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Questions and Answers about our Books and Update Website

Questions and Answers about the Routes

Questions and Answers about Florida's Toll route system

Questions and Answers about driving to, from and around Florida

Other Questions and Answers not fitting the above categories

























Questions and Answers of interest to Midwestern Snowbirds

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Questions of specific interest to Canadians

  Q: What is the Update Website?

A: Whenever we release a new edition of our book, it is inevitable that changes to its contents will occur.

We want our current edition purchasers to have the best, most up-to-date information for their travels . . . so we have now created a companion website where we post major changes, updates, etc., as they occur. We call this our Update Website.

At this site, you can view all major changes, advisories, etc., on a chronological basis, or by book page number. The latter makes it easy for you to review and update your book with all the changes which have occurred since publication, before you travel.

  Q: Where do I find the Update website?

A: Look in the introduction section of your book. We always include the Update Website address in bold print. Just type this address into your computer's website browser and you will land on the Update Website's home page.

  Q: Why do you only support the latest edition of your books with the Update Website?

A: We spend thousands of hours updating each new edition of Along I-75 to produce a completely updated version. Once this edition is published, we maintain the exclusive Update Website to keep those who bought the new edition, up-to-date with major changes which have occurred after the book was printed.

The combination of the current edition plus the website information is therefore the best (freshest) available information for your I-75 journey.

It would be redundant and make no sense to continue providing update information for older editions via a website.

  Q: Is there any way I can get an emailed alert whenever updates occur?

A: Yes, the first time you visit the Update Website check the first three paragraphs and click where indicated. You will then be taken to a page which shows you how to register with a third-party application, which will then send you an alert every time we make a change to the Update Website.

  Q: When will Along I-75 be updated and the next edition published?

A: We released the current 19th edition of "Along I-75" in the fall of 2016, and printed enough copies to supply our normal readership for at least two years. When this supply is close to depletion, we will update and release a new edition.

If you would like our annual newsletter which includes an update notice about our books, please email us your postal (snail mail) information. We only do one mailing each year (in September) and still prefer to do it the "old fashioned" way (through the Post Office). The mailing also includes a discount coupon for our books. Your information is very safe with us; we keep it strictly confidential. Rest assured that it is not given or sold to any other company.

  Q: When will Along Florida's Expressways be updated and the next edition published?

A: We released the current 4th edition of "Along Florida's Expressways" in the fall of 2015, and printed enough copies to supply our normal readership for at least two years. When this supply is close to depletion, we will update and release a new edition.

If you would like advance notice of our new editions, please email us your postal (snail mail) information. We only do one mailing each year (in September) when we provide details about our new book. The mailing also includes a discount coupon. Your information is very safe with us; we keep it strictly confidential. Rest assured that it is not given or sold to any other company.

  Q: How many changes are there in the new edition of Along I-75?

A: Many ... these include changes to the gas, food and lodging facilities at I-75 exits, new editorial material in the mile-by-mile travelog stories and changes to road information such as traffic laws, state gas taxes, etc.

And of course we are always adding to (and sometimes removing because after inspection they no longer meet our standards) our "Insider Tip" recommendations.

And don't forget our special website (only accessible to purchasers of the current edition) which has updated information including any major changes to the current book road information and our Insider Tips.

To give you an idea of exit facility changes alone, here is a chart of the differences between our 17th, 18th and the current 19th editions.

Chart of changes

We spend about six months researching new material and more than five months updating and ensuring that each new edition of Along I-75 is as fresh as possible. As we often say, "would you read last week's newspaper to get today's news?"

  Q: Do you produce an electronic copy (eBook) of Along Interstate-75?

A: Sorry, but we do not have the book available in an electronic form.

We have seriously looked at producing eBook versions of Along I-75 and Along Florida's Expressways. We have not only considered digital books but have done much development work in that direction, including registering all the necessary copyright requirements.

We are still a few years off though, waiting until four specific issues are resolved in the marketplace. These are:

1). Digital Rights (DRM) protection so our work cannot be stolen - we work far too hard to allow this to happen. This is a big (although quietly discussed) problem in the eBook world right now. Wireless phone and mobile reader virus attacks are also on the increase. Recently one managed to affect iPads and iPhones through the iTunes store, although Apple was very quiet about it.

