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Author Topic: Roadtrip Question - Northern NJ  (Read 8003 times)

deathtopumpkins

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Roadtrip Question - Northern NJ
« on: May 24, 2011, 06:03:10 PM »

So I'm moving from Hampton Roads to Boston at the end of July, and my mother will be driving a Budget moving truck while I drive my car. She has requested a route that does NOT involve taking 95 through NYC because she's worried about driving that truck in traffic (particularly about getting separated from me), so our original plan was to take the NJTP to the GSP to 287 across the Tappan Zee and back to 95, but I just did some research and discovered that the truck is above the gross vehicle weight limit for the GSP, so that's not an option. My next idea was to take the NJTP to 287 all the way around New York, but my mother also requested no mountainous routes and (even though she's never driven it herself) doesn't believe me that 287 doesn't have any particularly bad grades.

So does anyone have either any confirmation about the grades on 287 or any alternate route suggestions?

The truck GVW is 8600 lb., and we would like to avoid tolls (though I think they're still the same rate as for cars) and also still be able to drive the entire distance in one day. Some roadgeeking wouldn't hurt though.  ;-)

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Re: Roadtrip Question - Northern NJ
« Reply #1 on: May 24, 2011, 06:15:06 PM »

If you want to avoid tolls, you have to go via Albany.
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deathtopumpkins

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Re: Roadtrip Question - Northern NJ
« Reply #2 on: May 24, 2011, 06:19:26 PM »

Like I said, the tolls aren't the main concern - while I would like to avoid them I'm not going to go far out of my way to do so. The main concern is just finding a good route we can take the truck on.

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Re: Roadtrip Question - Northern NJ
« Reply #3 on: May 24, 2011, 06:27:59 PM »

287 has a couple of areas with climbing lanes, i.e. north of Exit 22 and again around Exit 53 or so (trying to recite from memory), but I would not call the route mountainous.
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Re: Roadtrip Question - Northern NJ
« Reply #4 on: May 24, 2011, 06:39:33 PM »

287 has a couple of areas with climbing lanes, i.e. north of Exit 22 and again around Exit 53 or so (trying to recite from memory), but I would not call the route mountainous.

22 is barely much. Only 53 is really a large upgrade since you run right along Ringwood State Park and such.
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Re: Roadtrip Question - Northern NJ
« Reply #5 on: May 24, 2011, 06:43:00 PM »

You could go east on I-80, north on NJ 17 to avoid that.
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Duke87

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Re: Roadtrip Question - Northern NJ
« Reply #6 on: May 24, 2011, 08:15:51 PM »

Or west on 80 from the turnpike to 17. Probably better than taking 287 all the way around the horn even without the terrain concern.

Here's the thing, though: from here there's no good way to avoid both traffic and mountains. It's one or the other. 95 or 84 through Connecticut potentially put you in traffic. Taking 87 to 90 gives you both mountains and extra toll (and is probably not the best way to go, it's longer).

Google has this thing now where they recommend that you take 691 to 91 to 15 back to 84 rather than just staying on 84. Curious, but... probably not a bad idea. That it might shave off 3 minutes is neither here nor there, but it does take you around the traffic on 84 in Hartford.
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deathtopumpkins

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Re: Roadtrip Question - Northern NJ
« Reply #7 on: May 24, 2011, 08:23:46 PM »

I think the plan for now is to take 287 all the way. It appears you guys are backing me up on assuming 287's not too mountainous.

And Duke, I'm planning on taking 287 all the way back to 95 and taking that through CT and RI into MA. While normally I take 84 to 90, I worry about the grades on 684, 84 and 90 and the state of 84 through Waterbury.

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Re: Roadtrip Question - Northern NJ
« Reply #8 on: May 24, 2011, 08:26:52 PM »

If I were you, once you get to Baltimore I'd take I-695 north/west around to I-83, I-81, I-84 and head east from there. I-287 grades do get a little grody after Exit 47, I ought to know as I live at Exit 40. This way also saves you the Baltimore Harbor tolls, the Susquehanna River toll, the MD/DE border toll, and any length of the Turnpike. It's longer on paper, but may end up being your best bet for your needs.
I think the plan for now is to take 287 all the way. It appears you guys are backing me up on assuming 287's not too mountainous.

And Duke, I'm planning on taking 287 all the way back to 95 and taking that through CT and RI into MA. While normally I take 84 to 90, I worry about the grades on 684, 84 and 90 and the state of 84 through Waterbury.
287 is worse than anything you get on 84. And by "worse", it's not all that terrible. I wouldn't sit on I-95 through CT if I could help it - you WILL get separated. Not that I-84 is much better, but there are some longer stretches between towns/without exits to play catch-up.
« Last Edit: May 24, 2011, 08:28:24 PM by Steve »
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deathtopumpkins

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Re: Roadtrip Question - Northern NJ
« Reply #9 on: May 24, 2011, 08:51:28 PM »

If I were you, once you get to Baltimore I'd take I-695 north/west around to I-83, I-81, I-84 and head east from there. I-287 grades do get a little grody after Exit 47, I ought to know as I live at Exit 40. This way also saves you the Baltimore Harbor tolls, the Susquehanna River toll, the MD/DE border toll, and any length of the Turnpike. It's longer on paper, but may end up being your best bet for your needs.
I think the plan for now is to take 287 all the way. It appears you guys are backing me up on assuming 287's not too mountainous.

