Roadtrip in the deep south in August?

Old Jan 4th, 2015, 06:40 PM
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I don't know how I have survived Fl all these years without melting or having a heat stroke after reading these post. I will say it is always five degrees or so cooler on the ocean than in the middle of the state but we have a huge UK population here in my part of the country that do ok. I grew up on the Eastern shore and it was as hot and humid there as here in August and we didn't have ac growing up. I am worried about a house I rented in the Adirondacks in late June not having ac. I am out doors a lot in the summer but like cool ac when sleeping.
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Old Jan 4th, 2015, 06:50 PM
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This has been interesting reading, MamaBearUK. How are you feeling now? Still conflicted? I'll bet. We live in Central Florida and refer to summer as "Florida winter," since that is when we shut down and stay inside. We've lived here since 1986.

At any rate, if you decide to vacation elsewhere at that time, or think to schedule a different season for this vacation, let us know. And if you do this trip at this time - pack disposable rain ponchos, not raincoats (too hot). You can get them at local pharmacies (here in Florida, anyway). Also, an umbrella, although you might not always want to use it here when the lightning is fierce.

Whatever you decide, enjoy your travels!
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Old Jan 4th, 2015, 07:01 PM
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Well, I have to admit that I saw "Roadtrip in the deep south in August?" and thought "Bad idea!", and then saw it was posted by mamabearUK and thought REALLY BAD IDEA!.

I grew up on the coast in northwest Florida. I had, and still have, may relatives in Jackson, Mississippi as well (Ackislander, it would be nice to meet you some time when you are on the mainland). August is miserable. (In all fairness, of course, August can be miserable over much of the eastern US.)

If you have decided to visit in August, I hope you enjoy it, but keep these things in mind:

You will sweat. A lot. You can find yourself soaked in sweat just going from your air-conditioned lodging or restaurant or attraction to your air-conditioned car. Some people might try to convince you I am exaggerating. Trust me, I have lived it—it is no exaggeration.

You might also freeze. Public buildings (shops, restaurants, theaters, etc.) are often quite cold due to the air conditioning, so you need to bring a wrap of some kind if you are prone to getting chilled. They are kept so cold because the air conditioning needs to run continuously in order to keep the humidity down. (And the chill is even more pronounced if you come inside soaked with sweat from being outside in the heat and humidity.)

The temperature chart starrs gave you tells only half the story. The temperature itself is not what is important. It's the temperature/humidity combination (the so-called heat index). For example,

32C (90F) at 40% relative humidity feels like 32C

32C at 50% RH feels like 34C

32C at 60% RH feels like 37C

32C at 70% RH feels like 40C

32C at 80% RH feels like 44C

32C at 90% RH feels like 49C

The average morning relative humidity in Memphis in August, as an example, is 85%. The average afternoon RH is 58% (but that's a little misleading, because the humidity will be different before and after those afternoon thundershowers). So you need to adjust all those averages in starrs's charts to account for the humidity.

If you like things hot and humid, you will have a ball. As others have stated, be sure you have plenty of sunscreen and use it liberally. And stay hydrated—drink more than you think you need, avoid caffeine and alcohol as much as possible, and make sure you drink some electrolyte drinks to replace minerals you will sweat away.
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Old Jan 4th, 2015, 07:09 PM
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Also, mosquitoes. Bring plenty of repellent as well as sunscreen.

Not only can I break a sweat going from the house to the mailbox (no in-door letter boxes here), I can get bitten, too.
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Old Jan 4th, 2015, 07:20 PM
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Buy some towelettes with insect repellent on them. Easy application to use as needed. If there's a group of three people I'm the one who is never bitten and there's always another person who is covered in mosquito bites. The little toilettes are an easy way to apply insect repellent as needed.

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss...ent+towelettes
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Old Jan 4th, 2015, 08:55 PM
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mamabear, when I first moved from Scotland to the US, we lived just outside New Orleans for about a year. We arrived right at the beginnng of September a day before Hurricane Babe, which was fortunately only a cat 1! It was HOT and the humidity is literally like walking into wall. It is great weather for lying on a pool float drinking something with a ittle umbrella in it, but not so great for walking anywhere further than 10 ft away. Even worse are the flocks of mosquitoes you will encounter. Invest in a company which makes mosquito repellant before your trip. You will use so much that the stock price will go up!

If it is at all possible, and I know all too well that usually trips like this are pretty set on the calendar, late spring would be a lovely time to do this. Warm weather, not too much humidity, lovely azaleas. There is a lot to see. The whole area is really interesting. The food is wonderful. You will have a diet in your future!

