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  #1  
Old 11-05-2003, 12:57 PM
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Question Road Trip - Birmingham-Atlanta-Virginia

Found a good price on a 300SD in Birmingham. Clean CarFax, all its life in Houston and Birmingham - probably never seen a flake of snow.

For the road trip home I can choose via Chatanooga, TN or Atlanta, GA. I'd be hitting the Atlanta beltway during the afternoon rush hour. Now in DC that is something to be avoided.

How is traffic on the Atlanta beltway at rush hour?

Ken300D
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  #2  
Old 11-05-2003, 02:15 PM
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Unless you love bumper to bumper traffic 8 lanes across, I would take the Chattanooga route. The scenery is much nicer this time of year also. I live about 85 miles north of Birmingham and whenever I have the opportunity to avoid Atlanta rush hour traffic, I do it....sometimes you sail right through...other times you can get stuck for an hour.

Have a nice trip. Ps: In Birmingham it may have seen some snow, but the important thing is.....absolutely NO SALT.
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  #3  
Old 11-05-2003, 02:16 PM
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say: Jook-Ur-Pah
 
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285... ugh.

Well,
Atlanta's rush hour is more like 3, and it can get really ugly in some places... Depending on when it is you'd be going through, there are a few tricks you might try. However, if you can get through before 5 o'clock you should be ok. after 5 is a disaster, especially north of town.
285/85 on the north east side of town is a place called spaghetti junction. It is a horrid place during the rush, with at least 10 roads coming/going.
So, either plan on getting past that point by 5:15 or so, or stop somewhere and get some dinner and wait it out. Generally, 285 is not a ton of time savings over the direct routes through town. The 'connector' (75/85) however, at 16 lanes across, can be a parking lot...
I'd probably take 20 through town, grab 285 and go north once you got on the east side, and then hit 85 at spaghetti junction... but not after 5pm. (the 285/20 interchange can be backed up a few miles...) Usually, I take surface streets everywhere and avoid traffic.. but I don't live in the suburbs!
Watch for overhead signs that give traffic conditions, and listen to the radio.
I'm sure none of this is remotely helpful... Any specific questions?

good luck,
Kevin
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  #4  
Old 11-05-2003, 04:22 PM
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Quite helpful - thanks for your comments.

The reason I might favor the Atlanta route is because I'm familiar with the road from there northward. But getting around Atlanta on the north side during the evening rush was my concern.

It's a wash as far as the miles, so I think it will be the Chattanooga route for me. It will be some pretty country to go through where I've never been, at least until darkness falls and I can't see anything.

There's a huge difference in the condition of cars with respect to rust when comparing Atlanta/Birmingham to say NJ, and we know the 80's MBs were subject to a rust problem (as were all cars - at least the MBs held up better and are still on the road).

What you want to find in the south is one that's been mostly kept in a garage out of the sun.

Ken300D
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  #5  
Old 11-05-2003, 04:51 PM
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I would definitely go the Chatanooga route. I've made that journey several times. You will enjoy the scenery on I-81.

Scott
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1982 Mercedes 240D, 4 speed, 275,000
1988 Porsche 944 Turbo S (70,000)
1987 Porsche 911 Coupe 109,000 (sold)
1998 Mercedes E300 TurboDiesel 147,000 (sold)
1985 Mercedes 300D 227,000 (totaled by inattentive driver with no insurance!)
1997 Mercedes E300 Diesel 236,000 (sold)
1995 Ducati 900SS (sold)
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  #6  
Old 11-05-2003, 05:08 PM
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I agree with the rust comments. I bought my 1982 240D in 1994, and it had never been out of the Southeast. It was originally purchased in Dothan, Alabama, and the PO from Huntsville had owned it for 5 years and had kept it in a garage. I have garaged since, and it has no rust and the original paint is still bright and shiny....and when I say no rust, I mean no bubbles and none inside the wheel wells or none visible undeneath the car or anywhere that can be seen. I have encountered no frozen bolts anywhere, and recent maintenance has included pulling the axle shafts, brake callipers, and in Nov 2001 I had to pull the engine to replace the timing chain (which broke during startup).
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  #7  
Old 11-05-2003, 06:44 PM
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KenD,

