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Regional Boards => Northeast => Topic started by: FlatlanderinVT on September 02, 2021, 09:11:08 PM

Title: Trip from Northern VT to WV Panhandle w/ trailer
Post by: FlatlanderinVT on September 02, 2021, 09:11:08 PM
Hello everyone!
I am brand new here and joined as a result of stumbling onto this forum researching a trip I will likely be doing within a month to 6 weeks from Northern Vermont to somewhere in the WV panhandle area more or less. My Mother-in-Law is in the process of looking for a place in WV and we have committed to renting a U-Haul trailer and moving some of her "stuff" down there for her from storage up north from us.

What landed me here after the more or less straightforward beginning to the trip was the mostly the idea of taking I-88 west from the Schenectady area to Binghamton to hook up with I-81 which we could then stay on until Martinsburg WV. The reason this route seems appealing to me would be that I have a thought that it might be a less traveled way to get west of the NYC Metro area than given I-84 or especially going as far south as I-78. My plan is to absolutely take our time and be in no rush whatsoever and given how we hope to play renting & loading the trailer we would leave late morning(maybe) and take two days to complete the trip. Given that we are in no rush, I am looking for the least stressful route possible even if it takes a bit longer. I know the many of the other interstates that are possibilities somewhat well with the exception of I 88, so any input on towing on that road would be greatly appreciated as far as what traffic can be like and also if the highway is especially hilly. Of course I am absolutely welcoming any input on any other route people that might have more experience on these highways might have. I very much look forward to the feedback and hopefully whatever I can garner from discussing it with anyone interested here. Thanks very much in advance for your input!
Title: Re: Trip from Northern VT to WV Panhandle w/ trailer
Post by: froggie on September 02, 2021, 09:19:14 PM
Coincidentally, I was just on I-88 this afternoon while returning to Vermont.

I-88 is certainly an option to cut over to I-81.  It does carry less traffic than 84 or 78.  There are a couple disadvantages, however.  The pavement on much of 88 is lousy, especially from ~Otego to ~Cobleskill....I ran into 3 single-lane construction zones on this stretch that are beginning to address it, but it's going to take more than just this year to finish.  I-88 and I-81 are also much hillier than taking a route closer to NYC.  That will slow things down, and also causes problems with the trucks on I-81 which lacks truck climbing lanes outside of the I-80 to I-84 segment.
Title: Re: Trip from Northern VT to WV Panhandle w/ trailer
Post by: FlatlanderinVT on September 02, 2021, 09:51:02 PM
Thanks for the input Froggie, I really appreciate it!

I had a thought I might here something along the lines of exactly some of what you mentioned. Nothing is even close to being set on when the timing of this adventure will be so perhaps it will be after construction season is over but that certainly is something to consider of course. Its also great info that climbing lanes are not common. While I don't expect to be setting any speed records as we probably both know it isn't fun to crawl uphill behind someone.  While I am not worried about my Nissan Frontier's ability to do this I don't want to push it any harder than I have to. I will certainly keep it in mind as I continue to ponder this trip.

I did notice though that we actually will be starting this trip not all that far from you at all in Morrisville almost on the Wolcott line. While she isn't a Vermonter either my better half's family lived in Elmore and Stowe and we know the area up there very well. We are way down pretty much on the Massachusetts border now. 
Title: Re: Trip from Northern VT to WV Panhandle w/ trailer
Post by: cpzilliacus on September 02, 2021, 10:04:44 PM
Coincidentally, I was just on I-88 this afternoon while returning to Vermont.

I-88 is certainly an option to cut over to I-81.  It does carry less traffic than 84 or 78.  There are a couple disadvantages, however.  The pavement on much of 88 is lousy, especially from ~Otego to ~Cobleskill....I ran into 3 single-lane construction zones on this stretch that are beginning to address it, but it's going to take more than just this year to finish.  I-88 and I-81 are also much hillier than taking a route closer to NYC.  That will slow things down, and also causes problems with the trucks on I-81 which lacks truck climbing lanes outside of the I-80 to I-84 segment.

The hilliest part of I-81 is (from south to north) from I-78 (Exit 89) near Lebanon, Pennsylvania to PA-171 (Exit 230) near Great Bend, Pennsylvania.  Pavement varies from good to terrible along all of I-81 in Pennsylvania. 

Not all of I-81 in this part of Pennsylvania has steep grades, but the longest and steepest grades on I-81 can be found in this section of the corridor. 
Title: Re: Trip from Northern VT to WV Panhandle w/ trailer
Post by: Rothman on September 02, 2021, 10:07:21 PM
Has construction started on the stretch from the NY line to New Milford?  That stretch is horrible, but I think I saw VMSes that said they were finally fixing it.
Title: Re: Trip from Northern VT to WV Panhandle w/ trailer
Post by: FlatlanderinVT on September 02, 2021, 10:36:16 PM
Coincidentally, I was just on I-88 this afternoon while returning to Vermont.

I-88 is certainly an option to cut over to I-81.  It does carry less traffic than 84 or 78.  There are a couple disadvantages, however.  The pavement on much of 88 is lousy, especially from ~Otego to ~Cobleskill....I ran into 3 single-lane construction zones on this stretch that are beginning to address it, but it's going to take more than just this year to finish.  I-88 and I-81 are also much hillier than taking a route closer to NYC.  That will slow things down, and also causes problems with the trucks on I-81 which lacks truck climbing lanes outside of the I-80 to I-84 segment.

The hilliest part of I-81 is (from south to north) from I-78 (Exit 89) near Lebanon, Pennsylvania to PA-171 (Exit 230) near Great Bend, Pennsylvania.  Pavement varies from good to terrible along all of I-81 in Pennsylvania. 

Not all of I-81 in this part of Pennsylvania has steep grades, but the longest and steepest grades on I-81 can be found in this section of the corridor.

Much appreciated cpzilliacus!

Just to make sure I am thinking along the same lines that you mean... Are you implying that I would be mostly going downhill traveling north to south or would I still have to deal with significant climbs? I have driven I-81 once from Harrisburg to Binghamton but clearly I wasn't concerned with topography on that trip since nothing was remarkable to me, that I recall anyway.

I had hoped that this I-88 to I-81 would be a good way to avoid tractor trailer traffic at least but maybe since I will be be towing as well the I-78 route might prove best. All good food for thought and no decision has to be made immediately at least.
Title: Re: Trip from Northern VT to WV Panhandle w/ trailer
Post by: VTGoose on September 02, 2021, 10:37:56 PM
Hello everyone!
I am brand new here and joined as a result of stumbling onto this forum researching a trip I will likely be doing within a month to 6 weeks from Northern Vermont to somewhere in the WV panhandle area more or less. My Mother-in-Law is in the process of looking for a place in WV and we have committed to renting a U-Haul trailer and moving some of her "stuff" down there for her from storage up north from us.

