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Author Topic: Bridge- and route-clinching trip possibility (PA, VA)  (Read 1059 times)

hbelkins

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Bridge- and route-clinching trip possibility (PA, VA)
« on: July 19, 2018, 10:18:57 AM »

I'm looking at trying to do a trip that would allow me to clinch all Ohio River crossings and then clinch a couple of routes. Part of this is an offshoot of the Pulaski Skyway mini-meet trip that I ended up not taking.

My plans are to travel to East Liverpool, Ohio, and then proceed east into Pennsylvania. I already have the routing planned to cross each intrastate river crossing. I'll be crossing both ways on the Shippingport and Sewickley bridges, but will be crossing all the other bridges only once. I also do not have to cross the I-376 and I-79 bridges, having previously crossed them.

I'll end up crossing the West End Bridge southbound, but then it gets tricky. My next goal is to clinch I-579, which will give me a total clinch of all interstates in Pennsylvania. Right now, my plan is to go to I-376 east, go through the Fort Pitt Tunnel and across the Fort Pitt Bridge, then a route that would take me to Exit 72A to Forbes Avenue, then Craft Avenue, Craft Place and Boulevard of the Allies to access I-579, but I'm open to other ideas. Would I be better off crossing back northbound on the West End Bridge and then trying to get to I-579 that way? (I see no direct access from I-279 north to I-579 south). I would probably be doing this fairly early on a Saturday morning, so hopefully traffic in the tunnel and across the Fort Pitt Bridge wouldn't be an issue.

From there, plans are to get out to US 22 in Monroeville and follow it east beyond the Altoona area to US 522, to clinch it. I have 522 from the southern 22 split all the way to its northern terminus. I also have it from Hancock to Winchester, so I'm not sure if the fastest route from Hancock to Winchester is to stay on 522 through West Virginia, or take I-70 to I-81.

From Winchester, I have bits and pieces of 522, but I'd be driving the whole thing through Front Royal, Culpeper and Gum Spring to the route's end at Powahatan. From there, the idea is to go to Lynchburg and finish US 501 in Virginia, and that appears to be best accomplished by taking US 60 to Amherst and then US 29 south, unless someone has a better idea. I already have all of 501 north of 29, so I'd be driving to South Boston and then down into North Carolina.

Here's where I'm open for ideas. The goal is to get to Hillsville/Galax, Wytheville, Princeton or Beckley to spend the night. I already have US 220 clinched, so I have no need to take it north to Roanoke and then possibly to Clifton Forge to hit I-64. I also have US 221 from Lynchburg all the way south to Boone, so I don't need any mileage on it. And I've also driven US 58 between Hillsville and US 360 in recent months, so no need to revisit that. Some backtracking on 501 from the state line back to South Boston may be necessary.

That timeline may be adjusted depending on when I leave. If I overnight Friday in East Liverpool, then the goal would be to spend Saturday night somewhere around Winchester. I'd be shooting for the above SW VA/southern WV goals on Sunday, but that may be too much of a chunk to bite off. However, if I leave home early Saturday, I'd be shooting for the Altoona area for Saturday night, and all bets would be off on other overnight destinations and the timing of reaching them.

Comments/suggestions appreciated, especially on how to get from the VA/NC border on 501 back to the I-77 corridor that might involve some new scenery.
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Re: Bridge- and route-clinching trip possibility (PA, VA)
« Reply #1 on: July 19, 2018, 04:23:28 PM »

Quote
back to the I-77 corridor that might involve some new scenery.

Plenty of secondary routes in the area...
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hbelkins

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Re: Bridge- and route-clinching trip possibility (PA, VA)
« Reply #2 on: July 20, 2018, 11:19:38 AM »

Quote
back to the I-77 corridor that might involve some new scenery.

Plenty of secondary routes in the area...

