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Author Topic: Possible trip: Kentucky to Delaware and back in December  (Read 869 times)

hbelkins

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Possible trip: Kentucky to Delaware and back in December
« on: November 23, 2017, 04:40:20 PM »

I'm looking at the possibility of driving from Kentucky to Delaware and back in mid-December.

Right now, I'm looking at using a southern route to avoid the weather vagaries of I-68 in western Maryland, which would give me the opportunity to clinch US 360. (See this post for a specific question about that route.)

The plan is to leave Kentucky mid-afternoon Thursday and spend the night somewhere in southern West Virginia or southwestern Virginia, then get up early on Friday and make my way to Danville to start out on 360 (unfortunately, I need that small section of the useless concurrency between the US 29 bypass and the old route downtown, or else I'd go straight to South Boston if I could.)

Once I get to Richmond and look at the time, I can either continue on to Reedville and then head northwest and then north across the Potomac, or I can take a straighter shot from Richmond (likely US 301). The plan is to stop driving before dark and stay somewhere a couple of hours or so south of the destination (Newark/Wilmington area) and use that location as my base, driving up to Delaware on Saturday morning and then driving back Saturday after the event I'm looking to attend is over.

If I don't get US 360 clinched on Friday, I can head to Reedville and then finish it up, then probably just take I-64 west from Richmond toward home, again avoiding possible winter weather on I-68.

If I do get US 360 clinched on Friday, I'll be leaving out from some location in Maryland east of D.C. on Sunday and looking for a relatively traffic-free route back west.

Questions:

Can anyone recommend a place with decent lodging that's not too hard of a drive (two hours or so) from the Newark/Wilmington area (exact destination not known at this time)? Annapolis was my first thought, but accommodations are pricey there. Waldorf may be a bit too far to drive on Saturday morning and evening. There doesn't seem to be as many options available in the Bowie area as I expected there to be. (This is assuming I'd take the Bay Bridge and US 301 to Delaware in order to avoid I-95 and the DC/Baltimore metro areas.)

If I end up getting all of US 360 on Friday, can anyone recommend an interesting route back west that would be relatively uncongested? I'd probably want to take US 301 back south into Virginia. I suppose one possibility is VA 3 west to Culpeper, then US 29 to I-64. I have all interstates clinched in both Maryland and Virginia, so there's no need for me to travel on any of them if not necessary. Depending on the weather, I guess I could do I-68 or Corridor H, but new roads to explore are always good.

The plan would be to get off the road before dark on Sunday, wherever I end up, and finish the drive home on Monday. Making Beckley, WV, would be ideal if I'm on I-64, and probably Weston, WV, if on Corridor H.
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Mapmikey

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Re: Possible trip: Kentucky to Delaware and back in December
« Reply #1 on: November 23, 2017, 05:51:20 PM »

VA 3 to VA 20 to US 15 to VA 230 to US 33 to VA 280 to VA 42 to I-64 is a possibility...
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Clinch:
I: 4 8 12 16 17 20 26 27 30 40 59 64 66 68 72 73 ew74 77 78 79 82 83 ew84 85 ew86 e88 97 99
US: 4 6N 9W 11E 11W 13 15 19W 21 44 46 48 58 72 92 113 117 123 130 158 163 176 178 192 206 209 211 219 220 221 222 258 264 276 290 311 319 322 340 360 378 401 ew422 501 521 522 601 701
PriSys: VA, DE

hbelkins

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Re: Possible trip: Kentucky to Delaware and back in December
« Reply #2 on: November 23, 2017, 06:03:57 PM »

VA 3 to VA 20 to US 15 to VA 230 to US 33 to VA 280 to VA 42 to I-64 is a possibility...

After looking at a map, I saw that VA 3 to VA 20 would get me to Charlottesville quicker than staying on 3 all the way to Culpeper. I've already driven all of US 33 and that section of VA 42 (I actually have all three sections of 42 clinched.).

