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Author Topic: Calling all Virginians: Dulles to Mebane, NC  (Read 1818 times)

briantroutman

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Calling all Virginians: Dulles to Mebane, NC
« on: January 14, 2016, 05:25:32 PM »

Iím taking delivery of a new car tomorrow at a Volkswagen dealer Dulles Airport. Then I get to drive it 14 hours back home to Tampa. Iíd like to stop and visit a family member who has a winter home in Mebane, NC (between Raleigh and Greensboro). Iíll stay overnight there and drive the rest of the way Saturday.

Assuming that Iíll be leaving the Dulles area around 2 p.m., should I take the most direct route of Dulles Greenway > I-495 > I-95 > I-85 > I-40óor would I be better off to take the inland US 15 > US 29?

Iím leaning toward the US route option, largely to avoid Washington-Richmond traffic, but also because a curvier 15 and 29 might be more fun than I-95, particularly in a fun-to-drive car. Then thereís also the concern that a new car should be driven more slowly and at a varied speed for the first few hundred miles. This might be outdated information, but part of me would rather heed it than be sorry later. Then again, if US 15 and 29 will be a mess of small town downtowns and speed traps, Iíll avoid it.

Any Virginians care to offer their opinions?
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froggie

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Re: Calling all Virginians: Dulles to Mebane, NC
« Reply #1 on: January 14, 2016, 05:47:04 PM »

If it's a "fun-to-drive" car, I'd go even further and take some of the secondary routes south for a stretch, though you'll bump into sunset early.

29 is generally not a roadway of "small town downtowns", as it bypasses virtually all of them south of the DC area.  It does have traffic signals and whatnot, but given the time of day you're departing, that's countered by the insane traffic volumes on I-95.  It could easily be 3pm by the time you get back to I-95...especially if you're delayed leaving the Dulles area.

Here's a route that'd bring you along a few of my favorite secondary routes in Virginia.
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oscar

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Re: Calling all Virginians: Dulles to Mebane, NC
« Reply #2 on: January 14, 2016, 06:00:42 PM »

At the north end, take VA 28 -> I-66 west -> US 29 -- unless your dealer is in Leesburg (not exactly "Dulles area"), no reason to use US 15 at all. Rush hour traffic FUBARs are still a possibility even that far west, but you'd probably avoid rush hour hassles. Taking VA 267 -> I-495 -> I-95 is asking for trouble, unless you have E-ZPass (I assume you wouldn't, as a Floridian), can add your new car to the account the night before you pick up the car, and use the I-495 and I-95 express lanes to minimize congestion risks.

US 29 between I-66 and Danville VA (where you'd need to peel away on non-freeways to get to Mebane) is reasonably fast, with bypasses around most of the small towns. Alas, no bypass around Charlottesville, which is the main place you'd need to vary your engine speed. US 15 south of Culpeper VA does take you through a lot of small towns, and I don't suggest it.
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1995hoo

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Re: Calling all Virginians: Dulles to Mebane, NC
« Reply #3 on: January 14, 2016, 06:34:07 PM »

The route I used to take between Charlottesville and Durham, which is east of Mebane, during my three years at Duke used either of the following:

(a) US-29 south from Charlottesville to Lynchburg (the current bypass didn't exist yet). Then US-501 south through Rustburg, Brookneal, and Halifax to South Boston, continuing across the state line through Roxboro and down to Durham. Most of it between Lynchburg and South Boston was two-lane roads with fairly little traffic. Not twisty, but enjoyable in my younger and dumber days when I'd go way too fast on those roads. They might be a good place to vary your speed.

(b) VA-20 south from Charlottesville to Dillwyn, then US-15 to the US-460 Farmville bypass for one exit. Continue south on US-15 to Keysville, then onto US-360 to South Boston and make a left onto US-501 south to Durham.

In either case, you could turn off onto NC-57 to cut the corner to avoid going to Durham and save some distance. It emerges at Hillsborough.

The other good option is US-29 to Danville and then VA-/NC-86 south. Route 29 is EMPTY south of Lynchburg, so varying your speed shouldn't be an issue.
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briantroutman

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Re: Calling all Virginians: Dulles to Mebane, NC
« Reply #4 on: January 14, 2016, 10:01:16 PM »

Thanks, everyone, for the responses.

If it's a "fun-to-drive" car...

Well, the VW Iím buying is, relatively speaking, fun for someone who spent the last seven years driving a decidedly not-fun Toyota.

Here's a route that'd bring you along a few of my favorite secondary routes in Virginia.

Looks interesting; Iíll give that option some serious thought. Iíll assume that you essentially ďdefaultedĒ to I-95 and then I-85 below Richmond, but do you have any thoughts on taking US 360 southwest from Richmond?

...unless you have E-ZPass (I assume you wouldn't, as a Floridian)...

I do have an E-ZPass transponder from the PTC (Iím a native Pennsylvanian), so thatís a possible option I hadnít considered.


So unless I decide to take a more fun route as noted above, it sounds like taking US 29 either as far south as Lynchburg or all the way down to Danville would be a fairly safe choice from a traffic and frustration standpoint.
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Mapmikey

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Re: Calling all Virginians: Dulles to Mebane, NC
« Reply #5 on: January 14, 2016, 11:13:34 PM »

Even with EZ Pass you will likely get hung up at the south end of the 95 express lanes down to Exit 126 (17 miles).

Should you do that and get to Richmond after their rush hour, US 360 southwest to Danville is mostly 60 mph and there is just 1 stoplight between Amelia CH bypass and South Boston.  If you get to Richmond during their rush hour, there will be some traffic trying to reach US 360 and on 360 itself to a couple miles west of VA 288.

Mike
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froggie

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Re: Calling all Virginians: Dulles to Mebane, NC
« Reply #6 on: January 15, 2016, 08:56:59 AM »

Quote from: briantroutman
Looks interesting; Iíll give that option some serious thought. Iíll assume that you essentially ďdefaultedĒ to I-95 and then I-85 below Richmond, but do you have any thoughts on taking US 360 southwest from Richmond?

I "defaulted" to I-95/I-85 because you'd be facing sunset by the time you reach Richmond and I was focusing on "fun roads to drive while it was still daylight".  360 is an option, as Mike explained...you could take I-295 to I-64 to VA 288 to get to it if coming from the north.  It's almost 20 miles shorter than I-95/I-85, though about 15 minutes longer.  It's fairly open once you get past Richmond suburbia.
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