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keith_h

Routes for trip to Boston area in May

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We are planning a trip up to the Boston area in May. We plan on staying at the Normandy Campground in Foxborough. For the route although longer I am thinking of cutting over to I-81 via I-270 and then up to I-84 to cut across. After that we would take the Mass. Turnpike to I-495. I've looked at the Massachusetts' toll rates and will probably forgo an EZ Pass as the difference is about 60 cents. From past experience of driving I-95 between Washington DC and Philadelphia my guess is driving time will be about the same but even if it isn't I am planning two days to drive anyway so an extra hour or two isn't a big deal. This is a vacation so lower stress trumps speed. What I am wondering is if that route is really as good as it appears or am I better off just sticking with I-95, its various bypass loops and save 100 miles?    

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When we travel from Southern NH to/from FL our route home is generally 95 (with loop bypass at Baltimore) all the way into NJ > Garden State > 287 > 95 > 91 > 84 > MA Pike > 495

It's not the most scenic route, and there are tolls, the roads are generally good, it goes around NYC without adding a lot of time/miles, there aren't any mountains to tow over, and it balances out being most direct with avoiding the traffic of NYC.  That said, we do try to time it so we're nowhere near DC during rush hours.

The one caveat is that there are height restrictions on the Garden State, but our 33' Open Range TT which I think is 11'6" high fits.

To be honest the worst traffic we usually hit is in CT along 95/91/84 - it sucks.  Always. Doesn't seem to matter what time of day/night or day of the week. But sadly there's no good way to avoid it without going WAY out of your way.  Once you hit the MA pike it's usually pretty smooth sailing UNLESS it's a Sunday, especially on a holiday weekend.  Then the pike backs up from Worcester, sometimes back onto 84.  We always check Google traffic when we get close.  If it's a mess, you can get off 84 onto 20 in Sturbridge MA.  It basically parallels the MA Pike and can be a good way to get around that backup even though it becomes a 2 lane road in spots, goes through a bunch of towns and there are traffic lights.  I know it sounds terrible, but when the backup on the pike is solid from Worcester to 84, it is generally quicker.

If you do that either jump back on the Pike near Worcester, or stay on it all the way to 495.  

 

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All I can tell you is that 10 years ago we spent a week at Normandy Farms.  From there, we were heading down to DC for a week at Cherry Hill.  I had planned on taking the route you outlined (or similar), but a guy I was talking to in Foxboro said he recommended just going straight down 95.  I took his advice, and if I ever run into him again I will punch him.  

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17 minutes ago, DaveInTN said:

All I can tell you is that 10 years ago we spent a week at Normandy Farms.  From there, we were heading down to DC for a week at Cherry Hill.  I had planned on taking the route you outlined (or similar), but a guy I was talking to in Foxboro said he recommended just going straight down 95.  I took his advice, and if I ever run into him again I will punch him.  

LOL!

If I weren't towing with a DH who haaaaaaaaaaaates towing riding shotgun, we'd definitely take the more scenic route and avoid the top half of 95.  We actually did that once right after the Sandy storm - we took 84 into PA, took a left in Scranton and connected back up with 95 south of Baltimore.  Worst. Idea. Evah.  Not only was it hours longer, at that time 84 from NY to PA was basically a loosely connected series of potholes, making us both wish we'd worn our snowmobiling kidney belts. If you want to send DH off on a rant today, all these years later, just ask him about that route.  🤣

To be fair I've heard that stretch of road has since been repaired, but until we're not towing I've learned that the quicker we get to south of DC the quicker DH stops white-knuckling it and relaxes ...a tiny bit.

Have to say that on the way down we time it to drive at night to avoid as much traffic as possible.  And I for sure would avoid 95 through NYC at all costs.  The last time we stupidly did that we were stuck in 90 minutes of traffic on the GW Bridge... at 12:30 am (thud)

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18 minutes ago, BradyBzLyn...Mo said:

Have to say that on the way down we time it to drive at night to avoid as much traffic as possible.  And I for sure would avoid 95 through NYC at all costs.  The last time we stupidly did that we were stuck in 90 minutes of traffic on the GW Bridge... at 12:30 am (thud)

Driving a 35' motorhome towing an SUV over the GW Bridge was the highlight of my vacation.  A part of me died on that bridge that day.  

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14 minutes ago, DaveInTN said:

Driving a 35' motorhome towing an SUV over the GW Bridge was the highlight of my vacation.  A part of me died on that bridge that day.  

Oof... you are a brave man indeed.

The words "GW Bridge" and "highlight" can not coexist in the same sentence.

Once upon a time, a long long time ago, it was kind of nice to drive through at around midnight - not a lot of traffic, cool to see the city at night, potholes weren't quite deep enough to eat a Toyota yet...

