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Old 09-24-2012, 06:33 AM   #21
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I hate toll roads and I will go miles out of my way to avoid them. However, on a recent roadtrip to the Northeast USA, we found it impossible to avoid some toll roads.
I believe it will also be quite impossible for the OP to avoid toll roads heading to the Everglades and Key West. As I recall the main highway around Homestead is a toll road. I also recall the most direct route thru Miami to get to Homestead/Key West is a toll road. For a $5 Sunpass Transponder and an additional $10 - $20 added to the account on line, I would just do it. In the OPs case, tolls are less using the transponder (than cash), roads are more direct, and you wont have to wait in line where there are toll booths to pay cash.
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Old 09-24-2012, 09:01 AM   #22
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If you're heading toward Bowling Green and Nashville anyway, might try Kentucky Bourbon Trail ...

The Country Music Hall of Fame is interesting, as is downtown Nashville: Opry, Ernest Tubb's Record Shop, old RCA studio, Gruhn Guitars...
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Old 09-29-2012, 11:33 AM   #23
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The 4/5 week trek begins tomorrow at o-dark-30. A bit nervous. DW does not handle sitting in the car for long streches of time, even with rest stops in between. However, she is highly motivated to visit our daughter who is working at Wright-Patterson AFB (Dayton).

Anxious to see the fall colors. We are use to heavy doses of evergreens but light on the deciduous.

Looking for more advice on things to see/do/stay-away-from from those that live or are familiar with the corridor from Ohio to southern Florida and Florida to Arizona. We are appreciative of the earlier responses and have consolidated the ideas in order of our travel. Please keep the ideas flowing.

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Old 09-29-2012, 03:20 PM   #24
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Florida to Arizona. We are appreciative of the earlier responses and have consolidated the ideas in order of our travel. Please keep the ideas flowing.
Packrat
We just returned from a similar journey--Spokane to WA DC and back via Kentucky, Kansas, Colorado etc.
For your leg across the southland, consider a night in New Orleans French Qtr and enjoy some great seafood, gumbo, and crayfish. Moving West, include San Antonio and their Riverwalk. The Hampton Inn downtown if very close to the Riverwalk and quite reasonable compared other downtown options.
As you continue West, be sure to include Carlsbad Caverns in SE NM, very easily spend a day there. Actually a lot of sights in NM in general.
While in AZ, consider a visit to the Desert Museum in Tucson.
For the trip back to Wash, route yourself through S. Utah and see Zion and Bryce Canyon. As long as you get there before Nov 1 you should be able to see without too much cold yuck weather.
If you have a smartphone, download a link to Interstate Reststops Interstate Rest Areas | Rest Areas along Interstate Highways to plan out your stops for your traveling companions needs. We did, however, find a number of states are already shutting down some stops for the season. We also found it helpful to stop in at all the state's welcome centers at their borders, get a state map, and puruse their flyers for state attractions. There a lot of places of interest in every state that are not well publicized.
Have a fun and safe trip.
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Old 09-29-2012, 03:22 PM   #25
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Hey Pack, of course we think Charleston is a great destination! I'd suggest if you aren't plantation-ed out by the time you get here to go to Magnolia Gardens. That would be my top pick for our area. A tour to Fort Sumter is also nice, but try to stop in at Fort Moultrie on Sullivan's Island as well. And of course the Yorktown if you are interested in on the water military history. Anything I can do while you are in the area, please shoot me a PM. Goes for all y'all. Glad to help.
Enjoy the road and fair winds to you.
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Old 09-29-2012, 06:08 PM   #26
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Depending on the route you take from Dayton to Florida and if heading to Nashville on I-65, about an hour north of Nashville you will find Bowling Green, KY, home of the Corvette plant and the Corvette museum. If you have the time, you could tour the Corvette plant and check out the museum the next day. And, if you are driving I-75 south in Florida you might want to check out Big Daddy Don Gartlit's dragway museum somewhere around Gainsville. You mentioned hot rods.

On the Florida SunPass, get the pass for $5 as mentioned at any drugstore and it will be added to your credit when you sign up.
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Old 09-29-2012, 06:49 PM   #27
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It sounds like Florida is littered with toll roads. Being from the West, toll roads sound un-American. How does someone know/guess how much to put on a Sunpass and how to know what is your balance? Would not want to run short, but do not want leave a bunch of unused $ on the card. Also, if you are paying cash, do you need to have the exact change or just have small denomination bills handy?
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Old 09-29-2012, 07:14 PM   #28
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Yellowstone is a must. Badlands were cool too. If you are military, make sure to do a stopover at one of the missile silos in S. Dakota Minuteman Missile National Historic Site - Minuteman Missile National Historic Site

For the Appalachian Trail, a conveniently accessible section is in the Great Smokies national park (mentioned in a previous post, and I endorse). Go to the "Newfound Gap" parking area, and take a day hike to "Charlies Bunion" and back. Charlies Bunion - Wikipedia, the free encyclopediaYou'll get a taste of the AT, and a wonderful view of the Smokies.

