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Author Topic: Greensboro NC to Lancaster PA  (Read 1229 times)

tckma

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Greensboro NC to Lancaster PA
« on: August 15, 2017, 10:08:44 AM »

OK fellow roadgeeks,

I've been enlisted to help a friend of our family move from Greensboro, NC to Lancaster, PA this coming Friday morning (8/18/17).  (Unfortunately this means I'll likely miss the solar eclipse, unless I want to take Monday off as well and drive back down to Tennessee or something.)  Husband has a broken foot and therefore cannot drive.  Wife will be driving her own car.  I will be driving a 26' U-Haul truck filled with just about everything this family has in the world.  They just met me in person for the first time last Thursday, so I'm surprised they trust me to do this, but it seems the best option.

I was talking with the wife last night about routes.  She says she'd probably just have me follow her, but she couldn't really describe her preferred route to me.

My thought was US-29 north to I-64 west to I-81 north to PA-581 east to PA-283 east and, as they say, Bob's your uncle.  Something about the route the wife was attempting to describe to me caused me to say "Why not just take 29?"

"Well, because 29 turns into 41, and [stuff I didn't understand about the route]."

Having never heard of 41, I was tempted to respond with something along the lines of, "and where do you get the crack you smoke?"  But, (1) people who have known me for any good length of time know that they ought to just TRUST ME when it comes to roads and navigation, and (2) I don't know southern Virginia and central North Carolina all that well, so I might not have had a leg to stand on in that argument.

Looking at Google Maps this morning, I see there is a VA-41 that comes off of US-29 in Danville just across the state line with NC.  It doesn't seem that 29 "turns into" 41, exactly, but maybe signage isn't fantastic in that area.  41 goes nowhere near where I'd like to be.

Anyway, my questions to my fellow roadgeeks is this:

1) Is this a good route to take in a big-ass U-Haul truck?  The parts of 29 I've driven in southern Virginia seem to be pretty close to interstate quality, so I think I'll be OK, but I haven't driven the route much in NC, and I've only been on 29 in southern Virginia once or twice.
2) How does one work this sort of thing logistically?  I've never really "followed" anyone on a long road trip before.  I mean, there was my first and only roadgeek meetup last year (Corridor H), but we were all roadgeeks, and CPZ had methodically (and in great detail) mapped out and distributed the route in advance of the meet.  I guess we just exchange cell phone numbers in advance and try our best to agree on a route beforehand in case we get separated.
3) Given recent events, it might be best to avoid Charlottesville, VA, which is where US-29 intersects I-64.  Do you think this is the case?  What's a good way to avoid Charlottesville?

Thanks!

« Last Edit: August 15, 2017, 10:14:55 AM by tckma »
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HazMatt

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Re: Greensboro NC to Lancaster PA
« Reply #1 on: August 15, 2017, 10:43:47 AM »

I think your route is best.  US-29 is 4-lanes from Greensboro up to I-64, with a good portion of it freeway.  YYou wouldn't have any issues in a Uhaul.
 You also don't go into Charlottesville that way, you're southwest of town at the 64/29 junction (I wouldn't be worried anyway, it's not ongoing like some of the other riots).  Not sure where 41 comes into play, unless the Danville bypass opened since your wife was last there.

As far as following someone, my dad always had some type of pre-specified checkpoint.  If he was leading and lost the person behind him, he'd pull off at the next ramp entrance.  On a backroad it might be the next gas station.  Just decide some gameplan ahead of time, and if all else fails you have cell phones.
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tckma

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Re: Greensboro NC to Lancaster PA
« Reply #2 on: August 15, 2017, 01:02:39 PM »

since your wife was last there.

Not MY wife, but I get your point.

noelbotevera

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Re: Greensboro NC to Lancaster PA
« Reply #3 on: August 15, 2017, 01:44:18 PM »

I'll try my best to offer some help, but I haven't been to southern VA and NC in a long time (about 11 years and counting). I'd say utilize US 29 as much as you can, and try to avoid I-81. My experiences with I-81, especially between Winchester and Harrisburg, is that it tends to have accidents in the Harrisburg area, has dense (and probably slow moving) traffic, and is full of trucks.