If it has to be August, stay in hotels which have nice pools. And good air conditioning! Either way, have a great trip.
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Old Jan 4th, 2015, 09:00 PM
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Just saw this on Facebook, posted a few years ago. A recap of 2014, data from a weather station in the NE corner of GA -

Total rainfall: 63.93 inches
(31" less than 2013’s total. But still over 15" more than "wet" Seattle got this past year)

Total snowfall: 11.2 inches

Average temp for the entire year: 53°

Average daily high: 63.6°
Average daily low: 43.15°

Coldest reading of the year: -4° Jan. 7

Warmest reading of the year: 85° July 3
(This station has not recorded a reading of 86° or warmer in over 2 1/2 years)

Other factoids:
Coldest day: 23° for the high temp on Jan. 29

Warmest night: 64° for the low on 10 different nights June-September

Average daily high temp in both July and August: 77°

Average nightly low temp in January: 17
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Old Jan 4th, 2015, 09:00 PM
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...posted a few HOURS ago...
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Old Jan 5th, 2015, 02:43 AM
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And if you do this trip at this time - pack disposable rain ponchos, not raincoats (too hot). You can get them at local pharmacies (here in Florida, anyway). Also, an umbrella, although you might not always want to use it here when the lightning is fierce.

AND now THIS. People, get a grip. You are sounding like weather.com on steroids.
For what it is worth, the South has been in drought conditions for a number of years, although we HOPE for more rain.
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Old Jan 5th, 2015, 05:53 AM
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Those little $5 rain ponchos are for sale in grocery stores too.
Guess what? They are sold in all parts of the country. I agree with Gretchen. This is not a "Deep South" thing. The last disposable ponchos I bought were $1 at Dollar General high in the mountains of North Carolina. We were on a four day camping trip and, of course, that's when it rained.

Oh, that's a good travel trip. Dollar Generals - NOT to be confused with other dollar stores - are today's version of the old general stores. They have just about everything one needs in a relatively small store with easy parking. Walmarts can be HUGE. Dollar Generals are prevalent (especially in small towns), with just about everything you need - other than fresh produce or meat. Whatever you need, it's probably at DG at a fair price...including plastic ponchos for $1.

http://www.dollargeneral.com/home/index.jsp
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Old Jan 5th, 2015, 10:50 AM
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WOW........thanks for the effort you have put into helping me with my trip..... janisj I know that humidity in the UK is not a problem, as I said in my post we have been to the far east so experienced it there but it seems that that was just a tad sweaty compared to NOLA! Barbara, you're right....school holidays are set in stone so we are stuck with visiting in August.....although I'm not sure what to do now. The thought of relaxing by the pool sounds appealing at the moment but we really like to get stuck in to the area we are visiting...we have mountain biked in Utah/Arizona in August and that was pretty hot but it sounds like the humidity is the problem... not too bothered about the rain...home from home. I am a nurse and my husband is an MD so think we will be OK with recognising/treating heatstroke Cranachin but thanks for advice. Is the RH in NOLA/Memphis etc. similar to Orlando at that time of year as I know the parks are fit to burst and visitors must have a similar problem. Sludick, you are right, pretty confused right now! Where to go!
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Old Jan 5th, 2015, 11:44 AM
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Where to go....

A. Head for the hills. Look into the Blue Ridge Parkway and the Shenandoah Parkway. I've driven the full length twice and enjoyed it. Plenty of hiking opportunities and you could look into biking. For towns, besides Asheville there's the Boone/Blowing Rock area, Roanoke, and Charlottesville. You could finish in Washington - it will be hot and humid there too, but the museums aren't too far apart.

B. Go to the northwest instead of the southeast.
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Old Jan 5th, 2015, 05:37 PM
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Have you done Maine or Canada? You could always fly into Boston and do the coastal road. Very beautiful hiking, views, history and food. http://www.ogunquit.org/map.php

I was thinking today as I drove through Port Canaveral how all those people that fill those mammoth ships endure the heat in August. The ships are full during the summer months. I am not totally sold on your trip but my friends live in Ocean Springs, Ms and they sail all summer on the Gulf and she wants me to visit in August. I want to sail for free so am thinking about it! Orlando parks are full in the summer but they have misters everywhere and fans and it is ok. I go to the beach, wear flips or the sand will burn you and stay in the ocean most of the time till I leave. I would see New Orleans if you must and head for the coast. Cumberland Island http://www.nps.gov/cuis/index.htm Hilton Head, Tybee Island, The outer banks of North Carolina. You do have a lot of choices. Why Memphis?
I love water sports and we have paddle boarding, surfing, jet skiing which are great and the parks are well kept. I live very close to Canaveral Seashore and it is beautiful. The USA still does the National Parks proud.
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Old Jan 5th, 2015, 09:24 PM
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Okay. I'm back. Finally had time to sit down and do the routing. First of all, let's look at the route and shelve the "heat/humidity" factor. If you (the reader) CAN'T stop thinking about the weather, let's substitute winter weather instead of summer in your mind's eye.

