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Author Topic: Routings from DC to FL without using I-95  (Read 15705 times)

1995hoo

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Routings from DC to FL without using I-95
« on: May 05, 2014, 03:39:47 PM »

Interested in thoughts about routings from Northern Virginia (near the Springfield Interchange, junction of I-95/395/495) to Venice, Florida, without using I-95. Our summer trip to visit relatives is in June and we're making the drive south on a Saturday, so my thought is to try to avoid I-95 entirely (maybe even use surface streets when starting out just to avoid the brief I-95/495 concurrency) due to summer beach traffic and roadwork.

The most direct route down via I-95, I-295 in both Virginia and Florida, I-10, and US-301 to I-75, is around 962 miles. That's farther than we'll make it in one day; our limit is usually about 10 hours of actual driving in one day (i.e., not counting stops). If traffic and roadwork allows it, that generally means from home to near Jacksonville (JAX Airport is about 689 miles from our house) and we'd have around 270 miles to go the next day.

Various possibilities struck me:

—Using I-81, I-40, and I-75 to go around via Chattanooga and Atlanta would be a totally different route, but it's also 1,235 miles (so almost 300 miles longer). That'd probably add a good four hours even setting aside the question of what Atlanta traffic might be like. Assuming it took about 18 hours, that'd mean 10 hours on Saturday and another 8 on Sunday. I'm not sure Ms1995hoo would tolerate that. I suppose the potential "advantage" to this route is the opportunity to clinch I-75 in Georgia and Florida and the chance to see different scenery (last time I drove through eastern Tennessee was May 1997 en route from Virginia to Montgomery). I'm not sure there are any other advantages.

—An alternate to that would use I-77 south from I-81 to Columbia, then cut west to Augusta and southwest on (it appears) US-25 and US-221 to Valdosta, then down I-75. This route is 1,100 miles, so probably around two hours less than the Atlanta route in theory....except it uses a long segment of non-Interstate through Georgia that might mean slower speeds. I'm assuming on this route we'd probably wind up stopping somewhere in Georgia and then finishing the trip the next day.

—Instead of going via Augusta, another option from Charlotte is I-85 into Georgia and then on state and US routes past Athens to Macon, where you pick up I-75. This route is 1,160 miles. Seems like it could be faster time-wise even though it's longer on the map.

—Or I could combine any of the above other than the very first one with using US-29 south through Virginia to Greensboro. It's slower than the Interstate in theory, but it's also a nice drive and the road is empty once you're south of Charlottesville.

Using I-26 through the mountains of Tennessee and North Carolina is appealing (never been that way and I understand it is scenic), but it looks like it's just plain out of the way. Makes for an 1,175-mile trip.

Routes we've used in the past on trips south (we've never driven from home to Venice, but we've driven to the east coast of Florida and to Orlando):

—The obvious I-95/I-295s all the way (coupled with I-4 when heading to Orlando)

—US-29 to Greensboro, I-85 to Charlotte, I-77 to Columbia, I-26 to near Charleston, I-526 around Charleston, then US-17 back to I-95 for the rest of the trip (why the diversion? Big wreck on I-95)

—US-29 to Greensboro, I-73/74 to Rockingham, US-1 and US-52 to Florence, then I-95 south

Ultimately, my conundrum is more or less that I know I'm going to have to tread some familiar ground through Virginia and North Carolina. That's life. It's the part south of there that leaves me at a loss for options. My travel in Georgia over the years has been fairly limited (clinches of I-59, I-85, and I-95; done a large part of I-20; that's pretty much it other than minor driving around Columbus to buy gas when I was in Phenix City, Alabama, and minor driving near Savannah to avoid traffic on northbound I-95). Looking at the maps, it seems like there just aren't that many great options for avoiding I-95 without going a good distance out of the way, unless I am mistaken about the quality of some of the other roads in the southeastern part of the state.

Anyone have any ideas or comments that might be helpful? I should note that I need to balance the desire to go a different way and see something new with the requirement to arrive in Venice at a reasonable hour on Sunday (recognizing, of course, that traffic or roadwork cannot be controlled and can mess up even the best-laid plans). Thus, using lots of two-lane roads, roads with lots of traffic lights or speedtrap towns, or swinging far to the east via US-17 or the like aren't likely to be viable options unless the travel time would be reasonably comparable to the Interstate.