For history of pioneering or farming, you can stay in Great Smokies the national park and visit "Cades Cove". Highly recommended (just google search it.) It is also free, LBYM. You might want to hit this before the trip to Newfound Gap if you are coming from the West.

Alternately, "Stone Mountain State Park" in NC is not too far out of the way from the Smokies to Florida, and it has a historic pioneer site. It is a bit off track from I-40 and only mention it as an alternate. Cades Cove and Newfound gap would by my first choice.

If you really want to see the tobacco thing, there's nothing more definitive than the "Duke Homestead" in Durham (http://www.nchistoricsites.org/duke/) It is THE site for tobacco history. It isn't a recreating, it is a preserved site of the way it was in the late 1800's. It is also on the way from I-40 in the Smokies to I-95 as you continue on to Florida. Right on your way.
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Old 09-29-2012, 08:03 PM   #29
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One other sight, I forgot to mention. Before you go too far South, consider hitting Jamestown just east of Richmond Va. It is about 15 minutes further east than Williamburg. We found Williamburg was way too commercial for us and spent a full day at Jamestown, mostly at the Jamestown Foundation presentation but found a couple of hours at the NP version also worth the time. The folks that man the exhibits at Jamestown are exceptionally knowledgeable about this earliest chapter in American history. For example, Jamestown was mostly an industrial venture and not people escaping religious persecution.
Initial efforts were not successful in part of having too many well does and not enough folks who could actually do survival work.
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Old 09-29-2012, 08:07 PM   #30
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I guess I wouldn't worry about the tolls. Let them send you a bill when the trip is over. It will take about six months and I think there are only three toll authorities in the state. I would think it's too much trouble to set up an account and fund it. You have to give the toll authority a credit card number that is precharged by them in $20 increments. When you use that up they charge the card another $20. I'd just carry a bunch of singles and a bag of quarters.

Have a great trip.
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Old 09-29-2012, 08:14 PM   #31
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We appreciate all the suggestions and we do not mind back-tracking to see great sights. It is great to be retired and not on a time schedule.This will be our first time to experience the south-east and the south. We want to get a good feel about what it is and was.

Also, could those like W2R that live in the New Orleans area suggest things to see and places to eat. I am frugal (DW says cheap) but we would like to experience good food. We are not concerned about atmosphere. (Actually I am concerneded about atmosphere. If it has much of it, I get to feeling a bit nervous.) If the places are a dive, but the food is good (and frugal), those are the type of places we are looking for.

About 10 years ago DW and I were in San Antonio looking for a place to eat. It was about 9pm on Sunday as we passed a number of Tex-Mex places with 2/3 cars in each of their lots. As we we got into a less populated area, we came across a run-down place with a dirt parking lot. The lot was packed full of pick-ups with only a few cars. I told DW that is where we are eating. The place was jammed with people. We were the only caucasins in the place. Menu was only in Spanish and the waitress spoke Spanish. Food was terrific but I thought there was an error on the pricing. It was not frugal, it was cheap. We ate 4 meals there while in San Antonio. We love pleasant surprises.
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Old 09-30-2012, 02:00 PM   #32
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Originally Posted by JOHNNIE36 View Post
Depending on the route you take from Dayton to Florida and if heading to Nashville on I-65, about an hour north of Nashville you will find Bowling Green, KY, home of the Corvette plant and the Corvette museum. If you have the time, you could tour the Corvette plant and check out the museum the next day.
And of course, Mammoth Cave is not be sneezed at.

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Old 09-30-2012, 03:14 PM   #33
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And of course, Mammoth Cave is not be sneezed at.

Ha
Agree on Mammouth. Can go direct to FL from there, or to the mountains as OP mentioned.
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Old 09-30-2012, 03:21 PM   #34
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We visited Mammouth last month on our return trip from the East. Visited on a week day and easily got in a tour. They are still doing a lot of work on a new visitor center but is suppose to be complete by the time you visit. Be sure to show your NP Senior pass when paying for your trip--cuts the price down a bunch--half as I recall.
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Old 10-02-2012, 01:09 PM   #35
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Interesting auto museum in downtown Nashville, just off the highway: Lane Motor Museum- Nashville, TN Not really much in way of hot rods, but large selection of unusual specimens; emphasis on European makes. (N.B.--haven't made it there yet, but have read many favorable stories.)
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