2). Standardization of eBook formats. Formats are still proprietary and tend to stay with specific distributors. Kathy and I actually have working prototypes of both books on our readers and tablets but they are PDF and do not yet tie into GPS for automatic page and map tracking,

3). We need a huge market move towards color eReaders - this is happening slowly but we need a majority of such readers in our customer base since a black and white (eInk) book will never be able to provide the same level of information built into our colored maps. Industry projections indicate this will take at least the next five years until b&w readers have been replaced by color (think about TV and how color slowly replaced b&w in the 1960s).

4). Finally, the move must be for a majority of our readers. At present, most prefer the "paper" format and have told us that this is much preferred over eReaders and GPS technology. Last winter a major bookstore chain listed our book in its online catalog as a "paperback." We were surprised by the many emails we received from people who thought we had moved away from a spiral bound product (we had not and are not sure how this rumors get started) - many wrote and said "please don't change."

We are too small a company (just two people operating from the basement of our home) to support two different formats. Before switching to ebooks, we must be sure that we can be profitable in a digital book market, otherwise there will be no future "Along I-75s" ... in any format!

Hope you understand.

  Q: Why does "Along I-75" start in Detroit rather than in Northern Michigan?

A: Detroit is a natural focal point for those travelers coming south from Michigan's Upper Peninsular and from Ontario. To add the 348 miles between I-75's northern limit (Sault Ste Marie, MI) and Detroit would mean that we would have to add 28 additional colored strip maps plus 14 travelog pages. The addition of these pages would boost the retail cost of the book, by $5-6 dollars.

Since our readership covers a large section of the Midwest from Chicago and Wisconsin in the west; to upper New York State and Ontario, Canada in the east our market studies indicated that expanding the book to include I-75 north of Detroit and increasing the price substantially would result in far fewer books being sold. As a result, our company would no longer be able to stay in business and "Along I-75" would quickly go out-of-print.

  Q: Why does "Along I-75" finish at the Georgia/Florida border and not continue to Miami?

A: Our objective in writing Along I-75 was to get people from the cold north down to Florida's sun, as cheaply, safely and with as much interesting entertainment as possible. Once in Florida, people go their different ways, not just down I-75. The Along I-75 book maps actually takes you right to the parking area of Florida's Welcome Center, just south of the Georgia/Florida border. Inside you will find expert staff who can guide you to any part of Florida and also save you money on your lodgings, etc. They always know about the "special" deals available throughout the State.

They also know our "Along Florida's Expressways" book well and use it at their information counter. In fact, VisitFlorida, the Sunshine State's official tourism authority, has actually endorsed our book (see its back cover) and recommends its use.

  Q: Why do your southbound maps show "South" at the top of the page? Most maps have "north" at the top.

A: It makes reading our colored strip maps so simple - you don't have to be able to read maps and you certainly don't have to turn our maps upside-down to align them to your direction of travel.

If you think about it, you are traveling south and "South" is at the top of the page. So, everything drawn on the right side of the map, appears on the right-hand side of your car . . . and vice versa. Everything outside the car windows relates intuitively to the strip map on your lap. Now isn't that simple and don't you wish everybody who drew maps did this?

  Q: Why do you have two sets of 25 mile-per-page colored strip maps - one southbound and the other northbound?

A: Simple - we want you to have the most accurate travel information you can find anywhere. There are many differences between the southbound and northbound sides of I-75. There are actually some exits which are on one side and not the other. Rest areas may be in different places. Of importance to RVers, the number of lanes and where they merge is not consistent - at the same mile marker, southbound may have 3 lanes while northbound has only two . . . and of course, the police have different favorite places for their radar guns.

These are just a few of the differences between the two route directions.

  Q: In "Along I-75," the 25 mile-per-page colored map (page 8) which crosses the Michigan/Ohio border shows the page tab for Ohio before Michigan as you "drive" up the page. Why is that?

A: Much thought was given to the placement of the state names on the page edge tabs - Michigan - Ohio - Kentucky - Tennessee - Georgia - which, because our southbound pages are read from the bottom to the top, caused us a bit of difficulty when designing the book. And we thought about it long and hard before going to print.

