View Full Version : Time Saving - Is I75 the whole way best?

03-14-2004, 08:10 PM

My trip is approaching and I'm starting to get excited and a bit nervous for the drive (first drive in US).

I was just wondering if there is any time saving routes to meet up with I75 rather than taking the 401 to Windsor? I'll be driving from Toronto, mid-day on a FRIDAY. :eek:

My thoughts are:
Toronto to Niagara Falls (Very familar with this route) and take the 407 to speed up the trip a bit. Go East on I90 to I79 and South to Charleston, West Virginia. Go East on I64 to Lexington where I'd meet the I75. Has anyone ever done this?

Will this save any time? I honestly do not even know how long it would take to Windsor!! I've never been there before!

Thanks in advance!

oh, btw, I do have Dave Hunter's I75 book!

03-14-2004, 09:42 PM
Hi: I happen to remember seeing how far it is to orlando in our sat Hamilton Spectator. This was on page Gl7 March l3, 2004.

"I-75 thru detroit to orlando is 2260 kilometres from Toronto. It is the most popular route for CAA members because the chances of running into snow are slimmer than on the main alternative.

I-90 combination route, about 2090, from Toronto, then I-79 from Erie, Pa., to I-77, Follow I-77 to Columbia, S.C., before joining (via I-26)I-95 northwest of Charleston, S.C. Because of mountainous terrain, fog and drifting snow in sections, the CAA suggests driving with care along this route. "

Hope this helps, sorry I don't have an answer to your question about the other route.

When we are driving to wdw, we look for a clear window of weather then pick the route. My hubby likes the one along I79/I77 to I95 best. But not in winter.


03-14-2004, 10:16 PM
Thanks Deb!

When looking at a map it looks like the route you've travelled is faster and it's also what is suggested when I use Rand McNally's trip planning tool. I'm going in May so I don't think snow is a huge issue yet I'm a bit worried about the route being confusing. (Although I do have an excellent Navigator with me in the passenger seat)

Do you find the I79/77/96 route easy? This is the way my grandfater drove us to Myrtle Beach when I was a kid.


03-14-2004, 10:27 PM

Depending on what side of Toronto you are coming from, it would take you 3 1/2 to 4 1/2 hours to get to the border in Windsor.

Since we are only 1 hour from the border in Windsor, we always travel the I75 route the whole way down, so I can't help with your other questions.

Have a great trip.

03-15-2004, 07:05 AM
I think I am going to stick with I75.... Although the other way sounds faster I love how the I75 book tells you everything you need to know including what lane to be in.

I had scheduled 5 hours to Windsor but hopefully I can get there in 3.5 since I'm central West. If I'm going to do any speeding it's going to be on this side of the border.

03-15-2004, 07:59 AM
Hi Daisy:

I myself do not do the driving, dh does all the driving so any way is easy for me.

But if I were you I agree I would do the I 75 route. Do you belong to CAA as they have maps and trip tics which they highlight the route down and construction areas also areas to watch for traffic tickets.

Do NOT speed, my hubby received a ticket once in sourth carolina, we had big transports in the right lane beside us and did not see the sign where the speed changed and, the officer wanted money right there on the side of the hwy. He would never speed, but just did not see the sign change. (this was the 79/77 route).

I really like the highway system in the United States, they have two lanes going one way, divided nicely by a wide green buffer area usually with trees, and the other two lanes going the opposite direction. Try to do your timing so you miss rush hour in the big cities in the States, also book your hotel on the south side of the city to avoid any traffic the next day. We always book a motel with a continental breakfast for a quick start to the drive the following day.

Have fun,


hockey mom
03-15-2004, 08:13 AM
WE have done all 3 ways. To Windsor and straight down I-75-My least favorite. Longest, boring, and sorry but inside Detroit scares me a little.
2) Fort Erie and working our way over to I-75 A little longer than #3 but lots of well lit and frequent gas stations along the way.
3) Fort Erie and through the mountains. Very scenic, shorter, but weather is very unpredictable and heavy fog. Gas stations are not as frequent and not as nice. Just my opinion.
Drive safe!

jersey shark
03-15-2004, 08:28 AM
My advice would be to take 1-75 all the way down, BUT consider avoiding Windsor and crossing at Sarnia into Pt Huron, MI (via the 402).