We took multiple trips between Southwest Virginia and Vermont while our son was attending the New England Culinary Institute in Montpelier. We took a variety of routes between Harrisburg and Vermont. The one we used several times as the most direct used U.S. 7 from Burlington (or somewhere along the way, if we cut cross-country from Montpelier to sightsee) to Rutland. From there, take U.S. 4 west to Fort Ann, NY, to pick up NY 149 west to I-87. Take I-87 south to Albany and the connection to the NY State Thruway/I-87. At Newburgh, pick up I-84 west into Pennsylvania and I-81 at Scranton. I-81 south will take you across I-80 and on to Harrisburg. You have several choices depending on timing, travel time, and what you might want to see or do. You could take I-80 west to I-79, then take that south to Pittsburgh and pick up I-70 at Washington. You could also jump off I-79 at I-376/U.S. 22/U.S. 30 west and continue on U.S. 22 west to Weirton. You could continue through Harrisburg and pick up the Pennsylvania Turnpike at Carlisle to go west toward Pittsburgh to pick up I-70 at Breezewood and continue on the Turnpike to New Stanton and I-70 west from there to Wheeling.

Bruce in Blacksburg
Title: Re: Trip from Northern VT to WV Panhandle w/ trailer
Post by: Bitmapped on September 03, 2021, 10:22:42 AM
West Virginia has two panhandles: Northern (Wheeling/Weirton) and Eastern (Martinsburg/Charles Town). Which one are you going to?
Title: Re: Trip from Northern VT to WV Panhandle w/ trailer
Post by: Rothman on September 03, 2021, 10:48:51 AM
This thread should be moved to Road Trips (nothing against the new OP).
Title: Re: Trip from Northern VT to WV Panhandle w/ trailer
Post by: hbelkins on September 03, 2021, 11:29:13 AM
West Virginia has two panhandles: Northern (Wheeling/Weirton) and Eastern (Martinsburg/Charles Town). Which one are you going to?

He mentioned Martinsburg, so presumably the eastern one.
Title: Re: Trip from Northern VT to WV Panhandle w/ trailer
Post by: cpzilliacus on September 03, 2021, 03:52:08 PM
Much appreciated cpzilliacus!

Just to make sure I am thinking along the same lines that you mean... Are you implying that I would be mostly going downhill traveling north to south or would I still have to deal with significant climbs? I have driven I-81 once from Harrisburg to Binghamton but clearly I wasn't concerned with topography on that trip since nothing was remarkable to me, that I recall anyway.

I had hoped that this I-88 to I-81 would be a good way to avoid tractor trailer traffic at least but maybe since I will be be towing as well the I-78 route might prove best. All good food for thought and no decision has to be made immediately at least.

There are steep uphill and downhill grades both northbound and southbound on I-81 between Lebanon and Great Bend.  I am not confident to say which direction has the steepest grades up or down.  There is truck traffic along the entire corridor, though some trucks do leave I-81 at both I-78 and at I-80.  Still, you will encounter trucks all the way to Binghamton, N.Y. (and probably beyond - the only part of I-81 that I have not driven is between I-90 and the Ontario border).

One word of warning regarding the interchange at I-80 and I-81 in Luzerne County, Pennsylvania north of Hazleton - it is badly substandard, the ramps are sharp and (properly) posted with low speed limits.  This was mentioned by another poster upthread  - in case you take the alternate route suggested, then you will be on those substandard ramps.
Title: Re: Trip from Northern VT to WV Panhandle w/ trailer
Post by: FlatlanderinVT on September 03, 2021, 08:49:09 PM
West Virginia has two panhandles: Northern (Wheeling/Weirton) and Eastern (Martinsburg/Charles Town). Which one are you going to?

I guess I showed my ignorance there. I had heard of the Martinsburg area referred to as the panhandle many times recently since some family ended up there and completely disregarded the Wheeling area, of course that makes perfect sense as a panhandle. We would be heading to the Martinsburg area more or less.

Much appreciated cpzilliacus!

Just to make sure I am thinking along the same lines that you mean... Are you implying that I would be mostly going downhill traveling north to south or would I still have to deal with significant climbs? I have driven I-81 once from Harrisburg to Binghamton but clearly I wasn't concerned with topography on that trip since nothing was remarkable to me, that I recall anyway.

I had hoped that this I-88 to I-81 would be a good way to avoid tractor trailer traffic at least but maybe since I will be be towing as well the I-78 route might prove best. All good food for thought and no decision has to be made immediately at least.

There are steep uphill and downhill grades both northbound and southbound on I-81 between Lebanon and Great Bend.  I am not confident to say which direction has the steepest grades up or down.  There is truck traffic along the entire corridor, though some trucks do leave I-81 at both I-78 and at I-80.  Still, you will encounter trucks all the way to Binghamton, N.Y. (and probably beyond - the only part of I-81 that I have not driven is between I-90 and the Ontario border).

One word of warning regarding the interchange at I-80 and I-81 in Luzerne County, Pennsylvania north of Hazleton - it is badly substandard, the ramps are sharp and (properly) posted with low speed limits.  This was mentioned by another poster upthread  - in case you take the alternate route suggested, then you will be on those substandard ramps.

That is very good to know and I will certainly keep that in mind. Given the fact that I will have a trailer in tow avoiding anything too sharp is exactly what I have in mind. From the sounds of it so far the consensus seems like maybe the I-88 to I-81 isn't all that much better than continuing down to I-84 at Newburgh and heading west that way or perhaps sucking it up with trucks and going down to I-78. All great and much appreciated food for thought!
 

Title: Re: Trip from Northern VT to WV Panhandle w/ trailer
Post by: vdeane on September 03, 2021, 10:14:26 PM
There is one advantage to I-88 that hasn't been discussed - the fact that the Thruway is free between I-87 and I-88 (though you still pass under gantries).  Traveling the Thruway to I-84 or NJ is not, and it's now an all-electronic toll road with no cash option.  If you don't have E-ZPass (or if the trailer creates an issue) that could be quite expensive.

And speaking of pavement, a co-worker told me that the pavement on the north end of I-81 in PA has gotten really bad.
Title: Re: Trip from Northern VT to WV Panhandle w/ trailer
Post by: sprjus4 on September 03, 2021, 11:17:06 PM
Speaking of tolls, off topic, but hereís an interesting article from July 20, 1982. What ever happened with this?

Thruwayís Tolls to End in Ď96 with Federal Aid (https://www.nytimes.com/1982/07/20/nyregion/thruway-s-tolls-to-end-in-96-with-federal-aid.html)
Quote
Starting in 1996, motorists in New York State will be able to use the Gov. Thomas E. Dewey Thruway without paying tolls, under the terms of an agreement signed here today by representatives of the Federal Highway Trust and state officials.

The annual saving for truck and passenger car owners, assuming tolls in 1996 would be the same as now, would be $155 million. Under the agreement, the Federal Government will contribute $9.8 million next year and more in subsequent years to repair and rehabilitate the 559-mile road linking New York City, Albany and Buffalo. In the next 14 years, the total Washington contribution to repairing the Thruway may reach $550 million, officials said.

