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Old 10-19-2012, 05:33 PM   #1
WellingtonR
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Suggestions: Driving from Connecticut to DW day after Thanksgiving

Hello. My wife and I and two children (7, 3) are driving from CT to DW the day after Thanksgiving. I want to avoid tolls and traffic (especially major cities), so I was thinking about going into PA and down 81, then 77 to 26. Has anyone done this? I've heard 81 can be tricky but I think by avoiding all the possible 95 traffic during Thanksgiving weekend....it might be worth it. We've driven to MO and back summer of '11 and the kids do fairly well.
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Old 10-19-2012, 05:53 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WellingtonR
Hello. My wife and I and two children (7, 3) are driving from CT to DW the day after Thanksgiving. I want to avoid tolls and traffic (especially major cities), so I was thinking about going into PA and down 81, then 77 to 26. Has anyone done this? I've heard 81 can be tricky but I think by avoiding all the possible 95 traffic during Thanksgiving weekend....it might be worth it. We've driven to MO and back summer of '11 and the kids do fairly well.
My stepbrother and sister-in-law travel that day from NC to DE every year and there is no traffic. Everyone is where they want to be.

If you just want to avoid paying tolls, be prepared to be sitting at lights by yourself and waiting for the lights to change. Take the major roads and pay the tolls.
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Old 10-20-2012, 07:17 AM   #3
LuckyGirl777
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I don't think its to avoid tolls, it's to avoid the traffic mess of NY-NJ-Philly-DC 95 cluster. I live right smack in the middle of that cluster and I don't even want to drive through it.

We are going this route next week from NJ (287-78-81-77-26-95) with one stop over night...I will try to come back and let you know how it went!
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Old 10-20-2012, 08:02 PM   #4
WellingtonR
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I would really appreciate your feedback on how the drive went!! Have fun and safe travels!!!
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Old 10-22-2012, 08:11 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WellingtonR View Post
Hello. My wife and I and two children (7, 3) are driving from CT to DW the day after Thanksgiving. I want to avoid tolls and traffic (especially major cities), so I was thinking about going into PA and down 81, then 77 to 26. Has anyone done this? I've heard 81 can be tricky but I think by avoiding all the possible 95 traffic during Thanksgiving weekend....it might be worth it. We've driven to MO and back summer of '11 and the kids do fairly well.
We are doing the same, from CT also! What time of day do you leave? We haven't made this drive before so we aren't really sure! We will be stopping over somewhere for the night down and back.
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Old 10-22-2012, 08:27 PM   #6
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We are thinking about leaving at 5am and will stop someplace for dinner and then drive just for a couple more hours. The downside of November is there's not as much daylight.
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Old 10-23-2012, 04:36 PM   #7
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Even though that Friday is a “work day” there will not be enough traffic for you to be concerned about in either Baltimore or Washington. I have a daughter in Winston-Salem and a son in Charlotte so I go up and down the middle Atlantic states all the time. As a matter of fact, I made the trip to Charlotte last weekend, going down on Friday and returning on Sunday. I returned on Sunday, leaving Charlotte at 1:00 pm and going up I-81. What a nightmare! Here are the problems with I-81. 1) There are many, many semi’s on that road. 2) It’s very hilly. 3) The road is two lanes the whole way. 4) Trucks are allowed in the passing lane. 4) Although the speed limit is 70 mph most of the way, the trucks go 80 mph down the hills and 50 mph up the hills. 5) Trucks are forever in the passing lane, usually going well below the speed limit while passing going up hill. I probably averaged no more than 55 mph for the entire 235 miles I was on that road. And talk about stress! Not long ago the Washington Post reported that I-81 was the most dangerous road in Virginia. I can see why. Now think about the weather in late November in the hills of western Virginia. My advised? Stay with I-95.
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Old 10-23-2012, 09:32 PM   #8
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Agree about the comment on I81 . Stay to middle/ left lanes if you do do I95 when going by the mall exits as that is where the traffic will be on the Friday after Thanksgiving.
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Old 11-02-2012, 10:20 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by WellingtonR View Post
I would really appreciate your feedback on how the drive went!! Have fun and safe travels!!!
Hi! Just wanted to check in. We did the inland route to Charlotte. We ended up staying at Great Wolf Lodge for two nights because of Sandy.

