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Mickeyfan0805

SE Wisconsin

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Posted: 02/20/20 03:32pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Will be traveling from just west of St. Louis to central FL this summer. Most direct and fastest route (not considering traffic) is to take 24 through Nashville to Chattanooga, and then catch 75 south through Atlanta.

It looks, however, that a route south to Memphis and onto Montgomery only adds about 30-40 miles and cuts out all the major cities.

Anyone familiar with these routes? Any suggestions?

agesilaus

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Posted: 02/20/20 04:20pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

We have done the first route any number of times, mainly going the opposite way. Memphis has never been that big a deal except for once when there seemed to be some concert or something south of Memphis and there was a traffic slowdown where people we trying to exit the road.

For the most part these mid-sized cities are easier to go thru than spend an hour or more going around. Not to include someplace like Chicago or LA of course. My wife has a major aversion to St Louis tho and has since we went thru it 20 or 25 years ago. So I divert around that town. Atlanta is another no big deal town.


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chindog

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Posted: 02/20/20 06:01pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

We did this trip last fall, and opted to bypass the Atlanta/Chattanooga route. We took I-64 from St. Louis and got onto I-57 at Mt. Vernon, IL. At Marion, IL, we got on I-24 and took it all the way to Nashville, TN. We hit I-65 at Nashville down to Montgomery, AL. From Montgomery we took US highway 231 down to I-10 in the Florida panhandle. Then across I-10 to connect with I-75 at Lake City, and down south to central Florida. Highway 231 is a 4 lane divided highway, but is not controlled access like interstates. It was a nice ride all the way down.


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DFord

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Posted: 02/20/20 07:08pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

The last several times we've made that trip (we're south of Miami right now) we've taken the route south to Memphis on I-55 to I-40/I-240 and then got off on US-78 toward Birmingham. US-78 turns into I-22 straight to Birmingham and I-65 to Montgomery. On the south side of Montgomery, take US-80 a short distance to US-231 south around Dothan and continue on US-231 toward I-10. (231 is all good 4 land divided highway except when you're going through a couple small towns) You can save a few miles by cutting off US-231 onto AL-73 and following it to get to I-10 or you can stay on US-231 till it meets up with I-10. Take I-10 east to I-75 south. That'll take you to the east side of Tampa. An option would be taking the Florida Turnpike to Orlando. There are no toll booths. If you don't have a transponder, they take a picture of your license plate and send you a bill for the toll plus a service charge.

You can get the Florida SunPass to avoid the service charge or I'd recommend the E-Pass good in 18 states. Same toll rates.

https://epass.cfxway.com/EpassWeb/Account/AccountFlow?accountFlow=GetEPASS

https://www.sunpass.com/en/home/index.shtml


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2chiefsRus

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Posted: 02/21/20 03:00am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

DFord wrote:

The last several times we've made that trip (we're south of Miami right now) we've taken the route south to Memphis on I-55 to I-40/I-240 and then got off on US-78 toward Birmingham. US-78 turns into I-22 straight to Birmingham and I-65 to Montgomery. On the south side of Montgomery, take US-80 a short distance to US-231 south around Dothan and continue on US-231 toward I-10. (231 is all good 4 land divided highway except when you're going through a couple small towns) You can save a few miles by cutting off US-231 onto AL-73 and following it to get to I-10 or you can stay on US-231 till it meets up with I-10. Take I-10 east to I-75 south. That'll take you to the east side of Tampa. An option would be taking the Florida Turnpike to Orlando. There are no toll booths. If you don't have a transponder, they take a picture of your license plate and send you a bill for the toll plus a service charge.

You can get the Florida SunPass to avoid the service charge or I'd recommend the E-Pass good in 18 states. Same toll rates.

https://epass.cfxway.com/EpassWeb/Account/AccountFlow?accountFlow=GetEPASS

https://www.sunpass.com/en/home/index.shtml


Think you meant the EPass XTRA is good in 18 states. The EPass is only good in 3-4 states.