mamabearUK, I'm not sure what your thoughts are regarding Outdoor Activities on this trip, but let's call them "OA"s.

Atlanta to Chattanooga - My suggestion. If you are going to Nashville, stop for the night in Chattanooga. There's lots to do there and even if you don't do much it's pretty and higher in elevation. If it's the worst humidity ever on record (or the coldest day) or raining cats and dogs you could stop at Ruby Falls.

The drive from Atlanta = less than 2 hours.

Nashville! - the drive to Nashville from Chattanooga is about 2 hours. Not sure what you are planning to do there. Are you going to the Grand Old Opry? Do you want to visit some music bars? A visit to the Parthenon? A visit to the Hermitage?
OA = ? Other than a few minutes walking into and out of the Parthenon or taking the wagon tour at the Hermitage, everything so far is in air-conditioned (or heated) car/building. If it's really hot, you could take the lantern tour of the Hermitage.

Memphis! It's about 3 hours to Memphis.
Most people want to see Graceland and eat some BBQ.
What else do you want to do there?
What OAs might you want to do in Memphis?

Natchez! It's 4+ hours to Natchez.
What do you want to do there? I enjoyed driving some of the Natchez Trace Parkway and visited an historic house.
What OAs might you want to do in Natchez?

Lafayette! It's about 2.5 hours to Lafayette.
Not sure what you want to do in Lafayette, but how much of it is OAs ?

New Orleans! It's about 2 hours to NOLA.
There's LOTS to do in NOLA but there's plenty of a/c(heated) bars and other places to cool off/warm up. If it's unbearable hot(cold), save the OA for the evening. I've been to NOLA on the muggiest of days and it's still a great place to be.

Montgomery! It's about 4.5 hours to Montgomery.
Not sure what you want to do there, but the Civil Rights Memorial is interesting. Not sure what OAs you are interested in.

Montgomery alternative - stop by the beach for a few days
I like the little villages along 30a, but you can't go wrong anywhere on the Gulf in the panhandle of FL. Plus you have swimming and sea breezes.

Savannah! about 5 hours from Montgomery
Charleston! less than 2 hours from Savannah
They are both coastal cities and if it's hot and humid, duck in more a/c places. In the winter they are rarely really cold.
If you are hot and tired, grab a pedi-cab to get a ride ($1/minute) in Savannah to wherever you want to go in the HD.

OFF TO THE HILLS!
Asheville! About 4 hours!
Higher elevations and cooler with less humidity. This is the area in which to do lots of OAs - hikes, waterfalls, etc. Much cooler and lots to do.

Dillard, GA! less than 2 hours - still cooler with little humidity and more hikes, waterfalls and horseback riding.

Great restaurants in the mountains, including the famous Dillard House in Dillard and one of the top 100 restaurants in the country in Clayton GA - Fortify. Visit Black Rock State Park (over 3600 ft elevation) and Highlands NC (over 4000 ft). Stop and hike around or down into Tallulah Gorge, where another Wallende will walk across on a tightrope.

Dillard to Atlanta = 2 hours


So there's your routing and some suggestions. Now I have the same question someone upthread asked: On your road trips, how many Outdoor Activities / OAs do you usually do and what type?

If it's very hot and humid you may want to reschedule them to early morning or evening (just like we do in the south). But how much strenuous activity do you plan for your road trips? If you are missing hiking, etc. plan to do those on the mountain part of the trip.

That routing is 35 hours worth of driving over a 3 week trip, so 11 hours of driving per week. That's very easy pacing for a road trip.
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Old Jan 6th, 2015, 03:53 AM
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Mamabear, I KNOW you will THANK Starrs for that piece of work--it's a beaut. If you look at it, you can answer Starrs questions about your interests, and leave the weather behind.
There is NO reason to abandon your plan.
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Old Jan 6th, 2015, 06:30 AM
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I count four people for, or for with reservations, and ten against or mostly against, including two Brits who moved to the south.

