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But first a bit of background. Just
after the First WorldWar, the U.S. War
Department decided to send a public
relations convoy of America’s military
might – tanks, trucks, field guns –
across the U.S. to “wave the flag” and
thank the public for its generous war-
effort support.
TheWar Department turned to a
young lieutenant-colonel to lead this
mission and, with much enthusiasm,
the convoy left Washington in July
1919. But from day one, the expedition
was a disaster. Heavy vehicles
collapsed wooden rural bridges and
trucks were frequently mired to the
axles in mud. Two months after the
journey started, the convoy limped
into Oakland, California – at an average
speed of six m.p.h. Nine vehicles were
so badly damaged that they couldn’t
complete the trip.
And then came the SecondWorld
War. The young lieutenant-colonel
who led the 1919 convoy had risen in
rank and had become the Supreme
Allied Commander responsible for
co-ordinating the invasion of “Fortress
Europe.”He and his generals watched
Hitler’s ability to rapidly deploy troops
on the German Autobahn freeway.
The commander became the
34th president of the U.S., Dwight
Eisenhower. Three years later, he
signed legislation creating a
“National
System of Interstate and Defense
Highways”
the first section was born
in Tifton, Georgia and was named
“Interstate-75.”
Today, we snowbirds are among the
beneficiaries of the interstate system.
I-75 runs fromMichigan’s Sault Ste.
Marie in the north and all the way
south to the western outskirts of
Miami, Florida. Ontarians can leave the
cold winter’s ice and snow behind and
be in the sunny south within two days!
Kathy and I have been driving the
interstate since 1967. In those days, it
stopped at Tampa. Most of Michigan
and Ohio had been completed, but
many times while driving through
Kentucky, Tennessee and Georgia,
ripple speed bumps across the road
would warn of the end of another
completed stretch and we would be
routed off onto local roads (often US25
or 41, part of the old
Dixie Highway
) to
Florida.
Over the years, we have seen many
changes, especially to traveller services
and amenities, and would like to share
our eight I-75 favourites with you.
So let’s get started in southbound
sequence...
Travel writers Kathy and Dave Hunter have
driven this popular snowbird route for 46
years – here are their eight favourite stops.
Dave’s “Eight Best” on
the I-75 Drive to Florida
Travel