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Old 07-28-2014, 09:34 AM
 
432 posts, read 495,283 times
Reputation: 770

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As a North Carolinian having gone north on I-95 to New Jersey and Pennsylvania and south on it to Disney World and even Miami, here's my advice for you:

1) Use Sgoldie's recommendations.
2) I'd strongly suggest against doing a straight 14-hour drive. I-95 is alternately congested and boring to handle, and it's a lot to do in one day.
3) I-95 is flat and boring from south of Richmond, and the exits become fewer with less amenities from the 45 mile marker in Virginia to the Florida state line in particular. Plan your stops accordingly - it can be more than 10 miles between exits in some sections.
4) That same stretch is mostly two lanes each direction except for three throughout Georgia and a little stretch around Florence, South Carolina (which is a good place to stop for gas and food, in my opinion). Be prepared for that as well.
5) Cracker Barrels are reliable for affordable and decent food, as well as clean restrooms.
6) So are Pilot/Flying J Travel Centers, although they sell fast food. Still, they are very convenient to get gas and use as a reliable, clean place to rest, and there's at least three of them in every Southern state.
7) Based on your timeline, you should probably not need to use I-295 to bypass Richmond, but check on the status of traffic just to be safe - sounds like you will be coming to the city around 9 a.m., so there may be a little congestion then. I would recommend I-295 south going around the west side of Jacksonville, though, since you probably will hit rush hour. It's an additional 10 miles but moves much more quickly, particularly in the first part of the stretch prior to the I-10 interchange.
8) You'll see signs for South of the Border constantly in North Carolina prior to the South Carolina border. Avoid the place - it's a rundown tourist trap.
9) Expect the worst parts of traffic after Richmond to come in North Carolina after the I-40 interchange (Exit 81) and in South Carolina after the I-26 interchange (Exit 86). Traffic on both will remain pretty tight until the state borders for each part.
10) Make sure you have everything you need to grab as essentials up front with you - water or other beverage, food, cellphone, wallet/purse, sunglasses, etc.
11) Finally, have your cars checked so that everything is in working order. Nothing worse than having an air conditioner that does not work at this time of year heading south on I-95.

Hope this helps you.
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Old 07-28-2014, 12:23 PM
 
26,590 posts, read 54,577,614 times
Reputation: 13019
Quote:
Originally Posted by UconnHuskies630 View Post
I made that quite clear to her. I don't think she fully understands what lies ahead of us. She's very stubborn and I have already tried to convince her it would save time and money if we took one car, but she had none of it. We will probably plan on stopping and stretching our legs every couple hours or so.
Just say no. End of story. It doesn't matter how stubborn she is, if you say no, then it is no. you are an accident waiting to happen given your current plan.
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Old 07-28-2014, 10:23 PM
 
Location: Delray Beach
1,136 posts, read 1,439,013 times
Reputation: 2510
Two cars ?? REALLY?
This makes no sense whatsoever and will, IMO, simply increase the stress level, not reduce it.

Stops on I-95 are plentiful and services should not really pose a problem. But coordinating them between two separate vehicles is not something to look forward to. And you really can't plan all your stops ahead of time. Often one person or the other will have a need during the trip that then will have to be communicated to the other driver. This is a totally useless and unnecessary activity that is immensely simplified if you do as everyone on this thread has recommended. Namely TAKE ONE CAR .

It's cheaper, safer, and ultimately much more fun. I have done this trip five times and the last time I opened an imaginary bottle of Champagne to celebrate never having to drive thru the two most hellacious corridors of motorist hell in the US. I know you are starting out at night, but i don't consider that such a great improvement as it poses challenges of a different sort.

Inform you sister that Charles Lindberg chose a single engine plane to cross the Atlantic rather than a twin engine because the chance of engine failure was twice as high, and a two engine plane could not make the crossing on one engine alone. You are in a similar position.

