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  1. Default Avoiding mountains, traveling north of Greenville, SC

    Hi everyone – I'm planning a roadtrip where I'll be towing with a car that is not exactly well suited for towing, so I'm trying to avoid hills and mountains as much as possible. I would normally drive north using I-26/I-40/I-75 (Greenville to Asheville, to Knoxville) then north; but that takes me through the rather windy mountains of NC/TN on I-40. I've driven this route probably 50 times, but with my towing, I'd like to avoid it.

    So – will I be able to avoid mountains if I drive I-85 to Atlanta, and then I-24 to I-57 north? or will I run to mountains that way too?

    Thanks!

  2. #2

    Default What is your destination?

    You mention I-75 to reach points north of Knoxville but then mention I-57 from I-24 if you were to circle down to Atlanta first. What is your ultimate destination with the tow?

    While there are a few grades between Greenville, SC and Asheville, NC, and a few more immediately west of Asheville along I-40, but from Canton on through the mountains I-40 follows the Pigeon River and while very windy, it's not steep.

    There are some long grades along I-75 north of Knoxville, roughly between Knoxville and a little north of Corbin, KY, but they're 3 lanes on the uphill side and are thus well-laid out for a towed vehicle.

    Your alternate route of using I-85 southwest to ATL involves plenty of long grades as I-85 follows the edge of the Blue Ridge foothills all the way. You then have to climb up on to the Cumberland Plateau on I-24 west of Chattanooga before reaching flatter terrain at about Clarksville, TN, where it then remains fairly flat to I-57 in Illinois.

    Long story short, if your destination is far enough west to involve Nashville, TN, I-24, and I-57, perhaps going down through ATL isn't such a bad idea. If instead you're headed to Ohio, Indiana, or northeastern Illinois, I'd just bite the bullet and pass through familiar territory to Asheville, Knoxville and points north of there along I-75.

    Foy

  3. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Foy View Post
    You mention I-75 to reach points north of Knoxville but then mention I-57 from I-24 if you were to circle down to Atlanta first. What is your ultimate destination with the tow?

    Long story short, if your destination is far enough west to involve Nashville, TN, I-24, and I-57, perhaps going down through ATL isn't such a bad idea. If instead you're headed to Ohio, Indiana, or northeastern Illinois, I'd just bite the bullet and pass through familiar territory to Asheville, Knoxville and points north of there along I-75.

    Foy
    We're headed to Minnesota, so I think it's far enough west that backtracking won't be too awful. That being said, I'm not sure if the climb up Cumberland will make it just as bad....

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
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    9,272

    Default

    Take I-85 to Atlanta, then I-20 to Birmingham. Take US-78/I-22 to Memphis and pick up I-55 to go north. Where in MN are you going?

  5. #5

    Default Monteagle, TN grade

    Ben,

    OK, so your only segment of I-75 would be from ATL to Chattanooga. Never been on it, but have looked closely at topographic maps and it doesn't look bad to me. From west of Chattanooga, I-24 climbs atop the Cumberland Plateau near Monteagle, TN. It's a few miles (maybe 6-8 miles in all?) of grade, then you're on top. A fairly short distance atop the grade and you descend into the Nashville basin. There are around 4 1-2 mile grades climbing out of Nashville to the west along I-24, then it's gently rolling from Clarksville all the way to I-57 at Mount Vernon, IL.

    For towing, I'm not crazy about I-40 between Oak Ridge, TN and Lebanon, TN. It's one of the older segments of I-40 and the climb up the Plateau is long and the drive atop the Plateau includes a goodly number of long grades and tight-ish curves, and the truck traffic is plentiful.

    Foy

  6. #6

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Foy View Post
    OK, so your only segment of I-75 would be from ATL to Chattanooga. Never been on it, but have looked closely at topographic maps and it doesn't look bad to me. From west of Chattanooga, I-24 climbs atop the Cumberland Plateau near Monteagle, TN. It's a few miles (maybe 6-8 miles in all?) of grade, then you're on top. A fairly short distance atop the grade and you descend into the Nashville basin. There are around 4 1-2 mile grades climbing out of Nashville to the west along I-24, then it's gently rolling from Clarksville all the way to I-57 at Mount Vernon, IL.
    I've been over the I-85/I-75/I-24/I-57 route from Greenville to Mt. Vernon many times. Yes, the climb up to Monteagle is a pretty good grade, and the downgrade is also long and steep, but it has lanes for slower vehicles, so you shouldn't have trouble on it. From there on its smooth sailing. I'd suggest staying on I-57 all the way to Champaign, then I-74 to Normal and I-39 to Rockford, where it joins I-90 up to Minnesota. It will be interstate all the way.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern California
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    4,546

    Default

    I'm planning a roadtrip where I'll be towing with a car that is not exactly well suited for towing, so I'm trying to avoid hills and mountains as much as possible.
    What are you towing, and with what?


    Donna

  8. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Harry Kline View Post
    Yes, the climb up to Monteagle is a pretty good grade, and the downgrade is also long and steep, but it has lanes for slower vehicles, so you shouldn't have trouble on it.
    What if I told you I'm towing 1450 pounds (145 pounds of tongue weight) with a subcompact (Honda Fit). Do you still think the grades wouldn't be a problem?

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
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    Default

    In the US, towing with a Fit will void your warranty. In other markets it has a 1000# limit. I wouldn't do it. If this is a one way trip and you need to drive the car back to SC, I'd rent a U-Haul truck and a car trailer, and tow the Fit.

    If you must, please refer to my post #4, where in MN are you going?

  10. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by glc View Post
    In the US, towing with a Fit will void your warranty. In other markets it has a 1000# limit. I wouldn't do it. If this is a one way trip and you need to drive the car back to SC, I'd rent a U-Haul truck and a car trailer, and tow the Fit.

    If you must, please refer to my post #4, where in MN are you going?
    The precise verbiage on the warranty voiding is that it may void the warranty. There's quite a few threads over on the "fitfreaks" forum about towing with a Fit. But I think I will be taking your advice and going the long way around.

    I'm driving to about 30 miles south of Minneapolis, right off of I-35.

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