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East Tenn. to Florida avoiding the Interstates?

East Tenn. to Florida avoiding the Interstates?

Old May 10th, 2007, 04:41 AM
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East Tenn. to Florida avoiding the Interstates?

Hubby and I are seeking alternate routes from Northeast Tennessee to Orlando. We are making the drive in a little over a week in our Miata and we'd like to avoid the Interstates. US 441 looks like a good route to consider. How's the highway? How much is 4-lane? I'm looking on Google maps but it's sort of hard to differentiate between road types (have to pull out the AAA maps). How hard would we have to push to make the drive in a day?
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Old May 10th, 2007, 05:16 AM
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If you are taking a week to do it, then okay. If you are trying to make "good time" then, no. The Atlanta - Orlando drive is one of the longest drives I do (not in distance, but in boredom).

441 through Rabun County in NE Ga is beautiful, but undergoing construction to upgrade to 4 lanes. 441 from Dublin to Milledgeville is a fast four lane. Most of the rest is 2 lane - and necessarily the most scenic drive - but I go secondary roads a lot because I get bored on interstates. You may need to detour near the Fl line, because of fires in and around the Oky swamp.

If you want ideas of places to stop or things to see on that route, let me know.

FYI - Clayton to Athens GA is about 2 hrs. Use that as a judge of distances/ times. In South GA, its pretty much open road, slow down for city (small town) limits and then back up to speed. But, DO slow down. Those little towns are speed traps.

Chances are, if you have to detour the fires, you may already be bored in south GA and want to jump on 75 at Valdosta to continue the remainder of the trip.
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Old May 10th, 2007, 08:52 AM
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Thanks starsville. You're a wealth of info. Any towns in S. Ga. to recommend for an overnight?
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Old May 10th, 2007, 09:25 AM
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If you are still on 441 in Florida, than make time for this stop - well, if you enjoyed reading The Yearling

http://www.floridastateparks.org/mar...innanrawlings/

I didn't realize it has been made a state park. I'm glad. It could use a bit of infrastructure. Even if you aren't a Marjorie Rawlings fan, stop anyway. It won't be far off 441 - and it gives you an amazing insight what life was like for settlers in early Florida. As much as I loved touring the house and grounds, the drive out of that desolate scrub that is the "real" Florida has stayed with me for years since. It won't take long "to see" but is definitely worth a stop - IMO anyway.
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Old May 10th, 2007, 09:26 AM
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Google Cross Creek, FL to get an idea of the homestead's location.
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Old May 10th, 2007, 09:28 AM
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Also off 441 in Florida, outside Fort White, FL is a state park I've not been to yet - but heard about on this website. I'm going next time I'm in the area. More of the "real" old Florida -
http://www.floridastateparks.org/FindaPark-Proc.cfm
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Old May 10th, 2007, 09:31 AM
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Just north of Orlando in Apopka is a family member's favorite piece of the hidden Florida. We took a short canoe trip there - and it was if we were in the jungles of Tarzan movies. Amazing. One of my favorite places -

http://www.floridastateparks.org/wek...gs/default.cfm

http://www.canoewekiva.com/index2.html

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Old May 10th, 2007, 09:32 AM
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When you get to Athens, pay close attention to the signs..there's a loop that goes around Athens and you have to get on this loop to continue onto 441 S.
Also, when you get close to Madison, GA , there's a Madison Bypass, but I would actually drive through Madison onto 441 Business Route if I were you..such a pretty little town and in my opinion, faster than the bypass.
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Old May 10th, 2007, 09:33 AM
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Way back up north in Georgia, just south of Clayton, GA stop at Tallulah Gorge - if just to get out and stretch your legs along a short, mostly paved, walk along the rim -

http://gastateparks.org/info/Tallulah/
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Old May 10th, 2007, 09:36 AM
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One place to consider for an overnight is the GORGEOUS antebellum town of Madison, GA (home of our Fodorite ira). Lovely little town. Beautiful homes. Here's an idea of a place to stay that is nice and just a couple of blocks away from the town's courthouse square and restaurants, etc.

http://www.bradyinn.com/index.php

http://www.madisonga.org/

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Old May 10th, 2007, 09:39 AM
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If Uncle Remus books ring any bells, you may be interested in a quick stop at this small museum. I'm embarrassed to say I've never been - although I've always meant to. 441 runs right through Eatonton -

http://www.uncleremus.com/museum.html
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Old May 10th, 2007, 11:13 AM
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Okay, per google -
Don't know where you are starting from, but -
Pigeon Forge to Dillsboro, NC - 55 min / 1:28 - if you are hungry and want to stop for a bite to eat
D to Clayton, GA - 40 mi / 56 min