I traveled the route through Chattanooga when I left Keesler AFB, in Biloxi, MS going to Chambersburg, PA right off of I-81 just across the border of MD,WV, & VA and found it to be alot easier than trying to fight, cuss, or cry about the traffic in the other cities I would have had to go through. The most traffic I had was on I-81 along the mountains in western VA since it is only a two lane north and two lane south highway and there always seems to be construction somewhere in your way. I did this trip right around Veterans Day also a couple of years ago so some things I'm sure have changed. Just be careful of the other drivers and be safe on the road no matter which way you travel.
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  #8  
Old 11-05-2003, 09:27 PM
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Selling the '87 (wink, wink)?
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  #9  
Old 11-05-2003, 10:35 PM
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BHAM_ATL- DC

I do this route three or four times a year. I would never consider going any route except 20/285/85/95. Atlanta rush hour is a cake walk compared to the NO VA/ DC commute. There are plenty of big towns along the way and the hiway is largely
isolated from them but they are there.
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  #10  
Old 11-06-2003, 01:22 PM
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In talking about this among friends, family and people in the office, the only negative that comes up about the Chattanooga route is the need to slow down some in the mountains. Something to the effect of "its Interstate highway but you have to slow down to 35mph in some places.

I don't mind a few slow turns, but you'd expect an Interstate to generally run at speed.

TD: Nothing is for sale at this time. It seems that when I put sufficient blood, sweat and tears into a car I can't get rid of it easily. The most likely candidate would be the 240D, but the
manual transmission is so much fun to drive and it runs really well.

Ken300D
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  #11  
Old 11-06-2003, 02:07 PM
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I've driven the Chattanooga Route many times. You will not have to slow down below 70 anywhere on this road. It does go through some small mountains and is a bit winding, but it is still Interstate Highway and it is designed to handle 70 mph throughout. There is some construction on I-75 just North of Chattanooga that will slow you down more than the mountains.

My $.02 worth.
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  #12  
Old 11-06-2003, 02:42 PM
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You're taking I-64 to I-75? Nice drive.. I took that route to milepost 25 of I-75 (Corkin, KY, 25 miles from TN).
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  #13  
Old 11-12-2003, 02:22 PM
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Trip Report

Picked up the car yesterday and drove the Birmingham - Chattanooga - Knoxville - I-81 route back. Very pretty around Chattanooga with the river and mountains.

One slowdown for traffic in Chattanooga at "rush hour" but not enough to completely stop, and then quickly back to speed. Knoxville had heavy interstate traffic for something like 5-10 miles through town. I think two interstates merge for awhile and then split back up outside town. Heavy traffic but running at speed.

No problems anywhere with road construction at this time.

The car was reasonably as described with one exception. The seller did not mention the cracked windshield! Maybe not a big deal in Alabama if you don't have annual equipment inspections there, but it is a big deal in Virginia. So the windshield must be replaced. The rest was pretty much as described within reason.

It runs great and the SD ride is nice. I was completely surprised to find that the cruise control works. It is the smoothest cruise control I've ever driven. No surging, hunting for speed, etc. Really great.

I had one problem during the return trip that my extensive reading here on the forum helped get me out of fairly quickly. About 100 miles from home, I lost power, then down to 40-mph, then the engine died. "Great" I thought, "the engine is blown already." Got it safely pulled over and decided it felt like fuel starvation. I had noticed the area around the primer pump was damp with fuel when looking over the car in Birmingham.

Well, the primer pump handle was loose. I tightened it back up, but the car still wouldn't start. Then I turned it back out and gave it a few pumps. Fuel squirted out of it but also I could hear it going into the spin-on filter area. Tightened down the pump - this time it started. That was a pretty lucky fix for being so far from home on the road.

So, first part from FastLane - New primer pump!

Ken300D
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  #14  
Old 11-12-2003, 05:26 PM
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say: Jook-Ur-Pah
 
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good choice

Glad you went the other way, as the State police here in atlanta had a high speed chase that ended in a 2 fatality accident on the west side of 285. It made a huge mess for hours...

Enjoy getting to know the new wheels!
Kevin
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  #15  
Old 11-12-2003, 05:37 PM
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Bio diesel

Kevin, what are you using as BIO-DIESEL and where do you get it in enough bulk to be cost effective?
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