The tabs printed on the edge of our pages are there to provide a quick reference to the maps for each I-75 state, when the book is closed and viewed from the side. The map pages where we cross a state border of course, requires two page tabs - one for each state.

Because most snowbirds start using "Along I-75" at the beginning of their drive south to Florida, the physical placement of the page edge tabs for the entire book was set in southbound sequence, starting with Michigan at the top and running down the side of the pages to Georgia. Each state tab is measured a certain distance from the top of the page, and has to be consistent on all tabbed pages, so that a person looking for Tennessee knows that it is always the 4th tab from the top.

In most normal map books, this would not present a problem since normal maps always have north at the top of the page.

But Along I-75" is not normal. We turn our southbound pages upside-down so they are much easier to use as you drive. South is at the top of the page so that everything printed on the right hand side of the map, appears on the right hand side of the road (and vice versa) as you drive south. This of course, occasionally conflicts with the fixed position of our page side tabs.

See map 8 for example. Starting at the bottom, the page covers Michigan's 21 miles to the Toledo border, then enters Ohio at mile marker 211 and leaves the page at the top, at Ohio mm 207. But because our page edge tabs are "fixed" into a physical pattern, we must list Ohio before Michigan as you read up the page. This also happens on map page 17, 31 and 45.

It would have been inconsistent if we had relocated the side tabs to match the actual states on that map page, so we had to compromise as follows:

Side (page edge) tabs are used solely as a reference to get a reader to a page. Once on the page, on the odd occasion, the page edge tabs may not necessarily relate to the material presented within the page's sequence of contents.

We gave a lot of thought to this before sending the book to press. If anybody has a better idea - we would love to hear it.

  Q: Why are books issued by Edition Number and why do you not show the year on the cover?

A: We would actually prefer to show the year on the front cover of our books but some major bookstore chains do not like it. In our earlier days, we not only printed the year on the front cover but also a "best before" date on the title page. We felt that travel information was rather like fresh fruit - it became stale and useless after a certain time. We work very hard to give our readers the best and freshest travel information.

But many major bookstore chains do not like "dated" covers. In fact, one national bookstore buyer told us that unless we removed the year from the front cover, it would no longer stock our book. Why? Because stores sell books for a profit - even stale ones. And if the year is on the front cover it is very easy to identify whether a book is "stale" or not.

There are two ways for you to determine the year of our books. Check the copyright date printed on the back of the title page. Better still, click here to see the cover images of all our books, with the year of publication listed.
















  Q: Where does Interstate-75" start and end?

A: At its north end, I-75 starts on the Canada/U.S. border at the top of Michigan at Sault Ste. Marie. It heads south to Naples in Florida, where it abruptly bends east and runs across to Miami. This last section through the Everglades is called "Alligator Alley."

  Q: How long is it?

A: In total from Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan to Miami, Florida, it's 1,786 miles long (2,874kms). By state: Michigan-395 miles (636 km), Ohio-211 miles (340 km), Kentucky-193 miles (311 km), Tennessee-161 miles (259 km), Georgia-355 miles (571 km), Florida-471 miles (758 km).

  Q: What are the major towns and cities along the I-75 Corridor?

A: In southbound sequence, I-75 starts at Sault Ste. Marie in North Michigan at the U.S./Canada border, and ends at the Palmetto Expressway in West Miami, Florida.

"Along I-75" covers the route with detailed 25 mile-per-page colored strip maps, between Detroit to the Georgia/Florida border.

"Along Florida's Expressways" covers I-75 with detailed 25 mile-per-page colored strip maps, from the Georgia/Florida to its conclusion in Miami. This book also includes all the other major interstates and toll routes, within the Sunshine State.

Here are the towns and cities along the way:

  • Michigan: Sault Ste. Marie; Grayling; BayCity; Saginaw; Flint; Detroit; Monroe.
  • Ohio: Toledo; Findlay; Lima; Wapakoneta; Piqua; Dayton; Cincinnati
  • Kentucky: Florence; Dry Ridge; Georgetown; Lexington; Richmond; Berea; London; Corbin; Williamsburg.
  • Tennessee: Jellico; Caryville; Norris; Knoxville; Lenoir City; Sweetwater; Atehns; Cleveland; Chattanooga.
  • Georgia: Ringgold; Dalton; Calhoun; Cartersville; Marietta; Atlanta; Jonesboro; Forsyth; Macon; Perry; Cordele; Tifton; Valdosta.
  • Florida: Jasper; Lake City; Alachua; Gainesville; Ocala; Wildwood; Tampa; Bradenton; Sarasota; Pt Charlotte; Ft Myers; Naples; Miami.