Another thought is to go to Richmond, west on US 60, then US 522 to Front Royal, then across Corridor H. That would finish up all of 522 for me except that portion in Pennsylvania between I-70 and US 22, and I could get that on the way to the Susquehanna Valley meet next spring, clinching another US highway in its entirety.
« Last Edit: November 23, 2017, 06:23:36 PM by hbelkins »
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Re: Possible trip: Kentucky to Delaware and back in December
« Reply #3 on: November 23, 2017, 09:58:21 PM »

When I clinched the Delaware highway system back in 2015, I stayed at the Days Inn in Elkton MD, just over the state line off I-95. It was perfectly decent, has exterior corridors (which if I recall is a preference that we both share), was significantly cheaper than everything else in the area that didn't appear to be terrible, and only a few miles away from US 301. I think it was in the $75/night range.
« Last Edit: November 23, 2017, 10:03:28 PM by corco »
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hbelkins

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Re: Possible trip: Kentucky to Delaware and back in December
« Reply #4 on: November 24, 2017, 12:02:09 AM »

When I clinched the Delaware highway system back in 2015, I stayed at the Days Inn in Elkton MD, just over the state line off I-95. It was perfectly decent, has exterior corridors (which if I recall is a preference that we both share), was significantly cheaper than everything else in the area that didn't appear to be terrible, and only a few miles away from US 301. I think it was in the $75/night range.

Thanks for the suggestion, but that won't be on my route. I plan to avoid I-95, which means I'll be taking US 301 from Virginia through Maryland to Delaware.
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1995hoo

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Re: Possible trip: Kentucky to Delaware and back in December
« Reply #5 on: November 24, 2017, 09:47:05 AM »

VA 3 to VA 20 to US 15 to VA 230 to US 33 to VA 280 to VA 42 to I-64 is a possibility...

After looking at a map, I saw that VA 3 to VA 20 would get me to Charlottesville quicker than staying on 3 all the way to Culpeper. I've already driven all of US 33 and that section of VA 42 (I actually have all three sections of 42 clinched.).

....

If the goal for that area is a quick but interesting way down to Charlottesville, I'd suggest that instead of taking VA-20 all the way from Wilderness down to Charlottesville, it's faster to turn left at Orange onto southbound US-15, follow it nine miles to Gordonsville, then take the second exit from the roundabout onto VA-231. It becomes VA-22 near Cismont, but that doesn't much matter because you just keep straight ahead and it dumps you into westbound US-250 at Shadwell and you then hit I-64 a short distance west. This is my usual route to and from Charlottesville and I've found it to be a faster route than VA-20 because (1) US-15 is four lanes between Orange and Gordonsville, (2) VA-20 has very few passing zones (to be fair, VA-231 doesn't have a lot of them either, but I recall VA-20 having fewer), and (3) a lot of VA-20 between Barboursville and Charlottesville has a lower speed limit (45 mph last time I was on there) and doesn't move as well. There is also a super-scenic little Episcopal church on VA-231 a short distance north of Cismont—passing it is a highlight of the trip for us every time (we are not Episcopalian) just because it's such a scenic building. Going south, you're approaching the church when you pass Kinloch Farm on your right.

There used to be some cutouts on northbound Route 15 just to the south of the Gordonsville roundabout, but they were gone when we passed through there in September on our most recent trip to Charlottesville.  :-(

BTW, if you're interested in wine, there are two good vineyards near Barboursville—the eponymous Barboursville Vineyards is slightly southeast, and Horton Vineyards is just east on US-33 (Horton's address is Gordonsville, but they're way closer to Barboursville).

One thing to note about Route 3 during December is that, depending on when you go through there, it may be somewhat congested in the immediate area of I-95 due to Christmas shoppers—the Central Park shopping area just west of I-95 generates a lot of traffic and there are a bunch of other strip malls there as well. A route I've tried in order to avoid that area is the following (I have only used it coming north, so I'm simply reversing the directions here):

(1) I-95 one exit further south to Exit 126 (Massaponax). Make a right at the bottom of the ramp onto southbound US-1. Follow a short distance to Spotsylvania Parkway (intersection is just after US-17 leaves to the left).

(2) Turn right on Spotsylvania Parkway. Follow to VA-208. Turn left. (The purpose of this route is to avoid some lights and a left turn from Route 1. If you want to knock off more of VA-208, you can instead go left off the highway exit, pass back under I-95, and turn left at the top of the hill onto VA-208 when you see the car dealers on your right.)

