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Old 12-13-2013, 12:52 PM
 
Location: Fredericksburg, VA
508 posts, read 528,453 times
Reputation: 130
Ok So in the summer I will be driving from Philadelphia, PA to Erie, PA and I am wondering which would be the best route to go across? I-76, I-80 or I-86?

I have driven I-80 about 4 times across each direction and I find it to be BOORRING. First of all its very sparse by trees, and also its very lacking in restaurants and ice cream and coffee shops. Which I always need to stop at every hour usually, because I cannot function otherwise. Seriously I-80 is very lacking, does anyone else find I-80 across PA booring?

So I either have the turnpike or I-86, I am aware the turnpike has a lot of tolls, but is it as boring as I-80, is it sparse like I-80, and is it as lacking of restaurants as I-80?

What about I-86? Is it better then I-80, better scenery? I was thinking I-86 would be a best option for me, but I am just checking if its as sparse as 80, and if its as lacking of food places as I-80?

This is all I find off of I-80 the entire way across state, only perkins, dennys, mc donalds, and burger king. Looking for more then just that. Not even any dairy queens or star-buck's.

So opinions please? Also what about I-90 across NY, its out of my way so I won't be taking that but I am just curious about how sparse it is, and if it has many food places, for the future.
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Old 12-13-2013, 01:06 PM
 
Location: Pittsburgh area
9,918 posts, read 19,678,662 times
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I drive I-80 about 3-4x a year now, for the last few years. It's pretty boring, sure, but I don't find it to be too lacking in services. It is sparse in parts but there are truck stops and various other things at many of the exits. It works fine.

The Turnpike, well, that goes through plenty of sparse areas as well, although you do get the service plazas. Still, it isn't worth the significant toll cost in this case, not that I can see. Is the scenery better? Eh, to me it's a tossup, although my passenger seems to think the Turnpike scenery is generally a little better. I don't know. The Turnpike I have driven well over 100x between Pittsburgh and Breezewood and I don't find it any less boring.

I-86 is rough and too far out of the way IMO, although I've only driven on the western portion. It's also still in the sticks for much of it.

I don't think either is better for services or scenery, but if you know 80 and want a change of scenery, pay up for the Turnpike would be my guess. Hey, there are tunnels, does that count as scenery? Hehe.
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Old 12-13-2013, 02:22 PM
 
Location: North Beach, MD on the Chesapeake
32,101 posts, read 39,155,933 times
Reputation: 40500
If you can't drive an hour without having to stop for coffee and a doughnut, and lose all function if you don't, you maybe ought to not be driving.

I80 is the smart choice. The Turnpike is the stupid choice. The NY road is the really stupid choice.
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Old 12-13-2013, 03:21 PM
 
3,125 posts, read 2,625,178 times
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The fastest auto route from Philly to Erie is the PA Turnpike to I-79. There is no road more boring than the PA Turnpike with all of its lanes packed together and only a fenced median separating the directions.

The PA Turnpike N.E. extension to I-80 will save you some money but it is also more time consuming and energy inefficient due to all of the hills that it climbs.

If you are not in a hurry and you enjoy back country towns and villages and some excellent scenery, take the N.E. extension to Clarks Summit and then follow Route 6 to US 19 and then Erie. See PA Route 6 Tourist Association - Welcome!.

I-86 from Binghamton to Erie has the best alignment and is remarkably flat in many sections. There are some nice cities enroute like Corning, Bath, Hornell and Jamestown/Chautauqua Lake. Also near I-86 are the Finger Lakes with its wine estates. There are also 2 casinos enroute, one in Owego and one in Salamanca.
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Old 12-13-2013, 03:51 PM
 
Location: The canyon (with my pistols and knife)
12,994 posts, read 17,113,637 times
Reputation: 14300
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wells5 View Post
There is no road more boring than the PA Turnpike with all of its lanes packed together and only a fenced median separating the directions.
The Pennsylvania Turnpike features a concrete median barrier for nearly its entire length. It's also been widened to six lanes in several places between Pittsburgh and Harrisburg, with the goal of having the entire Turnpike (with the possible exception of Breezewood to Blue Mountain) widened to six lanes within the next 10 years. Just so you know...
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Old 12-13-2013, 03:54 PM
 
Location: Philaburbia
31,152 posts, read 57,274,608 times
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I drive from Philly to Erie about 6 or 7 times a year, and occasionally take I-86.

I-86 is a nice drive. Usually there's much less traffic, especially truck traffic. For that reason, it's a much more relaxing route. It's also flatter, save for a few substantial hills west of Bath as you move between the Susquehanna and Allegheny river valleys. Overall, it's a relatively stress-free drive, and, I think, a much prettier route.