(For travel within Florida, our second stop is in Fort Myers and our third is in Pembroke Pines, so I'm considering skipping Alligator Alley and using Route 80 to US-27 past Lake Okeechobee. Then from Pembroke Pines up to Viera I'm thinking of going to the Golden Glades and then taking I-95 the entire way to bite off one of the final three segments I have left of that road, that being the part from the Golden Glades to Fort Pierce.)

Thanks in advance!
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froggie

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Re: Routings from DC to FL without using I-95
« Reply #1 on: May 05, 2014, 08:38:04 PM »

Quote
Using I-81, I-40, and I-75 to go around via Chattanooga and Atlanta would be a totally different route,

As I recall, you think I-95 in the Carolinas is bad.  IMO, I-75 in TN and GA is worse.

Quote
Thus, using lots of two-lane roads, roads with lots of traffic lights or speedtrap towns, or swinging far to the east via US-17 or the like aren't likely to be viable options unless the travel time would be reasonably comparable to the Interstate.

I've increasingly found that one see's a lot more taking 2-lane roads than they do sticking to major freeways/highways.  A lot lower stress than major routes like I-95 and I-75, too.

Ultimately, though, if your primary goal is to get into Venice at a reasonable hour, you may have no choice but to spend some time on I-95.
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oscar

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Re: Routings from DC to FL without using I-95
« Reply #2 on: May 06, 2014, 03:55:22 AM »

I'm with Froggie on his preference for non-freeway alternatives to I-95, many of which I've driven on my annual winter road trips to south Florida.  But even with no Wife Acceptance Factor to deal with, I'll usually spend some time on I-95, especially in Georgia and South Carolina, just to keep the travel time within reason, unless I'm out to clinch one of the alternate routes (which I've done with US 1 and US 17, but not US 301). 
« Last Edit: May 06, 2014, 07:50:16 AM by oscar »
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Mapmikey

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Re: Routings from DC to FL without using I-95
« Reply #3 on: May 06, 2014, 07:07:32 AM »

Other routes that have been good for me:

US 1 from Henderson, NC southward to Cheraw, SC then US 52 to I-95.  A little busy in the Wake Forest and Aberdeen areas.  Raleigh can now be bypassed with 540.

US 29 to Greensboro, then US 220 to Rockingham.  Because I live in Fredericksburg I don't have to mess with 29 in Charlotttesville though.  An alternative would be US 360 to Danville (very quiet and wide open) to reach 29.

US 25 through Georgia is excellent.  Also, you could use the Fall Line Expwy from August to Macon (still a gap in the Milledgeville area) which was very nice.

I have driven to Tallahassee several times from Virginia.  I have used US 19 from Atlanta south (which IS all 4-lane despite what Rand McN says).  I have also driven US 221 and US 319 all the way, both of which were definitely slower.  I also have done US 27 all the way through Georgia.  Pretty decent.  Of course, I didn't have to continue down to Venice.

I also did US 441 from Franklin NC to Ocala.  The southern half of this is 2-lane.  But it is pretty quiet for the most part.

I recently drove I-75 from Miami to Ocala (except used I-275 through Tampa area).  Didn't find it to be all that bad.  The couple times I've driven a little of 75 in Georgia I was not a fan.

You might also try taking strategic breaks from I-95:  US 301 from Rocky Mt to Kenly; US 15 from Santee to Pocotaligo; US 17 from Brunswick to FL

You could also leave 95 at US 301 Santee which is 4-lane to the GA line then pick up US 25 in Statesboro.  Orangeburg isn't very bad to drive through...


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1995hoo

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Re: Routings from DC to FL without using I-95
« Reply #4 on: May 06, 2014, 08:44:05 AM »

Thanks, folks. So it sounds like the consensus is that it's probably impractical to try to avoid I-95 entirely if you need to get to your destination in a reasonable amount of time and that the better idea is to choose targeted areas to avoid.

It's not that I think I-95 in the Carolinas is "bad," it's more a case of frustration with the traffic and left-lane hogs combined with being quite bored with a road I've driven so many times. I've used plenty of other routes to skip the Virginia and North Carolina portions, and it's the southern part of the trip (southern South Carolina and Georgia) that posed the real conundrum because I had no sense for what the other roads might be like. There just didn't seem to be great alternatives, and of course in the back of my mind I have the concern about speedtrap towns down south. I'll see how Route 25 looks on the maps.

