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Old 12-09-2014, 03:18 PM   #1
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I-95 South from New Jersey

I am towing a car for the first time this year on our trip to Florida in January. Previously we travelled I-80 West to I-81 South to I-64 to I-95, but my concerns are for icing in the mountain areas on 81 (hit some last year but was not towing).
Decided this year to travel I-95 since it is much flatter and also saves a day of travel time. From North Jersey we will get on I-95, over the Delaware Memorial Bridge, and lay over at the Maryland House rest stop until late evening before continuing thru Baltimore and DC. I do know I can't use the tunnels so have to decide which branch of 695 to use around Baltimore.
The east (or south) branch goes over the Francis Scott Key bridge - shorter but with tolls. The west (or north) branch is a bit longer but no bridges, tunnels or tolls. Then its on to 495 around DC - likely on the western half as it looks easier to get on from 95. After that just have to navigate 295 around Richmond and we are home free.
I have never travelled this exact route and am looking for any input or suggestions as to the viability of driving this one with a Berkshire 390RB and toad. Thanks in advance for any help!
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Old 12-09-2014, 03:42 PM   #2
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I lived in the Edgewater md area for several years and towed a 5th wheel around there quite often. I would suggest the south loop of 695 around Baltimore it has a lot less traffic normally. I would suggest the southern loop of 495 the traffic seems somewhat less on that side of the loop. Much traffic comes down from the north and connects to 495 west/north of the 95 entrance. It is much better to hit the 495 very early in the morning. None of this route is bad roads but the traffic can be very bad some times.
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Old 12-09-2014, 03:46 PM   #3
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That route and plan are fine. None of it is real tricky. I live dab smack between Baltimore and Washington and am only 10 miles or so off of I-95. Honk as ya go by.

I generally go I-695 to the south over the bridge and just pay the toll. But, I do that mostly because it's shorter and due to avoiding the traffic that the other direction can have. But, if you're nervous about bridges at night, then the north/west side is fine. Either way that you go, just make sure that you stay on it around to I-95 and don't get off onto the Baltimore/Washington Parkway.

Getting into DC, I95 dumps you immediately onto I-495 at a split for east or west. I actually feel like the east side is an easier of a drive and it just feels shorter. Going around the west side about 7 or 8 miles in is a weird slalom-like stretch of road that is very curvey (around the Wizard of Oz-looking Mormon Temple).

What time of day are you thinking of leaving the Maryland House rest area? And what day of the week are you planning on this for?
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Old 12-09-2014, 04:22 PM   #4
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I agree with ependydad. I live and work in Maryland, travel 95 everyday and have traveled with our RV to FL. Unless there are wind warnings (check overhead traffic messages) for the Baltimore Key Bridge (east side 695), go with that. The west side of 695 can be a nightmare anytime between 6am - 8pm - alot of traffic, exits, and conjestion. DC east side and 95 thru Richmond was good for us as long as it's between 8pm & 5:30am for DC and between 8pm & 6:30am for Richmond.
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Old 12-09-2014, 04:35 PM   #5
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Thanks all for the help! Plan is to leave on Saturday, and wait/nap in the rest area until midnight or so. Doing this should present minimal traffic on either branch of both 695 and 495. Based on the suggestions I will take the eastern/southern branches of both, unless, as mentioned, its too windy for the Key bridge.
Thanks again!!


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Old 12-09-2014, 06:04 PM   #6
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I've been to Florida the past two years with the Berk. I have taken I81 to I 77 to I 26 back to 95. By far a more pleasant driving experience than the 95 corridor. Not many more miles either. You make that up by not having to sit in traffic.
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Old 12-09-2014, 06:22 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by RKC02 View Post
Thanks all for the help! Plan is to leave on Saturday, and wait/nap in the rest area until midnight or so. Doing this should present minimal traffic on either branch of both 695 and 495. Based on the suggestions I will take the eastern/southern branches of both, unless, as mentioned, its too windy for the Key bridge.
Thanks again!!


RKC02

On a Saturday and if it were me, I'd drive straight through at any time of day.
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Old 12-09-2014, 07:16 PM   #8
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I use the I-95 alternative when headed south. I take US-301 to bypass I-95 from the DE state line to exit 104 on I-95 in VA. This route has lower speeds that I-95 in some areas, but you'll still save a considerable amount of time due to not sitting in traffic around DC.

There are also no tolls to deal with until you get to the Chesapeake Bridge in MD. The alternative route gets you off of I-95 at exit 1a in DE & you won't have a toll until you get to the bridge. You can take your break at Delaware House vice Maryland House.

I've found that the traffic is bad around DC no matter what time of day or day of the week.

