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Old 04-25-2013, 01:56 PM   #1
FreeThinker
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Question about driving routes from Missouri/Arkansas/Tennessee

I am in the corder of MO/AR/TN, and am leaving in just 23 days! Most routes say 17-18 hours if that helps. We are not sure what route to take and have a few options:

1. Memphis (2.5 hours), then E to Tupelo, BIrmingham, Montgomery, Dothan, Tallahassee, and then finally to Orlando. This is the way we went down last year, but the traffic from Birmingham to Montgomery was awful, several hours of just sitting there. We did not go back home this way.

2. Caruthersville, MO, then NE to Nashville, Chattanooga, Atlanta, Orlando. THis is the way we went home last time, we never got stuck in traffic but we also hit all major cities at good times on a Saturday (the way down was a Friday and I think we hit MOnt/Birm. at rush hour 4-5 and stayed in that traffic for hours). The cons to this one are that we have to go thru 2 major cities, Nashville and Atlanta, but the pro is that it's interstate almost the entire way. It is more miles though.

3. Memphis, Tupelo, Birmingham, ALbany GA, then down to Orlando. This is the most direct route, but not as much interstate, infact there isn't a lot of intertate on this one until we reach GA.

Other ideas? We plan to leave as early as possible, and get as far as we can in the first day, then stop along the way and arrive around noon the second day. Last time we got all the way to Tallahassee
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Old 04-27-2013, 02:02 PM   #2
KINGBOBOFTHENORTH
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The first route is the best, IMO. I think the congestion between Birmingham and Montgomery was a fluke; construction or an accident can happen anywhere. And keep in mind that from Memphis to Birmingham while signed as US 78, it's also signed as Future I-22 and it is mostly built to Interstate highway standards. To me the only problem with the route is the Dothan traffic circle, which takes forever to get through. But at least it's a good place for gasoline, meals or snacks, etc.

BobK/Orlando
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Old 04-28-2013, 10:49 AM   #3
Day-Day
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I agree on the 1st route as well. We have traveled a number of times and tried routes similar to the ones listed out of Memphis (e.g. through Nashville-Atlanta; Birmingham-Atlanta; Birmingham-Southwest Georgia; and Birmingham-Dothan). We have settled on going Memphis-Birmingham-Montgomery-Dothan-Tallahassee...

Timing is important around the cities as well as luck when it comes to delays caused by accidents. There seems to be less traffic going through route #1 and it has been quicker for us (about 13 hours from Memphis). Four-lane for US78 in Alabama has been expanded and the speed limit has been increased recently to 70 or 75 (can't remember which) when it used to be slower than the portion in Mississippi. It does narrow down near Birmingham but it is a shorter secton now.
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Old 04-28-2013, 11:24 AM   #4
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I think route #1 or #3 - as PPs have said - the traffic problems between Bham and Montgomery are usually very little unless your'e going south on a Friday during spring/summer - cause that's when the entire state plus all over is going to FL

Route #3 is doable (we've gone that way several times when our DD was in school at Auburn - just be aware that if you get 280W out of Bham and you're in rush hour - that 280 will be insanely crowded until you get past Chelsea - then it shouldn't be bad. And as long as you're willing to watch for speed limits and realize a lot of it will be through small towns where the speed limit slows down to 35 to 45 - it's a nice drive with lots of things to look at besides billboards on the road

Whatever route you choose - have a great trip!
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Old 04-28-2013, 02:53 PM   #5
Gumbo4x4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FreeThinker View Post
I am in the corder of MO/AR/TN, and am leaving in just 23 days! Most routes say 17-18 hours if that helps. We are not sure what route to take and have a few options:

1. Memphis (2.5 hours), then E to Tupelo, BIrmingham, Montgomery, Dothan, Tallahassee, and then finally to Orlando. This is the way we went down last year, but the traffic from Birmingham to Montgomery was awful, several hours of just sitting there. We did not go back home this way.

2. Caruthersville, MO, then NE to Nashville, Chattanooga, Atlanta, Orlando. THis is the way we went home last time, we never got stuck in traffic but we also hit all major cities at good times on a Saturday (the way down was a Friday and I think we hit MOnt/Birm. at rush hour 4-5 and stayed in that traffic for hours). The cons to this one are that we have to go thru 2 major cities, Nashville and Atlanta, but the pro is that it's interstate almost the entire way. It is more miles though.

3. Memphis, Tupelo, Birmingham, ALbany GA, then down to Orlando. This is the most direct route, but not as much interstate, infact there isn't a lot of intertate on this one until we reach GA.

Other ideas? We plan to leave as early as possible, and get as far as we can in the first day, then stop along the way and arrive around noon the second day. Last time we got all the way to Tallahassee
Oddly enough, we zinged right through Nashville and eventually Atlanta, but lost an hour in Chattanooga during evening rush. Would not have expected that, there is a VERY steep hill on the Eastern side of the city on I24 just before it hits I75. And the slowdown by trucks on this hill reverberated back for miles. On the plus side, that delayed our arrival to Atlanta, so we barely slowed down at all there

We've gone to Chatanooga many times, and this only happened to us once, so I imagine there was some other issue as well.
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