I'd vote for hanging out here for a while. Eat a Grapes and Beans. Rent a boat on Lake Burton and spend an afternoon on a gorgeous mountain lake. Take a hike, etc. But, if you are ready to head south -

Stop at Tallulah Falls to stretch your legs and see the gorge

On to Madison - 105 miles - 2 hr 19 minutes - spend the night here. Enjoy strolling the beautiful town. Eat here or drive about 1/2 hour to the Blue Willow in Social Circle for great Southern cooking

Next day - hit the road
Stop in Eatonton for the Uncle Remus museum if you are interested - 22 mi / 33 min

on through Milledgeville - 21 mi/ 39 min
through Dublin - 47 mi/ 1:15 min
through Douglas - 76 mi/ 1:52 min

(above towns are listed just to stay on 441 route)

on to Fort White, Fl - if you are interested in the tubing at the state park - 138 mi/ 2:43

on to Cross Creek - DO stop at MKRawlings home - 52 mi/ 1:17

on to Orlando - 103 mi/ 1:44 min (via Apopka if you interested in canoeing Wekiva Springs)

Total - 661 miles / 14 hours and 36 minutes

In South GA, my guess is that you will be bored and want to get on 75 south

There really isn't a place I can recommend in S GA off 441. Lots of option off 75 South all the way down

I like to read about the area. If you do, consider Stuart Woods' Under the Lake - a mystery set at Lake Burton and the town of Burton that lies under the lake is the setting

Ecology of a Cracker Childhood - Janisse Ray - a GREAT read for driving through S GA

and of course, reread The Yearling by MK Rawlings.

Some ideas anyway. At least to get you started looking at a map and planning





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Old May 13th, 2007, 09:11 PM
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These are all WONDERFUL ideas. Thanks! We won't be able to hit everything on one trip, but it seems like this will be an annual trek.

However, looking at the current fire situation we may need to scrap the 441 idea. I'm going to keep checking the news and state highway websites. We are leaving Saturday.

And I love discovering pretty little towns. There is so much to see in the U.S. if you just get off the Interstate.

Are the fires affecting/closing I-95 at all? If we can't do the 441 trip, we'll just take I-26 to I-95 to I-4 to Orlando and probably leave the convertible at home.
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Old May 14th, 2007, 03:30 AM
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They say there are 225 fires all around our state. We are just north of downtown Orlando and there is smoke every day. I don't think a convertible would be the best thing right now as there is no rain in sight. Rt.#95 keeps having temporary closings as do other roads. It is impossible to say what will be happening even a day from now but keep checking the news.
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Old May 14th, 2007, 08:29 AM
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Even with the fire situation as it is now, I would bet the fires would be under control by the time you leave Saturday.

You seemed to imply that you might want to make the trip in one day. Please don't even try, especially on secondary roads. There just isn't enough time. As a matter of fact, using only the smaller roads, two days will be full of driving.

I've driven the route you want to go a million times (well, maybe a hundred) in going from central Florida to Atlanta and Tennessee. My recommendation is as follows, with the contingent remark that the fires might dictate other choices:

-Not knowing where you will be starting in NE Tennessee, I'd recommend either 411 or 27, both in pretty good shape and both passing through small towns.
-Eventually I'd get on 411 from southern Tennessee to Cartersville, then Rome, GA.
-Then take 27 south, switching over to Alt 27 at Carrollton, down to Warm Springs, a really neat overnight stop.
-Then jump on secondary road 41 and follow it south to 4 lane 520 headed into Albany, then get 133 headed southeast out of Albany to Moultrie.
-Switch to 33 at Moultrie, and proceed into northern FL where the highway becomes Florida 53. Follow 53 south until you get to US 27, then follow 27 all the way to Ocala.
-From Ocala take 441 into Orlando.

Everyone has favorite places to stay overnight or to eat. A couple of my favorites are:
-Pouncey's restaurant on 441 in Perry, FL, the epitome of an old Florida cracker restaurant with fantastic country cooking. If you were to veer off the previous route out of Moultrie and take US 221 south halfway toward Valdosta, it will take you to Perry. If you go to Perry, stay on Alt 27 (also US 19) out of Perry all the way to Williston, FL, then 27 on to Ocala.
-Another favorite on highway 200 about 29 minutes southwest of Ocala is Stumpknocker's on the Withlacoochee river, another old style Florida place with really good seafood.
-In the old center of Perry, GA not far south of Atlanta (not to be confused with Perry, FL) is a wonderful old restaurant in a historic home. I can't remember the name of it, but anyone in town will know about it. Don't miss it if you are in that area around meal time.
-Of course, if you haven't heard about the Dillard House in Dillard, GA, you can find out plenty from those who have been there. It's a feast not to be missed if you are anywhere near there.

I could go on, but this is enough to start. I enjoy country roads and small towns, and I hope you will too.
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