BTW, I agree that two-lane roads are more interesting (at least when the traffic isn't bad such that you're spending all your time trying to pass slow vehicles), but from a realistic standpoint the idea of doing a substantial part of a 900+ mile drive on two-lane roads while still reaching ones destination reasonably quickly seems like it's not the most viable idea!
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Re: Routings from DC to FL without using I-95
« Reply #5 on: May 06, 2014, 09:13:46 AM »

...being quite bored with a road I've driven so many times.

This!  I enjoy a road trip, but after driving a certain route many times, it's just boring

As far as one of your alternate routes, I have considered routes (but never taken them) that'll take me more west going down to Florida.  If I were to do it though, I would probably want to make a stop or two in the cities I'm going thru.  If it involved Atlanta, I would look into seeing if I could fit a baseball game, tour, or some other type activity.  I-26 would possibly involve a stop in Asheville.  So while it would be a much longer drive, I would purposely extend the drive a day or two to make something of it.

Quote
BTW, I agree that two-lane roads are more interesting (at least when the traffic isn't bad such that you're spending all your time trying to pass slow vehicles), but from a realistic standpoint the idea of doing a substantial part of a 900+ mile drive on two-lane roads while still reaching ones destination reasonably quickly seems like it's not the most viable idea!

2 lane (or non-interstate) routes can be more interesting.  The biggest problem I have though are the constant speed limit changes.  While I'm trying to enjoy the ride and the scenery, it's very hard to do that while making sure I catch every single speed limit sign.  On the highways, the speed limit rarely changes unless you're approaching a construction zone or city, and then it's generally very obvious.
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1995hoo

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Re: Routings from DC to FL without using I-95
« Reply #6 on: May 06, 2014, 09:45:25 AM »

...being quite bored with a road I've driven so many times.

This!  I enjoy a road trip, but after driving a certain route many times, it's just boring

As far as one of your alternate routes, I have considered routes (but never taken them) that'll take me more west going down to Florida.  If I were to do it though, I would probably want to make a stop or two in the cities I'm going thru.  If it involved Atlanta, I would look into seeing if I could fit a baseball game, tour, or some other type activity.  I-26 would possibly involve a stop in Asheville.  So while it would be a much longer drive, I would purposely extend the drive a day or two to make something of it.

This sort of thing has crossed my mind, but I think if we ever do that it will be because we're doing something like a golf trip to Alabama's Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail. When we go to Florida, the primary purpose of the trip is to visit relatives and one friend who used to live up here but relocated, and of the relatives we're visiting, the ones in Fort Myers and Miami both have kids who are not yet in their teens. So my wife quite understandably wants to maximize the time spent visiting them while the kids are still kids, and she's willing to put up with going via a different route as long as it's reasonable. For example, the route via US-29 to Greensboro and then down US-220 (now posted as I-73/74) to Rockingham was fine with her as a peaceful, easy drive, although she wasn't thrilled with the fairly slow (due to low speed limits) segment through Cheraw. It added somewhat over an hour to the overall travel time.

I completely understand why my wife puts that priority on getting down there without too many unnecessary delays (recognizing you can't control traffic or construction). We only see those people twice a year on average, so I have no problem with her position. It just makes it that much more of a challenge for me figuring out how to fit in some exploring en route, and it's why I wind up posting queries here every year asking for thoughts on various routes.

Asheville is a nice place, BTW. I interviewed for a job out there back in 1998 and really liked it (I did not get the job). I've always wanted to go back and visit the area more fully, and we have some friends who live there, but it's just hard to find the time.


....

I recently drove I-75 from Miami to Ocala (except used I-275 through Tampa area).  Didn't find it to be all that bad.  The couple times I've driven a little of 75 in Georgia I was not a fan.

....

Forgot to respond to this part. I've used all of I-75 from its southern end in Miami up to the junction with I-4. It is a pretty good road. My interest in going across to Lake Okeechobee came from (a) never having been that way and never having seen the lake, (b) having used Alligator Alley quite a few times, and (c) not driving as fast as I used to (which makes Alligator Alley less interesting....the first time I drove it, back in 2005, I seldom dipped below 100 mph, whereas on our most recent trip I seldom exceeded 81 mph). I once thought about using the old road, US-41, across the Everglades, but after we visited Shark Valley with our relatives a few years back I don't feel the need to do that because the road was slow and there was nothing much to see. (They were all extremely emphatic that one should NOT use that road at night, I presume due to the chance for wildlife collisions.)