And Duke, I'm planning on taking 287 all the way back to 95 and taking that through CT and RI into MA. While normally I take 84 to 90, I worry about the grades on 684, 84 and 90 and the state of 84 through Waterbury.
287 is worse than anything you get on 84. And by "worse", it's not all that terrible. I wouldn't sit on I-95 through CT if I could help it - you WILL get separated. Not that I-84 is much better, but there are some longer stretches between towns/without exits to play catch-up.

Was planning on taking the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel and going up the Eastern Shore to avoid the Maryland mess.

And I considered 695 to 83 to 81 to 84 instead, but that's just a tad too far out of the way distance-wise, and I thought that 81 and 84 looked kinda hairy grade-wise. Plus my mother wants to stay on roads that we're familiar with for as long as possible. She's really being difficult to please, as she also wants to get there as fast as possible and even said 287 looked "really far out-of-the-way". I'll be driving up there and back in late June, so I think I'll try and scope out routes then.

Thanks for the advice, guys.

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Re: Roadtrip Question - Northern NJ
« Reply #10 on: May 24, 2011, 11:02:03 PM »

Well there's one other option: I-278 through Staten Island and NYC. It'll have traffic, but it's not 95. (Until you get to 95, but then you're past the worst of it.)

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Re: Roadtrip Question - Northern NJ
« Reply #11 on: May 24, 2011, 11:11:08 PM »

I've always thought 278 to be worse than 95. 

the one advantage of it is that you can get some great views of the NYC skyline.  in fact, you can stop at night, set up a tripod, and take a long exposure photo - all in your lane of travel without the hassle of moving traffic!
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Re: Roadtrip Question - Northern NJ
« Reply #12 on: May 24, 2011, 11:59:29 PM »

And I considered 695 to 83 to 81 to 84 instead, but that's just a tad too far out of the way distance-wise, and I thought that 81 and 84 looked kinda hairy grade-wise. Plus my mother wants to stay on roads that we're familiar with for as long as possible. She's really being difficult to please, as she also wants to get there as fast as possible and even said 287 looked "really far out-of-the-way". I'll be driving up there and back in late June, so I think I'll try and scope out routes then.

Thanks for the advice, guys.

Well, US 11-15 north from Harrisburg then US 15 to I-80 East to I-81 avoids some of the grades.  US 11 north from Sunbury to Kingston/Wilkes-Barre is low grade but you go through many boroughs along the way.  Also, before being banned, semis went up 209 from Delaware Water Gap to I-84.  A moving van might slide under the radar.

But, it seems a moot point anyway given your mother's preferences.
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Re: Roadtrip Question - Northern NJ
« Reply #13 on: May 25, 2011, 07:27:12 AM »

Quote
Was planning on taking the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel and going up the Eastern Shore to avoid the Maryland mess.

Aren't you on the Peninsula?  Might be better just sticking with 64 to 95, even with the traffic.  Based on my own Norfolk-Syracuse runs from my Norfolk days, the tipping point is near Hampton Coliseum.

Quote
And I considered 695 to 83 to 81 to 84 instead, but that's just a tad too far out of the way distance-wise,

I usually do this sort of thing when I head north to Vermont (given the Philly area and the NJ Turnpike tendencies), but I take a York-Lancaster-Reading-Allentown route instead of going through Harrisburg.  Not quite as hilly as 81, and except for 222 on either side of Kutztown, not nearly as hairy as 83 through Harrisburg.  You could easily pick up 78 to 287 with such a routing.
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deathtopumpkins

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Re: Roadtrip Question - Northern NJ
« Reply #14 on: May 25, 2011, 04:54:53 PM »

Well, US 11-15 north from Harrisburg then US 15 to I-80 East to I-81 avoids some of the grades.  US 11 north from Sunbury to Kingston/Wilkes-Barre is low grade but you go through many boroughs along the way.  Also, before being banned, semis went up 209 from Delaware Water Gap to I-84.  A moving van might slide under the radar.

But, it seems a moot point anyway given your mother's preferences.

Yeah, thanks for the suggestions but any routes taking the truck on would be questionable are not an option, like you said.

Aren't you on the Peninsula?  Might be better just sticking with 64 to 95, even with the traffic.  Based on my own Norfolk-Syracuse runs from my Norfolk days, the tipping point is near Hampton Coliseum.

I am on the Peninsula, yes, but I'm east of the Coliseum. Heading towards the Southside I get on 64 at Settlers Landing, only a mile or so from the HRBT. However, if I end up following your suggestion below, I will probably take 17 to 301 to 97 to 695 rather than 95.

