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Old 10-30-2016, 07:40 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Repatriot View Post
Thanks. I don't want to add much more time to the trip but did want to avoid the occasional insanity of 95 if it was not to long.
It's all about timing. You'll pretty much hit traffic in DC no matter what, but other than that you just have to time it right.
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Old 10-31-2016, 05:37 AM
 
Location: NC
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81 through Shanendoah Valley is a beautiful drive, and stress free compared to 95. GF and I used it to go to upstate NY on July 4 holiday, 2015 and loved it. Yes, it may be a bit out of the way, but the likelihood of losing 1-2 hours on 95 anywhere between NYC and Richmond is very high, so it's a good hedge, and the years it will take off of your life just for the stress of 8-10 hours on I-95 are worth it to me.

It's doable to drive strait through, but there are plenty of easy/cheap stops along the way if you need them, or a little bit out of the way, you can stop in Gettysburg and get a little history too.


Flying into EWR, as another mentioned, you can take the PATH to Lower Manhattan, or you can take NJ Rail directly into Penn Station if you are staying up that way. Once in Penn Station, you have access to the subway system. I always PREFER to fly into EWR (others seem to hate it), with the only exception being that it's hard to get to and from at odd hours (Train Service is dead from sometime after Midnight until about 5 or 6AM)
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Old 10-31-2016, 06:19 AM
 
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Cutting through the middle of Pennsylvania will add two hours, without traffic; and there's no guarantee there won't be traffic that way either.

The drive through the D.C. area is mostly about timing and a bit about luck. For a Sunday trip, leave very early morning (get out when the sun comes up) or leave mid-afternoon. The NJ Turnpike is much better outside of rush hour ever since they widened the road through to the Penn Turnpike exit and other than some construction traffic in Delaware you won't catch any notable volume until south of D.C. But if you get there much after 7:00 PM you should be okay. And if the HOV lane is open running south, no matter what, take it (if you have fewer than 3 people in the car make sure you have an NC Quickpass or EZ Pass tag).

The people who get chewed up and spit out by the I-95 trip are the ones who leave when it's convenient for them to do so, don't anticipate the major hot spots and fail to use Waze or Google Maps.
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Old 10-31-2016, 07:48 AM
Status: "ready for fall." (set 18 days ago)
 
Location: under the beautiful Carolina blue
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Repatriot View Post
Thanks. I don't want to add much more time to the trip but did want to avoid the occasional insanity of 95 if it was not to long.

Edit: The friend who told me about this alternate route has not used it for NC so didn't know if it would be faster, but thought it might be by bypassing the DC area
The good thing with the route I posted is that you can stick to the I95 plan if it's all going OK but bail out if it's not. My nephew went to JMU and I can remember my sister once being stuck for hours on I81 ... not much alternative once you're out there.

I95 is a soul sucking endeavor if you get caught up in something going wrong. We've done the 3 hours-from-Woodbridge-to-Fredericksburg-how-is-this-even-possible thing - it is truly mind boggling. And Route 1 which runs parallel to I95 in NOVA was no help. That only happened to us once - we've been stuck in epic traffic up there but nothing like that.
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Old 10-31-2016, 05:00 PM
 
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Thanks again. I was planning on leaving at 5am or earlier.

I'm glad you mentioned EZPass - the car has an EZPass, will it work the entire way here, do I need to also get an NC QuikPass? Will they allow a NC QuikPass on a non-NC car for a few weeks?
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Old 10-31-2016, 05:07 PM
 
Location: Cary
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I have an EZ-Pass (from Virginia) and it works here and all the way up the east coast. As long as the pass is associated with the car it's on, there will be no problem.
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Old 10-31-2016, 05:53 PM
 
Location: Triangle area North Carolina
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Repatriot View Post
Thanks again. I was planning on leaving at 5am or earlier.

I'm glad you mentioned EZPass - the car has an EZPass, will it work the entire way here, do I need to also get an NC QuikPass? Will they allow a NC QuikPass on a non-NC car for a few weeks?

Well, here's the thing: the sweet spot in the Baltimore/ DC area is between 10AM and 2PM. There still might be traffic, but it won't be the standstill traffic that is common at rush hour. So to avoid a Washington Beltway nightmare, you don't want to get there too early, which means leaving the NY area around 6 AM.

However, (and if I remember correctly) you are coming from Rockland County? That means you also need to deal with NY traffic. Until NYC you are dealing with NYC traffic, if you leave at 6AM, unless you take 287 and then rejoin the NJ turnpike.

If you do go the route you are thinking about (287 to 78 to 81) I suggest getting to Charlottesville and taking 29 south to Durham -- avoiding 64 to 85 which presents other problems, notably construction.

EZ pass works the whole way through.

Last edited by marialidia; 10-31-2016 at 05:53 PM.. Reason: add a thought
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Old 10-31-2016, 06:33 PM
 
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Thanks again and I realize that I didn't mention, I plan to leave on Sunday morning
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Old 10-31-2016, 06:36 PM
 
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Repatroit, I made the drive from northeast NJ to Durham three times in the last couple months. On average, the drive in either direction took about 11 hours, and we left at around 4:30AM twice coming down here. We took the Garden State Parkway to 95 and then stayed on that (or some similarly named thing... sometimes 295 after Baltimore, sometimes 395) until catching 85 at Petersburg.

The only time the drive didn't take 11 hours was on the day of the move, when we left at a time in the afternoon that had us getting through NY/NJ before the evening rush hour and then hitting DC after the evening rush. That drive took us closer to 10 hours and I think we got in around 1AM. I looked into the alternate routes people have suggested when we were planning our trips, but it didn't seem to me like those routes would've saved us much time with the additional mileage. But if the main concern is avoiding the DC/NoVA traffic, it might be worthwhile. Taking 495 in either direction around DC wasn't much of an improvement either.

I will say that our times on 85 between Petersburg and Durham always went very smoothly, even with the construction.

Edit: I never drove from NJ to NC on a Sunday, only in the opposite direction. So you might not hit rush hour traffic, but there might be football-related traffic (seriously).
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Old 11-02-2016, 04:33 AM
 
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Thanks again all. I've (re)signed up for AAA just in case, and will report back my experience.
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