On recent trips we've come south on the Auto Train (this time we're using it on the way home instead*) and we've taken I-4 down to the Tampa area and then I-275 just because it's more interesting. On one of those trips I wanted to stop at a restaurant that had been featured on Man v. Food....bad choice. Oh well. The I-275/I-75 thing in the Tampa area is one of those road combinations that needles me a bit because they will prevent me from clinching the other route since we're only down that way once a year (if we visit for Thanksgiving or Christmas, we go only to my sister-in-law's place in Viera and maybe over to Orlando). That is, if I finish I-275 I'll have a small gap on I-75 and vice versa.

*We determined two years ago that using the Auto Train northbound in the summer is the better option due to the position of the sun. Driving northbound at that time of year, the driver gets the heat of the sun for more of the day and it becomes that much more tiring if it's particularly hot.
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"You know, you never have a guaranteed spot until you have a spot guaranteed."
—Olaf Kolzig, as quoted in the Washington Times on March 28, 2003,
commenting on the Capitals clinching a playoff spot.

"That sounded stupid, didn't it?"—Kolzig, to the same reporter a few seconds later.

1995hoo

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Re: Routings from DC to FL without using I-95
« Reply #7 on: May 06, 2014, 10:43:23 AM »

Following up....

The Fall Line Expressway mapmikey mentions sounds interesting (especially as it would resolve what appears on the maps to be a major gap in cutting southwest to I-75). Most references I can find online call it the "Fall Line Freeway." My impression is that they're using "Freeway" similar to the way West Virginia sometimes uses it, a four-lane divided highway that is not Interstate-grade but is somewhat better than what I might call an "arterial" (a route littered with traffic lights and commercial development but no frontage roads).

Two questions if anyone knows the answer: (1) Is it fair to assume the road is probably comparable in a general sense to the eastern half of Corridor H in terms of a mix of at-grade intersections with some interchanges? (2) What's the prevailing speed limit (recognizing the road isn't done and so there will be variation)? I searched the forum but found some conflicting information on the speed limits, but more importantly the threads I found addressing that issue were several years old and thus not necessarily current.

This looks like it might be the answer to my trying to figure out a different route. Google estimates a bit over two hours from Augusta to Macon via this route, which could be ideal if we can get to Augusta without too many delays. It'd allow stopping overnight somewhere in the Macon area.
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"You know, you never have a guaranteed spot until you have a spot guaranteed."
—Olaf Kolzig, as quoted in the Washington Times on March 28, 2003,
commenting on the Capitals clinching a playoff spot.

"That sounded stupid, didn't it?"—Kolzig, to the same reporter a few seconds later.

Mapmikey

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Re: Routings from DC to FL without using I-95
« Reply #8 on: May 06, 2014, 12:18:25 PM »

I drove the Fall Line in Feb 2013 on my way to Texas.

It follows US 1 from Augusta and I don't believe there were any 65 mph segments.  The GA 88 segment does have 65 mph segments.

They were just getting going on widening the GA 24 portion so this may still be a construction area.  South of Milledgeville the turn to the rest of the Fall Line was marked only with a destination sign for Ivey and Gordon.  Access to I-16 is pretty easy and does not require driving through a ton of downtown Macon.

i also used I-275 specifically to go to a DDD place - Tacobus (US 92 just east of Exit 47) - it was terrific.

Mapmikey
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Re: Routings from DC to FL without using I-95
« Reply #9 on: May 06, 2014, 12:25:54 PM »

Following up....

The Fall Line Expressway mapmikey mentions sounds interesting (especially as it would resolve what appears on the maps to be a major gap in cutting southwest to I-75). Most references I can find online call it the "Fall Line Freeway." My impression is that they're using "Freeway" similar to the way West Virginia sometimes uses it, a four-lane divided highway that is not Interstate-grade but is somewhat better than what I might call an "arterial" (a route littered with traffic lights and commercial development but no frontage roads).

