We just bought our first camper. Tho my hubby had a pop up years ago we are now in our late 50's, retired and just purchased a new Jayco Feather Lite 17Z. We live in Michigan City and plan on taking off mid Oct. headed to FL. We would like to see Edenton NC, the Outer Banks, and head down into FL. We are planning on being out for 6 months. My question to you all is this. I would like to make it across country on secondary roads over to NC. We have road bikes and plan on doing some riding each day as well. Being new to towing I am nervous about getting on those big freeways. Plus we cannot ride on those. Has anyone had such a trip from MI to NC. and could recommend a good secondary route with some rv parks. I have enjoyed reading all you out there have to offer on this site. My new quote today is "The Journey is the Destination."
We use the old numbered highways most of the time. It is more relaxing, and more fun. Almost all Interstates look the same, boring.
Just pick any road, it is easy.
For campgrounds along the way, buy a copy of Trailer Life. It is the best we've found in many years of RVing.
2010 Ford Expedition TV
2010 Outback 230RS Toybox, 5390# UVW, 6800# Loaded Not yet camped in Hawaii, 2 Canada Provinces, & 2 Territories I can't be lost because I don't care where this lovely road is going
We like to take secondary roads when time allows. My suggestion to you is to pick out some good U.S. routes as that will take you through small (and sometimes large) towns, yet bypassing the Interstates. In addition to the US routes you can utilize a web site like RV Park Reviews.com to select specific states & cities to find potential campgrounds. Below is a clicky to the parks review web site.
I actually tried find some US routes for you, but gave up after realizing that not many routes will take you directly from Michigan City to the NC coast.
I've traveled some of these routes from SW Michigan on my way to Lexington, KY. US30 to Ft. Wayne. From Ft. Wayne there are some other options like US27 south, or US30 east, or US33 east. You can also catch US127 south off either 30 or 33 in western Ohio. 27 or 127 will take you into Kentucky.
Finding a good US highway south easterly from either Columbus, OH or easterly from the Kentucky area (if using 27 or 127) is tough. I've used US25 east from the Corbin, KY area that goes through the Cumberland Gap, but you still have to hook up with other less direct routes of your liking or preference to get though Tennessee and eventually into NC.
One last suggestion. I'm a map person rather than a GPS type of device so I prefer a good Rand-McNally Road Atlas to guide me while taking the back roads. Be sure to pick one up if you don't have one already. Good luck and have fun.
Secondary roads and back roads are what we travel majority of time. Hate traveling Interstates.........boring!
We try to limit travel days to less than 250 miles.
Mapquest from point to point......then drag the suggested route around to alt. routes.
Then we check out CGs on chosen route.
Enter via northern hwy then travel/camp going southbound
When it's time to leave catch the ferries over to island/mainland.
Island ferry free......get in line
Mainland ferry...make reservation. $$
2007 RAM 3500 QC LB SRW 5.9L CTD 48re 4:10 4K in bed 'quiet genny'
2007 HitchHiker II 32.5 UKTG 2000W Xantex Inverter
Hit the Road Free & Clear April '07
I would use the primary highway system, U.S. numbered highways and numbered state highways designated for large vehicles. Used the all the time NC/SC to Michigan, when I was stationed there and there were no Interstates through the Appalachians.
I would leave the secondary roads, i.e. undesignated state highways and county roads, to local traffic. In western NC and eastern Tennessee and Kentucky, I've been on state highways that were challenging enough in a small sport sedan.
My usual crossing was US-25, which is doable in a large vehicle, big trucks used it for 50 years before the Interstate, but much slower travel. Once I-40 got built, I changed my route to use that. US-25 is still maintained as a primary highway, not been reduced to secondary status. It is kept up as an alternate route if the Interstate becomes unusable.
I've also crossed on US-50 and US-60 (always in a car, but usable by large trucks), but those will require you to travel further south before going east, and get even slower on mountain segments. They also route onto the replacing Interstate in a number of places.
* This post was
edited 08/12/12 09:36pm by tatest *
We love the secondary roads, the ones that were the major roads before the interstates were built. They are generally in good condition, often better than the interstate, & don't usually have volume of commercial traffic on them.
Best way to go if time is not a priority.
Boat: 32' 1996 Albin 32+2, single Cummins 315hp
40+ night per year overnighter
Wow! That's a difficult route if it's all to be on secondary roads. I would take US421/SR43 direct south to West Lafayette, IN. Pick up US231 to Bowling Green, Kentucky and on to Lebanon, Tennessee (just east of Nashville). By then you might feel better (hopefully) with towing your RV because the best route from there would be Interstate 40 east through Knoxville, Asheville, NC, Winston-Salem, NC, Raleigh, NC. Then pick up US64 to Williamston, NC and US13 to US17 at Windsor to Edenton, NC. The reason I suggest getting on I-40 is because there really aren't any good, easy east/west secondary roads. You will be running into mountainous country at that point and although you could do it it would be zigzagging and very slow. Finding campgrounds would also be difficult. This route would be about 1100 miles. I'm sure once you've been driving your new RV for a while you'll feel much more confident for the interstates. Have a good trip and keep us informed how it went....
For campgrounds, pick out some good size town and then look on this web site for suggestions around those towns:
I can understand your concern about some expressways. Especially if traffic is heavy, it can seem daunting.
I approach it a little differently in my mind. To me, an expressway is a nice, wide place to drive with no oncoming traffic. It's all going in the same direction. And there's always another lane, so I can toodle along nice and slow if I want, and everyone else can pass me as they wish. Even in a city the traffic keeps moving at good speed, and not too many sudden stops (although it can happen).
On a 2 lane highway, folks are coming at me. And the ones behind me can get upset if they can't pass, so I sometimes feel obligated to drive a little faster than I want. On a 2 lane or even on a 4 lane (non-expressway), there is also cross traffic at intersections and people turning in front of me... stuff that can require sudden, unplanned braking. And then there are the cities I'd have to drive through, with stuff like pedestrians, a zillion traffic lights to stop at, parked cars backing up suddenly, stuff like that.
If I were inexperienced with a trailer, I think the latter would bother me more than the former (expressway).
Mike & Sherry
2000 Mercury Mountaineer
2008 Toyota Highlander
2011 KZ Spree Escape E14RB