1 2 3 4
Mazdax605
Mazdax605 PowerDork
3/30/21 10:00 a.m.

Hey guys,

 

  We're planning to drive from South-eastern MA to the Ocala FL area. We're planning to share driving between my wife, myself, and possibly our 18 year old son, but I'm reluctant to have him drive much in heavy traffic areas as he's a fairly new driver(licensed in October 2020).

John Welsh
John Welsh Mod Squad
3/30/21 10:13 a.m.

Google Maps show two routes.  The Western Route is 1.5 hrs longer (and about 100 miles more) but it bypasses Philly, Baltimore, and all the DC Corridor.  The largest city it puts you in is Charlotte.  So, I guess this begs the question of, "in the days of Covid, is traffic in major cities still an issue?" 

In a pre-covid world, I would think you can easily loose 1.5 hours in that Philly to DC corridor so I would go West.  

 

Are there any side trips or sights that you want to see along the way that might promote one route over the other?  

 

Another option that still puts you in Philly but gets around DC by way of Norfolk.  The tunnel Chesapeake crossing there is pretty cool/unique.  

Duke
Duke MegaDork
3/30/21 10:24 a.m.

I live right in the middle of that Philly / Baltimore / DC axis.

I would definitely take the western route unless you have a target stopover point within that stretch.  Particularly with a new driver at the wheel.

Depending on what time you would come through, it may or may not be that bad, but it's better to avoid entirely if convenient.

 

Mr_Asa
Mr_Asa UltraDork
3/30/21 10:28 a.m.

When passing through NC, find a Smithfield's BBQ and get a sammich or two.  They do a vinegar sauce and its excellent.

Brett_Murphy (Ex-Patrón)
Brett_Murphy (Ex-Patrón) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
3/30/21 10:31 a.m.

I'd go the Chesapeake Bay Bridge. While there is plenty of traffic on the interstate, it's fairly consistent, plenty of spots to stop for a rest or switch drivers and so on. New drivers have to learn how to drive on congested interstates sooner or later, and getting that experience with two mentors in the car sounds like a good way to start.

Charlotte is bad for traffic. I'd rather drive through NYC- really.

Duke
Duke MegaDork
3/30/21 10:42 a.m.

In reply to Brett_Murphy (Ex-Patrón) :

The eastern route will take you through Philly and Wilmington, DE, then split off down DE 1 to MD 301.  I-95 through Philly is pretty bad.  In Wilmington DelDOT has I-95 down to 1 lane for reconstruction.  You can bypass most of that on I-495, and only have to rejoin 95 for a few miles before DE 1 splits off.  However, that can be a decently busy section.

Once you hit 301 at the MD/DE border it's a straight, flat run down the Delmarva Peninsula through fairly rural countryside.  Pretty in a tidewater agricultural way.  Again, depending on what time you come through, you may hit beach traffic as the ritzy bits of DC bug out to the Delaware beaches for the weekend.

Mazdax605
Mazdax605 PowerDork
3/30/21 10:51 a.m.
Brett_Murphy (Ex-Patrón) said:

I'd go the Chesapeake Bay Bridge. While there is plenty of traffic on the interstate, it's fairly consistent, plenty of spots to stop for a rest or switch drivers and so on. New drivers have to learn how to drive on congested interstates sooner or later, and getting that experience with two mentors in the car sounds like a good way to start.

Charlotte is bad for traffic. I'd rather drive through NYC- really.

Oh yeah I should have mentioned that we want to do the Chesapeake Bay tunnel/bridge at some point. We did the tunnel bridge a year or so before we had kids, and also had our camper in tow, so it wasn't as great as it could have been. I'd also love to stop in NJ at the Clerks Quick Stop store in Leonardo,NJ but I guess I don't have to do so because it is really out of the way.

hobiercr (FS)
hobiercr (FS) GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
3/30/21 10:57 a.m.

In reply to Mazdax605 :

We always used to try and hold our breath through that tunnel when we were kids. My vote is for the tunnel.

Having driven Tampa to Philly more times than I can count, it all really depends when you hit the big cities. If you are not averse to some night driving you can often skate through without any major issues. I do recommend running Waze the entire way. It REALLY helps with reroute suggestions when there is a big accident or slowdown issue. 

stukndapast
stukndapast Reader
3/30/21 11:02 a.m.

You can bypass the Philly/Baltimore/Washington mess as well as Charlotte by following the second route you show, but when you get to I-64 in Virginia take it back east to Richmond and re-connect with I-95.  That will take you though the Shenandoah valley on I-81 which is usually decent except for heavy truck traffic.  If you have time, you could even do a few miles on the Skyline Drive which is very pretty in the spring.   Once south of Richmond/Petersburg I-95 doesn't pass directly through any major cities and should be a relatively easy ride.  It would be a little longer distance, but much easier travel during the day.  There are endless miles of run-of-the-mill interstate travel that would be very good training for a new driver.

mtn (Forum Supporter)
mtn (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
3/30/21 11:03 a.m.

Might have to go via Canada. Some idiot in a container ship tried to jump from the Atlantic to Lake Erie, its taken out the entire highway system of the Eastern Seaboard. 

 

Mazdax605
Mazdax605 PowerDork
3/30/21 11:08 a.m.
mtn (Forum Supporter) said:

Might have to go via Canada. Some idiot in a container ship tried to jump from the Atlantic to Lake Erie, its taken out the entire highway system of the Eastern Seaboard. 

