to boon dock).

Hope the info helps!
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Old 10-26-2019, 07:58 PM   #18
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Thanks for the info. Looks like a great alternate to I75 and/or I77. How is traffic going thru/around Ashville? Any major grades on US23 or I26 north of Ashville? Thanks again.
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Old 10-26-2019, 09:31 PM   #19
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John

From Ashland to Stone Gap Virginia you'll climb about 2,000 feet with rolling hills similar to I-75 through Kentucky. The climb after Stone gap is steeper as you climb about 2,000 feet to the Cumberland Plateau before your head "down" into Asheville. The steepest section is 6% - less than the 7% grades you have on I-77 in Virginia and West Virginia and typically shorter. It's no worse than I-26 south of Asheville.

Asheville even at rush hour is better than Cincinnati or Knoxville. Try to get there before 3PM and it should be pretty easy.

If you take US 23 north in the spring, Paintsville State Park in Staffordsville Kentucky is a nice place to spend the night.

Jim
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Old 12-23-2019, 08:21 AM   #20
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Jim,

Have you used the new OH-823 as a bypass around Portsmouth and if so where did you cross over into Kentucky? I'm pretty sure we will be going south on 23 this winter instead of I77. Again thanks for all your information. Merry Christmas and Safe Travels in the new year.
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Old 12-25-2019, 08:48 AM   #21
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John,

Merry Christmas to you too! I haven't used the bypass. Both my grandparents lived in the Portsmouth area and I was born in New Boston so we go through town for the memories then take US 52 to Ashland.

We came down right after Thanksgiving this year and the only construction we hit was around Asheville. As usual, US 23 through Ky had very little traffic. Hope you find the route to your liking. Safe trip!
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Old 12-31-2019, 05:58 AM   #22
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another option that's worked well for us for many years

Lots of ways to go north south to FL. If one uses I-75 into Georgia, wants to avoid all the Atlanta mess, enjoy good roads, good speeds and a few small towns then use the following route.

.Exit I-75 at Calhoun GA exit 312 onto Georgia 53, Proceed west on GA 53 towards Rome GA and intersect with US 27 south. Take US 27 south to LaGrange, GA and turn left on GA 109 east (large Catholic Church at front left of intersection). Proceed 3 miles to Interstate 85 and enter I-85 northbound towards Atlanta. After about only 1000 feet take the right exit onto Interstate I- 185 south toward Columbus/Ft Benning. As you approach Ft Benning stay in the middle lane at the fork, then exit to the right under the Ft Benning bridge on to GA 520/US 280/US 27 eastbound toward Albany.

After passing about 10 miles through Ft Benning on 280/520, you are in Cusseta. In Cusseta you can decide to stay on GA 520 to Albany and then connect to I-75, or continue east to I-95, or use US 19 south. Or as an alternative at Cusseta you can turn right off GA 520/US 280 and take US 27 south to Tallahassee. At least 4 options from Cusseta.

This entire route and each option is 4 lane from Cusseta to Florida giving you many options for various entry points into FL. Speeds are mostly 65. Gentle rolling countryside no mountains.The pace and route is is wonderful for RV's. Towns and plenty of stops and lots to see along the way, great scenery. Best of all--- total avoidance of the Atlanta metropolitan roads and traffic and none of the I-75 stress and boredom.
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Old 03-22-2020, 03:44 PM   #23
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Trip update.

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Jim,

Have you used the new OH-823 as a bypass around Portsmouth and if so where did you cross over into Kentucky? I'm pretty sure we will be going south on 23 this winter instead of I77. Again thanks for all your information. Merry Christmas and Safe Travels in the new year.
John

Just returned (early) from FL and thought I'd share my thoughts on using US-23, I-26, and I-95 from Columbus OH as our route to and from FL this year. To sum it up, I doubt I will be able to get my wife to consider I-77 again!! As 56Safari pointed out, most of 23 is 4 lane with 55 or 60 mph speed limit. Made for a comfortable drive. I suggest using the 823 bypass around Portsmouth and going down 52 and crossing over to KY at Ashland as that eliminates driving thru Portsmouth and a 2 lane stretch of 23 in KY. Roads were all pretty good. I just have learn where the campgrounds open all year are along this route! Thanks to 56Safari for sharing this route.
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Old 03-23-2020, 04:08 AM   #24
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Ohio-Florida alternative routes

We have been traveling from Marysville to Fort Myers for the last three years. Drive two motorhomes a gas super C and a diesel pusher. We were concerned about the grades when we started out with the super C so we took a slightly different route.

We got to I75 by backroads, take west outer belt around Cincinnati. Take I71 to Louisville and I65 south. We usually stop just north of Nashville at the grand old campground. We get up early and on the road to avoid Nashville morning traffic. I65 south through Birmingham (rough roads) to just south of Montgomery to 231 south. Not an interstate but a fairly nice relaxing drive. We stay just outside Dothan at cherry blossom campground. From there to our final destination of FtMyers and that's it. Not the fastest or most direct route but an enjoyable drive. The spots that are congested,
Cincinnati can be bypassed by the west side of the outer belt. It seems like there is constant construction on 75 through town. And avoids the uphill just south of the river. This was a concern with the gas super C pulling a 20ft enclosed trailer.
Nashville can be delt with by going through early to avoid rush hour.
Birmingham needs daylight to avoid pot holes. Seriously the highway is really rough through town!
After Montgomery it's a smooth state route with a few redlights, a lot of divided four lane till I10.
After that it's just boring interstate to I75 and final destination. Each day is about 400 miles take 50 plus or minus miles. We used to average 300 a day in the C but the DP is much easier to drive so the extra mileage is easily doable.

Have a fun and safe trip
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Old 03-23-2020, 11:49 AM   #25
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John,

Glad the route worked for you. May try an option to avoid the always crowded southbound interchange from I 26 to I 95 next year. Will let you know if it works out.
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Old 03-24-2020, 08:19 AM   #26
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Jim
I have considered using 321 from near Columbia to Hardeeville SC for the same reason. My brother prefers that route but he travels it in an SUV. I think 601/301 thru Orangeburg to 321 may be another alternate. If you find a decent alternate I would like to hear about it. Thans again and Safe travels
John & Diane
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