If that does not work do as annerk says - Say NO and mean it.
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Old 07-28-2014, 11:16 PM
 
Location: OCNJ and or lower Florida keys
772 posts, read 1,633,507 times
Reputation: 787
I drive about 5 times a year from NJ to the Florida keys sometimes alone sometimes with a non driving friend. I usually drive 13 hours to the very first rest stop on I 95 in Florida and take a 4 hour power nap then drive the rest of the way to the keys.
I pack food instead of stopping to eat. I use the bathroom whenever I get gas about every 3.5 hours. once I get past DC and into Virginia I take the exit for I-295 loop to avoid Richmond. its usually rush hour when i would be passing through Richmond and the I 295 loop avoids that traffic.
I would leave at 11 pm or 12 midnight the night before to be sure to avoid DC traffic if you hit DC anytime after 6AM traffic goes from bad to worse to sit and wait with agitate attitude.
Currently I 495 is shut down going through Delaware so that adds a lot more traffic to I-95. some people form north NJ choose to jump on I-295 in NJ and take it to the Delaware memorial bridge and cross back over and get on I-95 to completely avoid the I-495 closure.
once I am past Virginia. i do a minimum of 5 mile to a maximum of 9 miles an hour over the posted speed limit and so far have never been stopped/ticketed. I take it easy entering and leaving any state especially Georgia there is always cops waiting close to the borders of every state. I have never been through Georgia in 5 plus years of going there that i did not see some sort of construction zone. fines are doubled in construction so be careful with the speeding in construction zones.
Last but not least TAKE ONE CAR it will take hours off the trip in the end. I have done the convoy trip with two other vehicles. if one vehicle needs to stop so did the other two it was a PITA especially if one really didn't need to stop!
I am going back down the end of august for my next trip to the Florida keys. Flying is much preferred to driving but quite often I need to bring stuff with me that airlines would not allow on the plane. like my paddle board or kayak or one of the cats.
You may also want to check with your insurance company make sure she will be covered if she gets into an car accident while employed and living in Florida.
If you are not going to be hitting any major cities around rush hour I-95 should be good to go. I always follow I-95 from the Virginia state line to the Florida turnpike
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Old 07-28-2014, 11:58 PM
 
1,108 posts, read 583,937 times
Reputation: 1970
Quote:
Originally Posted by David223 View Post
Oh, and your idea of leaving at say 1AM is a great idea. You want to get thru NYC and DC with as little traffic as possible.
This is a great idea, but make sure you get sleep before starting your 1am drive. If you don't, you will never make 14 hours driving, since that would mean you would have been up from approx. 7am until 4pm the next day.
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Old 07-29-2014, 05:18 AM
 
Location: Florida
19,786 posts, read 19,886,317 times
Reputation: 23207
Even between 65 and 70 (years old, not MPH) I did 13 hours every year but that only at the time of year when that was all daylight...and with company.
The idea of one more hour sounds like hell.
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Old 07-29-2014, 12:25 PM
 
Location: Beacon Falls, CT
368 posts, read 307,739 times
Reputation: 641
Quote:
Originally Posted by myrc60 View Post
Who's going to follow you back home "just as a precaution"? Or are you her male sibling? That might make more sense but I still think her idea is not well thought out. She's younger than you, take control of the situation!
That's correct.

And I've already tried. I can't get through to her. I'm not going to press the issue and rile her up and leave on a sour note (because then I'd be tempted to just wish her luck on her own, but I don't want to do that because she is my sister). She insists on having her car which is very selfish but in some ways, the fact that I won't have to deal with her for six months will be such a relief. Call it emotional blackmail, whatever, my big brother instincts still kick in and I still want to ensure her safety there.
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Old 07-29-2014, 12:30 PM
 
Location: Beacon Falls, CT
368 posts, read 307,739 times
Reputation: 641
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sgoldie View Post
Fredericksburg, Va just south of DC is a nice stop. So are Fayetteville, NC and Santee, SC.
Take your own music with you or better yet get satellite radio. You'll need it. Plug your phone into your car.
There are very nice state rest areas with maps and hotel coupons at most state borders or just inside the state. Most of them have picnic areas where you can walk around in pleasant surroundings.
Eat clean food, nothing greasy or spicy or unfamiliar.
Be prepared to talk to yourself a lot.
Have a safe trip!
I will keep all of that in mind. Thanks a bunch! I actually have Sirius in my car so I don't think I'll lose my sanity on the long drive.
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Old 07-29-2014, 12:40 PM
 
Location: Beacon Falls, CT
368 posts, read 307,739 times
Reputation: 641
Quote:
Originally Posted by tjarado View Post
Two cars ?? REALLY?
This makes no sense whatsoever and will, IMO, simply increase the stress level, not reduce it.