Thought about US 158 west to at least the US 29 or 220 corridors, then angling northwest. Another possibility is VA 8 through Stuart and Floyd to Christiansburg.
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Re: Bridge- and route-clinching trip possibility (PA, VA)
« Reply #3 on: July 20, 2018, 11:51:50 AM »

Kind of depends if there's anything else in the area you want to clinch.  But, given the construction on I-77 north at Bluefield, I'd definitely take 460 west from Blacksburg to avoid it.  I'd probably take US-158 -> NC 86 -> US-58 -> VA-8 to Blacksburg.
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Re: Bridge- and route-clinching trip possibility (PA, VA)
« Reply #4 on: July 27, 2018, 01:26:12 PM »

Pretty sure US 522 Hancock to Winchester is the fastest route

Powhatan to Lynchburg can be accomplished a couple ways if you don't need US 60 and US 29 for new mileage:

VA 45 from US 60 to Farmville
VA 24 from US 60 to Appomattox
Follow old VA 49 and old VA 38 from the south end of US 522:  VA 13 to Tobaccoville then SR 681 south to Amelia, then use VA 307 to get over to US 460

From US 501 at border to I-77 area, you could go back to Halifax (clinch the silly VA 349 between US 501 and VA 360!) by using VA 129 instead of US 501.  Then drive all of VA 57 to VA 8 then you have options north or south:
Go south and clinch the recent VA 8 bypass of Stuart then use VA 103 to Mt Airy NC
Go north to Christiansburg
Take US 58 to Hillsville or Galax and drive either all of VA 94 or VA 100
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hbelkins

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Re: Bridge- and route-clinching trip possibility (PA, VA)
« Reply #5 on: July 27, 2018, 01:55:54 PM »

Pretty sure US 522 Hancock to Winchester is the fastest route

Powhatan to Lynchburg can be accomplished a couple ways if you don't need US 60 and US 29 for new mileage:

VA 45 from US 60 to Farmville
VA 24 from US 60 to Appomattox
Follow old VA 49 and old VA 38 from the south end of US 522:  VA 13 to Tobaccoville then SR 681 south to Amelia, then use VA 307 to get over to US 460

From US 501 at border to I-77 area, you could go back to Halifax (clinch the silly VA 349 between US 501 and VA 360!) by using VA 129 instead of US 501.  Then drive all of VA 57 to VA 8 then you have options north or south:
Go south and clinch the recent VA 8 bypass of Stuart then use VA 103 to Mt Airy NC
Go north to Christiansburg
Take US 58 to Hillsville or Galax and drive either all of VA 94 or VA 100

I have both 94 and 100; in fact, with the exception of some of the park and school routes that are signed as primaries that I don't know about, I have all the primaries clinched west of I-77 (and VA 100 as well, along with all of US 220 and US 221 in Virginia.)

I need a little of US 29 between Amherst and Lynchburg, but since I don't have 29 between Lynchburg and the NC state line, or from I-66 near VA 55 to the Key Bridge, I may end up going straight from Powhatan to South Boston and then coming north on 501 to Lynchburg. That gives me a few more options to get over to the I-77 corridor, although not really any new ones.

Concerning the Pittsburgh part, what I may end up doing after crossing the West End Bridge is re-crossing it, then taking US 19 north to I-279 south to I-579. Hopefully the Squirrel Hill Tunnel won't be too badly congested on a Saturday morning, so I can just follow US 22 west from there. My best overnight options appear to be in Monaca (nicer hotel that's cheaper than East Liverpool) so I may end up there on the Friday evening of this trip.

If gas prices don't get cheaper, I may not even end up doing this. At any rate, I'll definitely be filling up in Ohio and hoping that the gas lasts me until Virginia.
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hbelkins

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Re: Bridge- and route-clinching trip possibility (PA, VA)
« Reply #6 on: July 29, 2018, 02:04:38 PM »

Looking like the way things will work now, a Friday night in Monaca and Saturday night in Culpeper. The fact that Culpeper doesn't have a Sheetz is a negative factor, however. How can a city that size in the middle of Sheetz territory, along a fairly major corridor, not have a Sheetz?
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Re: Bridge- and route-clinching trip possibility (PA, VA)
« Reply #7 on: July 29, 2018, 06:26:02 PM »

Why not take US 19 south from the West End Bridge, then go through the Liberty Tunnels, across the Liberty Bridge, and on to I-579?
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hbelkins

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Re: Bridge- and route-clinching trip possibility (PA, VA)
« Reply #8 on: July 30, 2018, 11:36:19 AM »

Why not take US 19 south from the West End Bridge, then go through the Liberty Tunnels, across the Liberty Bridge, and on to I-579?

