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Does anyone travel to Orlando from Chicago and avoid that long stretch of mountain driving near Chatanooga? DH got extremely ill last year driving through Denver and I want to avoid having a sicky on this trip!! I'm hoping there is an alternate that won't add too much travel time..
If time is not an issue - drive east till you hit 95, then south on 95. But if you want something direct - I don't think there is a way to avoid the blue ridge moutains. Something to keep in mind - the blueridge are much shorter than the rockies near denver.
We travel that route to FL all the time. Here is an alternate. It will add about 2 hours to your time.
I-55 south to New Orleans then I-10 east to Lake City, I-75 south to the Turnpike.
I don't think the Chatanooga route will be bad for your DH. I get sick in the mountains out west but have never on this route. Honestly, I-10 in Mississippi and Louisana was worse than I-75 through the mountains.
Another option is I-55 to Memphis, then HWY 78 (not interstate but just as good) to Birmingham then south to Montgomery, Dothan and finally I-10 in the FL panhandle. I'm not sure of the highway numbers through AL, think the first part (Birm - Mont) is I-65, but have no clue of the rest. Memphis to Orlando is around 13 1/2 hours.
We've driven this route 4 times and have driven around the mountains in Colorado. The route around Chattanooga is curvy and very "hilly". I wouldn't describe it as "mountainy". My ears pop a little bit and you do need to be careful not to go 75mph, but it's not too bad.
I, too, would hardly call the hills around Chattanooga "mountain driving." The maximum altitude on I-75 is over Pine Mountain Tennessee - 2,180 feet. That's a far cry from driving the mountains west of Denver, which are more than triple that altitude. It's Interstate driving all the way. You'll find gentle grades and broad, easy curves.
The altitude in Chicago is a bit over 500 feet, and with the exception of that 20 mile stretch of I-75, you won't find altitudes over 1200 feet from Cincinnati to Orlando (presuming you take I-65 from Chicago to Indianapolis, then I-74 to Cincinnati and I-75 from there). The only physiological effect possible on this trip is a little ear-popping.
Thanks to all who gave advice on this one. We haven't driven to Florida in 17 years so maybe what we remember has changed. I thought it was very scary to drive thru the "hills" around Chattanooga but maybe the roads are better now? I remember feeling like there weren't enough guard rails along the edges of the roads. And the altitude shouldn't be the problem it was in Denver. Thanks!