Bonds Will Be Paid in 1996

In return, the New York State Thruway Authority agreed that in 1996, when all its bonds are paid off, it would recommend to the State Legislature that the authority be abolished and the road be made toll free.

Under the terms of the agreement, if the Legislature does not eliminate the tolls, it must repay to the Federal Government all funds contributed by the Highway Trust. Officials here said such a repayment was most unlikely.

''New York's dream of a toll-free state Thruway will at long last come true,'' said Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, who introduced the bill in Congress to make the agreement possible.

The Democratic Senator spoke during a brief ceremony at the Thruway headquarters here, attended by Lester P. Lamm, executive director of the Federal Highway Trust; Gerald Cummins, chairman of the Thruway Authority, and William C. Hennessy, State Transportation Commissioner. Shift of Jurisdiction

When the tolls expire in 1996, the Thruway and its employees, now totaling 2,500, will probably come under the jurisdiction of the Transportation Department. The Thruway Authority's budget for 1982 is $183 million, which is used for operations, maintenance and redemption of bonds.

At present, Thruway tolls are about 2.5 cents a mile for passenger cars, or $8.65 for a trip from New York to Buffalo. For Buffalo to New York, the total is $1.50 higher because of the Tappan Zee Bridge eastbound toll.

A possibility under the agreement signed today is that the bridge toll, too, will be eliminated in 1996.

Title: Re: Trip from Northern VT to WV Panhandle w/ trailer
Post by: NoGoodNamesAvailable on September 04, 2021, 01:32:30 AM
There is one advantage to I-88 that hasn't been discussed - the fact that the Thruway is free between I-87 and I-88 (though you still pass under gantries).  Traveling the Thruway to I-84 or NJ is not, and it's now an all-electronic toll road with no cash option.  If you don't have E-ZPass (or if the trailer creates an issue) that could be quite expensive.

And speaking of pavement, a co-worker told me that the pavement on the north end of I-81 in PA has gotten really bad.

If you download the "Tolls NY" app, you can pre-pay for tolls on a rental car (or any car). You enter the license plate number(s) on the app, choose the date and time range when you'll be driving, and add a credit card, and it will automatically take it from your account. I did this when I was taking a u-haul van in NYC a while ago and it worked great.
Title: Re: Trip from Northern VT to WV Panhandle w/ trailer
Post by: webny99 on September 04, 2021, 09:47:35 AM
And speaking of pavement, a co-worker told me that the pavement on the north end of I-81 in PA has gotten really bad.

It wasn't Rothman, was it?  :-P

Has construction started on the stretch from the NY line to New Milford?  That stretch is horrible, but I think I saw VMSes that said they were finally fixing it.
Title: Re: Trip from Northern VT to WV Panhandle w/ trailer
Post by: webny99 on September 04, 2021, 09:52:30 AM
On the subject of I-81 north of Scranton, I will note that the section between Scranton and the NY line has been one of the most frequent/consistent snags on trips to the east coast. Whether it's lane closures due to construction, an accident causing delays, or an endless sea of slow trucks micro-passing on the grades, it never seems to be clear sailing on that stretch.

It's also much too busy to close lanes for construction during daytime hours. That's something PennDOT badly needs to revisit.
Title: Re: Trip from Northern VT to WV Panhandle w/ trailer
Post by: Rothman on September 04, 2021, 09:58:55 AM
I haven't had any major congestion or accident issues on I-81 north of Scranton and I drive that way frequently (there was an accident last time, but the delay was just a couple of minutes).  I do think the stretch of really bad pavement from New Milford north contributes to people using the left lane and that can slow you down, but traffic generally still runs at a pretty good clip.
Title: Re: Trip from Northern VT to WV Panhandle w/ trailer
Post by: FlatlanderinVT on September 04, 2021, 10:51:46 AM
There is one advantage to I-88 that hasn't been discussed - the fact that the Thruway is free between I-87 and I-88 (though you still pass under gantries).  Traveling the Thruway to I-84 or NJ is not, and it's now an all-electronic toll road with no cash option.  If you don't have E-ZPass (or if the trailer creates an issue) that could be quite expensive.

And speaking of pavement, a co-worker told me that the pavement on the north end of I-81 in PA has gotten really bad.

If you download the "Tolls NY" app, you can pre-pay for tolls on a rental car (or any car). You enter the license plate number(s) on the app, choose the date and time range when you'll be driving, and add a credit card, and it will automatically take it from your account. I did this when I was taking a u-haul van in NYC a while ago and it worked great.

That is certainly good advice and I will look into that app here momentarily. The toll issue certainly had crossed my mind. I have an EZ-Pass for the truck from Massachusetts since I drive the Mass Pike frequently as part of trips to and from RI. The trailer of course would change things and it is my intention to reach out to both Mass and NY just to make sure I have all my ducks in a row if the tolled area of I-87 is part of our route.

Title: Re: Trip from Northern VT to WV Panhandle w/ trailer
Post by: webny99 on September 04, 2021, 11:25:32 AM
I haven't had any major congestion or accident issues on I-81 north of Scranton and I drive that way frequently (there was an accident last time, but the delay was just a couple of minutes).  I do think the stretch of really bad pavement from New Milford north contributes to people using the left lane and that can slow you down, but traffic generally still runs at a pretty good clip.

I've only used it once since the start of the pandemic, and there were no issues that time.

My prior experience has been that it moves well when there's no slow trucks passing or construction, but you're likely to encounter one or both of those in summer travel season.
Title: Re: Trip from Northern VT to WV Panhandle w/ trailer
Post by: vdeane on September 04, 2021, 10:53:52 PM
And speaking of pavement, a co-worker told me that the pavement on the north end of I-81 in PA has gotten really bad.

It wasn't Rothman, was it?  :-P

Has construction started on the stretch from the NY line to New Milford?  That stretch is horrible, but I think I saw VMSes that said they were finally fixing it.
Nope; we work for different regions, anyways.  The person who talked about it is actually a roadgeek, though I don't know if he's on this forum or not.

There is one advantage to I-88 that hasn't been discussed - the fact that the Thruway is free between I-87 and I-88 (though you still pass under gantries).  Traveling the Thruway to I-84 or NJ is not, and it's now an all-electronic toll road with no cash option.  If you don't have E-ZPass (or if the trailer creates an issue) that could be quite expensive.

And speaking of pavement, a co-worker told me that the pavement on the north end of I-81 in PA has gotten really bad.

If you download the "Tolls NY" app, you can pre-pay for tolls on a rental car (or any car). You enter the license plate number(s) on the app, choose the date and time range when you'll be driving, and add a credit card, and it will automatically take it from your account. I did this when I was taking a u-haul van in NYC a while ago and it worked great.

That is certainly good advice and I will look into that app here momentarily. The toll issue certainly had crossed my mind. I have an EZ-Pass for the truck from Massachusetts since I drive the Mass Pike frequently as part of trips to and from RI. The trailer of course would change things and it is my intention to reach out to both Mass and NY just to make sure I have all my ducks in a row if the tolled area of I-87 is part of our route.