Hadn't thought of that one. I presume the tunnel would be open on Saturday morning?
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Re: Bridge- and route-clinching trip possibility (PA, VA)
« Reply #9 on: July 31, 2018, 08:55:33 AM »

Looking like the way things will work now, a Friday night in Monaca and Saturday night in Culpeper. The fact that Culpeper doesn't have a Sheetz is a negative factor, however. How can a city that size in the middle of Sheetz territory, along a fairly major corridor, not have a Sheetz?
There was one in Madison, not too far away, a few years ago.
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hbelkins

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Re: Bridge- and route-clinching trip possibility (PA, VA)
« Reply #10 on: August 14, 2018, 09:43:59 PM »

So, here's what it looks like:

Friday -- Kentucky to Monaca, Pa. Taking WV 2 through Parkersburg to avoid the mess on I-64 near Milton, and on to St. Marys. Will cross the river and continue to East Liverpool on OH 7, which is a faster route with fewer towns, traffic lights, and speed limit reductions than WV 2 beyond St. Marys. Gas up sometime before entering the Commonwealth of Taxsylvania, then continue on OH 39, which becomes PA 68. Cross the Shippingport bridge and then back, and on to the stop for the night.

Saturday -- Pennsylvania to Culpeper, Va. Finish up the bridges, culminating with crossing the West End Bridge southbound. Per Brian P.'s suggestion, continue on US 19 south to the tunnel, then clinch I-579. From there, probably PA 28 out to the turnpike, then the turnpike to Monroeville, then east on US 22 all the way to US 522. From there, US 522 south to Culpeper, where I expect to stay for the night. If I can't find any good inexpensive lodging options, I may head east on VA 3 to Fredericksburg, and then return to Culpeper the next morning to resume 522. The goal is to be in for the the night before the Bristol night race green flag.

Sunday -- Virginia to ??. Finish 522, then US 60 west to US 29 south to Lynchburg, then US 501 south into North Carolina. Probably will take US 158 west to Reidsville, NC 14 to Eden, then NC 770 and 704 to NC 8. Then north on 8 to Stuart, Va., and from there I can either continue on VA 8 to Christiansburg, or US 58 to I-77. Possible lodging options are Hillsville, Galax, the Wytheville/Max Meadows area, Christiansburg, Princeton or Beckley, depending on how far I get.

Monday -- ??. This is pretty much an open day. I may end up in the Tri-Cities area of Tennessee, or the Advantage Valley Corridor of West Virginia.

Anyone know of any issues to report on the routes listed?
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Re: Bridge- and route-clinching trip possibility (PA, VA)
« Reply #11 on: August 14, 2018, 10:12:43 PM »

Not sure if it's still there, but the Super 8 in Culpeper (south of town where US-29 Business rejoins the main road) is to be avoided. Was not very clean.

BTW, if you do wind up heading east on Route 3, there is a decent Sheetz on the southwest corner of the intersection with Route 20 in Wilderness.
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Re: Bridge- and route-clinching trip possibility (PA, VA)
« Reply #12 on: August 14, 2018, 10:37:14 PM »

I-77 north through Bluefield/Princeton is still under construction.  When we went up there in June it was a parking lot south of Exit 62 in VA, and I've heard from others it's not gotten better.  Google says they are switching closures to southbound traffic starting the 20th so you may luck out if they're finished by the time you go through.
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Re: Bridge- and route-clinching trip possibility (PA, VA)
« Reply #13 on: August 15, 2018, 12:25:07 AM »

There’s also a Sheetz at the south end of 522.
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hbelkins

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Re: Bridge- and route-clinching trip possibility (PA, VA)
« Reply #14 on: August 15, 2018, 01:46:19 PM »

I don't know what's going on in Culpeper Saturday night, but hotel rooms are getting scarce and prices are sky-high. Front Royal is too far north, as it adds an hour to the drive on Sunday, and there's nothing between Culpeper and Powhatan that shows up on Trip Advisor. It's looking like Fredericksburg or maybe even Short Pump are going to have to be my choices, adding a half-hour of backtracking on Sunday morning. Sunday's an ambitious day anyway, so I just may have to bite the bullet and pay inflated prices at Culpeper on Saturday night.
« Last Edit: August 15, 2018, 02:38:58 PM by hbelkins »
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Mapmikey