Anyway, the inland route on the way down was good! The trucks were fine, they know how to drive. The RVs were a bit of a pain in the neck, not as good at driving as the trucks, but it was fine. Lots of places to stop, very pretty along the way.

The second leg of the trip from Charlotte to Orlando was really easy. Flat, fast, no traffic (it was a Sunday so that helped I'm sure).

And now for the return tomorrow...

Good luck on your trip!
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Old 11-02-2012, 10:24 AM   #10
LuckyGirl777
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GranddadTom View Post
Even though that Friday is a “work day” there will not be enough traffic for you to be concerned about in either Baltimore or Washington. I have a daughter in Winston-Salem and a son in Charlotte so I go up and down the middle Atlantic states all the time. As a matter of fact, I made the trip to Charlotte last weekend, going down on Friday and returning on Sunday. I returned on Sunday, leaving Charlotte at 1:00 pm and going up I-81. What a nightmare! Here are the problems with I-81. 1) There are many, many semi’s on that road. 2) It’s very hilly. 3) The road is two lanes the whole way. 4) Trucks are allowed in the passing lane. 4) Although the speed limit is 70 mph most of the way, the trucks go 80 mph down the hills and 50 mph up the hills. 5) Trucks are forever in the passing lane, usually going well below the speed limit while passing going up hill. I probably averaged no more than 55 mph for the entire 235 miles I was on that road. And talk about stress! Not long ago the Washington Post reported that I-81 was the most dangerous road in Virginia. I can see why. Now think about the weather in late November in the hills of western Virginia. My advised? Stay with I-95.
I didn't find the trucks to be bad. They know how to drive and they are always going fast, so even if you are behind them, who cares really. Some of the RVs can be a total nightmare.

But I can see that the return trip could be worse because then you would be going on more uphills than downhills. The weather is also a concern in late November.

My gut feeling would be to only do 81 on the way down then 95 on the way up. And definitely keep an eye on the weather forecast.

We might take the Autotrain home actually. We are beat and going home to a powerless home in NJ, so I think if we can take the strain out of the return a bit it will be good.
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Old 11-02-2012, 10:39 AM   #11
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We were thinking of taking the inland route but couldn't get a hotel for that night where we wanted to and my father and husband were too worried about icy road conditions that time of year.

We will be driving down on Thanksgiving using the 95 route. (From Westerly RI)
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Old 11-02-2012, 10:43 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Asellus View Post
We were thinking of taking the inland route but couldn't get a hotel for that night where we wanted to and my father and husband were too worried about icy road conditions that time of year.

We will be driving down on Thanksgiving using the 95 route. (From Westerly RI)
It is very rare to see ice roads that early; I live in DE and we don't usually see those types of conditions until January/February. We have had a couple of storms in December, but rarely around Thanksgiving.

I have gone to Disney almost every year, leaving the Saturday after Thanksgiving, and I have actually worn a lightweight jacket a few years in a row.
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Old 11-02-2012, 11:48 AM   #13
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The day after thanksgiving is black friday. It will be crazy no matter what
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Old 11-02-2012, 01:40 PM   #14
WellingtonR
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LuckyGirl777

Hi! Just wanted to check in. We did the inland route to Charlotte. We ended up staying at Great Wolf Lodge for two nights because of Sandy.

Anyway, the inland route on the way down was good! The trucks were fine, they know how to drive. The RVs were a bit of a pain in the neck, not as good at driving as the trucks, but it was fine. Lots of places to stop, very pretty along the way.

The second leg of the trip from Charlotte to Orlando was really easy. Flat, fast, no traffic (it was a Sunday so that helped I'm sure).

And now for the return tomorrow...

Good luck on your trip!
Thanks for the trip report!! Sounds like it went well!! I think we are going to take the inland route especially now with the destruction from Sandy. I hope and pray your property in NJ is ok.
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Old 11-02-2012, 01:43 PM   #15
WellingtonR
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Asellus
We were thinking of taking the inland route but couldn't get a hotel for that night where we wanted to and my father and husband were too worried about icy road conditions that time of year.

We will be driving down on Thanksgiving using the 95 route. (From Westerly RI)
We usually don't book a hotel when we are driving as we try to drive as far as we can each day. I really hate possibly losing deposits or being charged a nights stay if we don't make it to where we thought we would.
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