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Author Topic: Bouncing a roadtrip off the west coast  (Read 12821 times)

1995hoo

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Re: Bouncing a roadtrip off the west coast
« Reply #25 on: May 17, 2012, 01:55:23 PM »

Regarding the Florida leg, I'd concur that the trip around I-275 through Tampa/St. Petersburg over the Sunshine Skyway is worthwhile and is a lot more interesting than staying on I-75 (unless you have a compelling reason like a clinch). I may go that way again next time I'm in the area just because I'm not satisfied with the pictures I took of the bridge the last time we went that way.

My relatives in Fort Myers and Miami have said that US-41 isn't worth the time, and my brother-in-law's wife feels it's not safe at night. With that said, last June we used a part of that road last summer to go from my brother-in-law's house (Pines Boulevard area in Pembroke Pines) to Shark Valley and I didn't think the construction mentioned above was much of an issue. It's possible the project has evolved since then, but he was driving and he was hauling along at 75+ mph at times. I will concur that there didn't seem to be a lot to see along the way if your goal is simply going from one place to another. I think I had a mental impression of the Everglades as being more like a bayou, which it definitely is not. But if you want to make some stops to see alligators or other wildlife, US-41 is much better than the Interstate. The Shark Valley tram tour was an interesting diversion and our (then-)8-year-old nephew loved seeing the alligators close up. Incidentally, whichever road you take (US-41 or I-75), if you're low on gas as you approach the Naples area, fill up then. I don't know if there's a station anywhere along US-41, but my brother-in-law realized he was low and turned around and went back to a station on Krome Avenue rather than risk driving out to Shark Valley with it reading low. I-75 has that gas station run by the Indians halfway across and everyone says it's expensive.

Disney World is not a realistic day trip from Miami unless you get up super-duper early and come back super-duper late; even then, you wouldn't be doing it justice. I mean, you could do it, but I don't think it would be a particularly worthwhile way to do it. The thing is, Disney is a huge resort. Don't think of "Disney World" as one amusement park, because it's not. The Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, the Animal Kingdom, and the others are all SEPARATE theme parks within the overall Disney World resort (which itself includes other things like golf courses and a motor-racing circuit). Two days there would allow you to see the Magic Kingdom and most of (but not likely all of) EPCOT, and the amount of walking at EPCOT in particular can be draining, making the drive back to Miami seem quite long. If you want a day trip from Miami, the Keys are far more realistic, even if you don't make it all the way down to Key West.

Another roadgeek possibility in Florida (again if you're not working on an I-95 clinch) is to take I-295/FL-9A around the east side of Jacksonville. You get to go over an interesting cable-stayed bridge, the Dames Point Bridge. People on this forum suggested it to me prior to my last trip south last December and I was glad they did. Even my wife liked the change of pace from I-95 (recognizing we had stopped for the night near the Jacksonville Airport, so we went over it first thing in the morning instead of at the tail end of a 700-mile day). I think on our next trip that way in June I'll go straight through Jacksonville to check off about a five-mile segment of I-95 I've somehow missed, but if you're not looking for a clinch and you don't plan to stop in Jacksonville, the eastern beltway is a nice detour after what you may well find to be a seemingly endless slog up from Miami.


On Day 15, be careful around Ridgeland, South Carolina. They've taken down their illegal speed camera but they're still a notorious speedtrap town for their roughly 7 miles of I-95. I went through there on a Saturday last July and they had six patrol cars on the shoulders pulling over drivers identified by a cop standing on a bridge with a radar gun and a handheld radio. The speed limit there is 70 mph and I think it's probably sensible just to slow down to between 65 and 70. I've noticed when I go through there that most people with South Carolina plates, and most truck drivers, all slow down and many move to the right lane to let the out-of-state suckers go flying past.

On Day 16, my brother says that Garrett County, Maryland (the first one after you cross over from West Virginia on I-68) is a notorious speedtrap. I've never seen a cop on there, but he says he's seen people who have been pulled over and the cops go overboard searching their cars and the like. I suspect the issue there is that my brother likes to travel to concerts and music festivals, usually Grateful Dead–related, and so I don't doubt that he's on that road on weekends when concert-goers are passing through and the cops all know this too.
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Duke87

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Re: Bouncing a roadtrip off the west coast
« Reply #26 on: May 17, 2012, 07:51:31 PM »

I'd agree about the Sunshine Skyway, if not for that I've already been on it along with most of I-275.