I've been curious about that myself, mainly for if my parents ever want to tow the boat on the Thruway for whatever reason.  I know at one time vehicles needed a separate tag for towing, but I'm not sure if that's still true.  Everything I've read seems to imply it isn't, though it would be nice to get hard confirmation of that.
Title: Re: Trip from Northern VT to WV Panhandle w/ trailer
Post by: 1995hoo on September 05, 2021, 05:15:29 PM
For the OP, one comment regarding towing a trailer: Donít be tempted to use I-70 between Frederick and Hagerstown, especially coming eastbound if youíre towing a trailer on your way back north. That segment has a lot of accidents near South Mountain and there are a fair number involving trucks. If you come through Maryland, Iíd suggest you take US-340 southwest from Frederick to Charles Town, then WV-9 to Martinsburg.

I have a work colleague who lives in the Catskills during weeks when she telecommutes, and she regularly visits her mother in the Martinsburg area. Iíd be happy to ask her what route she likes if you want, though itíll be Tuesday before I get to ask her due to the holiday tomorrow.
Title: Re: Trip from Northern VT to WV Panhandle w/ trailer
Post by: FlatlanderinVT on September 06, 2021, 10:27:54 AM
For the OP, one comment regarding towing a trailer: Donít be tempted to use I-70 between Frederick and Hagerstown, especially coming eastbound if youíre towing a trailer on your way back north. That segment has a lot of accidents near South Mountain and there are a fair number involving trucks. If you come through Maryland, Iíd suggest you take US-340 southwest from Frederick to Charles Town, then WV-9 to Martinsburg.

I have a work colleague who lives in the Catskills during weeks when she telecommutes, and she regularly visits her mother in the Martinsburg area. Iíd be happy to ask her what route she likes if you want, though itíll be Tuesday before I get to ask her due to the holiday tomorrow.

Thanks for the heads up on that!

I hadn't really considered I-70 for the trip down anyway as I am hoping to make my way west long before that but it certainly sounds less than ideal now. Fortunately the trailer will only be going south and being returned somewhere in WV. Given that I am far less concerned with my route to return to Vermont but of course avoiding known trouble spots is never a bad idea.

It would certainly be interesting to hear what someone who does essentially the same trip prefers! There is no timeline yet as to when this will be happening so I am in no rush at all. Thanks very much!
Title: Re: Trip from Northern VT to WV Panhandle w/ trailer
Post by: snowc on September 06, 2021, 12:33:18 PM
Coincidentally, I was just on I-88 this afternoon while returning to Vermont.

I-88 is certainly an option to cut over to I-81.  It does carry less traffic than 84 or 78.  There are a couple disadvantages, however.  The pavement on much of 88 is lousy, especially from ~Otego to ~Cobleskill....I ran into 3 single-lane construction zones on this stretch that are beginning to address it, but it's going to take more than just this year to finish.  I-88 and I-81 are also much hillier than taking a route closer to NYC.  That will slow things down, and also causes problems with the trucks on I-81 which lacks truck climbing lanes outside of the I-80 to I-84 segment.

The hilliest part of I-81 is (from south to north) from I-78 (Exit 89) near Lebanon, Pennsylvania to PA-171 (Exit 230) near Great Bend, Pennsylvania.  Pavement varies from good to terrible along all of I-81 in Pennsylvania. 

Not all of I-81 in this part of Pennsylvania has steep grades, but the longest and steepest grades on I-81 can be found in this section of the corridor.
As a regular on I81, i would say AVOID the part from Binghamton to Scranton. VERY rough and needs a LOT of work. BE warned, as it popped my tires!  :wow:
I will be going back up probably next week or the week after, so I would pretty much avoid the rough patch!
Title: Re: Trip from Northern VT to WV Panhandle w/ trailer
Post by: FlatlanderinVT on September 06, 2021, 09:37:39 PM
Coincidentally, I was just on I-88 this afternoon while returning to Vermont.

I-88 is certainly an option to cut over to I-81.  It does carry less traffic than 84 or 78.  There are a couple disadvantages, however.  The pavement on much of 88 is lousy, especially from ~Otego to ~Cobleskill....I ran into 3 single-lane construction zones on this stretch that are beginning to address it, but it's going to take more than just this year to finish.  I-88 and I-81 are also much hillier than taking a route closer to NYC.  That will slow things down, and also causes problems with the trucks on I-81 which lacks truck climbing lanes outside of the I-80 to I-84 segment.

The hilliest part of I-81 is (from south to north) from I-78 (Exit 89) near Lebanon, Pennsylvania to PA-171 (Exit 230) near Great Bend, Pennsylvania.  Pavement varies from good to terrible along all of I-81 in Pennsylvania. 

Not all of I-81 in this part of Pennsylvania has steep grades, but the longest and steepest grades on I-81 can be found in this section of the corridor.
As a regular on I81, i would say AVOID the part from Binghamton to Scranton. VERY rough and needs a LOT of work. BE warned, as it popped my tires!  :wow:
I will be going back up probably next week or the week after, so I would pretty much avoid the rough patch!

Well I appreciate this input as well!

From what everyone seems to mention the consensus appears like taking I-88 to I-81 might not be the best course of action. I am leaning towards staying on 87 down to 84 and making way westward from there to connect to 81 in Scranton. I haven't ruled out thinking about 78 but I am not sure I want to deal with the traffic levels I know can exist down that way. My hope with having a relative plan in mind is so that I can at make a bit of a chart of what look like easy fuel up locations along the route every 150/200 miles or so to make that process pretty seamless hopefully.

I plan on touching base with the NYS Thruway folks tomorrow on what my options for the tolls might be. I will report back on what they have to say. 
Title: Re: Trip from Northern VT to WV Panhandle w/ trailer
Post by: snowc on September 07, 2021, 10:25:13 AM
Has construction started on the stretch from the NY line to New Milford?  That stretch is horrible, but I think I saw VMSes that said they were finally fixing it.
No. Im heading there on Friday possibly and will let you know.
Due to my family's busy schedule, I have decided NOT to go. I am however, going to FV this weekend.  :colorful:
Title: Re: Trip from Northern VT to WV Panhandle w/ trailer
Post by: snowc on September 07, 2021, 10:26:59 AM
Much appreciated cpzilliacus!

Just to make sure I am thinking along the same lines that you mean... Are you implying that I would be mostly going downhill traveling north to south or would I still have to deal with significant climbs? I have driven I-81 once from Harrisburg to Binghamton but clearly I wasn't concerned with topography on that trip since nothing was remarkable to me, that I recall anyway.

I had hoped that this I-88 to I-81 would be a good way to avoid tractor trailer traffic at least but maybe since I will be be towing as well the I-78 route might prove best. All good food for thought and no decision has to be made immediately at least.

There are steep uphill and downhill grades both northbound and southbound on I-81 between Lebanon and Great Bend.  I am not confident to say which direction has the steepest grades up or down.  There is truck traffic along the entire corridor, though some trucks do leave I-81 at both I-78 and at I-80.  Still, you will encounter trucks all the way to Binghamton, N.Y. (and probably beyond - the only part of I-81 that I have not driven is between I-90 and the Ontario border).