  Q: Which is the shortest/fastest route to link with I-75 South for Canadians driving Highway 401 from points east of London - Hwy 401 to Windsor or Hwy 402 to Sarnia?

A: If you are driving on westbound Highway 401 from London, Ontario, or a point east, you are soon going to be faced with a choice. Should you take Highway 402 to Sarnia and cross at the Blue Water Bridge or should you continue on the 401 to Windsor and cross at the Ambassador Bridge?

Here are the two routes with distance and time statistics. To ensure we are not comparing "apples to oranges" I have chosen the junction of 401/402 as the start point, and I-75, Ohio exit 187 (just south of Toledo) as the most southern (end) point.

  • Hwy 401/402 to Windsor - Ambassador Bridge to Detroit - I-75 to South Toledo (exit 187).     Distance is 301 kms/187 miles; Time to drive: 3 hours, 10 minutes. With the opening of the new Ambassador Bridge toll plaza and ramp which will join I-75 south (scheduled for mid-November, 2009), this will be an easy drive.
  • Hwy 401/402 to Sarnia - Blue Water Bridge to Port Huron - I-94 south to Detroit where it becomes the Edsel Ford Freeway - switch to I-75 (Detroit) known as the Chrysler Freeway and then the Fisher Freeway - to South Toledo (exit 187).     Distance is 323 kms/201 miles; Time to drive: 3 hours, 21 minutes. This route can be problematic though since it takes you right into downtown Detroit, to the very busy I-94/I-75 Edsel Ford/Chrysler Freeway junction.

There is a third route favored by some. It completely avoids Detroit but it is a much longer distance. Here it is.

Hwy 401/402 to Sarnia - Blue Water Bridge to Port Huron - I-69 west to Flint - US23 south to Ann Arbor and to the junction of I-475 - I-475 south (Toledo Bypass) to I-75 - to South Toledo (exit 187).
Distance is 406 kms/252 miles; Time to drive: 3 hours, 53 minutes.

Hope this has helped. Now it's up to you to choose.

Go to the "download" section of this website and get your free colored strip maps of Highways 401 and 402. Also, driving instructions to link from Highway 402 in Sarnia, to I-75 South near Detroit.

  Q: To avoid I-75's traffic congestion near Chattanooga, Tennessee, is it faster to go off the Interstate at Cleveland, TN, and drive south on local roads to Dalton, Georgia? I've heard this avoids the construction in the Chattanooga area?

A: First, let me say that apart from ongoing maintenance, the contruction project in Chattanooga is now complete. The number of driving lanes has been expanded and the road surface, superb.

Having said that, let me explain something unusual about the course of I-75 in this area. In the 1960s when highway engineers planned the interstate route between Knoxville and Atlanta, they knew it would be expensive to build it in a straight line south because of the southwest barrier ridges of the Appalachian mountain chain. To reduce cost, they decided to build I-75 following a natural valley which led to Chattanooga, from where they could then make a straight run south to Atlanta. This created quite a large dog-leg in I-75's path.

Over the years, some people have suggested cutting across the dog-leg by leaving I-75 at Cleveland (a point 20 miles/40 kms north of Chattanooga) and driving directly southward on local roads to Dalton in Georgia where they can relink with I-75 south. The direct I-75 path is 38 miles (61 kms); the short-cut is 33.1 miles (53 kms).

This suggestion used to "work" 10-15 years ago when the communities along the way were much smaller, but today, you will encounter traffic lights and a lot of local traffic. There are still a number of "country" single lane stretches where you can get stuck behind farm equipment or other slow moving vehicles with no "over-taking" dotted lines in sight. But in my mind, the worst problem is the truck traffic in North Dalton, when you leave the short-cut and join the major east-west US41/US76 toute, to take you west to rejoin I-75. In my experience, it is an absolute pain and not worth any advantages gained.

