This is the first year that my wife and I will be traveling to the Florida Keys in January. As we will be there for a month, I have two questions. Is there generally a preferred route to minimize the snow exposure? Also, do most RVers forgo snow tires and head down with all-seasons? My concern is driving in the heat on winter tires. I drive a Ford F150 (two-wheel drive) and have a fairly new (two years old) top of the line Michelin All Seasons. I’m pulling a 6,000-pound travel trailer.
My favorite route from Ontario to Florida (and one with the least snow) is from Detroit down I75 to Cincinnati. I then take I71 to Louisville (this is hilly country but the hills are not steep) and then head south on I 65 to Nashville. Just North of Nashville there is a section where the road crosses a deep valley. The crosswinds here can be very strong so be sure to keep both hands on the steering wheel. Stop overnight in Nashville and absorb some of the country music atmosphere at the KOA. Then, take I24 to Chattanooga, followed by I75 to Atlanta and head south to Florida.
This route avoids some long steep uphill and downhill grades going south towards Knoxville TN. On your way home going north, you can take I75 all the way as you are going downhill north of Knoxville. Once you are below Cincinnati, the weather gets warmer and the roads are in good condition.
Just so you know, the worst snow conditions on this route is in Ohio. The snow tires are only useful in Ohio. Your all-season tires should work fine if you keep your speed in check (55mph works well). Your truck should have few problems with the snow, but be careful on downhill turns such as when you are returning to the highway after a cloverleaf. Another favorite route for RVers from the Toronto area is from Buffalo I90 to Cleveland, down I77 through Charlotte then 26 to 95. Unfortunately, this is through the mountains of West Virginia and North Carolina. I like this route in the summer time.
RVers from the Kingston and Cornwall area usually go down I81 to Charlottes if they are going to the East coast of Florida. Or you can stay on 81 until you reach I75 at Chattanooga then down I75. This route is parallel to most of the mountains but still has some pretty steep climbs.
Have a good trip.