There's a few reasons:

a) much less chance of border crossing delays at Sarnia
b) more services along 1-94 in Michigan vs 401 from London to Windsor
c) I hate the 10 -15 minutes you lose in Windsor because the 401 ends and then you get several miles of lights before the bridge!
c) something about the 401 in sw ON that makes it among the most boring drives in the world....I think the US billboards help entertain the driver

Only caution? Avoid the "in-bound" Detroit rush (6:30 - 9 am) if you take the 1-94 to connect up to 1-75.

Have a good drive!

03-15-2004, 09:50 AM

Hubby actually hates the 4 hour drive to windsor from hamilton, if we do go I75 then we leave about 3 a.m. and drive it in the dark, as he absolutely hates that part, but the rest is fine.

We have run into some terrible bathrooms. We usually stop at the welcome centres for each state, as there are people actually working in them, or mcconalds, wendys, the name brand fast foods, and buy something small from them. For canadians for a quick food grab the 99 cent wendys menu is good.


03-16-2004, 06:44 AM
Originally posted by jersey shark
My advice would be to take 1-75 all the way down, BUT consider avoiding Windsor and crossing at Sarnia into Pt Huron, MI (via the 402).

Wow - Something I hadn't thought of yet and I'll probably do. Does I94 easily join with I75? Is highway 402 100 km/h or 90 km/h?

I'm NOT looking forward to the 401 portion of the trip. )=

Thanks to all for the responses!!!

03-16-2004, 12:38 PM
Yes the 402 is 100KPH all the way to Sarnia. I find the 402 just as boring as the drive to Windsor on the 401. The 401 atleast has a few more rest areas and they are all on the highway not like the 402 they are all off the highway. Just my knowledge from driving the 402 atleast 2 times a month or more to go visit family in Sarnia.

03-16-2004, 12:44 PM
:wave:, jersey shark

03-16-2004, 12:57 PM
I also prefer crossing at Port Huron. I'd rather be on I-75 when I go through Detroit then try and find it off the bridge. For people who cross at this border all the time it's easy for them. When we crossed in 2001 this way I didn't think we were every going to get onto the highway. We seemed to be going in circles. I don't know if this was a construction problem or that they had in fact changed the route.

When you cross at Port Huron ( the 402 ends at the bridge) you get on 94 staight off the bridge and then get on 75 just inside Detroit. Then just follow the Toledo signs. The speed limit in MI is 70 mph. When we go, if we have no delays we pass the Windsor bridge at exactly 2 hours after we've left home. When we come home we cross this way at Windsor and it is 2 hours and a bit to home. The time difference is not that much.

Wanna know the real reason we cross at Port Huron? If we leave close to a meal time we stop at Cracker Barrel. Love my Cracker Barrel.

I would suggest getting a trip tic if you have CAA or know someone who has CAA. Tell them you want to go one way on the way down and the other way on the way back. That way you have directions for both routes.

Happy planning!!

03-16-2004, 01:07 PM
The part that I like about the I-75 route is that until you are in Florida it's a no brainer -- you don't have to look for exits for different highways etc. Dave Hunter's Along the I-75 book is great, an interesting read and we can plan our Cracker Barrel stops ahead of time.

Have to admit the 401 to Windsor is boring -- did it every other weekend for 3 years while I went to school in Windsor. Knew every exit. Now it's kinda exciting to see the changes especially along Huron Church Rd. in Windsor.

jersey shark
03-16-2004, 08:15 PM
Agreed, the 402 is very boring as well, but the 402/1-94 route will put you in Michigan an hour quicker than the Windsor 401-only route and therefore you will be on a safer road, have services at virtually every exit, and of course, possibly avoid what could be a huge traffic tie-up on the Amb Bridge and Customs.

And anyone who is a regular on these boards knows that although I love visiting Canada, (I travel all over North America for my work) I have two pet peeves about the Great White North....substandard and dangerous (in my opinion) freeways (witness the 401) and ...gulp...dare I bring this up again....restaurant food that's a step up from the British but not yet up to US standards....the fondness for Cracker Barrel expressed in this thread is interesting because that's casual family dining....it shouldn't really be considered anything "special", yet it was by a poster or two.

Happy Motoring!