However, I have not driven this route for several years and perhaps traffic is a bit better now, but I doubt it.

If you would like to try the route, here are the details. Let me know how you get on:

  • Leave I-75 at TN exit 20 (US 64 Bypass East) and drive 5.8 miles (9.3 kms) to the junction of SR60 (Dalton Pike). Turn right (south).
  • On SR60, drive 11 miles (17.7 kms) south to the Tennessee/Georgia border. At the border, the route number changes to Georgia SR71 (Cleveland Road).
  • Continue south in Georgia on SR71 for 10.8 miles (17.4 kms) to the northern limits of Dalton. The traffic is noticeably heavier here.
  • Continue for 2.7 miles (4.3 kms) to the junction of US41/US76. Turn Right.
  • Follow US41/US76 for 2.8 miles (4.5 kms) until you reach the junction of I-75 (exit 336). Follow the signs to rejoin I-75 South.

Another disadvantage - you don't get to see Elaine, Betty, Jane and all my other Georgia "girl friends" at the I-75 Welcome Center. Now that would keep me heading south on I-75 if nothing else would!

Hope this has helped. Now it's up to you to choose.

  Q: Why do you not write about other routes?

A: For several reasons. First, we are a small family company. Writing and publishing Along I-75 and Along Florida's Expressways provide us with a full year of work keeping up with all the changes and new information constantly appearing along the way. As publishers, we are also busy with book publicity, distribution, mail order and all the other aspects of the retail book world. So time does not really allow us to research and write about other routes, and give them the justice they deserve.

Secondly, a travel author cannot successfully write about routes and destinations unless he or she has an intimate knowledge of the subject . . . to do otherwise is not only deemed unprofessional by the travel media but is also unfair to the readership. Kathy and I have been traveling I-75 since it was built in bits and pieces in the mid 1960s. There is not an inch of the road and surrounding countryside between Detroit and Florida which we do not know . . . that's over 46 years of I-75 corridor knowledge. This combined with my passion for history and research, helps produce an entertaining book to ensure you have a fun and rewarding time on your trips to and from the Sunshine State.

But most importantly, over those years we have met and become friends with hundreds of local "I-75" folk who are always feeding us interesting information about their "home" section of the interstate. Anybody can "write" an interstate guide by listing exit information or collecting standard information packages from tourism offices, but we provide all the "deep-down" local knowledge which puts you in control of your journey and provides pleasant and surprising "discoveries" along the way. Oh, and my friends are your friends which is why we include many of their names in our book.
















  Q: Is Florida expanding its toll routes?

A: It is...and at a rapid pace. This past summer (2015) we've seen a number of new toll lanes added in the Miami/Ft lauderdale and Tampa areas.

Several years ago, the State decided to expand its toll system providing better access to major urban areas. Bob Poole, the transportation expert behind many of California's successful toll strategy was hired and developed a plan for Florida's future.

At present, a number of new toll lanes are under construction; these will result in 170 miles of new lanes when completed in 2021. It's important to note however, that many of these special lanes are being built parallel to existing freeways which will always be there for those who don't mind slow traffic.

  Q: What are the different type of toll routes being added?

A: There are several types of tollways in Florida. The one everybody is familiar with is the toll expressway where there are no free alternatives.

Toll Expressway - two or three lanes travel in each direction; all vehicles using the route, pay a toll based on the number of axles of their vehicle. Florida's Turnpike is an example of such a route.

Managed Toll lanes - traffic lanes usually running parallel or elevated over an interstate or free expressway. Separate lanes carry traffic in either direction.

Entrance to a managed lane is by controlled entrance ramps and often a variable toll is charged depending upon the traffic flow of the free lanes. If these are slow, then the toll for the managed lanes will be higher. The "95 Express" lanes in the Ft. Lauderdale/Miami area, are examples of these.

Users of the managed lanes are guaranteed a minimum travel speed of 45mph for 90% of their drive time. Not sure how rebates are handled if this criteria is not met!

Commuter lanes are similar to managed lanes but carry traffic in one direction only depending upon time of day. For example, morning hour traffic will flow into an urban area. The lanes are then closed for a period of time after which, they are re-opened to take afternoon traffic out of the city. The commuter lanes above the Selmon Crosstown in Tampa is an example.