I am not sure why starrs is so vociferously in favor. No one is saying not to visit the south, just not to do it in August. Those snowbirds who go back north in the summer, and the Floridians with summer homes in the North Carolina mountains have the right idea. There are plenty of other places the OP could visit, and likely other times for her to visit the south - maybe Easter vacation?
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Old Jan 6th, 2015, 06:48 AM
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starrs is obsessed

>>I count four people for . . .
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Old Jan 6th, 2015, 07:04 AM
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"I am not sure why starrs is so vociferously in favor."

I don't know that I'm "so vociferously in favor" but I'm very definitely against the "sky is falling" type of comments.

This is a public internet travel forum. A person asks a question. Different people give input. Some will be "for". Some will be "against". The person asking the question will read and make a decision.

I think some of the comments are ridiculous to be honest.

"Well, it looks like Starr's has won out (let it be on your head)"
Seriously? Who's "winning" anything?
"let it be on your head"? Seriously? What a dire warning. What exactly will "be on my head"?

I've been told I don't live here, that I don't know what the weather is like and at the same time "Starrs - you LIVE there. You HAVE to endure it/function"
It's pretty funny. I do live here. I do know what the weather is like in August. I don't have to live here - I choose to live here. I could choose to live somewhere else, but I like the southeast.

Please don't tell me I don't know what the combo of heat and humidity is like. I've traveled and worked the southeast for business since the 80s and I've "had to" be in NOLA during the hottest and muggiest of days, wearing business attire and pantyhose (required). One horribly hot day in SC, I was walking across a parking lot with the rep and said that pantyhose were the cruelest invention of all time. He corrected me and said a tie was. I looked at him in his suit and tie and agreed.

No one has said the SE or the "deep south" does not get hot. NO one has said the humidity is a big difference from the UK.
What *I* am saying is, that every day is not as horrendous as some of you imply. On the 4th of July some years we have 90+ degrees and 90% humidity. That IS like walking through a sponge. Last year, the 4th of July was cool, even jacket weather, with virtually no humidity.

So as long as the drama folks are issuing dire warnings, I will continue to share my point of view.

I think the stats for Yellowstone is that 80% of visitors never get more than a few yards off the parking lots or sidewalks.

I think the same is true for most folks visiting the "deep south" no matter the weather - hot, cold, in between. MOST people spend no more than an hour or so out of their cars or heated/air conditioned buildings. I'm not making that up. That's my conclusion based on reading years of trip reports and looking at vacation photos.

I didn't make that assumption for the OP when I put her loop into a plan. In fact, I asked what OA - Outdoor Activities - - they plan to do during an AUGUST trip in the DEEP SOUTH. If her plans for "outdoor activities" are the same as the majority of visitors to Nashville/Memphis/New Orleans/Montgomery, she's going to be in climate controlled surroundings 80% - maybe 90% - of the time.

If she decides to change her trip plans, that's her choice. No one is vested in this person's trip. I'm just going to share my experiences and opinions.

I can't imagine living in an area where one only walks to the mailbox and back during the day and wouldn't consider going to the zoo in their city. That's their choice, but I don't think their choice represents what others are doing. I imagine there are walkers and runners passing her/him by in his neighborhood on that walk to the mailbox and not only are they "surviving" they are thriving. I would bet money there are kids with their grandmas enjoying the zoo on summer days. Just because one person (or a thousand) hate the weather where they live doesn't mean another person (or a thousand) aren't out and enjoying being outside in the same city on the same days.

A whole lot of drama going on here. Share the drama. I'll share a different set of experiences.
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Old Jan 6th, 2015, 07:23 AM
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A martian, janisj? LOL!
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Old Jan 6th, 2015, 07:44 AM
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"I count four people for, or for with reservations, and ten against or mostly against, including two Brits who moved to the south"

thursdaysd, that made me curious. I tried to do a Yes/No count but the answers are more than Yes/No.
Here's my count and categories:

STAY AWAY!
It's going to be hot and humid but you can do it.
Other months would be better but it'll be okay if you go.

Posters, feel free to correct me if I reached the wrong conclusion

STAY AWAY!
Ackislander
thursdaysd - "no way"
janisJ - "I'd never"
Dayle
rjasnumberonefan
kayd - I'm assuming comparing VA to the jungles of SE Asia is a strong no

It's going to be hot and humid but you can do it.
starrs
Gretchen
flpab
Aliciaj

Other months would be better but it'll be okay if you go.
wtm003
sludick
Barbara
Cranachin (not sure if this is the correct category but I think so based on responses).
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