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Re: Bridge- and route-clinching trip possibility (PA, VA)
« Reply #15 on: August 15, 2018, 07:38:07 PM »

instead of coming all the way to Fredericksburg you could try Warrenton...the backtrack is a little shorter.  Plus you could then drive either VA 229 or the former VA 29 (SR 802) if you have done so before when heading back to US 522...

The only event I can see after a quick search that could cause a hotel price surge is the annual Flying Circus Balloon Festival and if that is the cause then Warrenton won't be any better...

Another place would be Orange but it appears this weekend is pretty pricey there as well...
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hbelkins

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Re: Bridge- and route-clinching trip possibility (PA, VA)
« Reply #16 on: August 15, 2018, 08:22:39 PM »

instead of coming all the way to Fredericksburg you could try Warrenton...the backtrack is a little shorter.  Plus you could then drive either VA 229 or the former VA 29 (SR 802) if you have done so before when heading back to US 522...

The only event I can see after a quick search that could cause a hotel price surge is the annual Flying Circus Balloon Festival and if that is the cause then Warrenton won't be any better...

Another place would be Orange but it appears this weekend is pretty pricey there as well...

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Hotels-g58288-Warrenton_Virginia-Hotels.html

Surprisingly, only a handful of hotels in Warrenton. The most affordable is a HoJo that has very bad reviews. Everything else is north of a C-note, which is a deal-breaker for me.

The Red Roof in Culpeper, surprisingly enough, is also the recipient of a lot of bad reviews, which is unusual because most Red Roofs get pretty good ratings. There's a Red Carpet Inn that's affordable, but it's not a chain and thus no loyalty points would accrue, and probably no discounts. (I try to use Wyndham or Choice when possible because both have rewards programs and there's a good discount through my insurance company; I'm also in Red Roof's program and get a price cut because of my employment.)
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hbelkins

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Re: Bridge- and route-clinching trip possibility (PA, VA)
« Reply #17 on: August 16, 2018, 12:49:27 PM »

Update: I rolled the dice and reserved a room at Red Roof. The price was good and after I dug down into the reviews, they were mixed enough that I decided it can't be THAT bad.
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Re: Bridge- and route-clinching trip possibility (PA, VA)
« Reply #18 on: August 16, 2018, 12:58:44 PM »

Update: I rolled the dice and reserved a room at Red Roof. The price was good and after I dug down into the reviews, they were mixed enough that I decided it can't be THAT bad.

This used to be the Super 8.

The Pancho Villa restaurant next door is a local chain that has good food...we eat at the Fredericksburg one frequently.
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hbelkins

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Re: Bridge- and route-clinching trip possibility (PA, VA)
« Reply #19 on: August 22, 2018, 02:04:04 PM »

Might as well report on this trip in this thread.

I departed Friday and made my way to I-64 at Grayson, then headed over to WV 193 to WV 2. I opted for this route instead of I-64 to I-77 to avoid the mess that is the work zone around Milton. I've driven this route several times, but most frequently southbound, so it was a bit of a change.

I crossed over into Ohio at St. Marys, as OH 7 is a faster and better route than WV 2 due to the number of small towns and speed limit reductions on either side of the river.

It appears that some sort of construction project is going to close WV 2 north of New Martinsville. I noticed several "Detour WV 2" signs along OH 7 between the New Martinsville and Moundsville bridges.

It was starting to get dark, and had rained, when I approached East Liverpool. I got gas in Wellsville in order to not have to buy any in Pennsylvania and pay the high per-gallon tax rates. I wasn't really able to see a lot of the countryside along OH 39/PA 68. I did notice a bunch of "Detour PA 68" signs starting at East Liverpool. It appears a portion of PA 68 was closed that required a two-state detour (via US 30 in West Virginia and OH 39). One-state detours (such as the aforementioned one for WV 2) are pretty common. Wonder how common a two-state detoru is?