So here's my route:

US 29 -> US 522 -> US 340 -> US 15 -> PA 234 or PA 74 or US 30

Although you could use US 15 at Culpeper, the issue is that US 15 between Leesburg and the Maryland state line tends to be slow moving too. US 522 and US 340 I've found are nearly empty, are four-lane divided highways (especially with the US 211/US 522 multiplex), and have bypasses around larger towns.

With following people, you could use cell phones, but service tends to be spotty in rural areas of Virginia. What I advise is to tell them "if we get lost, go to a gas station" or something along the lines of that. Reason is that gas stations typically have cell phone coverage, and you can call each other to ask where everyone is. That's sort of what I did in the only meet I went to (Central PA), where I would call someone and ask where they were.

I believe the riots in Charlottesville are in the town itself. You shouldn't have issues when traveling along I-64 or US 29. By the time you're going, there might be a little less danger there.
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Re: Greensboro NC to Lancaster PA
« Reply #4 on: August 15, 2017, 02:00:50 PM »

I'm with HazMatt....given the UHaul, US 29 to I-64 to I-81 and beyond is probably the best bet.  Despite what noel claimed in his post, most of the stretch of US 522 he suggests is 2 lanes, not 4.
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LM117

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Re: Greensboro NC to Lancaster PA
« Reply #5 on: August 15, 2017, 02:09:42 PM »

I think your route is best.  US-29 is 4-lanes from Greensboro up to I-64, with a good portion of it freeway.  YYou wouldn't have any issues in a Uhaul.
 You also don't go into Charlottesville that way, you're southwest of town at the 64/29 junction (I wouldn't be worried anyway, it's not ongoing like some of the other riots).

This. However, the area near Lynchburg on US-29 between VA-24 and US-460 is a real pain in the ass. It's usually heavily congested and the numerous traffic lights and constant speed limit changes don't help matters, either. South of Lynchburg, the only traffic light between there and Greensboro is at the Tightsqueeze Plaza shopping center just south of Chatham. Just be sure to watch your speed in Pittsylvania County, particularly between Gretna and Danville. The sheriff's deputies here are not known for allowing much leeway. The state troopers in this area, while not as visible, tend to be pretty anal as well.

Quote
Not sure where 41 comes into play, unless the Danville bypass opened since your wife was last there.

US-29 has an interchange with VA-41. That's all.
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hbelkins

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Re: Greensboro NC to Lancaster PA
« Reply #6 on: August 15, 2017, 02:51:20 PM »

To me, going west on I-64 to I-81 is out of the way. Plus, you have to pull Afton Mountain on I-64, and when you get on I-81, you'll be competing for space with a lot of other big trucks. I dislike I-81 in Virginia in a passenger car, and you'll be driving a much larger vehicle than you're used to, an unfamiliar vehicle, and one that may possibly have mechanical issues.

I'd stay on US 29 as long as possible. My suggestion would be US 29 to US 15 north into Pennsylvania. Yes, I know 15 is two lanes north of I-66 until you get into Maryland, but to me that wouldn't be a deal-breaker.

Google Maps recommends 40-85-95-495 inner-95 to Baltimore, then I-83 into Pennsylvania. I'd avoid I-95 like the plague in an unfamiliar big U-Haul.

I'd also suggest finding a way to preserve the chosen route and get it into your friend's GPS or phone, so you're both on the same page. If they have a standalone GPS, some of them have ways to import routes chosen elsewhere (such as Google Maps.).

You're not in Charlottesville's downtown area or on the UVa campus if you stay on US 29, so no worries about violence.
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Mapmikey

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Re: Greensboro NC to Lancaster PA
« Reply #7 on: August 15, 2017, 08:11:21 PM »

Given that the trip will occur on a Friday, I would not use US 29 any further north than Warrenton due to heavy traffic on US 29 and US 15 all the way to Frederick MD.

There are plenty of options leaving 29 from Warrenton but none that I would look forward to in a U-haul.  Even with Afton Mtn and I-81 issues, this is likely the way I would go on a Friday in a U-Haul.

