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Author Topic: Portsmouth, VA to Montreal, QC  (Read 4601 times)

maplestar

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Portsmouth, VA to Montreal, QC
« on: July 08, 2013, 12:56:53 PM »

Planning a trip to visit family in the Ottawa area later in the week, but this time we've mixed it up by planning for a couple of things in Montreal first. So the first day's driving is Virginia to Montreal.

The start of the route is familiar from our usual trips home. Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel, continue on US 13, then US 113 to DE 1. Then, a route we've done once before: Cut over on US 13 to I-295 to the Delaware Memorial Bridge on the NJ Turnpike. Google stays on there until it does I-80 to NJ 17 to I-287 to I-87 (assuming I can believe Google's route shields).

Are there any better options to consider for getting from the Turnpike to the Thruway? In terms of traffic aggravation and time. (Google has the trip at right about 12 hours. From past experience, that's about our limit for a day's drive...so I don't want to add to it (either by driving out of our way or by sitting in traffic).

Because of the desire to see something new (as well as the fact that it's listed at 40 min longer), we've mostly ruled out the I-476 to I-81 to ON-401 option. Especially since we'll be doing I-81 on the way home.
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1995hoo

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Re: Portsmouth, VA to Montreal, QC
« Reply #1 on: July 08, 2013, 10:58:27 PM »

When I drive to Montreal via the Jersey Turnpike I usually just take Exit 11 and go up the Garden State Parkway to the Thruway. It's unimaginative, but it's direct. The toll barriers are a non-issue with E-ZPass. It generally takes me nine hours of driving time (excluding stops and clearing Customs; we usually stop three times) from the DC area, total of about 660 miles to downtown Montreal.

I definitely prefer this route to I-81 when going to Montreal because the Northway is one of my favorite Interstates in terms of scenery. It's also kind of cool when you hit Clinton County and you start seeing the bilingual exit signs because you know the border is getting close.

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Re: Portsmouth, VA to Montreal, QC
« Reply #2 on: July 08, 2013, 11:54:25 PM »

To elaborate: take the Parkway to Exit 163, then take 17 north to the Thruway. That cuts a nice corner out compared to staying on the Parkway. Also, you will probably want to use a different border crossing than I-87, which can jam up for an hour or more. I suggest NY 276 just to the east, which also lets you top off your tank in the USA.

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Re: Portsmouth, VA to Montreal, QC
« Reply #3 on: July 09, 2013, 12:09:18 AM »

For the record, NJ 17 is a "Jersey freeway" north of I-80, meaning there's no cross traffic or traffic lights, but there are frequent business driveways. Once you pass the Parkway it's all 6 lanes.
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maplestar

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Re: Portsmouth, VA to Montreal, QC
« Reply #4 on: July 09, 2013, 04:32:20 AM »

When I drive to Montreal via the Jersey Turnpike I usually just take Exit 11 and go up the Garden State Parkway to the Thruway. It's unimaginative, but it's direct. The toll barriers are a non-issue with E-ZPass. It generally takes me nine hours of driving time (excluding stops and clearing Customs; we usually stop three times) from the DC area, total of about 660 miles to downtown Montreal.

Yeah, the Garden State Parkway was what I had suspected was a likely alternative to Google's suggestion. It is the one that looks most promising to me, and since I'm usually the navigator in unfamiliar areas, is probably how we'll end up going, unless my wife has a suggestion she likes better.

Quote from: 1995hoo
I definitely prefer this route to I-81 when going to Montreal because the Northway is one of my favorite Interstates in terms of scenery. It's also kind of cool when you hit Clinton County and you start seeing the bilingual exit signs because you know the border is getting close.

The only part of the Thruway system I've been on is in western NY, from Batavia over to Chautauqua County in a couple of different trips.

As for I-81...we see that every time I go home (since it's the only good direct route to the Ottawa area from here), and we'll see it southbound on the way home from this trip. We've learned that we can cope with the drive in one day, when it's followed by vacation, when we can set our own schedule. Coming home, we need to take two days to be able to function. We often break the trip up somewhere around Harrisburg, PA, often with a swing by Hershey to start the second day of the trip home.
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Re: Portsmouth, VA to Montreal, QC
« Reply #5 on: July 09, 2013, 05:07:07 AM »

Concur with Steve that NJ 17 is a good way to "cut the corner" between the GSP and I-87.  I've done the southbound direction a few times.

If you have the means to, I highly suggest monitoring traffic levels as you travel through Jersey, so you can adjust your route accordingly should there be a jam.