Two questions if anyone knows the answer: (1) Is it fair to assume the road is probably comparable in a general sense to the eastern half of Corridor H in terms of a mix of at-grade intersections with some interchanges? (2) What's the prevailing speed limit (recognizing the road isn't done and so there will be variation)? I searched the forum but found some conflicting information on the speed limits, but more importantly the threads I found addressing that issue were several years old and thus not necessarily current.

This looks like it might be the answer to my trying to figure out a different route. Google estimates a bit over two hours from Augusta to Macon via this route, which could be ideal if we can get to Augusta without too many delays. It'd allow stopping overnight somewhere in the Macon area.

The FLF between Augusta and Macon is almost entirely at-grade; there's only one current interchange (by Fort Gordon). Most of the four lane portion has a 65 mph speed limit; it's 55 west of Milledgeville (at least for now). The biggest slowdown is Milledgeville itself, as the current route goes right through downtown. You should also expect some construction between Sandersville and Milledgeville as the widening project is underway.

From Milledgeville to Macon I'd take Ga 49 or Ga 22 instead unless you just want to see the disconnected part via Gordon; both are probably faster choices.

At both ends you should expect suburban traffic slowdowns.

Hope this helps.


Chris
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Re: Routings from DC to FL without using I-95
« Reply #10 on: May 06, 2014, 04:41:11 PM »

Quote
but from a realistic standpoint the idea of doing a substantial part of a 900+ mile drive on two-lane roads while still reaching ones destination reasonably quickly seems like it's not the most viable idea!

My aunt and I solved this problem by eliminating the "reasonably quickly" requirement.  Taking our time (about 2.7 days) to go from Minneapolis to Vermont was one of the best decisions we made.  The only day with significant freeway mileage was day 2 (Benton Harbor, MI to Niagara Falls)...otherwise, we spent the vast majority of the trip (probably close to 1000 miles) on non-freeway routes.

I realize you may not have this luxury.  But if the opportunity presents itself, I highly suggest doing so.  You'll thank yourself (and your sanity) later.
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Re: Routings from DC to FL without using I-95
« Reply #11 on: May 06, 2014, 04:42:00 PM »

If you're feeling adventurous, you could jump on FL 200 south, stay on US 301 south, deal with Lawtey and Waldo, then meet up with US 27 in Ocala until you decide on FL 80 or I-75 towards Pembroke.

Two major speed traps, and everything south and east of Clewiston can be also tightly patrolled. If you want to see Lake Okeechobee (and not just a huge levee wall), you'll have to pull off somewhere on the eastern shore - this will add to your drive time.

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Re: Routings from DC to FL without using I-95
« Reply #12 on: May 06, 2014, 04:47:34 PM »

For me, it would be I-66, I-81, I-40 and I-75. Or I-66, I-81, I-77, I-85 and I-75, although in both cases you may want to add in I-285 to avoid that awful traffic in downtown Atlanta.
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1995hoo

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Re: Routings from DC to FL without using I-95
« Reply #13 on: May 06, 2014, 05:14:55 PM »

If you're feeling adventurous, you could jump on FL 200 south, stay on US 301 south, deal with Lawtey and Waldo, then meet up with US 27 in Ocala until you decide on FL 80 or I-75 towards Pembroke.

Two major speed traps, and everything south and east of Clewiston can be also tightly patrolled. If you want to see Lake Okeechobee (and not just a huge levee wall), you'll have to pull off somewhere on the eastern shore - this will add to your drive time.

To make sure I am understanding—if I drive along the south shore, we won't see anything? Damn. Didn't realize that (I suppose I could have looked at Google Street View, but I was just assuming the road ran along the lakefront from looking at a map). In that case, I may scrap that routing. Thanks for telling me!
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"You know, you never have a guaranteed spot until you have a spot guaranteed."
—Olaf Kolzig, as quoted in the Washington Times on March 28, 2003,
commenting on the Capitals clinching a playoff spot.

"That sounded stupid, didn't it?"—Kolzig, to the same reporter a few seconds later.

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Re: Routings from DC to FL without using I-95
« Reply #14 on: May 06, 2014, 05:21:14 PM »

For me, it would be I-66, I-81, I-40 and I-75. Or I-66, I-81, I-77, I-85 and I-75, although in both cases you may want to add in I-285 to avoid that awful traffic in downtown Atlanta.

