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JLeslie's avatar

Can you give me information about driving from Tampa to Akron?

Asked by JLeslie (59828points) September 20th, 2015 from iPhone

I drove it once using I77 through Western Virginia and West Virginia and the mountains were brutal! The next time we do the trip will be pulling a trailer and I’m afraid. I was thinking of going up I75 through Chattanooga, and then in Cincinnati get onto I71. I know I will hit some mountains through TN, but what I want to know is will the mountain driving be shorter in duration on this alternate route? Less extreme? It’s a longer route, but pulling a trailer we will have to slow down so much so often in West Virginia that I think it won’t be that different, and hopefully I won’t be so scared.

Plus, I’m hoping hotels will be better along I75 up towards Lexington and Cincinnati than what was in WV.

I’m hoping some of you have driven both, or know a way in can easily look at a topography map with an overlay of the roads and make an educated guess.

I’m going to send the Q to SQUEEKY. I’m hoping truck drivers have some sort of trick of the trade.

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28 Answers

elbanditoroso's avatar

Some major hills on 77 at the NC/Virginia line. Serious hills. Beautiful drive, but with a trailer, not much fun.

The other thing is that 77 in WV is also quite hilly. Great scenery, good road, but lots of hills. And a couple of tunnels.

77 has fewer hotels in NC and WV; just not as busy a route.

I’d do the 75 option. There are some hills, of course, but not as bad as on 77.

Don’t get to Columbus around rush hour – 675 is a bear at that point.

JLeslie's avatar

I try to avoid all major-ish cities during rush hour. :).

Tropical_Willie's avatar

I-77 has tolls which are higher for the extra axles on a trailer.

I agree, Atlanta is to be avoided at rush hour.

chyna's avatar

West Virginia has some very nice hotels. As in any state, you must’ve just picked the wrong ones to stay in.

msh's avatar

Watch your speed in Ohio, especially out-of-state plates.
Drive safely and enjoy the scenery changes!

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

Never driven the route, but I would suggest checking out the hotels on one of the reference sites. I was thinking of staying at one place around here and I checked out the sites. This hotel looked nice but I guess it’s a huge dump. They don’t clean and there are no supplies.

JLeslie's avatar

Atlanta is the biggest negative about the I75 route, but we cut through there once or twice a year, and usually manage to sail right through.

@chyna We stayed in Charleston, WV and the hotel was fine. I won’t be able to do that with a trailer. Most of the stops along I77 were typical, interstate, in the middle of nowhere-ish type of stops with a few hotels and a few restaurants. I didn’t notice any of them to be hotels I prefer to stay in, but there were some that certainly would suffice. Remember I am just traveling the interstate, pulling a trailer with a Porsche that is visible, and need adequate space at a hotel to turn a trailer around and park. My ideal is a Fairfield in or something similar. My preference is Marriott family hotels. Holiday Inn Express works too. I’m not talking about hotels in WV in general, just the ones along I77. This happens in states all over the country. The more money in an area, usually the better the hotel choices, and the better the standards within the hotel, but not always.

chyna's avatar

I work in Charleston! It’s a 20 minute drive from my house. And I was just teasing. There really aren’t a whole lot of really nice places to stop in.
WV is really hilly, so you would be better going through Tennessee.

SQUEEKY2's avatar

I don’t know the area at all,in fact the only state I have ever drivin in is Washington state, I have drivin all over Canada if you wanted info on that I’m your guy.

JLeslie's avatar

@chyna I didn’t remember you work there. I should have asked you for a restaurant recommendation. LOL. Although, it would not have mattered. I had to run into the mall and so we just ate food court, because we were exhausted and wanted something fast. Maybe we could have met up? It would have been difficult though, we got there pretty late.

@SQUEEKY2 I thought maybe truck drivers had a trick of the trade even if they hadn’t driven it themselves.

chyna's avatar

If you do go through WV on your way through on I-77 in Beckley, there is a place called Tamarack. Please stop there. It is all the best artisans in WV work. Really worth seeing. Plus a good place to eat inside.

josie's avatar

I’ve done both but no trailer.