Stops on I-95 are plentiful and services should not really pose a problem. But coordinating them between two separate vehicles is not something to look forward to. And you really can't plan all your stops ahead of time. Often one person or the other will have a need during the trip that then will have to be communicated to the other driver. This is a totally useless and unnecessary activity that is immensely simplified if you do as everyone on this thread has recommended. Namely TAKE ONE CAR .

It's cheaper, safer, and ultimately much more fun. I have done this trip five times and the last time I opened an imaginary bottle of Champagne to celebrate never having to drive thru the two most hellacious corridors of motorist hell in the US. I know you are starting out at night, but i don't consider that such a great improvement as it poses challenges of a different sort.

Inform you sister that Charles Lindberg chose a single engine plane to cross the Atlantic rather than a twin engine because the chance of engine failure was twice as high, and a two engine plane could not make the crossing on one engine alone. You are in a similar position.

If that does not work do as annerk says - Say NO and mean it.
I'm going to have to make a compromise. We'll do the ride down but I'll tell her that we're NOT doing the same thing in reverse. If she doesn't want to drive home in February, she can pay to have her vehicle transported back here as well as for the plane ticket. It drives me nuts because she has already met with a bunch of girls who will be working with her (two from Wisconsin, one from Minnesota and one from Maine) and they're ALL flying! She can afford public transportation down there. It's not like she'll be driving all over the state. She loves the beach so she might go to Daytona a lot but it's only an hour away. There's not even a need for a car!
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Old 07-29-2014, 12:48 PM
 
Location: Beacon Falls, CT
368 posts, read 307,739 times
Reputation: 641
Quote:
Originally Posted by bigh110 View Post
I drive about 5 times a year from NJ to the Florida keys sometimes alone sometimes with a non driving friend. I usually drive 13 hours to the very first rest stop on I 95 in Florida and take a 4 hour power nap then drive the rest of the way to the keys.
I pack food instead of stopping to eat. I use the bathroom whenever I get gas about every 3.5 hours. once I get past DC and into Virginia I take the exit for I-295 loop to avoid Richmond. its usually rush hour when i would be passing through Richmond and the I 295 loop avoids that traffic.
I would leave at 11 pm or 12 midnight the night before to be sure to avoid DC traffic if you hit DC anytime after 6AM traffic goes from bad to worse to sit and wait with agitate attitude.
Currently I 495 is shut down going through Delaware so that adds a lot more traffic to I-95. some people form north NJ choose to jump on I-295 in NJ and take it to the Delaware memorial bridge and cross back over and get on I-95 to completely avoid the I-495 closure.
once I am past Virginia. i do a minimum of 5 mile to a maximum of 9 miles an hour over the posted speed limit and so far have never been stopped/ticketed. I take it easy entering and leaving any state especially Georgia there is always cops waiting close to the borders of every state. I have never been through Georgia in 5 plus years of going there that i did not see some sort of construction zone. fines are doubled in construction so be careful with the speeding in construction zones.
Last but not least TAKE ONE CAR it will take hours off the trip in the end. I have done the convoy trip with two other vehicles. if one vehicle needs to stop so did the other two it was a PITA especially if one really didn't need to stop!
I am going back down the end of august for my next trip to the Florida keys. Flying is much preferred to driving but quite often I need to bring stuff with me that airlines would not allow on the plane. like my paddle board or kayak or one of the cats.
You may also want to check with your insurance company make sure she will be covered if she gets into an car accident while employed and living in Florida.
If you are not going to be hitting any major cities around rush hour I-95 should be good to go. I always follow I-95 from the Virginia state line to the Florida turnpike
Actually, the original plan was to leave at midnight. That's changed. Now we're leaving 8:00 P.M. Friday night. So we'll easily be through Richmond before sun up. I always hover around 65, maybe 70 on the highway, nothing more than that, and especially not in unfamiliar territory. I'll let her know to call State Farm and at least make them aware that she'll be in Florida for six months if she hasn't already.

Thanks for everything else!
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