I crossed the Shippingport Bridge, then crossed back and returned to PA 68, then went on to I-376 and to Monaca for the night.

Day 2 will be next.
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hbelkins

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Re: Bridge- and route-clinching trip possibility (PA, VA)
« Reply #20 on: August 22, 2018, 04:07:00 PM »

Day 2...

Got up early and hit the road about 7:15. I followed my route until I hit a snag on Neville Island. The eastern bridge was closed for painting. I ended up walking across the bridge and back so I count it as crossed. I ended up following Brian Powell's advice and used the Liberty Tunnel to access I-579, I drove beyond the Allegheny River crossing and turned around, but not before getting caught in a massive traffic jam early on a Saturday morning on northbound 279, where some pavement repairs were being done. I circled back to PA 28 and I followed it to the turnpike. When I exited PA 28 to access the turnpike, I saw an I-76 marker with the word "TURNPIKE" where the state name usually goes.

Interesting designs on the vertical walls on the turnpike on the southeast side of the Allegheny River, where the designs look like rock strata with darker lines for coal seams. I exited at the next exit (Monroeville) to follow US 22 east to access US 522.

With all the traffic lights and some stop-and-go traffic on US 22 just east of the turnpike, I can't see it being a viable shunpike option, although I have heard of a few folks who do use it as such. It seems to me that the heavy traffic and frequent stops out to about Blairsville would be a disadvantage.

I used I-99 and local roads to reconnect with US 22 to save some time, as I had already driven 22 through Hollidaysburg. The drive out to 522 was easier than I remember.

US 522 itself was not a bad drive, and I was able to make good time. I saw my cheapest gas in PA along this stretch; there was one place that had it for $2.999; the max I saw in PA was $3.399 in the Midland/Beaver area.

Ran into a small snag south of McConnellsburg, as the road was closed for a bridge replacement project. I drove up to the point of closure on both ends and followed the signed detour, so I still consider US 522 to be clinched. Many of the contractor detour signs were for PA 522, but I saw at least six permanent PennDOT PA 522 error signs along the stretch between McConnellsburg and I-70.

Everything between I-70 and Front Royal was previously-traveled territory for me, but I figured staying on 522 would be faster than using I-70 to I-81. Traffic was heavy through Berkeley Springs. I noted that the Sheetz in downtown Berkeley Springs was closed, but found that it had been replaced by a newer store a bit south.

Gas was in the $2.839-2.899 range through West Virginia, but dropped to $2.599 in Virginia. I filled up at the Sheetz at the corner of 522 and VA 39 for $2.599; surprise, surprise, the Sheetz app was wrong on prices and what was reported to be $2.599 on the app at the Sheetz on the other side of town was actually four cents cheaper.

US 522 continued to be an easy drive between Front Royal and Culpeper. Culpeper is closer to the mountains than I thought it was; it actually seems to be in a valley surrounded by mountains on three sides.

Made it to my motel in plenty of time to watch the Bristol night race, even with the green flag being moved up an hour because of weather concerns. I had ordered pizza the night before and had some left over, so that's what I had for my evening meal. Surprisingly enough, the hotel cluster at the intersection of US 29 and the business route has no restaurants close by except for a Mexican place next door. All the restaurants are on the north side of town, and I didn't want to drive out there and back. The hotel (the Red Roof, formerly a Super 8 as mentioned above) wasn't that bad. I was lucky to get a ground floor room; it has three stories and no elevator.
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Re: Bridge- and route-clinching trip possibility (PA, VA)
« Reply #21 on: August 22, 2018, 07:20:40 PM »

Good to know that Red Roof has improved. When it was a Super 8, we found it very sketchy and of questionable cleanliness—but it was around 2:00 AM after a big UVA football win over FSU and it was stop there or sleep in the car.
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Re: Bridge- and route-clinching trip possibility (PA, VA)
« Reply #22 on: August 23, 2018, 09:01:25 AM »

Quote from: hbelkins
Culpeper is closer to the mountains than I thought it was; it actually seems to be in a valley surrounded by mountains on three sides.

It's about 15 miles to the Blue Ridge as the crow flies.  But it's not really surrounded by mountains.  Smaller hills, yes, but not mountains.