I 77 is 1–2 hours shorter
But you are nervous about taking your trailer across the Allegheny mountains, which I would not like either.
Plus, if you are laying over, that’s only an hour or half hour a day. You can do anything for an hour.
Sounds like I 75

elbanditoroso's avatar

@chyna – glad you mentioned Tamarack. I’ve stopped there several times when driving across WV. Very good exhibits and craftwork. What threw me is that it is literally in the middle of nowhere – just where two interstates cross.

Did they every finish Noah’s Ark on I-79? I haven’t been that way in 8 years.

chyna's avatar

I haven’t been that way in a long time but I think they stopped work on it.

JLeslie's avatar

Thanks everyone!

elbanditoroso's avatar

Have a safe drive.

SQUEEKY2's avatar

Hey you never said what size or kind of trailer??
That does make a huge difference,and does your vehicle struggle with it on large grades?
If it does and your not comfortable with it than better stick to flatter ground.

SQUEEKY2's avatar

I grew up in the mountains, I drive passes that would scare the crap out of most people.

JLeslie's avatar

The trailer is an aluminum open trailer, and I think it is 20 ft long? Maybe a few ft more. So, it’s a Ford 150 truck that has some sort of technology to help you in hills when towing. I think it helps both uphill and down. We tow about 5k pounds I think.

The thing is, I don’t trust my husband to slow way the fuck down before the curve or before the downhill. I know that’s awful to say that I don’t trust him, but I am overly sensitive to downhill and fast curves. I was in a bad accident and I don’t like to feel like things could get out of control, rip through a guard rail, and plummet to my death.

I’m fine going fast on fairly straight roads (within reason) with a regular car, but even in a regular car, because of his racing skills he often doesn’t slow a little before a mild curve and accelerate into it, he will take the curve at speed. That makes me uncomfortable because of the G force. He doesn’t try to race when pulling the trailer. We go much slower than our friends typically, which is why we rarely caravan with them.

I told him to just make me happy and go extremely slow in the mountains and in the curves and if we lose an hour on a long drive so what. At least he won’t hear me nag and we won’t fight. I’m afraid if I don’t go with him he will kill himself.

jca's avatar

@JLeslie: When is the move?

JLeslie's avatar

Not sure. I think the latest is January for the full move, but we are thinking of doing the trailer in October before the snow is a possibility.

jca's avatar

I was in a bad car accident once and for a few years after that, whenever I was a passenger, I’d be paranoid and anxious, especially when it was time for the driver to brake or slow down. When approaching cars that were slowing down, I’d almost have a heart attack. That feeling went away, luckily, and now I don’t think about it any more.

If you move in January, you’re at risk of snow storms and bad weather.

JLeslie's avatar

@jca It’s been almost three years. He knows better than the average person the stopping capabilities of the brakes, and he enjoys the g force pull. Bad combinations for me. Most of the time he drives the speed limit or 5 over. He is not usually racing around town. Even if you are driving 45 on the 45, and you get to a curve you usually lift your foot of the gas a little before the curve. He won’t if it’s not necessary to make it through the curve. It bothers me less in familiar roads, but he’ll do it on an unfamiliar road and it’s simply irresponsible in my opinion! Or, he won’t slow completely down to, or very close to, the yellow warning speed. I think if you can’t see the road beyond the curve you need to follow the recommended speed, especially in a truck of any sort, or hauling. When we were in your neck of the woods he was good about slowing down for me along the parkways.

jca's avatar

These parkways around here are little deathtraps. Built in the early 1900’s, they were originally roads for a Sunday cruise, one lane in each direction. Twisty, hilly, tight. Now there are people commuting 80 mph, two and three lanes wide on the same parkways. I try to avoid them when I can and take the thruway, which is three lanes, straighter and flatter.

elbanditoroso's avatar

January through WV could be iffy because of the possibility of snow. If you can, do the towing before winter hits.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

If you are traveling in the Winter go up I-75, the West Virginia hills can and are crazy during snow and ice storms, I’ve traveled up I-77 several times in December and January, not fun in the snow with a bunch of drivers from south of the Mason-Dixon line.

JLeslie's avatar

We hope to avoid the snow and ice at all costs for this particular drive. Even if it means paying extra for another month of storage before we have to leave. We are already researching storage.

majorrich's avatar

We used to use the I-75 a lot and I could never figure out why Georgia is so much longer coming north than it is going south. I definitely agree with others Ohio’s “Flying Tire Auto Club” (referring to their door sticker) seem to really love out of staters.

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