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  1. Default Motorhome Trip Philadelphia to New Orleans

    We're planning to take our 40' motorhome to New Orleans this Spring and are looking for suggestions on a route & stops. We tow a Jeep, so we can get off the beaten path for side excursions if desired. We have about 3 weeks, maybe more if necessary. We've done several long trips like this before, and we're familiar and comfortable with making it up day by day as we go along. We tend to drive in the morning in the motorhome and sight see in the afternoon in the Jeep. We spend the nights in places like Walmart.

    So far, we're looking at Skyline Drive/Blue Ridge Parkway, Nashville. Memphis (Graceland) and other music destinations as recommended. We also want to see the beautiful sights of the good 'ole USA. Thinking about taking an inland route down and a coastal route back.

    Suggestions appreciated.

    Joe

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
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    9,879

    Default Here and There

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    You seem to be an experienced RoadTripper with a good appreciation for how long a relaxed, enjoyable, and safe trip will take, so let me just offer a few random observations. For the southbound, inland trip I'd get inland as soon as possible, even to the point of taking the PA TPK to Harrisburg to tie into I-81 rather than taking I-95 down through Baltimore and DC. Both roads involve tolls, which can be substantial for an RV and toad, but the I-76/I-81 route avoids a lot of heavily congested urban traffic.

    You can hit the Skyline Drive at Front Royal VA, near the junction of I-81 and I-64, and that will connect with the Blue Ridge Parkway. Towns and cities I've particularly enjoyed along the I-81/BRP corridor include Lexington and Roanoke VA, and Asheville NC at the southern end of the BRP. From Asheville it's a straight shot on I-40 to Nashville and then on to Memphis.

    Heading south from Memphis to New Orleans, you can follow the Great River Road or take I-55. The former will take you through the Birth of the Blues region while the later will take you close enough to visit the only Petrified Forest east of the Mississippi. Finally, although it too will be relatively expensive, consider taking the unique Lake Pontchartrain Causeway into New Orleans.

    Similarly, for the return leg, I'd suggest driving a few extra miles and/or taking slightly slower than Interstate roads to avoid Atlanta. Something like I-85 to Opelika AL, US-280/US-80/GA-96/I-75 to Macon - with a possible side trip to FDR's Little White House. GA-24/GA-88/US-1/I-20/I-95/I-40 would get you to the Atlantic Coast.

    One final suggestion that's going to be costly, but I think worth it, is to head for Cedar Island NC and take the ferry over to Ocracoke. The drive north along the Outer Banks is wonderful. There is another ferry on this route, but it's free, and the route (NC-12) will take you past Hatteras Light, Fort Raleigh, and Kitty Hawk.

    At the northern end of this segment, you'd get to the Norfolk area where you can take the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel over to the Delmarva Peninsula and come up that to again avoid DC and Baltimore. For me the highlights of coming up this way center around the town of Chincoteague VA where you have the Chincoteague Wildlife Refuge, a NASA launch facility and small museum, and access to the Assateague Island National Seashore.

    I hope you find that some of those suggestions suit your tastes.

    AZBuck
    Last edited by AZBuck; 12-27-2019 at 06:36 PM. Reason: Added Link

  3. Default

    AZBuck,
    Thanks for the reply! We did some nifty ferry rides with the RV on a trip to the Canadian Maritimes a couple years ago, from the mainland to Nova Scotia and then again to Prince Edward Island. Do you know if the ones you recommended can handle a rig that's 55 ft long including the towed car? Same question on the causeway.
    How about some of the towns on the Mississippi, like Natchez and Baton Rouge. Should we plan a river route into the trip, or is that the River Road recommendation ?

    Thanks again
    Joe

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
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    9,879

    Default Details

    From the website for the Cedar Island-Ocracoke ferry that I linked to: "The Ocracoke – Cedar Island Ferry can accommodate large vehicles, such as RVs or trucks with trailers, however the fare is based on length, and is progressively higher for longer vehicles." By the way...Reservations are a MUST. If you pull up to the ferry without one, you could wait all day for an open slot.

    The other ferry, the Hatteras-Ocracoke Ferry does not take reservations, loading on a first-come, first-served basis. But it is free. From their website: "The Hatteras - Ocracoke Ferry can accommodate all types of large vehicles that are legally allowed on the highway, including large trucks, trucks with trailers, RVs, and tractor trailers."

    As for how to get from Memphis to New Orleans, I don't think you can go wrong with either general route I suggested. Whichever suits you best is the best route for you. You can of course, since you are not time constrained, wander back and forth between them or split the difference by using US-61, the Blues Highway (I added a link to this in my original post). I tend not to spend much time in cities or large towns, but I certainly enjoyed my visit to the Vicksburg battlefield.

    The Lake Pontchartrain Causeway's web page (linked to in my original post) lists no limitations on size, and its toll schedule includes vehicles up to seven axles and over seven feet (tall?, wide?).

    AZBuck

  5. #5

    Default

    Just to note with the Skyline Drive is that the speed limit is only 35, and it is over 100 miles long, so that comes to 3+ hours just to travel the whole thing (not counting time for stops at the pull offs and such). Not a huge amount, but it can throw off planning if you are not expecting it.

    As I remember, there are also some sharper turns and one tunnel (12'8" clearance) to think about with a larger vehicle(s), and there may have been some of the pull outs that had limited space and might give you issues with a 55' length vehicle (we only had 15 passenger vans or a regular car when I was there a couple times).

    Not sure if the Blue Ridge parkway is similar or not.

    One other thing I noted - looking at the ferry mentioned above, it doesn't apply to that one, but another one they run in the state the rates vary by length (on that one under 20' is $7, 20-40 is $14 and 40-65 is $28). So, were you taking that one, you might save a few $ by having the 2 vehicles separate (assuming the 40' would go for the $14 and the car for the $7 categories, it is less than the $28 for the combo). Not sure if it is worth it, but you would only have to split them for the ride, so not much extra fuel/driving.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,842

    Default

    Looks like the length limit on the ferries is 65 feet, and if your rig is over 40 feet, the fare is $45.00 on the Cedar Island-Ocracoke ferry. Cash toll on the causeway is $9.00 to $23.00 depending on number of axles and (height?) (width?) collected southbound only.

    Dropping the toad for the ferry will not save you and may actually cost more - less than 20 feet is $15, 20-40 is $30, and 40-65 is $45.

  7. #7

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by glc View Post
    Dropping the toad for the ferry will not save you and may actually cost more - less than 20 feet is $15, 20-40 is $30, and 40-65 is $45.
    True - that one doesn't seem to make any difference, either paying the $30 & $15 or the $45, which actually makes sense (that the total is the same for the same overall total length).

    For some reason that other ferry (which is listed on the same NC state site) has the rates with more of a jump where the two lower classes are cheaper added together than the higher one.

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