These days even when Nuck and I drive down in a car towing nothing, we take the Garden State around and avoid the city.

 

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17 hours ago, BradyBzLyn...Mo said:

Oof... you are a brave man indeed.

The words "GW Bridge" and "highlight" can not coexist in the same sentence.

Once upon a time, a long long time ago, it was kind of nice to drive through at around midnight - not a lot of traffic, cool to see the city at night, potholes weren't quite deep enough to eat a Toyota yet...

These days even when Nuck and I drive down in a car towing nothing, we take the Garden State around and avoid the city.

 

The NE roads and traffic sucks almost as bad as I-4 ! The Jersey TPK and GSP are horrible!  They have gotten a lot worse since we moved away.

I've done the 84 to Scranton a few times.  It was OK, depending on the time of year and it is a lot more mountainous.

 

Floriduh gets another #1 accolade!

I-4 was named the deadliest highway in the nation by the National Highway Safety Administration in 2017 for the 165 deaths that occurred on the highway between 2011-2015. 

Additionally, in 2016, I-4 ranked first in a study of the most lethal highways in the United States based off data gathered by EverDrive, the mobile app of auto insurance marketplace EverQuote. 

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2 hours ago, Travisma said:

The NE roads and traffic sucks almost as bad as I-4 ! The Jersey TPK and GSP are horrible!  They have gotten a lot worse since we moved away.

As an indicator of "it's all relative," and how people up this way get used to terrible roads... we think the Jersey Tpk and GSP are actually some of *better* roads we travel from NH to VA. :ROFLMAO-1:

CT is the worst for traffic and roads hands down, every. single. trip. Doesn't matter if it's 84, 91 or 95. It's all terrible.  And if there's even a flake of snow in the air... just pull over and take a nap.

But in defense of NE DOT, we have winters that wreak havoc on our roads every year. Which is why in addition to horrible roads and potholes, we're also used to roads being under construction all the time.

 

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1 hour ago, BradyBzLyn...Mo said:

As an indicator of "it's all relative," and how people up this way get used to terrible roads... we think the Jersey Tpk and GSP are actually some of *better* roads we travel from NH to VA. :ROFLMAO-1:

CT is the worst for traffic and roads hands down, every. single. trip. Doesn't matter if it's 84, 91 or 95. It's all terrible.  And if there's even a flake of snow in the air... just pull over and take a nap.

But in defense of NE DOT, we have winters that wreak havoc on our roads every year. Which is why in addition to horrible roads and potholes, we're also used to roads being under construction all the time.

 

Last trip N we flew.

Couldn't get a flight out of Westchester County Airport (flying standby) so I rented a car and drove to Hartford Airport.

84 over in CT was horrible, and whats with the 35 and 45 MPH speed limit on an interstate?

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57 minutes ago, Travisma said:

84 over in CT was horrible, and whats with the 35 and 45 MPH speed limit on an interstate?

84 in CT is horrible.

Traffic/roads in CT are horrible.

 

Driving through CT is horrible.

 

That's all I've got.

 

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40 minutes ago, BradyBzLyn...Mo said:

84 in CT is horrible.

Traffic/roads in CT are horrible.

 

Driving through CT is horrible.

 

That's all I've got.

 

It's only typically bad in certain spots and at certain times of the day. For a little while longer I have to continue my 14 years of driving all over this state. I have learned the right roads to take and which to avoid and when. And it changes based on the days of the week. lol

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On 1/10/2019 at 4:46 PM, BradyBzLyn...Mo said:

the quicker DH stops white-knuckling it and relaxes ...a tiny bit.

You must have missed the part where I said relaxation takes priority over speed.  :lol:  Not to mention I have to save what little sanity I have to drive into Boston and find the one road that will get us to the Boston Commons parking garage and not Chelsea. The difference for me is less than a 100 miles which is negligible over two days drive.

We drive a lot in mountains whether heading up to the Asheville area or driving up through the Virginia's to catch I-64 West. More scenery with lots of trees definitely helps with the relaxation thing.

 

3 hours ago, BradyBzLyn...Mo said:

CT is the worst for traffic and roads hands down, every. single. trip. Doesn't matter if it's 84, 91 or 95. It's all terrible.  And if there's even a flake of snow in the air... just pull over and take a nap.

Since I've pretty much have to go on I-84 in CT unless I go way out of the way it sounds like that area is a wash. 

 

Thanks for the thoughts. I have driven I-95 between Washington DC and Philadelphia more times than I would like. I have never made it through that area without a lot of stop and maybe go traffic. This includes driving on a Sunday. The fastest I ever managed it is a bit over 9 hours for what should be about 7 hour drive. I still have some time but I am thinking of cutting over to I-81 in Northern Virginia. If we leave Friday afternoon after Rene gets home from work and stop in Richmond, Va I think we will have a better chance of finding a nice campground to overnight on Saturday along that route as well. Still haven't figured out the return trip as we are thinking of heading up into New Hampshire for a couple of nights.  