 

Lol!! Well played sir!!

docwyte
docwyte PowerDork
3/30/21 1:38 p.m.

I drove Boston to Baltimore years ago and vowed to never do that I-95 corridor again.  Even on a Sunday the traffic was consistently heavy the entire way. 

Divert around the major cities on I-95 for sure.

ckosacranoid
ckosacranoid SuperDork
3/30/21 2:24 p.m.

I would suggest stopping and going though tail of the dragon a couple of times. Atlanta traffic really sucks. Stop North somewhere till after 9am and check waz for sure to see which route to avoid downtown.

Purple Frog (Forum Supporter)
Purple Frog (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
3/30/21 2:30 p.m.

Because I live in the Big Bend of Florida, it might weigh my decision.  But after dozens of trips to Lime Rock Pack, and Vermont, I almost always go I-77 out of Charlotte, and I-81 up into PA.

I have driven the beltway around DC, but almost always late at night.

Much depends on how big is the hurry, and sights you may want to see.  Hershey, Gettysburg, Luray Caverns, Shenendoah Valley, Natural Bridge, Skyline Drive... to name a few.

Off of I-95, Savannah is a good visit, Jekyl Island, or a day on Cumberland Island....

M2Pilot
M2Pilot Dork
3/30/21 3:20 p.m.

It's been a while since I've been through there but if you're on I95 near Emporia VA, the highway patrol is merciless & usually out in force.

Paul_VR6 (Forum Supporter)
Paul_VR6 (Forum Supporter) SuperDork
3/30/21 3:32 p.m.

I live right in the middle of the "squeeze" corridor on I95 and if you can avoid it, do that. From here (just south of Philly) it doesn't improve much until well after DC and not really clean sailing until after Richmond. If you can leave really early in the morning, it may not be so bad.

WonkoTheSane (FS)
WonkoTheSane (FS) GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
3/30/21 3:35 p.m.

Is the journey the destination, the destination the destination or a combination of both?  

If it's 100% destination and you're adverse to driving at night, depending on where you start I'd go the western route but even take it a bit further by going out 84 in CT out to NY and catching 87 past Newburgh.  That'll get you on the other side of the Hudson so you avoid the Tap bridge (Avoid the George Washington at all costs!) in NYC.

If it's a healthy mix of both, hanging to the east and going through the tunnel and the bridges is amazing.  Stop before you go across and spend half a day or so in Assateague Island.    Meander down the coastline as much as you can stomach for some slower but pretty scenery.

Come back on the western way as you'll be sick of Norfolk/DC/Philly/NYC traffic, and plan a day or two extra to take in some of the amazing driving roads that the Appalachians offer. There's a bunch of cool caves and natural bridges, etc. to check out if you have the time.

Duke
Duke MegaDork
3/30/21 3:42 p.m.
M2Pilot said:

if you're on any road in VA, the highway patrol is merciless & usually out in force.

FTFY.

But that could also be a teaching moment for the new driver.

 

Sonic
Sonic UltraDork
3/30/21 3:50 p.m.

Agreed on the advice to use the western route, that's what I usually do to avoid the terrible northeast corridor.  The tolls can also be significant if you are in anything other than a standard passenger car with no trailer.  
 

Be very careful with your speed through all of VA.  I usually set the cruise control at 73 and deal with it.  

TurnerX19
TurnerX19 UltraDork
3/30/21 7:53 p.m.

Another vote for the western route. And watch out for the VA staties as noted above.

03Panther
03Panther SuperDork
3/30/21 8:07 p.m.

I've made that trip MANY times, from VA to FL, or from VA to MA. You def. want the western route. And very correct to watch your speed in VA. I've found they are almost as bad there as other states! I would not consider them any worse than any of the other states on that route. And I've had tickets all over the country. I'm one of the guys that expects to be the one truck / car pulled out of a crowd all doing the same speed. Just works out that way for me. And looking at the cars that are pulled over, I've seen its more time of year than state specific.

If you've never don the eastern shore route, and want to sightsee along the way that would be my second choice, and going even farther west before turning south would be my third. the short route through all the different big cities would take the longest, unless extremely lucky.

dyintorace (Forum Supporter)
dyintorace (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
3/30/21 8:12 p.m.

Are you heading down to pick up the Chariot? We live in Gainesville and would love to see it!!

Wally (Forum Supporter)
Wally (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
3/30/21 8:30 p.m.

I love crossing the Chesapeake bridge. If you're not in a hurry I'd plan to hit there on the way down. Keep going that way into North Carolina and you can stop off at Grave Digger world headquarters. On the way back the western route is better. I usually stay on 81 up into I 84 in PA. It's a longer ride mileage wise but far less frustrating. 

Wally (Forum Supporter)
Wally (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
3/30/21 8:34 p.m.

And VA police suck. We sent buses full of FD and PD down south after Katrina and everyone got pulled over at some point, buses, fire trucks, ambulances, all got stopped for something. Must be nice to have that kind of free time.  

Mazdax605
Mazdax605 PowerDork
3/30/21 8:38 p.m.
dyintorace (Forum Supporter) said:

Are you heading down to pick up the Chariot? We live in Gainesville and would love to see it!!

I was going to, but our favorite bus driver is flying down to drive it up here for me this week. 

1 2 3 4
Our Preferred Partners
nRPGZ21cBQOe79zUpGd9QxRQ8dHLtc9y2QEKrSGjBjp3t10iInQ30j34HCWq2dow