With all its truck traffic, and uphill stretches where you can get stuck waiting for one slow truck to pass another, I-81 in Virginia is not much improvement if any over I-95.  Also, for 1995hoo (but not me), that means traveling north a few miles to get to I-66, before turning south toward Florida on I-81.
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Re: Routings from DC to FL without using I-95
« Reply #15 on: May 06, 2014, 05:45:29 PM »

Hoo:  if you REALLY want an out-of-the-norm routing, and you decide to take US 29, try this:  from Woodbridge, take Minnieville Rd (SR 640?) southwest to 234, then old 234 to Aden Rd (SR 646) to Carriage Ford Rd (SR 607?) to Warrenton Rd/SR 606 (caution:  gravel in Prince William) to VA 28.
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1995hoo

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Re: Routings from DC to FL without using I-95
« Reply #16 on: May 06, 2014, 05:47:12 PM »

For me, it would be I-66, I-81, I-40 and I-75. Or I-66, I-81, I-77, I-85 and I-75, although in both cases you may want to add in I-285 to avoid that awful traffic in downtown Atlanta.

With all its truck traffic, and uphill stretches where you can get stuck waiting for one slow truck to pass another, I-81 in Virginia is not much improvement if any over I-95.  Also, for 1995hoo (but not me), that means traveling north a few miles to get to I-66, before turning south toward Florida on I-81.

That part's not really a big deal. It's only 11 miles from our exit on the Beltway to I-66, and if we take US-29 I usually go that way anyway rather than taking the Fairfax County Parkway. (While I could go south to Fredericksburg, I prefer to avoid the lengthy HO/T lane work zone and its lane closures.) But yeah, the truck traffic makes I-81 frustrating. Lots of people who might otherwise drive in the right lane move left on there. It's been a few years since I've been south of Harrisonburg on there, but I seem to recall the portion south of the northern end of the I-64 concurrency is less frustrating than the portion from I-66 to I-64, perhaps because there are occasional climbing lanes as you get further south. So it'd be feasible to go to Charlottesville and then hop across there. But I'm not really sure going I-81 to I-77 is all that much faster than just taking Route 29 all the way to Greensboro and picking up I-85 there. You do have a higher speed limit on the Interstate for much of the trip, but it's a longer distance and there's more traffic (which means more chances for delays due to a wreck or the like).

I think if I were to do I-81 my main interest would be in going down to Tennessee and then turning off to take I-26 south for the scenic reasons mentioned before.

Funny thing....last Friday when we were coming back from Richmond International Raceway, I-95 was almost pleasant. Traffic only dipped below 65 mph one time (the usual spot at Exit 130 for VA-3). The thing about I-95 versus I-81 is that I-95 at least has more lanes between the Beltway and Richmond, whereas I-81 is predominantly two lanes per side. That means on I-95 you stand a better chance of eventually breaking loose from whatever clump of traffic has you trapped. Often on I-81 it's very difficult to do that.
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Re: Routings from DC to FL without using I-95
« Reply #17 on: May 06, 2014, 05:47:33 PM »

Would US 301 work?
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Re: Routings from DC to FL without using I-95
« Reply #18 on: May 06, 2014, 05:50:14 PM »

Hoo:  if you REALLY want an out-of-the-norm routing, and you decide to take US 29, try this:  from Woodbridge, take Minnieville Rd (SR 640?) southwest to 234, then old 234 to Aden Rd (SR 646) to Carriage Ford Rd (SR 607?) to Warrenton Rd/SR 606 (caution:  gravel in Prince William) to VA 28.

Hmm, thanks. I know several of those roads, though I've never used Aden Road. Funny thing, I work with a guy who lives off there, though I have never been to his house.
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"You know, you never have a guaranteed spot until you have a spot guaranteed."
—Olaf Kolzig, as quoted in the Washington Times on March 28, 2003,
commenting on the Capitals clinching a playoff spot.

"That sounded stupid, didn't it?"—Kolzig, to the same reporter a few seconds later.

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Routings from DC to FL without using I-95
« Reply #19 on: May 06, 2014, 05:56:47 PM »

If you're feeling adventurous, you could jump on FL 200 south, stay on US 301 south, deal with Lawtey and Waldo, then meet up with US 27 in Ocala until you decide on FL 80 or I-75 towards Pembroke.

