Helping our Friends . . .


Our readers are our friends. We know it when we talk to you on the phone (yes, we answer it in person) , when we read your email messages (I personally reply to every one I receive) , and best of all, we sense it when we chat with you while shopping or beside the freeway ... we enjoy your hugs when we meet and love taking photos with you.

You are very special to us!

In a recent newsletter, I wrote . . . "Richard Clayderman, the most successful pianist in the world with 267 gold and 70 platinum discs to his credit (Guinness Book of World Records), was once asked why he never looks at the keyboard while he plays. He famously replied, 'I love looking at the audience and seeing the enjoyment in their eyes'."

... and so it is with Kathy and I. We love your enjoyment of our work."

We also feel honored when we can help you with your occasional problems on '75. Here are just a few stories of how we've been able to make a reader's journey a bit easier.

        •  I'm stuck in traffic on I-75
        •  I don't like my room and the front desk won't help me
        •  Take me off your mailing list - I won't be going to Florida again
        •  Traveling together in your car
        •  Children and grand-children

We love what we do for a living and you, our readers, make it all possible. We don't research and write our books to become rich (we are not); we do it for you, your comfort, safety and enjoyment.

A BIG thank-you to you all.

You are our friends, our extended family, and we dedicate Along Interstate-75 ... to you.

author, Along I-75
















I'm stuck in traffic on I-75

Late one morning I was sitting in my office when a reader phoned me from her car somewhere north of Chattanooga. She had been stuck in traffic for over an hour and needed help.

I asked her if she knew which exit was ahead of here. She had passed exit 7 when the problem started and from her description of the roadside, I knew she was just north of exit 5, Shallowford Road. Her cell phone was plugged into the car and she had an unlimited North America calling plan so I suggested staying with me while I guided her off I-75 and back on farther south.

And stay with me she did! Using a copy of Microsoft Streets and Trips on my computer, I took her off I-75 and guided her through the suburban back roads and on to country routes until we arrived at Walnut Avenue (I-75, exit 333) in Dalton, Georgia. She of course, was delighted.

I can't always guarantee that I'll be available but if you become "stuck," try giving me a call.

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I don't like my room and the front desk won't help me

We don't recommend a lodging in our book's Insider Tips unless we have personally assessed not only the facilities but also the helpfulness of the staff. Sometimes however, a reader might get a room which is not up to their expectations. Our advise is always, go the front desk and let them know (even if you have already unpacked - they will help you move). We are surprised how many people do not follow this advice when they encounter a problem. Always be objective rather than emotional in presenting your complaint. This helps resolve the issue 9 times out of 10.

Every so often, something does go "off the rails" and if so and it cannot be resolved while you are there, we want to know about it. Please email me and make sure you include the date of your stay and the room number.

Over twenty years of writing and recommending I-75 accommodation possibilities, we have become known to people in various lodging companies. A number of times we have played ombudsman to help resolve difficulties. We do not take "sides" but can ensure your complaint reaches open ears - somebody who can become directly involved to help.

Our experience is that a lodging chain's head office wants to know about such problems and is always genuinely thankful when we personally contact them on behalf of a reader.

From that point on how they handle such a complaint is up to them. After passing the information to them we do not get involved; our mission is to start a useful communication between folk. But we know from feedback that the experience is always positive - a win-win-win for all concerned.

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Take me off your mailing list - I won't be going to Florida again

When Mrs. FW phoned me from a neighboring community in Toronto, I could tell she was distraught. "Please take me off you mailing list," she said. "My husband died last year and I don't think I will be going down south again."

We chatted for a while and I was able to uncover a number of things which were very much bothering her. Firstly, she was very concerned about how to sell her Florida condo. As she said, Fred always looked after these sorts of things."

And then there was the loss of all her friends she and her husband had made over fifteen years in Sarasota - she was going to miss them very much but I suspected this was a time in her life when she would need them more than ever. I suggested flying but she had never flown and was scared of the idea.

And the icing on the cake she couldn't consider driving since she had no idea how to put gas in her car!

Since she lived close by, I arranged to meet with her and we actually practiced filling her car with gas. After that, I heard nothing and slowly the days moved on into fall and towards winter.

Six months later, she phoned me and wanted to let me know that she had driven herself to Florida and back the previous winter. Her friends had encouraged her to stay so she decided not to sell her condo and that she was going to continue her winter years in the southern sun.

For security, she had made a large stuffed doll with a wig, dressed it in her husband's clothes and strapped it into the passenger seat leaning to one side with a hat covering its face, as if asleep.

Proudly she said she had driven all the way by herself, faithfully following all the driving instructions in Along I-75. She even went through Atlanta in the HOV lanes during a Sunday afternoon while the city played host to the Super Bowl!

I know Fred would have been proud of her although I did have to mention that you must have two live people in the car to use the HOV lanes.

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Traveling together in your car

I have received many readers comments over the years and one of my favorites which I received from time to time (before we wrote the "Florida" book) was, words to the effect of "Dave, we just crossed the border into Florida and you jumped out of our car - the rest of the drive to Sarasota was no fun without you!"

Now of course, it's not a problem ... our book Along Florida's Expressways allows me to stay with you no matter where your Florida destination lies.

Readers write to me and say, "Dave, it's as if you were in the back seat of our car, guiding us down the interstate to Florida," or, "Having you in our car on our drive south is as good as having our own personal guide."

Recently, Mrs. LS of Mississauga wrote a letter to me ... Dear Mr. Hunter (or as you are known from the front seat of our car, 'my friend Dave'),

Well, all these wonderful comments tell me that Along I-75 is working ... and it is working well. It is providing comfort and control as you journey southward (or northward, as the case may be).

These comments reflect the very thing I earlier quoted pianist Richard Clayderman as saying about his audiences ... the comments help me see the enjoyment of my books, in your eyes.

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Children and grand-children

Over the past twenty years, we have grown up with many of you. One mother said she used to buy my book and give it to her back seat kids to keep them quiet on the way south. Now one of those "kids" has kids of his own and proudly wrote to me about buying a recent copy of my book to keep his kids occupied on the drive to Florida!

Incidentally, a number of years ago we heard that Along I-75 had been listed by one of the Ohio home schooling associations on its list of recommended material. Kids do seem to enjoy reading about the roadside history, flora and fauna as they head south ... we just don't put them off by calling the book, "educational."

It certainly does seem to be a generational thing. When the first edition of Along I-75 was released, I remember young JV of Barrie, Ontario writing to me to find out if his new provisional driving license would allow him to drive on I-75 on route to Florida, while his dad was in the car. I did the research for him and found that he could.

Recently, JV wrote to me again to say that he was driving south with his sixteen year old son last winter ...and he asked his dad the same question. He ad heard the story about how his dad had driven part of the way to Florida on I-75, and he wanted to do the same.

We are now waiting to hear from our first grandchild traveler.

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