One word of warning regarding the interchange at I-80 and I-81 in Luzerne County, Pennsylvania north of Hazleton - it is badly substandard, the ramps are sharp and (properly) posted with low speed limits.  This was mentioned by another poster upthread  - in case you take the alternate route suggested, then you will be on those substandard ramps.
I had to pop my ears NUMEROUS times going up the hill from I78 to I80. Also, this highway was JUST reconstructed from 1998-2018.
Title: Re: Trip from Northern VT to WV Panhandle w/ trailer
Post by: snowc on September 07, 2021, 10:29:25 AM
There is one advantage to I-88 that hasn't been discussed - the fact that the Thruway is free between I-87 and I-88 (though you still pass under gantries).  Traveling the Thruway to I-84 or NJ is not, and it's now an all-electronic toll road with no cash option.  If you don't have E-ZPass (or if the trailer creates an issue) that could be quite expensive.

And speaking of pavement, a co-worker told me that the pavement on the north end of I-81 in PA has gotten really bad.
And bumpy! Look below and observe
(https://storage13.openstreetcam.org/files/photo/2021/7/28/proc/3747101_4ebaa62fb2dae6390300dbda91f2a8a0.jpg)
Title: Re: Trip from Northern VT to WV Panhandle w/ trailer
Post by: snowc on September 07, 2021, 10:34:27 AM
For the OP, one comment regarding towing a trailer: Donít be tempted to use I-70 between Frederick and Hagerstown, especially coming eastbound if youíre towing a trailer on your way back north. That segment has a lot of accidents near South Mountain and there are a fair number involving trucks. If you come through Maryland, Iíd suggest you take US-340 southwest from Frederick to Charles Town, then WV-9 to Martinsburg.

I have a work colleague who lives in the Catskills during weeks when she telecommutes, and she regularly visits her mother in the Martinsburg area. Iíd be happy to ask her what route she likes if you want, though itíll be Tuesday before I get to ask her due to the holiday tomorrow.
My family usually stays at Comfort Inn on that route.
Title: Re: Trip from Northern VT to WV Panhandle w/ trailer
Post by: snowc on September 07, 2021, 10:39:37 AM
Coincidentally, I was just on I-88 this afternoon while returning to Vermont.

I-88 is certainly an option to cut over to I-81.  It does carry less traffic than 84 or 78.  There are a couple disadvantages, however.  The pavement on much of 88 is lousy, especially from ~Otego to ~Cobleskill....I ran into 3 single-lane construction zones on this stretch that are beginning to address it, but it's going to take more than just this year to finish.  I-88 and I-81 are also much hillier than taking a route closer to NYC.  That will slow things down, and also causes problems with the trucks on I-81 which lacks truck climbing lanes outside of the I-80 to I-84 segment.

The hilliest part of I-81 is (from south to north) from I-78 (Exit 89) near Lebanon, Pennsylvania to PA-171 (Exit 230) near Great Bend, Pennsylvania.  Pavement varies from good to terrible along all of I-81 in Pennsylvania. 

Not all of I-81 in this part of Pennsylvania has steep grades, but the longest and steepest grades on I-81 can be found in this section of the corridor.
As a regular on I81, i would say AVOID the part from Binghamton to Scranton. VERY rough and needs a LOT of work. BE warned, as it popped my tires!  :wow:
I will be going back up probably next week or the week after, so I would pretty much avoid the rough patch!

Well I appreciate this input as well!

From what everyone seems to mention the consensus appears like taking I-88 to I-81 might not be the best course of action. I am leaning towards staying on 87 down to 84 and making way westward from there to connect to 81 in Scranton. I haven't ruled out thinking about 78 but I am not sure I want to deal with the traffic levels I know can exist down that way. My hope with having a relative plan in mind is so that I can at make a bit of a chart of what look like easy fuel up locations along the route every 150/200 miles or so to make that process pretty seamless hopefully.

I plan on touching base with the NYS Thruway folks tomorrow on what my options for the tolls might be. I will report back on what they have to say.
for people who are going to Mburg from SYR, highly recommend going down route 13 (exit 12) all the way to dryden, following it to corning to I86. Go down I86 and take the exit for I99. Continue through the PA border and take the exit to US 220 SB. Get on I80 and get on I99 (the other one). continue on it until you reach us 30 (lincoln highway) to bedford. once you are in breezewood, get on the FREE part of I70, and continue to the MD border. Get on I81 SB from I70 and follow it to the WV border. then get on exit 16e to mburg.
Title: Re: Trip from Northern VT to WV Panhandle w/ trailer
Post by: webny99 on September 07, 2021, 01:21:08 PM
From what everyone seems to mention the consensus appears like taking I-88 to I-81 might not be the best course of action. I am leaning towards staying on 87 down to 84 and making way westward from there to connect to 81 in Scranton. I haven't ruled out thinking about 78 but I am not sure I want to deal with the traffic levels I know can exist down that way. My hope with having a relative plan in mind is so that I can at make a bit of a chart of what look like easy fuel up locations along the route every 150/200 miles or so to make that process pretty seamless hopefully.

I should give Pennsylvania credit for their section of I-84. It's a very nice route between the NY line and Scranton; one of very few PA interstates that I don't have any complaints about.  :) Traffic on I-84 also moves along well with a lot less truck traffic than parallel sections of I-80 or I-78.
Title: Re: Trip from Northern VT to WV Panhandle w/ trailer
Post by: snowc on September 07, 2021, 02:06:19 PM
From what everyone seems to mention the consensus appears like taking I-88 to I-81 might not be the best course of action. I am leaning towards staying on 87 down to 84 and making way westward from there to connect to 81 in Scranton. I haven't ruled out thinking about 78 but I am not sure I want to deal with the traffic levels I know can exist down that way. My hope with having a relative plan in mind is so that I can at make a bit of a chart of what look like easy fuel up locations along the route every 150/200 miles or so to make that process pretty seamless hopefully.

I should give Pennsylvania credit for their section of I-84. It's a very nice route between the NY line and Scranton; one of very few PA interstates that I don't have any complaints about.  :) Traffic on I-84 also moves along well with a lot less truck traffic than parallel sections of I-80 or I-78.
I don't go through I84 to NYC. Too busy.
Title: Re: Trip from Northern VT to WV Panhandle w/ trailer
Post by: 1995hoo on September 07, 2021, 04:22:32 PM
For the OP, one comment regarding towing a trailer: Donít be tempted to use I-70 between Frederick and Hagerstown, especially coming eastbound if youíre towing a trailer on your way back north. That segment has a lot of accidents near South Mountain and there are a fair number involving trucks. If you come through Maryland, Iíd suggest you take US-340 southwest from Frederick to Charles Town, then WV-9 to Martinsburg.

I have a work colleague who lives in the Catskills during weeks when she telecommutes, and she regularly visits her mother in the Martinsburg area. Iíd be happy to ask her what route she likes if you want, though itíll be Tuesday before I get to ask her due to the holiday tomorrow.