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RoaminRichards

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Posted: 02/21/20 05:25am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I just returned from St. Louis to Central Florida last summer. I took I-55 south to Memphis,( I-269 is a loop around Memphis that is an easy drive to I-22) picked up I-22 to Tupelo, MS then turned south on US 45 to Meridian, MS then east on US 80 to Montgomery, AL then south on US 231 to I-10. I avoided Birmingham, AL as there is all kinds of road construction around that area and it is slow going with traffic delays plus rough road.This is a good choice with less traffic. Atlanta is a nightmare to get through due to traffic and construction. I live out side of Orlando so if I can be of additional help let me know.Safe travels and enjoy the trip!





DFord

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Posted: 02/21/20 09:02am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

RoaminRichards wrote:

I just returned from St. Louis to Central Florida last summer. I took I-55 south to Memphis,( I-269 is a loop around Memphis that is an easy drive to I-22) picked up I-22 to Tupelo, MS then turned south on US 45 to Meridian, MS then east on US 80 to Montgomery, AL then south on US 231 to I-10. I avoided Birmingham, AL as there is all kinds of road construction around that area and it is slow going with traffic delays plus rough road.This is a good choice with less traffic. Atlanta is a nightmare to get through due to traffic and construction. I live out side of Orlando so if I can be of additional help let me know.Safe travels and enjoy the trip!


I looked over your route and wondered why you didn't take US-82 as it crosses US-45 west of Columbus, MS instead of following US-45 to Meridian to get to US-80? It looks like that would be a little shorter. I'm south of Miami right now and need to head back the end of March.

I agree I-65 on the south side of Birmingham is very rough. It was like that 4 years ago the last time we used it and couldn't believe they hadn't done a thing to fix it as it was really bad back then.

RoaminRichards

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Posted: 02/21/20 09:44am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I had a stop to make on the way to Meridian, MS. Yes, US 82 is also a good road as I have been on it too. Also US 84 is mostly four lane going from Georgia across to
Evergreen, AL. We try to stay off of Interstates when we can as there is less traffic on the US Highways plus we want to see something besides miles of concrete. I am originally from the St. Louis Metro area but I live here in Central Florida as permanent resident. Been here 21 years now.

Mickeyfan0805

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Posted: 02/21/20 10:33am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

RoaminRichards wrote:

I just returned from St. Louis to Central Florida last summer. I took I-55 south to Memphis,( I-269 is a loop around Memphis that is an easy drive to I-22) picked up I-22 to Tupelo, MS then turned south on US 45 to Meridian, MS then east on US 80 to Montgomery, AL then south on US 231 to I-10. I avoided Birmingham, AL as there is all kinds of road construction around that area and it is slow going with traffic delays plus rough road.This is a good choice with less traffic. Atlanta is a nightmare to get through due to traffic and construction. I live out side of Orlando so if I can be of additional help let me know.Safe travels and enjoy the trip!


Thanks for the input. I've done the drive through Atlanta multiple times (usually coming from SE WI, and the detour is more significant from there).

I'm curious, though, about your decision to avoid Birmingham. Google suggests that your side-route adds about 45 minutes to the trip - that seems like a lot to add on just to avoid a city of 200,000 people. With limited travel time, is it really worth such a substantial detour to avoid Birmingham?

RoaminRichards

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Posted: 02/22/20 04:05am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

When I travel I don't have a limited time schedule as I am retired. I can understand if you need to be at a certain place with time restrictions. You can opt to stay on I-65 and go through Birmingham but there is road construction at several interchanges and you may or may not encounter a delay. The road is rough in places and the rush hour traffic can be as bad as Atlanta at times.I can tell you that I-22 from Birmingham to Memphis is very good with minimal traffic.There is a new connector ramp off of I-65 onto I-22 that makes a smooth transition. There are truck stops along the way if you need fuel, food, rest, etc. I just like to travel the US highways when possible just to see America. Safe travels and enjoy the ride!

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