Regarding steps (1) and (2) above, if you're coming from the Nice Bridge and Route 301, you could use Route 3 to Route 1 or Route 3 to a left on Lafayette Boulevard, which runs straight into Route 208 at Route 1. This eliminates the Spotsylvania Parkway part of the route. Or you could take 301 to US-17 west to US-1, then pick up Spotsylvania Parkway. I do not have a feel for which route is the better option. I haven't been on Route 17 beyond the turn for Lee's Hill Golf Club in over 30 years. (I do note Route 218 on the map. cpzilliacus said it is slow and he didn't recommend it unless clinches were the focus.)

Regardless of which of the above options you use, the following steps are the same:

(3) Follow VA-208 all the way down to the T-intersection with US-522. You'll cross Lake Anna en route. A good portion of the segment north of the lake is relatively new four-lane roadway, the Lake Anna Parkway. Good road.

(4) At US-522, turn left, then an almost immediate right onto secondary route 623. Follow to the T-intersection with VA-208 and make another right. (The purpose of this is a shortcut to avoid Mineral, since you've said you've already dealt with that portion of US-522. If you wanted to get more of VA-208, you could instead stay on 522 into Mineral, then make a right onto 208.)

(5) Follow 208 to Louisa. Then you have a choice. Either go left to stay on 208 and follow it to I-64 (or a smidgen further to US-250 if clinches are an issue), or stay straight on US-33 to Trevilians and then go left onto VA-22. Route 22 takes you to US-250 via Shadwell as described up above—you merge onto my usual route a short distance south of the scenic church I mentioned. This route would give you a clinch of VA-22 if that's a consideration.

We've only done this route one time on the recommendation of a guy at our tailgate (we did use a similar route once before the four-lane parkway was built). It didn't feel as fast to me, but there's a reasonable possibility that it feels longer because we don't know the route. I've used the route through Orange and Gordonsville hundreds of times dating back to my undergrad days when I gave one of my roommates lifts home to Fairfax County—I learned the route from him—and I think there's something to the idea that familiarity often makes a route feel faster. If I were on track to pass Central Park at a heavy shopping period, I'd at least consider the Lake Anna route again. Certainly crossing the lake is a scenic respite.

I'm typing this on my iPad, so measuring it out in the Google Maps app for distance and time isn't a good option for me because the app doesn't let you drag the route around like the PC interface does.
« Last Edit: November 24, 2017, 10:00:42 AM by 1995hoo »
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cpzilliacus

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Re: Possible trip: Kentucky to Delaware and back in December
« Reply #6 on: November 30, 2017, 03:47:02 PM »

Thanks for the suggestion, but that won't be on my route. I plan to avoid I-95, which means I'll be taking US 301 from Virginia through Maryland to Delaware.

Be aware that U.S. 301 in Charles County (around Waldorf and to a lesser extent LaPlata) and southern Prince George's County (Brandywine) can be extremely congested with shopping traffic in December.
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1995hoo

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Re: Possible trip: Kentucky to Delaware and back in December
« Reply #7 on: November 30, 2017, 05:01:16 PM »

Following up on my prior comment, I had the chance to measure out the two routes I suggested using Google Maps. See link below. The difference in distances between my usual route through Wilderness, Orange, and Gordonsville and the alternate route via Lake Anna is negligible. I measured it from the corner of Route 3 and Lafayette Boulevard in Fredericksburg to I-64 just west of the diamond interchange with US-250 east of Pantops Mountain.

(1) Going my usual route is 62.6 miles. As I type this at 5:00 on a Thursday afternoon, Google Maps says it's not the fastest route because the area near Central Park is shown all in red (travel time that way shown as 1 hour, 30 minutes).

(2) Going the Lake Anna route and then using VA-208 from Louisa is 66.3 miles, but as I type this Google Maps says it would be seven minutes faster (1 hour 23 minutes). They have you going straight down Lafayette Boulevard, which turns into VA-208 after you cross US-1.

(3) The alternative Lake Anna route that uses VA-22 to connect down to Shadwell is 65.3 miles and Google Maps says it takes 1 hour 33 minutes.

