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Old 10-25-2014, 07:24 AM   #1
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Mount Pocono to Ormond Beach FL

Hello fellow RVers:

I am planning on starting an annual trek to FL as a snowbird from Mount Pocono PA to Ormond Beach FL; want to leave PA around last week January and return around 2nd week of March. I would like to travel around 200-250 miles a day max . I've been told to take 80 West to 81 south, stop in Winchester VA. Then tack east on 66 and pick up 17 South to land in Fredericksburg, VA. From there, take 95 South all the way down.

I've been warned there is a stretch during which it's straight up for 7 miles (in VA) and 7 miles straight down (back-to-back). All well and good. What could go wrong? (Ha ha)

Have others taken this route, doing about 250 miles a day? I want to stay at campgrounds for the most part, not parking lots. I know it costs more. I'm somewhat flexible, maybe I can mix it up a bit--campground every other day, for instance. Or campground every 3rd day (see, I'm getting cheaper the more I think about it.) The camper is winterized on the leg down and back, so, cheap as I am, I think I'll need a campground with facilities! Ha!

Has anyone else done this trek at 200-250 miles travelled each day (which should take me about 5 days' travel) with a winterized vehicle? Where did you stay? Do I need to start making reservations at campgrounds to be on the safe side?

Thanks.

Sincerely, Gabriela
2007 Sunseeker Class C (about 31' long, 2 slides), no toad
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Old 10-25-2014, 07:47 AM   #2
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I have been over that route as far as NC. It would work well to get you around DC. You can also stay W of the mountains and go further south west before cutting south as you will need to do it sooner or later. That gives you some route variation. Your biggest problem will be finding open campgrounds. I found a few looking at this site and following their links:

Tips - Resources - References for Planning your next RV Trip

Off hand I cannot think of any place on that route that would have 7 miles of straight up or down. Maybe some long 3% grades but one has to get way higher than that to count as "straight". ;-)
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Old 10-26-2014, 07:37 AM   #3
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Thanks

Thanks for that info. I will follow the link. Sincerely, Gabriela
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Old 10-26-2014, 08:41 AM   #4
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You could also keep going on 81 to Wytheville then take 77 thru Charlotte to Columbia then 26E to 95 this will almost put you at the Georgia border. I think it is less stressful and more scenic.
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Old 10-26-2014, 08:53 PM   #5
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I do it every year from Harrisburg/Hershey to FL Keys. Do the 81 to 77. Stay at Wytheville at the Fort Chiswell Campground. Great stopover. You'll meet a lot of people doing the same trip. I go from there to Coastal Georgia Campground near Brunswick, GA (off I-95). Highways are great. Some long hills, but nothing different than I-81 in the Poconos! Have a sweet trip. We leave Jan 4, come home March 1.
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Old 10-26-2014, 08:56 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Petersr58 View Post
You could also keep going on 81 to Wytheville then take 77 thru Charlotte to Columbia then 26E to 95 this will almost put you at the Georgia border. I think it is less stressful and more scenic.
I agree that is my route every year

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Old 10-27-2014, 02:30 PM   #7
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You could also keep going on 81 to Wytheville then take 77 thru Charlotte to Columbia then 26E to 95 this will almost put you at the Georgia border. I think it is less stressful and more scenic.
Thanks for the advice. Hope to go this year, but it will depend on many factors. Right now I'm leaning toward a trip late January/early Feb (which in itself is a bit tricky), with following stops:

Day 1: Mount Pocono to Frederick, MD, 201 miles 80 to 81 (I think--need to relook at map on this one)

Day 2: Frederick, MD to Fredericksburg, VA (visit sister) 93 miles, 95 all the way

Day 3: Frederickburg, VA to Smithfield, NC, 222 miles, 95 all the way

Day 4: Smithfield, NC to Walterboro, SC, 240 miles, 95 all the way

Day 5: Walterboro, SC to JAX, FL, 200 miles, 95 all the way, visit JAX friend

Day 6: JAX FL to Ormond Beach, FL, 84 miles, 95 all the way

I don't know about scenic if scenic means (say, return trip) snow, ice, hills. Remember, I'm driving in February!! Yeah, must be crazy. What could go wrong? Gulp.