Thanks for the heads up on that!

I hadn't really considered I-70 for the trip down anyway as I am hoping to make my way west long before that but it certainly sounds less than ideal now. Fortunately the trailer will only be going south and being returned somewhere in WV. Given that I am far less concerned with my route to return to Vermont but of course avoiding known trouble spots is never a bad idea.

It would certainly be interesting to hear what someone who does essentially the same trip prefers! There is no timeline yet as to when this will be happening so I am in no rush at all. Thanks very much!

My colleague responded that she lives about 45 minutes southwest of Albany and that her preferred route to Martinsburg is the Thruway south to I-287 to I-78, then I-78 to I-81.

The big thing she warned of is that apparently Pennsylvania now has speed cameras in the work zones and she emphasized that on one part of the drive, there was a spot where a work zone ended but another one started up again within a mile or so and they got a warning in the mail with an extremely clear picture of their car. She didn't remember exactly where that was, but I didn't realize Pennsylvania used speed cameras at all, so it was useful info to me.
Title: Re: Trip from Northern VT to WV Panhandle w/ trailer
Post by: webny99 on September 07, 2021, 06:49:07 PM
... her preferred route to Martinsburg is the Thruway south to I-287 to I-78, then I-78 to I-81.

That route is actually very comparable to I-84 to I-81 in terms of both time and distance. Google suggests it's about 5 miles and 5 minutes shorter.  I-287 is a nice road and mostly six lanes, but it may come down to whether you'd rather deal with Scranton or the fringes of the NYC metro. The latter is fine most times of day, but I'd probably prefer Scranton during the morning/afternoon peaks.
Title: Re: Trip from Northern VT to WV Panhandle w/ trailer
Post by: hbelkins on September 08, 2021, 12:52:09 PM
I personally would not want to deal with I-287 or I-78 with the amount and type of traffic, and especially not if pulling a trailer, but that's just me.
Title: Re: Trip from Northern VT to WV Panhandle w/ trailer
Post by: NoGoodNamesAvailable on September 08, 2021, 05:12:38 PM
I personally would not want to deal with I-287 or I-78 with the amount and type of traffic, and especially not if pulling a trailer, but that's just me.
287 in NJ is not a fun drive, especially if you hit it at the wrong time. Lots of traffic and maniac drivers. I'd never choose any route through NJ if there's a good alternative.
Title: Re: Trip from Northern VT to WV Panhandle w/ trailer
Post by: 1995hoo on September 08, 2021, 05:25:27 PM
I've never been on the New Jersey portion of I-287 and that's one reason why I didn't comment on the pluses or minuses of the route. But I said I'd ask my colleague for her comments and pass them on, so that's what I did.

I don't love I-78, but the trailer aspect would at least cause me to consider it to minimize time spent on I-81.
Title: Re: Trip from Northern VT to WV Panhandle w/ trailer
Post by: Alps on September 08, 2021, 05:46:46 PM
I personally would not want to deal with I-287 or I-78 with the amount and type of traffic, and especially not if pulling a trailer, but that's just me.
287 in NJ is not a fun drive, especially if you hit it at the wrong time. Lots of traffic and maniac drivers. I'd never choose any route through NJ if there's a good alternative.
It's fine if you travel outside of rush hour. I don't want you in my state then.
Title: Re: Trip from Northern VT to WV Panhandle w/ trailer
Post by: FlatlanderinVT on September 09, 2021, 07:22:14 PM
Thanks for all the input above everyone! After reading it all I am definitely leaning towards basing my primary planning on taking I-84 west to head to 81. I have driven I-287 a handful of times and without the trailer in the equation I would absolutely give that route to I-78 more consideration and I will certainly have it in mind as the Plan B. The way this trip is likely to work out for us we will be loading the trailer the morning we will be hitting the road and hopefully getting underway by late morning. Given that timing it might put us in the thick of afternoon commute by the time we get towards I-287 so that might not be a ton of fun. We intend to split the trip over 2 days anyway so maybe bailing onto I-84 there in Newburgh will help avoid rush hour and we likely would stop before Scranton for the day anyway.

After a couple of crazy days I was finally able to wait on hold long enough to talk to someone at both NY EZ-Pass and Massachusetts as well. The person from NY was unfortunately not all that helpful at all. For whatever reason he completely dismissed the idea of using the Toll NY app since I already have an EZ Pass account. Outside of telling me that I shouldn't worry  and the tolling system will just charge me accordingly the only other constructive thing he mentioned was to call Mass, which I did. According to them my only option would be to request a second transponder programed for my truck and the trailer rate. I will certainly try this approach but I will have to see what kind of trailer U-Haul will have available when we get the go ahead on a scheduling this whole adventure. Of course I could just come up with ways to avoid the Thruway and its tolls as well. Maybe US-9 down the east side of the Hudson but I don't know much about that route at all. Luckily still plenty of time to ponder.
Title: Re: Trip from Northern VT to WV Panhandle w/ trailer
Post by: hbelkins on September 09, 2021, 09:02:59 PM
we likely would stop before Scranton for the day anyway.

Been awhile since I've been on that route, but I don't really remember a lot of lodging options along I-84 between the Port Jervis/PA state line area and Scranton. It traverses a pretty rural area. There are a bunch in Middletown, but that may be too far to the east for your liking.
Title: Re: Trip from Northern VT to WV Panhandle w/ trailer
Post by: FlatlanderinVT on September 09, 2021, 09:24:47 PM
we likely would stop before Scranton for the day anyway.

Been awhile since I've been on that route, but I don't really remember a lot of lodging options along I-84 between the Port Jervis/PA state line area and Scranton. It traverses a pretty rural area. There are a bunch in Middletown, but that may be too far to the east for your liking.

I had noticed that Middletown looked like one of the places with plenty of options along the I-84 corridor there. I'm not sure that there are many more options once past the Port Jervis area than you recall from my research so far. We won't book lodging until the day of just too keep our options open on how the day has gone. That being said that area in NY or just over into PA might well be a decent stop over point.
Title: Re: Trip from Northern VT to WV Panhandle w/ trailer
Post by: vdeane on September 09, 2021, 09:33:19 PM
If you're trying to avoid the Thruway, US 9W might be less traffic than US 9.  South of Poughkeepsie in particular can have a fair amount of congestion.

Any particular reason for going through MA?  Most people going between VT and NY would take the local roads between the two states rather than dipping all the way down to the MassPike, given how far northwest of Springfield Albany is.
Title: Re: Trip from Northern VT to WV Panhandle w/ trailer
Post by: webny99 on September 10, 2021, 08:26:08 AM
Any particular reason for going through MA?  Most people going between VT and NY would take the local roads between the two states rather than dipping all the way down to the MassPike, given how far northwest of Springfield Albany is.

That's especially true for western Vermont, but it probably depends on the starting point.