US 522 is only 4-lane on the US 211 overlay with that suggested route.  It also has an actual ascent leading into Front Royal that would be un-fun with a U-Haul and some posted curves on the portion between Culpeper and Sperryville.
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1995hoo

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Re: Greensboro NC to Lancaster PA
« Reply #8 on: August 15, 2017, 10:02:48 PM »

I'll offer a revision to Noel's suggestion. Instead of US-522 from Culpeper, which as others have noted is two lanes, you could stay on US-29 up to Warrenton, then exit onto US-17 north towards Marshall, where you can pick up I-66 west to either US-340 or I-81. I'd probably opt for I-81 due to the truck so as to avoid the 7% downhill grade on US-340 near Harpers Ferry.

Regarding US-15, if you're not comfortable driving a truck, note you would go through at least three roundabouts on US-15 between I-66 and Frederick (two that I know of in Virginia and one that I know of in Maryland; there might be others).

BTW, watch your speed in Greene and Madison Counties if you stay on US-29 north of Charlottesville.

One other thought about traffic and cops: UVA dorms open this weekend and the first-years will all be moving in on Saturday. Some people will head to Charlottesville Friday to beat the Saturday move-in traffic into town. So expect more college traffic than a normal Friday, and expect more cops to be out as well because they know it's move-in weekend.
« Last Edit: August 15, 2017, 10:05:43 PM by 1995hoo »
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tckma

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Re: Greensboro NC to Lancaster PA
« Reply #9 on: August 16, 2017, 09:52:27 AM »

Given that the trip will occur on a Friday, I would not use US 29 any further north than Warrenton due to heavy traffic on US 29 and US 15 all the way to Frederick MD.

There are plenty of options leaving 29 from Warrenton but none that I would look forward to in a U-haul.  Even with Afton Mtn and I-81 issues, this is likely the way I would go on a Friday in a U-Haul.


Isn't Warrenton north of Charlottesville, or do I have my Virginia geography confused?

tckma

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Re: Greensboro NC to Lancaster PA
« Reply #10 on: August 16, 2017, 10:04:33 AM »

Regarding US-15, if you're not comfortable driving a truck, note you would go through at least three roundabouts on US-15 between I-66 and Frederick (two that I know of in Virginia and one that I know of in Maryland; there might be others).

I'm very familiar with the US-15 stretch from Frederick, south through Point of Rocks, to Leesburg, but not south of Leesburg.  There's one rotary just north of the Point of Rocks Bridge and north of the MD-28 interchange, at the intersection with MD-468 (?  might have the route number wrong there).

The last time I drove US-15 south of Leesburg, I only went as far south as whatever town Battlefield High School is in (Gainesville, I think?)  There were two rotaries on 15 in the Leesburg-to-I-66 stretch.

I see big trucks navigate the rotary on MD-97 just south of the exit for MD-26 all the time, as I take MD-97 to work every day.  I thought they went up on the cement because they were too big for the rotary at first, but then I learned (via Pennsylvania DOT's Instagram account) that rotaries are purposely constructed that way and trucks are SUPPOSED to go up on the cement thingy.

I drove a U-Haul 19 (?) foot truck once and I didn't have a problem with it, though despite living in Massachusetts at the time, I didn't need to take the truck through any rotaries.  That's the biggest vehicle I've ever driven in my life.  So, I'm a bit intimidated by the 26-footer.  Though I did find this video which seems to imply that you just have to take your corners wider.


I did find some information online which seems to indicate I'd have to stop at weigh stations in VA, MD, and PA, but not in WV (and maybe not in NC).  What exactly happens at a weigh station?  Do I need to provide some sort of documentation about the truck's contents?

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Re: Greensboro NC to Lancaster PA
« Reply #11 on: August 16, 2017, 11:10:00 AM »

What exactly happens at a weigh station?  Do I need to provide some sort of documentation about the truck's contents?

If they're anything like those I encountered on I-95 back in 2009, no. You just drive there and wait for a green light. Once you see the green light, you go on your merry way. Lasts a few seconds tops. Nothing to it.