An alternative that avoids Jersey entirely and has some scenic segments would be to take I-476 north from the Philly area (I typically went DE 1/US 13/stop-at-Wawa/I-495/I-95/I-476 when I was doing it regularly), exit at Allentown, and take either US 22 or I-78 over to PA 33, up PA 33 to US 209, then US 209 to Milford and I-84.  US 209 is scenic (but can be slow, especially with summer vacation traffic) between Stroudsburg and Milford as it follows the Delaware River.
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maplestar

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Re: Portsmouth, VA to Montreal, QC
« Reply #6 on: July 09, 2013, 05:30:03 AM »

Also, you will probably want to use a different border crossing than I-87, which can jam up for an hour or more. I suggest NY 276 just to the east, which also lets you top off your tank in the USA.

That bad, huh? I'll have to bookmark the border crossing wait sites and hope they're accurate.
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maplestar

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Re: Portsmouth, VA to Montreal, QC
« Reply #7 on: July 09, 2013, 05:55:42 AM »

Concur with Steve that NJ 17 is a good way to "cut the corner" between the GSP and I-87.  I've done the southbound direction a few times.

If you have the means to, I highly suggest monitoring traffic levels as you travel through Jersey, so you can adjust your route accordingly should there be a jam.

Definitely. I'll probably be the navigator at that point in the trip, so I'll keep eyes and ears open.

Quote from: froggie
An alternative that avoids Jersey entirely and has some scenic segments would be to take I-476 north from the Philly area (I typically went DE 1/US 13/stop-at-Wawa/I-495/I-95/I-476 when I was doing it regularly), exit at Allentown, and take either US 22 or I-78 over to PA 33, up PA 33 to US 209, then US 209 to Milford and I-84.  US 209 is scenic (but can be slow, especially with summer vacation traffic) between Stroudsburg and Milford as it follows the Delaware River.

Ooo! We'll have to keep that in mind. That trip (complete with Wawa stop) to 476 is our usual en route to Ottawa. I'm just not sure on the time factor. I hate doing the trip all in one day. And this time, we end up in Montreal, a city I've only rarely visited and only once in a private vehicle, so I'll be navigating in an unfamiliar city when I'm already sure to be tired after hours in the car.
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Dr Frankenstein

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Re: Portsmouth, VA to Montreal, QC
« Reply #8 on: July 23, 2013, 10:14:55 AM »

Indeed, the A-15 crossing is to be avoided on weekends during the day. My own personal choice is Hwy 219, but you really have a lot of choice since there's no river or obstacle separating the two countries, so there's a lot of smaller crossings.
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Re: Portsmouth, VA to Montreal, QC
« Reply #9 on: July 23, 2013, 11:33:19 PM »

Also, you will probably want to use a different border crossing than I-87, which can jam up for an hour or more. I suggest NY 276 just to the east, which also lets you top off your tank in the USA.

That bad, huh? I'll have to bookmark the border crossing wait sites and hope they're accurate.

There is a border wait time app for iPhone (and probably other devices as well) that is handy when there are multiple crossings to choose from.
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maplestar

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Re: Portsmouth, VA to Montreal, QC
« Reply #10 on: August 03, 2013, 07:56:48 AM »

Indeed, the A-15 crossing is to be avoided on weekends during the day. My own personal choice is Hwy 219, but you really have a lot of choice since there's no river or obstacle separating the two countries, so there's a lot of smaller crossings.
Fortunately, we were a Thursday evening about 10pm, and we didn't have a wait in line, and had about the shortest conversation with border personnel I ever remember before being waved through (which I'm glad about, because we were later than I would have liked finishing that day's trip, especially once we got to Montreal and found two or three exits in a row closed for construction. (One of those times I was quite glad for the GPS, so I didn't have to plot new routes from scratch to avoid the closings...just let it recalculate and then hurriedly try to check its suggestion, so I could navigate for my wife.)
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maplestar

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Re: Portsmouth, VA to Montreal, QC
« Reply #11 on: August 03, 2013, 07:59:22 AM »

Also I should thank folks. We did NJ Turnpike to Garden State Pkwy to I-87 and it was a very nice trip, though the GSP was quite busy, since we hit it around 3pm, but we didn't end up with any spots where we really had to slow down too much.
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Re: Portsmouth, VA to Montreal, QC
« Reply #12 on: August 06, 2013, 05:34:05 PM »

especially once we got to Montreal and found two or three exits in a row closed for construction.
Classic Montreal but odd on a weekday. Well, perhaps it's because it was during the vacation period.
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