Google currently suggests that I-91 to I-90 to I-87 is faster from Brattleboro, but that changes pretty quickly once you get west of I-91, , with VT 9/NY 7 being faster from Wilmington and even Marlboro.
Title: Re: Trip from Northern VT to WV Panhandle w/ trailer
Post by: FlatlanderinVT on September 10, 2021, 10:48:03 AM
Any particular reason for going through MA?  Most people going between VT and NY would take the local roads between the two states rather than dipping all the way down to the MassPike, given how far northwest of Springfield Albany is.

That's especially true for western Vermont, but it probably depends on the starting point.

Google currently suggests that I-91 to I-90 to I-87 is faster from Brattleboro, but that changes pretty quickly once you get west of I-91, , with VT 9/NY 7 being faster from Wilmington and even Marlboro.

My apologies, mentioning the Mass EZ-Pass folks was a bit confusing I guess. The reason I spoke with them was that my EZ-Pass account is with Mass not that I have any intention of heading all the way down to the pike.

We will be starting out from Morrisville VT which is just north of Stowe. From there in my mind the best course of action would be to head over towards Burlington and head south from there via US-7 and into NY from there likely via VT-22A to US-4. From there I would either get on I-87 near Glens Falls or continue using more secondary roads if I want to avoid the Thruway and toll headaches.

If you're trying to avoid the Thruway, US 9W might be less traffic than US 9.  South of Poughkeepsie in particular can have a fair amount of congestion.

I actually started looking at 9W last night as a thought after I had logged off here and certainly looks like a very viable alternative to the Thruway. I also then started entertaining the idea of taking US-209 from Kingston on to Port Jervis either from 9W or having crossed the Hudson there in Kingston. It looks like it could be a very nice drive but perhaps with the trailer it will be hillier than I would like. I do quite enjoy taking secondary roads at times to get more of a feel for where I am driving through but of course on my trip down the trailer might make that less enjoyable than sticking to the interstate.
Title: Re: Trip from Northern VT to WV Panhandle w/ trailer
Post by: froggie on September 10, 2021, 10:55:48 AM
He's departing from along my own commute route.  The problem is there's no good east-west way between most of Vermont and the Thruway/Northway.  Sure, US 4 is freeway west of Rutland, but that dies at the state line.  I'd rather slit my wrist along NY 7 in Troy and Brunswick than deal with Fort Ann and the western NY 149 terminus.

A further complication, but one he (and I) will just have to live with, is just getting out of Morrisville.  Both 100 between Morrisville and Stowe and 15 through Morristown have repaving projects underway.  15, in point of fact, is down to bare dirt through Morristown (and they were ripping up the pavement at 15/100 as I left work last night).

Given the trailer, my suggestion is to get down to Rutland via whatever route you're most comfortable with (on that note, I've heard 100 towards Killington is ripped up too), then continue on US 7 south to Bennington, then VT 279/NY 7 over the Albany region.  Despite it likely being afternoon rush hour by then, I'd suggest taking 787 through Albany and picking up the Thruway at Exit 23.  You'll at least save a little toll that way.  And this route avoids Massachusetts entirely.

Title: Re: Trip from Northern VT to WV Panhandle w/ trailer
Post by: FlatlanderinVT on September 10, 2021, 12:06:48 PM
I guess my wishful thinking that one or both projects in/near Morrisville would be done kept pushing the thoughts of them to the back of my mind. The last time we were up there in late July the Rt 15 project was a huge mess. On the advice of our friends who are on the east side of town off 15 we came and went via Rt 12 and snuck through Elmore and Wolcott to 15. 

Well I am quite familiar with NY 7 through Brunswick & Troy and if it is preferable to what Fort Ann is like, Fort Ann must be pretty bad. I've definetly given consideration to taking US 7 all the way down to Bennington. In fact I even had a thought the other day of of possibly taking NY 22 from Hoosick down towards Brewster to pick up I-84 as an alternative to the Thruway. I've taken it a couple of times and for the most part recall it being relatively flat and lightly traveled until you get down towards the southern end. Of course that conceivably adds quite a bit of time.
Title: Re: Trip from Northern VT to WV Panhandle w/ trailer
Post by: vdeane on September 10, 2021, 01:01:42 PM
If you're going through the Burlington area, VT 22A/VT 17/NY 185/NY 22/NY 74/I-87 is also an option.  Much less traffic than the other ways of getting between Albany and VT.  There's a bit of an incline on NY 74 leaving Ticonderoga, but it has a nice long climbing lane.
Title: Re: Trip from Northern VT to WV Panhandle w/ trailer
Post by: webny99 on September 10, 2021, 01:35:58 PM
If you're going through the Burlington area, VT 22A/VT 17/NY 185/NY 22/NY 74/I-87 is also an option.  Much less traffic than the other ways of getting between Albany and VT.  There's a bit of an incline on NY 74 leaving Ticonderoga, but it has a nice long climbing lane.

I took most of that route back in 2018 and it was decent, with no major snags or choke points and not much traffic at all west of Addison. US 7 north of Vergennes and VT 22A were slow (moving at or slightly below speed), as they're only two lanes and part of a major N/S truck route, but I suppose that's par for the course in Vermont.



The problem is there's no good east-west way between most of Vermont and the Thruway/Northway.  Sure, US 4 is freeway west of Rutland, but that dies at the state line.  I'd rather slit my wrist along NY 7 in Troy and Brunswick than deal with Fort Ann and the western NY 149 terminus.

I'm curious about your experiences with Fort Ann. I don't think I had ever heard of it being problematic until you mentioned it. Is there a something going on currently, or just slow/congested in general?

Title: Re: Trip from Northern VT to WV Panhandle w/ trailer
Post by: hbelkins on September 10, 2021, 02:01:06 PM
US 209 from the Kingston area to Port Jervis isn't bad. The one time I was across the route, there were tons of NY 209 error signs.
Title: Re: Trip from Northern VT to WV Panhandle w/ trailer
Post by: FlatlanderinVT on September 10, 2021, 07:11:15 PM
If you're going through the Burlington area, VT 22A/VT 17/NY 185/NY 22/NY 74/I-87 is also an option.  Much less traffic than the other ways of getting between Albany and VT.  There's a bit of an incline on NY 74 leaving Ticonderoga, but it has a nice long climbing lane.

Interesting option. I am definitely considering VT 22A as an alternative to US 7 but I was thinking all the way down to Fair Haven and US 4 from there. I thought other routes across that part of NY might be pretty hilly but from your description NY 74 doesn't sound too bad. It would be some uncharted territory for me and I am never opposed to that.

US 209 from the Kingston area to Port Jervis isn't bad. The one time I was across the route, there were tons of NY 209 error signs.

Good to know thanks! Could make the trip a bit more interesting since I have a feeling once we are into PA interstates will make too much sense to not take. Depending on how it is all going could be worth the extra time.