You can Google 'I-95 Alternative' to get the exact route.
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Old 12-09-2014, 08:15 PM   #9
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RK-

Just came back from that way for Thanksgiving. We are in northern NJ as well. Went to Williamsburg VA for thanksgiving and down to the OBX for a two week trip in August.

I made it down both times with no traffic at all. You would need to add about a hour for Sussex county. We left at 7:30 PM traveled 95 to Delaware Memorial, to 295, and then 95, around the eastern point of 695 over the bridge at Baltimore and then through DC to Richmond VA. Got in at about 4:00AM, slept to 9:30AM and continued on to Williamsburg after breakfast.

Works like a charm southbound.

Used the 301 in august and then the Chesapeake Bay Bridge/Tunnel- 13/113 this past trip for the northbound legs to skip the traffic.


There are a few places to overnight in the Richmond area. The Flying J at exit 104 off 95 in Carmel Church VA is usually loaded with RVs overnighting. They offer propane, dump station, water fill up, a Dennys restaurant, fuel and a huge parking lot.

PM me for details.
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Old 12-09-2014, 11:33 PM   #10
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My choice would be to use the Rt 301 instead of 95
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Old 12-10-2014, 12:45 AM   #11
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Doing a similar trip in the first week of March. Definitely going the I-81 route instead of the I-95 one. It's 30 miles longer from Wilkes Barre to Daytona, but way worth avoiding Philly, Newark, Baltimore, DC, and Richmond. I'll take my chances with Harrisburg, Carlisle, Harrisonburg, and Roanoke...😃
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Old 12-10-2014, 04:18 AM   #12
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95 south of DC is a mess right now with construction and the back ups are terrible at certain times of day.
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Old 12-10-2014, 07:34 AM   #13
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Leaving Long Island for Disney Dec 28. Plan to go thru DC early in the morning on Sunday. Any recommendations.
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Old 12-10-2014, 08:37 AM   #14
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Not sure where you are starting in NJ, but I preferred to use 295 south ( vs NJ Turnpike) to the Del Mem bridge, no tolls and less traffic. Then 301 again no tolls but most of all no traffic and tunnels. Going south, there is no toll on the Chesapeake bay Bridge.
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Old 12-10-2014, 01:02 PM   #15
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Am heading from Cape Cod day after Christmas to Sarasota towing a 20' travel trailer............495 to 84 to 81 , then cutting over to 95 on either 64 or 77.............but, need a 2-3 day window of good weather since I don't want to drive that inland route down 81 with icy or snowy roads. If need be, I will take 95, and just take my time. Have done both ways.........each route has its pluses and minuses.
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Old 12-10-2014, 01:07 PM   #16
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Not sure where you are starting in NJ, but I preferred to use 295 south ( vs NJ Turnpike) to the Del Mem bridge, no tolls and less traffic. Then 301 again no tolls but most of all no traffic and tunnels. Going south, there is no toll on the Chesapeake bay Bridge.
that bridge just scares the crap outta me when towing.
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Old 12-10-2014, 02:39 PM   #17
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I-95

I'm with lotsip. We leave in a week from Southern New England, I-95 to the Tappan-Zee, I-287 and I-87 to I-81 to I-77 to I-26 to I-95 to I-10 to 301 to I-75 to Tampa. It is 100 miles longer and about 2 hours. One night at Cabellas in Hamburg, Pa. and 1 night in South Carolina. No tolls and much easier on the nerves.

Good Luck,
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Old 12-10-2014, 02:57 PM   #18
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I95 in the Charleston area is a little rough. We have been using it for the last 8 years and this year we took the I295 east around Jacksonville, FL and found it just a little longer, but MUCH nicer and easier than going straight thru on I95 which is a mess with heavy traffic and it is pretty rough also.

They need a bridge over the whole town so you could bypass it completely.
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Old 12-10-2014, 03:16 PM   #19
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I95 in the Charleston area is a little rough. We have been using it for the last 8 years and this year we took the I295 east around Jacksonville, FL and found it just a little longer, but MUCH nicer and easier than going straight thru on I95 which is a mess with heavy traffic and it is pretty rough also.

They need a bridge over the whole town so you could bypass it completely.
I'm likely going around that east side on I295 at Jacksonville. Is there a big bridge that way? I thought I read some people found it intimidating...
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Old 12-10-2014, 04:01 PM   #20
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I'm with lotsip. We leave in a week from Southern New England, I-95 to the Tappan-Zee, I-287 and I-87 to I-81 to I-77 to I-26 to I-95 to I-10 to 301 to I-75 to Tampa. It is 100 miles longer and about 2 hours. One night at Cabellas in Hamburg, Pa. and 1 night in South Carolina. No tolls and much easier on the nerves.

Good Luck,
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You mean I-78, not I-87, right ?
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