As for Disney, I'm aware of the scale of it (I've been there before), it's more just an excuse to make the drive from West Palm Beach. I see it as about 3 hours each way. Perfectly doable.
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1995hoo

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Re: Bouncing a roadtrip off the west coast
« Reply #27 on: May 18, 2012, 09:17:23 AM »

I'd agree about the Sunshine Skyway, if not for that I've already been on it along with most of I-275.

....

I'd probably go that way anyway just because it's more interesting (again, unless I were working on a clinch, or maybe if I had some objection to tolls).
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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.

cpzilliacus

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Re: Bouncing a roadtrip off the west coast
« Reply #28 on: May 18, 2012, 01:55:37 PM »

On Day 16, my brother says that Garrett County, Maryland (the first one after you cross over from West Virginia on I-68) is a notorious speedtrap. I've never seen a cop on there, but he says he's seen people who have been pulled over and the cops go overboard searching their cars and the like. I suspect the issue there is that my brother likes to travel to concerts and music festivals, usually Grateful Dead–related, and so I don't doubt that he's on that road on weekends when concert-goers are passing through and the cops all know this too.

I have never had any problem with the police (the only two are the  Maryland State Police and the Garrett County Sheriff's Office) in that part of the world. 

Further east, I have seen Cumberland's municipal police doing speed enforcement on I-68, but that's probably justified for reasons of safety (at least in Maryland, all fine revenues from moving violations go to the state regardless of which agency issued the ticket). 

A few times, I have seen deputies from the Allegany County doing speed enforcement on I-68 east of Cumberland, but not enough to give the impression that it's a Hopewell, Va.-style speed trap.
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Re: Bouncing a roadtrip off the west coast
« Reply #29 on: May 21, 2012, 12:52:46 AM »

I remember a trip to Washington DC in the early 1980s, before the freeway was finished between Cumberland and Hancock and long-predating I-68.

Maryland state cops were thick along US 48, US 40 and I-70. They had the "open the door and stick the radar gun out the rolled-down window with a fleet of cars ready to stop speeders" type of enforcement going in several places.
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cpzilliacus

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Re: Bouncing a roadtrip off the west coast
« Reply #30 on: May 22, 2012, 06:20:10 PM »

I remember a trip to Washington DC in the early 1980s, before the freeway was finished between Cumberland and Hancock and long-predating I-68.

Maryland state cops were thick along US 48, US 40 and I-70. They had the "open the door and stick the radar gun out the rolled-down window with a fleet of cars ready to stop speeders" type of enforcement going in several places.

Especially back in the days of the NMSL, the Maryland State Police used to enforce the 55 MPH limit on many of our freeways that were very obviously designed for much higher speeds - what you describe was once quite common, especially on weekends and holidays. 

But many (not all, but many) of the freeways had the limits raised to the (new) state statutory maximum of (only) 65 MPH after the NMSL was repealed, and that type of enforcement has simply gone away - I have not seen it myself in years, even on freeways (like the Capital Beltway) where the limit remains (a totally ignored) 55 MPH. 

I have been told that such speed enforcement is sometimes done on U.S. 50 between the Bay Bridge and Ocean City on summer weekends (most of 50 is rural 4-lane divided arterial with a posted 55 MPH limit, only short segments have full access control).   I suspect that the intent with such enforcement is as much about identifying and arresting drunk and drugged drivers going to and from the beach as it is about speed limit enforcement - there are a few short sections where the posted limit is less than 55, and those sections are very prominently signed as such in advance and while driving through them.
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Mr_Northside

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Re: Bouncing a roadtrip off the west coast
« Reply #31 on: May 23, 2012, 01:26:12 PM »

I have been told that such speed enforcement is sometimes done on U.S. 50 between the Bay Bridge and Ocean City on summer weekends

I can vouch for that.  On US 50 in between Salisbury & MD-90 they pulled over 4 vehicles (including my cousins & I), all from out-of-state.  They (the troopers) were actually ahead of all of the cars waiting, pointing to get off to the side of the road, and at first we thought there was a problem with the highway... then we got the ticket. 
I think it was more of a money grab than looking for impaired drivers.
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Re: Bouncing a roadtrip off the west coast
« Reply #32 on: May 23, 2012, 02:03:58 PM »

I think it was more of a money grab than looking for impaired drivers.

99.9% of speeding tickets are a money grab.
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