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On 1/11/2019 at 6:04 PM, keith_h said:

You must have missed the part where I said relaxation takes priority over speed.  :lol:  Not to mention I have to save what little sanity I have to drive into Boston and find the one road that will get us to the Boston Commons parking garage and not Chelsea. 

Yeah... you're going to need all the peace and serenity you can muster on a road trip.  LOL

For us towing a big honkin' TT is part of the decision to stick to the major interstates and cut down on mileage (and mountains), but if that weren't an issue, I'd opt for the more scenic, less stressful route for sure.

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From our house it is 700 miles up I-95 compared to 800 via I-81. After a couple of marathon pulls with our old trailer I decided no more and try to limit the daily drive to about 350 miles up to 500 if we must. We even make the trip to the Fort two days splitting the difference with an overnight in Savannah. It also has a side benefit. Since we typically arrive on a Sunday we have no problem getting campsites.

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15 hours ago, keith_h said:

Since we typically arrive on a Sunday we have no problem getting campsites.

You make a great point about arriving on a Sunday. We originally used to plan to get there Sunday, partly because we had limited days off work so we'd leave Friday night.  Then over time we able to edge it back a few days to add more time to our stay. But the crazier the weekends have become, with Thurs/Fri check-in now super busy, the more we're inclined to go back to Sunday next time.  

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Well we leave this Friday.

After reading Dave's exciting post about hitting Washington DC on their way back we decided to stop there on the way back as well. I'm not sure that will be good thing as Dave can make just about anything,like falling into a farm implement, sound exciting.

I went ahead and picked up an EZ Pass so my is what can I expect for toll costs for 4 axles on the trip back down I-95? I want to make sure I have enough loaded on my account before leaving and some of the numbers I have guesstimated seem exorbitant.  

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1 hour ago, keith_h said:

Well we leave this Friday.

After reading Dave's exciting post about hitting Washington DC on their way back we decided to stop there on the way back as well. I'm not sure that will be good thing as Dave can make just about anything,like falling into a farm implement, sound exciting.

I went ahead and picked up an EZ Pass so my is what can I expect for toll costs for 4 axles on the trip back down I-95? I want to make sure I have enough loaded on my account before leaving and some of the numbers I have guesstimated seem exorbitant.  

When I have used the GWB with just our car and traveled the length of the 95 tolls from the DC area north I want to say it has pushed $45. Maybe not exactly what you are looking for but it is expensive. 

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2 hours ago, Katman1356...Jason said:

When I have used the GWB with just our car and traveled the length of the 95 tolls from the DC area north I want to say it has pushed $45. Maybe not exactly what you are looking for but it is expensive. 

Thanks for posting. While it isn't a 4-axle rate it does fit with what I'm seeing. If I stay on toll roads the full length of NJ to avoid Philadelphia the number I was coming up with was around $40. That doesn't include Delaware or the bridges.

 

We don't use the only toll road near us as it only shortens the drive by 10 - 15 minutes and saves about a 1/4 gallon of gas while costing  half again as much as a gallon of gas. Due to this I don't want to put too much in the account just to have it sit there and rack up non-use fees.  

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And stay far away from the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel.  It's impressive, but I think I paid $11 or $12 a couple of years ago.

They must be Disney fans because they now have peak and non peak pricing!  $18/$14

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2 hours ago, Travisma said:

And stay far away from the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel.  It's impressive, but I think I paid $11 or $12 a couple of years ago.

They must be Disney fans because they now have peak and non peak pricing!  $18/$14

We won't be anywhere near there. We are staying at Cherry Hill Park campground in the Maryland DC suburbs and the trip home will be on I-95 or some loop thereof for the trip home. 

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According to this since we are entering New Jersey going South there should be no toll for the bridge. I'll say with those rates I'll stop complaining about the cost of the toll bridge over the Ohio River in Louisville.

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2 hours ago, keith_h said:

According to this since we are entering New Jersey going South there should be no toll for the bridge. I'll say with those rates I'll stop complaining about the cost of the toll bridge over the Ohio River in Louisville.

Correct, There is always a toll to get OUT of New Jersey. They let you in for cheap. Muhahaha

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Another thing comes to mind. How does I-295 compare to the turnpike through New Jersey? On the map they look like they parallel each other for their full lengths so I was thinking it might be a no toll alternative. 

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35 minutes ago, keith_h said:

Another thing comes to mind. How does I-295 compare to the turnpike through New Jersey? On the map they look like they parallel each other for their full lengths so I was thinking it might be a no toll alternative. 

I have only driven I295 once. I dont recall it being bad for road surface or camper un friendly so to speak. 

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