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  1. Default Oakville, Ontario to New Orleans - December 2014

    We are a family of 5 driving from Canada (Oakville, ON) to New Orleans to go on a cruise over the Christmas holiday. Our plan is to drive directly to New Orleans without any sight-seeing, but to take time to see some sights on the way back (after the cruise).

    We're planning to cross the border at Windsor/Detroit, and would love input on the best route, and best places to overnight from Detroit to New Orleans. Any suggestions about where to stop/visit on the way back would also be great!

    Our initial thought is to leave VERY early the morning of December 19th (5:00 am). The cruise departs from the Port in New Orleans at 4:00 pm on December 21st.

    I hope this is enough information to get your thoughts and advice. Thanks in advance! :-)

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
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    13,064

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    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    As long as the weather is in your favor, I think you're set up to be alright. Oakville to NOLA is pushing the limits of what can be done safely in two days, but with 2.5 you'll be in good shape.

    There's nothing wrong with leaving early, but I would caution against overdoing it. The last thing you want to do is to hit the road when everyone is tired and cranky from not getting enough sleep, especially since getting a family of 5 on the road is going to take some time by itself. Also don't think that if you get on the road at 5am, that you can drive until 10 at night. If you get on the road early, then also stop early to relax and rest up for the next day.

    For a route, after Detroit, I'd recommend I-75/I-71/I-65/I-20/I-59 through Cincinnati, Louisville, Nashville, and Birmingham. I'd plan to stop in Louisville the first night, and I'd actually stop a bit short of NOLA, probably in Hattiesburg the second. As it is, those drives will already take 10-12 hours, especially considering time to cross the border. If you really want to make sure you spend the night in New Orleans, then you need to look at spending the night in Elizabethtown, KY, or Bowling Green - but that should be the absolute max you look to do in a single day.

    Speaking of border crossings, if you've got a smartphone, try to get an update on border crossing times when you get around London, as it could be faster/easier to cross at Sarnia.

    Of course, the other big thing you'll have to keep any eye on is the weather. If there is bad weather in the forecast, I'd see about even trying to get out on the road the evening of the 18th to give you even more cushion since you're on a hard deadline. You will have to look at the forecast across nearly your entire trip, as ice storms could potentially be an issue all the way into Tennessee and Mississippi.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,271

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    My software says that crossing at Sarnia is 15 minutes faster than crossing at Detroit, assuming equal border delays. It also shows that crossing at Buffalo only adds 5 minutes to the Sarnia route, again assuming equal border delays. I think I would choose the route depending on exactly when during the day on weekdays you will be hitting the major metro areas. If you leave early in the morning, that would probably rule out the Buffalo option. Detroit should be okay in the middle of the day.

    If I were making the trip, I'd probably cross at Sarnia and take I-94/I-75 right through the middle of Detroit. As I remember, Hwy 3 through Windsor has traffic lights and congestion, and the Ambassador Bridge is usually congested with no direct hookup to I-94.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2003
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    Crossing at Buffalo adds about 40 miles to the trip, I can't see how that would only add 5 minutes to the trip.

    I've never found any distinct pattern in which is the shortest wait among the 3 Detroit area border crossings. I've had to wait at all of them at times, and I've breezed right through all of them at other times. The Ambassador Bridge dumps right out onto I-75, the Tunnel dumps you into Downtown Detroit, which makes getting back onto the highway a bit more difficult (but still not bad). In either case, you are looking at 5-10 miles of city driving through Windsor, which is why Sarnia can be a bit easier.

  5. Default

    Hi Midwest Michael,

    Thanks so much for your reply and suggestions for the trip from Oakville to New Orleans. We will definitely look into crossing at Sarnia. I also really like the idea of staying outside of New Orleans on our second night in Hattiesburg. I think we will try to get just south of Louisville the first night.

    If you have any suggestions for our more leisurely trip home (4 days rather than 2), I would be happy to hear them!

    Thanks again, CathB

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
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    Joplin MO
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    Crossing at Buffalo adds about 40 miles to the trip, I can't see how that would only add 5 minutes to the trip.
    I would guess speed limits. Ontario is only 100 kph (62 mph) on expressways.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2003
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    Green County, Wisconsin
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    What kinds of things are you interested in seeing/doing? Do you want to take the same direct route back and just stop to see things, or do you want to take a different route?

    A few options, you could skip the interstate and head from Louisiana to Tennessee on the Natchez Trace Parkway. I-65 also goes right past Mammoth Cave National Park, and of course, the cities of Nashville, Louisville, Cincinnati, and Detroit all have things worth exploring.

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