Quote from: 1995hoo
When it was a Super 8, we found it very sketchy and of questionable cleanliness—but it was around 2:00 AM after a big UVA football win over FSU and it was stop there or sleep in the car.

Didn't have another hour-and-a-half in you?

(says the guy that once took a 2-hour nap at the Toe Ink Wayside on US 60 because he didn't have enough juice to get back to Norfolk) 😌
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Re: Bridge- and route-clinching trip possibility (PA, VA)
« Reply #23 on: August 23, 2018, 02:29:22 PM »

Quote from: 1995hoo
When it was a Super 8, we found it very sketchy and of questionable cleanliness—but it was around 2:00 AM after a big UVA football win over FSU and it was stop there or sleep in the car.

Didn't have another hour-and-a-half in you?

….

Not that late at night after being out in the sun at a all-day tailgate followed by a night football game!
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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.

hbelkins

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Re: Bridge- and route-clinching trip possibility (PA, VA)
« Reply #24 on: August 23, 2018, 03:08:10 PM »

Day 3

Departed Culpeper and headed back around the bypass to US 522 to pick up where I left off the day before. Virginia seems to like its useless concurrencies; the westernmost part of VA 3 is another prime example. There's no logical reason for it to continue concurrent with 522 to the US 15/29 business routes.

Again, I found 522 to be a fairly easy drive down to US 33. Concerning my previous comment about mountains, some could be seen in the distance to the south.

Past US 33, 522 is narrower and curvier on to I-64, US 250 and eventually US 60. I stopped at the Sheetz there to get a bite of breakfast and to use the restroom, then headed west on US 60, a drive I'd made about 10 years earlier returning from the first Richmond meet I attended.

I opted to stay on US 60 instead of using VA 24 to get to Lynchburg because I wanted to pick up some new mileage on US 29. You really start seeing mountains after passing VA 24; I bet that would be a pretty drive in the fall or after the leaves are off the trees. Interesting that eastbound traffic on 60 has to stop at the 24 intersection; it's almost as if the east 24-to east 60 movement is considered the through movement here, and vice versa (west 60 to west 24).

US 501 was a much easier drive than I expected, given the terrain. I stopped at the Sheetz at South Boston to fill up -- gas was a little more expensive in North Carolina -- and then headed south, completing 501 in Virginia.

To start back west, I followed 501 into North Carolina, then took US 158 west to where it crosses US 29, then continued on NC 14 to Eden. From there, I took US 311 south (around the bypass) and then followed NC 770 and 704 to NC 8. I turned right and headed back toward the land where I had to again disconnect my V1 and put it in the console.

If US 501 between Lynchburg and South Boston was an easier drive than I expected, then VA 8 between the state line and Floyd was exactly what I imagined. I was surprised, though to find there was not really that much of an elevation drop between the Blue Ridge Parkway and Floyd. I stopped at Floyd for a restroom break and decided to get a room in Beckley. After I reserved it, I headed back north on 8. It was an easy drive on to Christiansburg, as it appears much of the road has been improved.

I didn't explore a lot in Christiansburg, but I did see one cutout assembly for US 11 and 460 still standing. I took the business route out of town and hopped on the bypass at the first opportunity. All the at-grades on the Blacksburg bypass have finally been eliminated. There is some work taking place at the northern end of the Blacksburg business route, but I couldn't tell what's going on. I know this location has been discussed often, and its location at the foot of the mountain has been mentioned, but I actually noticed that there's a slight uphill rise on eastbound 460 that would allow vehicles to scrub off some speed should a traffic light be installed there.

I noticed two things at Glen Lyn. One is that the speed limit has been increased to 50 from whatever it was in the past (45, I think.) That makes the transition from West Virginia's 65 mph limit a little easier and less of a drastic drop. The other is that there is some really rough pavement in what appears to be a no-man's land. It's on the Virginia side of the state line, but it's concrete which leads me to believe it's original to when West Virginia constructed its portion of Corridor Q. Asphalt starts right at the state line, so for whatever reason Virginia has not seen fit to repave that very short section.

No issues on the WV Turnpike heading up to Beckley.
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