Two major speed traps, and everything south and east of Clewiston can be also tightly patrolled. If you want to see Lake Okeechobee (and not just a huge levee wall), you'll have to pull off somewhere on the eastern shore - this will add to your drive time.

To make sure I am understanding—if I drive along the south shore, we won't see anything? Damn. Didn't realize that (I suppose I could have looked at Google Street View, but I was just assuming the road ran along the lakefront from looking at a map). In that case, I may scrap that routing. Thanks for telling me!

There's a handful of places where you can approach the lake, climb the grassy levee, and have a look...but it's not especially scenic. There's boat ramps in Moore Haven and Clewiston, but between them there's no view of the lake, because it's either surrounded by grassy floodplains and/or bordered by circumferential canals.

In that case, you want to see the eastern shores, you wouldn't be horribly inconvenienced by splitting off US 27 at US 98, and taking that route basically to I-95 in Palm Beach. The itty-bitty town of Canal Point has one of the best views of the lake, in my opinion.

On the other hand, it's essentially two lane roads from Sebring - Okeechobee - Canal Point - FL 80.
« Last Edit: May 06, 2014, 06:03:24 PM by formulanone »
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Re: Routings from DC to FL without using I-95
« Reply #20 on: May 06, 2014, 06:06:12 PM »

Thanks. If it's not scenic, I probably won't bother. Not much point other than driving some new roads. We previously used a portion of FL-80 back in November 2005 driving from Viera to Fort Myers and I recall it not being all that interesting, so I'd imagine the eastern segment and the portion of US-27 from the lake down to Weston probably isn't anything special either. Guess for that part I'll see then what time it is and what we feel like doing and make a decision based on that. (To make clear: Our second stop in Florida is in Fort Myers for three days at the end of the first week and then we head to the Miami area for four days. So we won't be passing near Sebring or the like. I was considering using Route 80 past the lake just for something new that sounded like it might be more scenic than Alligator Alley, but from the comments here it sounds like nothing special so I may just opt for the fast route.)
« Last Edit: May 06, 2014, 06:08:26 PM by 1995hoo »
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"You know, you never have a guaranteed spot until you have a spot guaranteed."
—Olaf Kolzig, as quoted in the Washington Times on March 28, 2003,
commenting on the Capitals clinching a playoff spot.

"That sounded stupid, didn't it?"—Kolzig, to the same reporter a few seconds later.

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Re: Routings from DC to FL without using I-95
« Reply #21 on: June 07, 2014, 09:36:36 PM »

Thanks again for the advice in this thread. We are in Macon for the night. Took US-29 from I-66 to Greensboro, I-85 to Charlotte, I-77 to Columbia, I-20 to Augusta, I-520 west of town, US-1 to the Fall Line Expressway across to Milledgville, and then GA-49 down to Macon. Five stops total—breakfast, lunch, gas, and two toilet stops. Final 243 miles nonstop.

Great route. We left home at 7:15 AM and pulled into the Hampton Inn here at 7:16 PM (thankful for satellite radio coverage of the Belmont!). The Fall Line Expressway was a GREAT suggestion. It was even more deserted than Corridors D and H—so empty that I didn't feel too guilty for operating the iPhone web browser while driving to find the XM broadcast of the Belmont. (I will note I gave my phone to my wife and asked her to do it but she failed to do so.) This was a wonderful road, and even the two-lane portions where it's not done were still quite fast. I highly recommend this road as a route between Columbia/Augusta and Macon.

453 miles to go tomorrow, straight shot down I-75 to Venice except we will probably take I-275 over the Sunshine Skyway for a scenic detour.
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"You know, you never have a guaranteed spot until you have a spot guaranteed."
—Olaf Kolzig, as quoted in the Washington Times on March 28, 2003,
commenting on the Capitals clinching a playoff spot.

"That sounded stupid, didn't it?"—Kolzig, to the same reporter a few seconds later.

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Re: Routings from DC to FL without using I-95
« Reply #22 on: June 08, 2014, 08:32:57 PM »

I'll be interested to hear how that drive on I-275 went, with the work near downtown.

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Re: Routings from DC to FL without using I-95
« Reply #23 on: June 09, 2014, 08:52:36 AM »


I'll be interested to hear how that drive on I-275 went, with the work near downtown.