Quote
Isn't Warrenton north of Charlottesville, or do I have my Virginia geography confused?

It's northeast of Charlottesville.
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Re: Greensboro NC to Lancaster PA
« Reply #12 on: August 16, 2017, 12:56:01 PM »



Isn't Warrenton north of Charlottesville, or do I have my Virginia geography confused?

My point was that although you could get to Warrenton without much traffic worries, to get from there further north has no good option, so it would be better to bail at Charlottesville....
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Re: Greensboro NC to Lancaster PA
« Reply #13 on: August 16, 2017, 01:15:12 PM »

My comments about the roundabouts weren't meant to suggest a truck can't deal with them; it was more a case of my thinking that since a truck is larger than most forum members' regular vehicles, you might be uncomfortable driving one through roundabouts. Just wanted to make sure you knew they were there if you went that way.

BTW, Route 15 was closed this morning south of the bridge due to a tree falling and taking down power lines. I assume it's either reopened or will reopen by tonight. We've had a lot of rain recently, with more forecast for Friday, and the ground is pretty soft.
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tckma

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Re: Greensboro NC to Lancaster PA
« Reply #14 on: August 16, 2017, 02:04:23 PM »

BTW, Route 15 was closed this morning south of the bridge due to a tree falling and taking down power lines. I assume it's either reopened or will reopen by tonight. We've had a lot of rain recently, with more forecast for Friday, and the ground is pretty soft.

I live in Maryland.  Yesterday's weather was "build thee an ark."  Looks like more of the same tomorrow, Friday, and throughout the weekend.  I asked last night if this family could possibly reschedule their move to today, with today looking like the best weather day for a while.  But, today they have to go sign the paperwork on their new place, then go transfer registrations on two cars from NC to PA.  That's kind of crap timing given the weather, but you can't do much about so much.

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Re: Greensboro NC to Lancaster PA
« Reply #15 on: August 16, 2017, 03:59:36 PM »

Yeah, I saw where your profile says you live but I thought you might already be in Greensboro. No big deal.
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Re: Greensboro NC to Lancaster PA
« Reply #16 on: August 16, 2017, 05:34:16 PM »

Slightly off topic, but are you using “u-haul” generically to refer to a rental truck, or are you renting from U-Haul specifically? If the decision isn’t already set in stone, I’d recommend against doing business with U-Haul for a number of reasons.

First, I find that they’re only price competitive for local use where your total mileage is very low. They can brag about prices “starting at 19.95” because their rates for mileage are some of the highest in the industry. One-way rentals have mileage included, but the total rates are similarly high (again, in my experience).

Second, U-Haul has the shoddiest rag-tag fleet of poorly maintained vehicles in the business. Just search anything like “uhaul maintenance issues” and you’ll find scores of horror stories. Part of the maintenance problem stems from U-Haul’s business model—which isn’t a chain of company owned stores or tightly managed franchisees but rather a loose affiliation of you-store-it places, hardware stores, and the like. U-Haul is merely a sideline for these businesses, and they don’t have the time, knowledge, or resources to properly maintain a fleet of trucks. (And that looseness also leads to a third problem...)

Third, U-Haul will create reservations for trucks they don’t have in inventory. You may create a reservation for a 26-foot truck and show up at a location only to find that they don’t have any on hand to rent.

And fourth, U-Haul’s fleet solely consists of anemic and fuel guzzling gas-powered trucks. For a 26-footer, you’d be much better off with diesel power—much more torque for climbing hills and much more efficient, too.

What exactly happens at a weigh station?  Do I need to provide some sort of documentation about the truck's contents?

I’ve driven rental trucks on two long distance moves in recent years: CA to FL in 2015 and FL to PA in 2017. Honestly, the vast majority of weigh stations I passed on both trips were closed. I did make a point of entering weigh stations whenever I encountered one that was open—just to be safe.

Some states’ weigh stations have a setup of branching roads. At each fork, the road to the left is essentially a bypass that leads out of the weigh station and back onto the Interstate. The road to the right takes you to closer to the station house for more thorough screening. A green arrow will light up over the lane you are to use (and a red X over the other lane).