Title: Re: Trip from Northern VT to WV Panhandle w/ trailer
Post by: froggie on September 11, 2021, 12:53:49 AM
I don't see NY 74 as particularly trailer-friendly, especially once the climbing lane out of Ticonderoga ends.  It's great if you're just in a car, and semis use the route regularly, but it's too hilly/curvy IMO to be a good ride with a trailer.  The left turn from 185 to 9N/22 South isn't exactly a picnic either, even without a trailer.  That said, it's far less busy than anything further south.
Title: Re: Trip from Northern VT to WV Panhandle w/ trailer
Post by: FlatlanderinVT on September 11, 2021, 12:17:56 PM
Well coming from someone else who resides here in Vermont I will take your advice and avoid this stretch with the trailer and save it for a time without something in tow. Having the trailer on the trip south is definitely my major concern for avoiding hills and curves as much as possible. Once we drop it off in WV, I'm open to taking most any roads as we likely poke around there for a bit and make our way home.
Title: Re: Trip from Northern VT to WV Panhandle w/ trailer
Post by: AvDave829 on September 11, 2021, 07:50:38 PM
If you dont mind lots of hills, up and down with the trailer than I 81 would work for you. From BNG you have 2 long climbs up heading south on 81 in PA and then the long downhill grade into Clarks Summit/Scranton.  Then I 81 is basically easy drive thru the metro Scranton/Wilkes Barre area. Once you pass the exit for PA 29 Nanticoke, You will have a long climb up a mountain then a short descent then few miles ahead you have another climb near Dorrance and then a decent descent down towards I 80 Jct, Then you climb up one more mountain into the coal country plateau near Hazelton.  Now if it is raining, this stretch atop the plateau from Hazelton to Pine Grove can be soupy dense fog. After you pass the exit for US 209 for Tremont/Tower city, it is a long descent down the mountain towards Pine Grove. After that I 81 is flat from Lebanon all the way thru PA, MD into WV then Martinsburg.



Title: Re: Trip from Northern VT to WV Panhandle w/ trailer
Post by: VTGoose on September 13, 2021, 08:52:22 AM
The problem is there's no good east-west way between most of Vermont and the Thruway/Northway.  Sure, US 4 is freeway west of Rutland, but that dies at the state line.  I'd rather slit my wrist along NY 7 in Troy and Brunswick than deal with Fort Ann and the western NY 149 terminus.

I'm curious about your experiences with Fort Ann. I don't think I had ever heard of it being problematic until you mentioned it. Is there a something going on currently, or just slow/congested in general?

It's been a few years, but I don't really remember many problems in Fort Ann except for maybe one trip. It was getting from 149 down the short stretch of U.S. 9 to get on I-87 that was a challenge when Six Flags and the outlet shops were going big time.

 
Title: Re: Trip from Northern VT to WV Panhandle w/ trailer
Post by: FlatlanderinVT on September 13, 2021, 10:20:02 AM
Wow thanks very much for this detailed description AvDave829! My better half did most of this drive back in early June on a preliminary visit with her mom and now with your description I can possibly likely pin point the section that my MIL (who wasn't driving at the time but I digress) hasn't stopped complaining about anytime this drive gets mentioned. They had hit a section where they went up hill and straight into quite foggy conditions in some light rain. I assume this most likely wasI the area after Hazleton you mentioned. It is all certainly good info to have as I consider the options.

This did start making me think that perhaps taking a more circuitous route from Scranton on I-476 to I-78 might be preferable tolls and extra time taken into account. Of course though tracking that far east again to get on I-78 west near Allentown somewhat makes the case for simply sucking it up in the first place taking I-287 off the Thruway. I have concluded that I think my best bet as far as tolls goes will be to get a second EZpass transponder programed for as big a trailer as we might end up with and the truck. The transponder won't cost me anything and if we end up with something smaller I can live with spending an extra few bucks for the convenience and lack of hassle of having an EZpass.

Title: Re: Trip from Northern VT to WV Panhandle w/ trailer
Post by: froggie on October 10, 2021, 12:54:05 AM
Is this trip happening/already-happened?  We seem to be in the time window.
Title: Re: Trip from Northern VT to WV Panhandle w/ trailer
Post by: FlatlanderinVT on October 13, 2021, 08:35:35 PM
Hi all, we did in fact make this trip the first weekend of this month. It was a bit hectic in the lead up to it and then after our return last Friday so I am finally getting around to posting this update on it.

After some deliberation we decided that instead of heading directly from Morrisville VT towards WV we instead opted to load the trailer on Friday October 1st and came home to Whitingham Vt about 3 hours south. As we thought might be the case we got on the road much later in the afternoon than we had hoped and we thought that taking a bit of a "trial run" with the trailer on roads we were quite familiar with seemed to make sense. Given being the construction on Rt 15 in Morrisville and on Rt 100 between Stowe and Waterbury we headed east on VT 15 towards St. Johnsbury to get to US 2 and ultimately I-91 south. The truck handled the trailer quite well on 91 all things considered and by the time we made it down towards Brattleboro I was quite confident that it could handle most any grades we would encounter on any Interstates enroute to WV. 

We checked everything out on Saturday late morning and got underway from home. We cut across through Massachusetts down into NY to I-90 and its connector to I-87/NYS Thruway. From 87 we got onto 84 in Newburgh, my better half was pushing for that route for some reason and I was a bit ambivalent since I was confident in the truck so I decided it was just as well to let her her pick on this one and avoid any unnecessary headaches. We did encounter a few sections of road work in Pennsylvania but it was pretty quiet all and all being a Saturday afternoon. The hills south of Wilkes-Barre on I-81 didn't prove to be much of an issue at all. I just took everything nice and steady so the truck took it all pretty much in stride down to the . We spent Saturday night in Carlisle PA and finished the trip, which ended up being to Berkeley Springs WV, via I-81 to I-70 without issue on Sunday.

After a busy Sunday of unloading and such we returned the trailer down there and headed further south to spend the next 4 days in and around Shenandoah National Park, which was quite nice. We did take a section of I-78 on our way home and encountered some quite narrow construction areas east of the junction with I-81. It was on both sides and made me very glad we had opted for I-84 instead as I didn't think it would be fun with the trailer.

One other thing of note regarding the EZ-Pass; I had decided to just go with it and take the NYS Thruway as I mentioned and planned to deal with whatever toll ramifications came. Once it showed up on my EZ-Pass account it had charged a toll for 3 axles which was very pleasing. For New York anyway it seems that they can in fact calculate the rate based on the situation, of course I am unsure if this would be the case anywhere else.

All in all it was a very smooth and enjoyable trip. Again I really appreciated everyones input and it certainly helped me have a feel for everything as we progressed. I look forward to keeping active here and chiming in on things when I can. Thanks again everyone!
Title: Re: Trip from Northern VT to WV Panhandle w/ trailer
Post by: hbelkins on October 14, 2021, 10:57:32 AM
Berkeley Springs. I'm presuming you went to Hancock and then south on 522?
Title: Re: Trip from Northern VT to WV Panhandle w/ trailer
Post by: FlatlanderinVT on October 17, 2021, 11:15:04 AM
Berkeley Springs. I'm presuming you went to Hancock and then south on 522?

Yup that is exactly what we did. She was able to find a cute little place right in the heart of town so 522 was essentially the end of the journey with the trailer anyway.