Holiday travelers traverse East Tennessee on the road

By: Mike McCarthy
By: Mike McCarthy

Knox County (WVLT) -- Santa Claus is not the only one taking to the sky this holiday season.

AAA estimates more than 65 million Americans will travel 50 miles or more before New Years.

With three major interstates making their way through East Tennessee, the region is bound to feel the great travel migration over the next week.

But even with the potential for highway headaches, some drivers passing through say they aren't expecting much of a holiday hassle.

"We are ready for Christmas," said Debbie Chamblin from Ohio.

On Sunday afternoon, the Chamblin's had fueled their four-wheel drive sleigh and were headed home for the holidays.

"We had Christmas yesterday with our family near Atlanta," Debbie said.

And her clan was playing Santa, with the back seat of their sleigh packed with gifts.

"We're taking Christmas presents back that we bought in Myrtle Beach for people in Ohio," she said.

Even with more than 80 percent of holiday season travelers hitting highways like I-75 and I-40, the going wasn’t as tough as you might have thought.

"It hasn't been bad at all,” she said, “a lot better than I expected actually."

Ruth Ann Canada's family was headed to Smyrna, Tennessee.

On the trip they were doing more than just counting mile markers to pass t he time.

"We're actually going to keep a diary because my mother's with us,” Canada said. “She's 77 and she says some pretty funny things."

AAA says the 2007 holiday pump prices are $.60 higher than they were in 2006.

Nationwide the average price for a gallon of regular unleaded is at nearly $3.00, but Sunday drivers said the price was not putting a lump of coal in their travel stocking.

“We've got four people going,” Canada said. “If you compared that to any other way of going, it would be higher."

David Wheeler was headed from Atlanta to Lexington and said the Georgia State Troopers had already given him an early Christmas gift.

"He came back and said, ‘Mr. Wheeler, don't run anymore red lights,’ and that was it.”

For more holiday travel resources, click on the Hot Key.


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