03-16-2004, 08:24 PM
Crackerbarrel is not what I would consider good food not worth stopping there for us anyhow. As for the highway it really is all what you are used to I have no problems driving the 401 at all or the 402 but hate the I75 through Ohio. All the bridges in Ohio are all concrete and all the water drain lines run with the road not across it so the water doesn't drain off them very well and it is like this in a few other states also. When we were there in Nov/Dec every bridge we came to in Ohio had atleast 2 or 3 cars in the guardrail or the ditch including numerous tractor trailers it was so bad the start troopers had most of the bridges closed down to 1 lane not my idea of fun driving but hey that is just my opinion I am sure there are other areas in Canada that may have the same problems to but I have not witnessed them as of yet.

03-17-2004, 12:13 AM

I think I'm confused... lol but I want to go to Cracker Barrel now! My final decision on the route may come the day of... If only the Windsor route could have the Sarnia border crossing!


03-17-2004, 08:41 AM
Quite honestly the Windsor border crossing is not a problem at all.

We cross there all of the time and never hardly have to wait. The border crossing guards are usually decent, to us anyways.

The drive from the end of 401 to the border is not a big deal either. Sometimes there are a lot of trucks on Huron Church Road, just make sure you stay out of the truck lane and you will be fine.

If you stay in the proper lane, you will zip right on thru to the border in no time at all.

The drive through Detroit from the bridge in Windsor is not bad either. You are out of Detroit very quickly from that point.

To get onto the I75 just follow the signs or if you have Dave Hunters book there is a special spot in there that shows you exactly how to get to the I75.

Whichever way you go have a good trip!!!!

03-17-2004, 11:37 AM
Have to agree that we've never had a problem crossing at Windsor.

I like Cracker Barrel because of the store that's attached to the restaurant. We've gotten some really neat stuff there over the years. We also like the books on tape/cd that you can rent there. You buy the book on cd and then return it at any other Cracker Barrel and they only charge you $3/week rental fee. We usually rent 2 books on the way down and 2 on the way home so it costs us $12 to listen to 4 books. We don't necessary eat there but do shop and use it as a break. The washrooms are always clean.

03-17-2004, 12:05 PM
Our longest border delay actually came crossing in Sarnia into Port huron we were delayed about 30 minutes the windsor crossing we have always gotten through in about 5 or 10 minutes tops. It also depends on how many gates they have open n the US side we crossed one time and they only had 2 gates open and there was about 60 cars lined up so they came and opened up 2 more gates problem solved. We have never shopped at Cracker Barrel and really have had no desire to not sure why that is maybe it is because I just can't bring myself to stop at them after we ate breakfast there in 2001 who knows. I would rather stop at Shoney or someplace like that.

03-17-2004, 08:48 PM
I've never had much of a problem with the border guards in Detroit, at either the Bridge or the Tunnel. (then again, I'm a US citizen, although I've never had problems crossing into Canada either). From the Bridge, you should be able to get directly onto I-75, with a very minimal effort. (There are 2 or 3 highways that meet the bridge, I-75 is one of them)

You can also look at http://www.ambassadorbridge.com/bridge-report.asp to see what the current crossing times are looking like.

03-18-2004, 12:25 PM
We've never had a problem crossing at Windsor. We always go that route because we live at the south end of London, so we are less than 5 minutes off of the 401. If I lived in the north end of the city, I would take the Sarnia route. One thing about the 402 to Sarnia though, my friends DH drives it every day and he is convinced that he will be killed one day by the huge garbage trucks heading from Toronto to Michigan. Those drivers are totally nuts. And in the winter, the 402 has a history of getting really bad weather between Strathroy and Sarnia that can change on a dime.

Guess it's all what you're used to .... and on the way home, there's nothing better than crossing back into Canada !!! I like being back in Ontario so the quicker we do so, the better.

Mary Liz

03-18-2004, 10:21 PM
The other choice is to go across at Fort Erie and then down I-190 and I-90 to US219 into PA and then across to Maryland then Wash DC then straight shot down I-95 and I-4 to WDW

I took this way since the weather on my travel days was not great on the I-75 or 77-79 combinations

The way noted above is about 22.5 hours - give or take

Quite busy on I-95 but lots of rest stops, restaurants etc.