Also, there is nothing like the Cuba Cheese Shoppe along I-80. Just sayin' ...

A few things to be aware of:

  • The I-86 route takes about a half hour longer than I-80.
  • The I-81/I-86 intersection in Binghamton is a nightmare!
  • There are inevitable traffic tie-ups through Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on I-81.
  • I-86 is now a full interstate from Binghamton to I-90. Whether that will result in an increase in truck traffic or not, I haven't observed yet.
  • Part of the highway around Salamanca desperately needs regrading and repaving. Everywhere else it's in decent shape, especially the new sections that have just been completed east of Elmira.
  • There aren't too many places to stop to eat or to get gas; it's much less developed than I-80. Gas up before you get to Bath; there isn't much between Bath and Cuba at all within a mile or so of the highway. East of Bath there are Corning, Horseheads, Elmira, Binghamton, and smaller towns.
The turnpike is too expensive. Avoid it unless it's snowing. But in the summer you won't have to worry about that.

I-90 is so far out of your way to even consider. It's the New York State Thruway, which of course has tolls.

Last edited by Ohiogirl81; 12-13-2013 at 04:02 PM..
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Old 12-13-2013, 05:58 PM
 
4,201 posts, read 9,298,329 times
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If Starbucks every hour is a need then the Turnpike I-76 is the only route that has those. The towns along I-80 or I-86 do not have Starbucks.

A possible alternative to the long term construction at the I-81/I-86 interchange/Chenango River bridge replacement at Binghamton, is to use US 15 between I-86 and I-80 to the NE Extension/I-476. US 15 is now Interstate standard the whole way from I-86 to I-180 in Williamsport, it's now 4 lanes 65 mph past the last missing link between Lindley and Presho, NY. US 15 is a surface road from Williamsport south to I-80, but is so much shorter than I-180 that it's better time. And, in South Williamsport on US 15 (northbound or circle the block southbound) there is even a Dairy Queen.
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Old 12-13-2013, 10:16 PM
 
Location: Fredericksburg, VA
508 posts, read 528,453 times
Reputation: 130
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ohiogirl81 View Post
I drive from Philly to Erie about 6 or 7 times a year, and occasionally take I-86.

I-86 is a nice drive. Usually there's much less traffic, especially truck traffic. For that reason, it's a much more relaxing route. It's also flatter, save for a few substantial hills west of Bath as you move between the Susquehanna and Allegheny river valleys. Overall, it's a relatively stress-free drive, and, I think, a much prettier route.

Also, there is nothing like the Cuba Cheese Shoppe along I-80. Just sayin' ...

A few things to be aware of:

  • The I-86 route takes about a half hour longer than I-80.
  • The I-81/I-86 intersection in Binghamton is a nightmare!
  • There are inevitable traffic tie-ups through Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on I-81.
  • I-86 is now a full interstate from Binghamton to I-90. Whether that will result in an increase in truck traffic or not, I haven't observed yet.
  • Part of the highway around Salamanca desperately needs regrading and repaving. Everywhere else it's in decent shape, especially the new sections that have just been completed east of Elmira.
  • There aren't too many places to stop to eat or to get gas; it's much less developed than I-80. Gas up before you get to Bath; there isn't much between Bath and Cuba at all within a mile or so of the highway. East of Bath there are Corning, Horseheads, Elmira, Binghamton, and smaller towns.
The turnpike is too expensive. Avoid it unless it's snowing. But in the summer you won't have to worry about that.

I-90 is so far out of your way to even consider. It's the New York State Thruway, which of course has tolls.

So what route do you usually take besides I-86 then? And why is the I-81 I-86 intersection a nightmare? traffic or what? Well if I-86 is even worse then I-80, I probably should take the turnpike. No point in checking it out then especially if its 30 min longer.
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Old 12-14-2013, 10:31 AM
 
Location: Philaburbia
31,152 posts, read 57,274,608 times
Reputation: 52008
Quote:
Originally Posted by Danny K View Post
So what route do you usually take besides I-86 then?
I-80. The only time the turnpike is worth the expense of tolls -- probably topping $30 after tolls go up in January -- is in bad winter weather.

Quote:
And why is the I-81 I-86 intersection a nightmare? traffic or what?
Bad engineering currently under what I hope is corrective construction.

Quote:
Well if I-86 is even worse then I-80, I probably should take the turnpike. No point in checking it out then especially if its 30 min longer.
It's not worse, it's different. For me, the tradeoff of a half hour longer often is worth avoiding the heavy truck traffic and constant hills, twists and turns on I-80.
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Old 12-15-2013, 10:11 PM
 
Location: Northville, MI
11,882 posts, read 10,519,757 times
Reputation: 6312
476 to 81 to 86 is your best bet. There also several towns and cities for you to see along I 86.
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