Nearly every time, I’d go down the entrance ramp and immediately get a green arrow over the left lane—meaning I could bypass any further screening and get back on the freeway. Once in Florida, however, I got kicked in to the right lane to go over a second set of weight sensors, then I got kicked into yet another right lane to stop at the station house. There, I stopped at the white line and waited behind a red light attached to the building...thinking that an officer would come out and have questions for me. After a minute of suspense, the light simply turned green, so I drove off.

I’ve never been asked to produce any kind of paperwork or anything like that. Once at a Florida agricultural checkpoint, I was questioned as to whether I was carrying any livestock, fresh produce, etc.—and I simply answered “no” and was on my way.

I might suggest, however, going through a truck scale (you’ll find a CAT Scale at nearly every truck stop) just to verify the weight of your loaded truck. It only costs $11. When I moved earlier this year, my moderately loaded 26-foot Penske truck weighed in at over 25,100 lbs.—just shy of the 26,001 threshold that requires a CDL. And if you’re over that limit without a CDL, you can face some stiff penalties.
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tckma

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Re: Greensboro NC to Lancaster PA
« Reply #17 on: August 16, 2017, 05:45:25 PM »

Yeah, I saw where your profile says you live but I thought you might already be in Greensboro. No big deal.

No.  They were staying with us at our house from August 1 while they found a new place (because their lease ended July 31).  They are in Lancaster today signing paperwork on their new place and getting Pennsylvania driver's licenses and plates.  The plan was for them to pick me up at 2:00 A on Friday, they drive through the night and I sleep in the car (I have a sleep disorder - controlled with medication - and I can sleep pretty much anywhere, but being a roadgeek a moving vehicle is one of the few places I CAN'T sleep due to, well, being a roadgeek), pick up the truck, and then I sleep some more while they load their furniture and stuff (which is in a storage unit down in NC).  Then I drive the truck up to PA and meet them for unload.
« Last Edit: August 16, 2017, 06:00:36 PM by tckma »
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tckma

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Re: Greensboro NC to Lancaster PA
« Reply #18 on: August 16, 2017, 05:56:06 PM »

Slightly off topic, but are you using “u-haul” generically to refer to a rental truck, or are you renting from U-Haul specifically? If the decision isn’t already set in stone, I’d recommend against doing business with U-Haul for a number of reasons.

No, I'm not using "u-haul" as a genericized trademark like "Kleenex" or "Fiberglas."  I specifically mean a U-Haul branded truck.

Oh, I HATE U-Haul, but they pretty much have a monopoly on the self-move industry.  The family is paying for the truck, so I didn't really have a choice -- If I were paying for it, I'd have also checked Penske and Budget -- I think those are the other two companies.  I warned them about the per-mile rates, as those have really screwed me in the past.  In one case, I rented their smallest truck to pick up a motorcycle I'd purchased (this was before I knew they rented motorcycle trailers).  They didn't have one of the small trucks, so they gave me a 19-footer.  And it looked ridiculous putting a tiny bike in the back of a 19-foot U-Haul truck.  The truck itself was OK and had fairly low mileage.

In the past, when I've had to deal with U-Haul, I've found you get better service if you arrange to pick up your rental from an actual U-Haul owned facility rather than a Pete's Hardware or East Bumblefart BP.  I've also found you can avoid the per-mile charges entirely by renting a trailer.  Although towing trailers with a Subaru Legacy has caused me to have to prematurely replace the wheel bearings on the Legacy more than once.

Quote
I might suggest, however, going through a truck scale (you’ll find a CAT Scale at nearly every truck stop) just to verify the weight of your loaded truck. It only costs $11. When I moved earlier this year, my moderately loaded 26-foot Penske truck weighed in at over 25,100 lbs.—just shy of the 26,001 threshold that requires a CDL. And if you’re over that limit without a CDL, you can face some stiff penalties.

Yeah, this seems like a good idea.  Though I'm not sure what I'd do if I come in > 13 tons.  Probably give them some boxes to take in their car.
« Last Edit: August 16, 2017, 06:02:17 PM by tckma »
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