Toll on toll lanes Tampa's Selmon Crosstown toll route with the managed commuter toll route running above it, is an example of this double-toll approach. Plans are underway to construct a managed lane on the Sawgrass Expressway in Ft. Lauderdale.

  Q: Is it true that Florida has started eliminating tollroute cash booths?

A: Yes, slowly the familiar cash toll booths are being phased out across the State and replaced with new electronic methods for identifying vehicles and billing their toll usage. Even today, there are some exits on cash toll routes where you can only leave or enter a toll route electronically (i.e., no attendant and no cash). Kissimmee's exit 255 on Florida's Turnpike is an example of this.

  Q: What is electronic tolling?

A: As mentioned previously, Florida is going "cashless" on its toll systems. As new toll routes are opened or converted to the new electronic tolling system, vehicles (and their toll usage) will only be recognized by a SunPass transponder or if no SunPass is sensed, by a "Toll-by-Plate camera mounted on an overhead gantry.

  Q: What is a SunPass?

A: The SunPass is a very inexpensive toll lane transponder which comes in several forms. The mini-SunPass ($4.99) sticks on the upper part of your windshield and the more expensive portable ($19.99) can be moved from car to car. Before using each for the first time, it must be activated (by phone or online) and a minimum deposit of $10 into your SunPass account is required.

  •   Q: Can the mini SunPass be used on any vehicle??

    A: No. Some modern cars have a special oxide embedded in the windshield which cut out the transponder signals. Click here for a handy list of vehicles with these special windshields

    If your car is listed here, you will need to buy the portable version of the SunPass, which attaches to other parts of the car.

    The portable SunPass costs $19.99, and can be moved from car to car. Before using each for the first time, it must be activated (by phone or online) and a minimum deposit of $10 into your SunPass account is required.

      Q: I drive a regular 2-axle passenger car. I've heard different toll fees may apply?

    A: To encourage toll route users to purchase a SunPass (cost $4.99) tolls billed to a SunPass account are discounted. Cars without a SunPass (i.e., "Toll-by-Plate") not only attract a higher toll rate but also a $2.50 admin charge, since the toll bill must be mailed to the car owner's home.

    It is possible to open a SunPass account and not have a SunPass transponder in your car. In these cases, cars driving on a toll section will be recognized by the Toll-by-Plate cameras, but will avoid extra admin charges since the toll fee will be removed from their account.

      Q: How will Florida know how to bill a Canadian car?

    A: The Florida toll system computer already has Canadian license plate information and car owner addresses in its database. All Canadian provinces and U.S. states license information is regularly updated.

      Q: I've heard I can use the Florida SunPass in Georgia. True?

    A: Yes, at the present time, Florida's SunPass may be used in Georgia and in North Carolina. Plans are underway to have it accepted in 14 additional states by the end of 2016.

      Q: What about those who rent a car for their Florida visit?

    A: This is a murky area since some car rental companies have discovered a way of making extra revenue on their rental contracts.

    Some require that you pay an additional fee for a SunPass whether you use it or not. In other words, there is no "opt out" option in the rental contract.

    Others have an "opt out" option but renters may not be told about it and it might be buried deep in the fine print. Further, if you opt out and accidentally attract "Toll-by-plate" charges by inadvertently using a toll route, not only do you have to pay the toll charge and admin charge, but some companies are adding a "fine" to the final rental payment.
















      Q: ?

















      Q: What is the status of the proposed Canadian retiree 8 month visa?

    A: A number of years ago, the Canadian Snowbird Association (CSA) started lobbying the U.S. Government for a special visa which would allow retired Canadian citizens of age 50+ with property in the USA, to visit the USA for eight months instead of the current six. This resulted in a bipartisan Bill being introduced in Congress in 2013, which until its death at the end of the congressional session in 2014, had been co-sponsored by 166 Representatives.

    The CSA has continued its efforts and on March 17, 2015, a new Bill (now known as HR1401) was reintroduced to the 2015 Congress. It has moved to the House's Judiciary subcommittee on Immigration & Border Security. After appropriate study, it will move back to the House or Senate with a recommendation for further action.

    Congessional committee studies and reviews can take a long time. Even if it survives the sub-committee process, passage into law is not assured.

    Click here to read the Bill
















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