We didn't know about the work, but it wasn't a problem—a three-car accident was. It wasn't too bad, though, only delayed things for maybe ten minutes of stop-and-roll traffic where you use the clutch more than the accelerator.

I did note I-75 appeared to be under construction south of the I-275 split as well.

So I've now almost clinched I-75 in Florida except the segment from the north end of I-275 to I-4. Prior to yesterday I hadn't clinched I-275 either, so it was one or the other. The Sunshine Skyway is just a nice scenic respite and we like going that way. 

Damnedest thing on I-75 just south of I-10. On the other side of the highway we saw two cops within 100 feet of each other with people pulled over. Went around a curve and there were at least a dozen cop cars sitting in the median targeting northbound drivers with radar. Never seen so many cops in one place like that. (Georgia's part of I-75 was crawling with cops too, but never in groups.)
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"You know, you never have a guaranteed spot until you have a spot guaranteed."
—Olaf Kolzig, as quoted in the Washington Times on March 28, 2003,
commenting on the Capitals clinching a playoff spot.

"That sounded stupid, didn't it?"—Kolzig, to the same reporter a few seconds later.

1995hoo

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Re: Routings from DC to FL without using I-95
« Reply #24 on: June 22, 2014, 12:44:51 PM »

Got home this morning via the Auto Train, which arrived two hours early such that we pulled into our driveway about five minutes before the train was originally scheduled to arrive. Thanks again for the various comments and suggestions. Total driving distance was 2,027.8 miles from June 7 to this morning. As noted above, for the trip down we went via Georgia. Per the suggestions above and comments from one of our relatives in Fort Myers, I chose not to go past Lake Okeechobee and instead just opted for I-75 even though we'd been that way before. Took a different route into Weston and was pleased to find multiple roundabouts, though with an odd design where a four-lane road (Bonaventure Boulevard) narrowed to a single lane per side in advance of each roundabout and then widened again on the far side. Unless it's a space issue, I don't see why they wouldn't just build two-lane roundabouts.

This past Wednesday we rode with my brother-in-law and his kids to somewhere north of Miami and he took I-595 to the Turnpike both ways, except on the way home he was cruising in the left lane and, at my suggestion, he took the new reversible I-595 Express Lanes. They struck me as potentially similar to what Virginia will have on I-95 except that Virginia's will be more complex and Florida's have wider shoulders and a higher speed limit (70 mph; Virginia's will likely stay at 65). Toll was only 50˘ from the Turnpike to I-75. My brother-in-law works near FLL Airport and this was the first time he'd used the Express Lanes. He commented that there hasn't been much reason for him to use them because in his opinion enough people are using them that the traffic in the local lanes hasn't been bad. This trip was the first time I'd been on I-595 at all, so I have no comment.

Thursday I wanted to knock off my last segment of I-95 in Florida, so leaving Weston I drove down to the Golden Glades Interchange and then took I-95 all the way to Exit 195 (Fiske Boulevard, closest exit to my sister-in-law's house). I'm glad I drove that all....once. The urban portion of I-95 was an unpleasant enough drive that I'll opt for the Turnpike in the future, although once we were up to Jupiter and beyond I-95 was a pleasant road until we reached Fort Pierce (at which point widening work became a nuisance). The segment west of the Turnpike in the Port St. Lucie area had almost a park-like feel to it.

So next trip south (this coming Christmas) I may really be at a loss for a new route unless we just go with non-Interstates through the Carolinas. We liked the Fall Line Expressway route enough that we might just go that way again, though, which would permit me to check off some of the northern portions of Florida's Turnpike. I kind of doubt I'll ever find an excuse to use the segment between, say, St. Cloud (US-192) and Fort Pierce. (It's not terribly far out of the way to use US-192 east to Melbourne and then go north to Viera instead of using the Bee Line.)

Might have some road pictures and videos sometime later after I sort through them (but a grocery run and the US soccer game are more important). My wife actually tried to take some road pictures of things that interested her, but she doesn't do all that well at it because she tries to compose the picture like she would if we were standing still. That doesn't work too well at 75 mph!
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"You know, you never have a guaranteed spot until you have a spot guaranteed."
—Olaf Kolzig, as quoted in the Washington Times on March 28, 2003,
commenting on the Capitals clinching a playoff spot.

"That sounded stupid, didn't it?"—Kolzig, to the same reporter a few seconds later.

 


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