Quote
I usually do this sort of thing when I head north to Vermont (given the Philly area and the NJ Turnpike tendencies), but I take a York-Lancaster-Reading-Allentown route instead of going through Harrisburg.  Not quite as hilly as 81, and except for 222 on either side of Kutztown, not nearly as hairy as 83 through Harrisburg.  You could easily pick up 78 to 287 with such a routing.

Just followed this route on Google Maps and a paper atlas and this actually sounds like a really good idea. I think I might try and go 695-83-30-222-78-287. Would stick almost entirely to freeways, not go through any mountains, and give me a lot of new road mileage and counties to clinch. The only thing I worry about is 78 near the PA-NJ line. I spot some significant grades on Google Maps.
Excellent suggestion froggie.
« Last Edit: May 25, 2011, 04:57:22 PM by deathtopumpkins »
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Re: Roadtrip Question - Northern NJ
« Reply #15 on: May 25, 2011, 07:23:00 PM »

78 east of Allentown has hills but they're not all that terrible. Well-engineered road. I go 83-30-222-78 myself instead of 83-81-78 to get home, just wasn't sure how your mom would feel about some stop lights on 222. Also, don't take 222 on a summer weekend.

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Re: Roadtrip Question - Northern NJ
« Reply #16 on: May 25, 2011, 07:49:28 PM »

Even on summer weekends, 222 isn't bad.  The worst bottleneck is the signal at PA 73, but the longest I've been stuck in the backup there is 15-20min.  Heading north, there's a fairly easy workaround to avoid that light, but not sure how your mother would feel about it in a U-haul.
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Re: Roadtrip Question - Northern NJ
« Reply #17 on: May 25, 2011, 07:52:25 PM »

The 83-30-222-78 route is definitely a good one.

As for north of New York City, don't worry about grades on 684-84-90, there are none. Traffic in Waterbury may get stuffy but 95 has the same problem.

If you are going to do 95, though, don't take it all the way. It's a lousy approach to Boston. Take 91 to 84 to 90. Especially if where you're going is west of downtown.
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deathtopumpkins

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Re: Roadtrip Question - Northern NJ
« Reply #18 on: May 26, 2011, 11:01:38 AM »

78 east of Allentown has hills but they're not all that terrible. Well-engineered road. I go 83-30-222-78 myself instead of 83-81-78 to get home, just wasn't sure how your mom would feel about some stop lights on 222. Also, don't take 222 on a summer weekend.

A few stop lights are perfectly acceptable. In fact they provide a great opportunity to catch up.

As for taking it on a summer weekend... I'll be scoping out the route June 26 or so, and then doing the drive with the truck on July 31. Both of which are Sundays. Would 222 be bad on a Sunday in July?

The 83-30-222-78 route is definitely a good one.

As for north of New York City, don't worry about grades on 684-84-90, there are none. Traffic in Waterbury may get stuffy but 95 has the same problem.

If you are going to do 95, though, don't take it all the way. It's a lousy approach to Boston. Take 91 to 84 to 90. Especially if where you're going is west of downtown.

See that's the route I'm actually most familiar with, 684-84-90, and I certainly do not look forward to 84 through Waterbury and Hartford. That's exactly the kind of city driving my mother wants to avoid.
Plus 95 sounds like a better option due to not having to pay the MassPike toll (plus the approach into Boston is ALWAYS backed up on the Pike). And where we are going will probably be in the suburbs, most likely somewhere along 128.
« Last Edit: May 26, 2011, 11:06:33 AM by deathtopumpkins »
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Re: Roadtrip Question - Northern NJ
« Reply #19 on: May 26, 2011, 11:06:20 AM »

78 east of Allentown has hills but they're not all that terrible. Well-engineered road. I go 83-30-222-78 myself instead of 83-81-78 to get home, just wasn't sure how your mom would feel about some stop lights on 222. Also, don't take 222 on a summer weekend.

A few stop lights are perfectly acceptable. In fact they provide a great opportunity to catch up.

As for taking it on a summer weekend... I'll be scoping out the route June 26 or so, and then doing the drive with the truck on July 31. Both of which are Sundays. Would 222 be bad on a Sunday in July?

On the 3d and 10th, don't get anywhere near it:  http://www.kutztownfestival.com/
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deathtopumpkins

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Re: Roadtrip Question - Northern NJ
« Reply #20 on: May 26, 2011, 11:08:13 AM »

On the 3d and 10th, don't get anywhere near it:  http://www.kutztownfestival.com/

Well that's not a concern then.

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Re: Roadtrip Question - Northern NJ
« Reply #21 on: May 26, 2011, 03:57:48 PM »

You can avoid Kutztown from US-222 by taking PA-61 north to I-78 if you are so inclined. It's slightly out of the way but not terrible and there are a fair number of lunch possibilities along there depending on the time of day.
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Re: Roadtrip Question - Northern NJ
« Reply #22 on: May 26, 2011, 04:18:57 PM »

You can avoid Kutztown from US-222 by taking PA-61 north to I-78 if you are so inclined. It's slightly out of the way but not terrible and there are a fair number of lunch possibilities along there depending on the time of day.

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« Last Edit: May 26, 2011, 04:20:34 PM by Michael in Philly »
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