I guess all that underscores the point I made before: A route can feel shorter or longer just based on your familiarity with it.

https://www.google.com/maps/dir/38.2905501,-77.4725488/38.0196002,-78.4359832/@38.3012718,-77.6969186,11.5z/data=!4m3!4m2!3e0!5i2
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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,
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"That sounded stupid, didn't it?"—Kolzig, to the same reporter a few seconds later.

hbelkins

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Re: Possible trip: Kentucky to Delaware and back in December
« Reply #8 on: December 01, 2017, 09:49:20 AM »

Thanks for the suggestion, but that won't be on my route. I plan to avoid I-95, which means I'll be taking US 301 from Virginia through Maryland to Delaware.

Be aware that U.S. 301 in Charles County (around Waldorf and to a lesser extent LaPlata) and southern Prince George's County (Brandywine) can be extremely congested with shopping traffic in December.

My one experience with the route was after dark on a Friday. I was driving southbound and noticed the congestion in that area. I'm in hopes that I will be able to pass through that area before everyone gets off work and starts shopping. By that time, I should know what my destination will be and perhaps Waze will be able to route me around any congestion. (I'll have a handful of lodging options picked out and will probably reserve while I'm on the road).
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hbelkins

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Re: Possible trip: Kentucky to Delaware and back in December
« Reply #9 on: December 05, 2017, 09:23:51 AM »

Found a reasonably-priced hotel in Annapolis for Friday and Saturday night of the trip (which is for the Delaware meet, I can say now that it has been officially announced.) The plan is to leave work early Thursday afternoon and stay in Hillsville, Va., then on Friday head across US 58 to Danville and start working on US 360. As I've said before, the goal is to get as much of 360 done before about 3 p.m., then head toward Annapolis via US 301. If I don't get all the way out to Reedville to clinch 360, I'll do that Sunday morning after I leave Annapolis.

But if I do finish 360, I've had a new wrinkle thrown into my possible route home. I thought I had all of West Virginia's primary routes clinched, but turns out I was mistaken. I lack WV 29 between old WV 55/259 near Baker and US 50. So if the weather isn't bad, I can get that route on the way home. I'd hit US 50 somewhere near Winchester, follow it into West Virginia, take WV 29 south to Corridor H, then across Corridor H to I-79.

This was discussed a bit a couple of years ago when I drove to Annapolis for a conference, but I'm looking for suggestions on the best way to get from the east side of DC to the west side of DC early on a Sunday morning. When I drove this route in reverse on a Sunday afternoon in September a couple of years ago, I took the south side of the beltway. I'd be going westbound around 9-10 a.m. on a Sunday morning this time, if not a bit earlier. Should I opt for the south side of the beltway again, or is there a better option?

This question will be moot if I don't get US 360 finished on Friday (and I can finish WV 29 when I go to the Susquehanna Valley meet next spring), which probably means (yawn) I-64 from Richmond to Charlottesville and then on to a probable overnight stop in Beckley.
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1995hoo

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Re: Possible trip: Kentucky to Delaware and back in December
« Reply #10 on: December 09, 2017, 12:46:26 PM »

If your question about going around DC on a Sunday morning is related to traffic, the answer is it usually doesn't matter unless there is an accident or something. The southern route is a wider road because you don't have the narrow segment between the two spurs of I-270, but that segment doesn't really slow it much. At that time of day there isn't much shopping traffic near the malls, either. I'd suggest listening to the traffic reports on WTOP (103.5- and 107.7-FM or AM-1500), which air "on the 8s" (x:08, x:18, etc.), and deciding based on that.

If you just want an alternate route, such as if you might like to look at the new toll signage for I-66, you could go across the District. I think this is probably the easiest route: US-50 west from Annapolis, then connect south to DC-295 (I believe there is a speed camera as you enter the District), then onto I-695. Continue onto I-395, cross into Virginia via the non-HOV bridge (stay to the right), and take the exit on the right for VA-110. Follow it onto I-66. If you really want to see the new toll signage, the best thing to do would be to exit I-66 at Exit 73, then keep straight through the traffic lights and get back on the highway at the ramp near the top of the hill maybe half a mile or so up the road. Reason: The signs over the highway near Rosslyn are older electronic-message signs, but the signs over Route 29 are the new rate signs. (You could also continue on Route 29 to the next entrance to see more of the new signs. It's about another mile and the ramp is on the left after you go down the hill and pass National Pawnbrokers on the left and the strip mall on the right.)
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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.

 


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