Gabriela
2007 FR Sunseeker, about 30' Class C, no toad, newbie to the road, loving my Bessie, tho'
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Old 10-27-2014, 03:06 PM   #8
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I do it every year from Harrisburg/Hershey to FL Keys. Do the 81 to 77. Stay at Wytheville at the Fort Chiswell Campground. Great stopover. You'll meet a lot of people doing the same trip. I go from there to Coastal Georgia Campground near Brunswick, GA (off I-95). Highways are great. Some long hills, but nothing different than I-81 in the Poconos! Have a sweet trip. We leave Jan 4, come home March 1.
Hello, fellow RVers:

For some reason, I'm having an aversion to 81, which I have travelled on my trips to Hershey, PA and to Lancaster, PA. Isn't 81 where there is a lot of construction with cement barriers on both sides of the road which the RV can barely pass thru unscraped? My sister drove Bessie from Phoenix, AZ, where I purchased it, to Mount Pocono, PA, and she said there was a stretch near the last leg on the last day where she was hemmed in on both sides by concrete barriers and barely could make it (white knuckle time). I bet that was Route 81. I am alone and nervous about that kind of situation. Don't hem me in.

As I am determined to keep myself to around 200 miles a day (I know this is snail-paced, but I know my limits), I want to really limit miles, especially miles in NE during late January/early Feb (with a return trip late Feb, early March, just can't be away more than month of Feb., approximately).

Anyway, in the interest of visiting my sister in Fredricksburg, VA and also, I want to do a stop at Gettysburg to pay my respect to those who sacrificed so much (just love Gettysburg), I am thinking of this route and would like any caveats that I am not thinking it through properly:

To get from Mount Pocono to Frederick, MD on day 1, a trip of 200 miles, I shall try out this route, unless someone tells me "don't do it":

Take 80 to 476 (PA turnpike--I know there are tolls, but how bad are they?)

Take 476 to Route 78 (head W on 78 off of 476 south)

Take 15S to Frederick, MD, stopping in Gettysburg, PA.

Next day: Take 270S from Frederick, MD to 495S near rockville, MD. Now 495S is the dread "Washington beltway"--yes, but I will try not to travel during rush hour. Alright, and I'm only on 495S from Rockville to getting off unto 95 S at Springfield, VA., a trip of perhaps 25 miles, max.

What could go wrong? This is late Jan, 2015. Gulp.

Sincerely, Gabriela
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Old 10-27-2014, 03:55 PM   #9
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Please remember us when you get home and give us a trip report. I just gave the same advise to a friend but he elected to go the 95 route all the way(he said it was a bad mistake not to listen to all the good advise he was given). Remember the Washington Beltway rush hour starts at 0500 and ends at 2200 hrs. seven days a week. He encountered so much construction and bad roads that his microwave ended up on the floor
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Old 10-27-2014, 04:09 PM   #10
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I take the same route (81-66-17-95) from Wilkes-Barre to Leesburg. I stop at a few rest areas when I get tired. Have been doing it for bike week since 2000 and several trips per year. (Mom lives in Leesburg).
Total trip takes 20 hours average (DW wont drive). Have never seen a 7 mile stretch up or down. Steepest climb is on 81 between Wilkes Barre and route 80 and you will be missing that.

Maybe next trip I'll try the 81-77 route just for a change.

Just be careful with the weather and you will be fine.
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Old 10-27-2014, 07:46 PM   #11
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Gabriela....
>>>>>....To get from Mount Pocono to Frederick, MD on day 1, a trip of 200 miles, I shall try out this route, unless someone tells me "don't do it":


Take 80 to 476..... to Route 78....15S to Frederick, MD, stopping in Gettysburg, PA.....<<<<<


I don't understand your aversion to I-81, but you should be aware that on the route you've selected above I-78 and I-81 are collocated for several miles in and northeast of Harrisburg.

>>>>..... Next day: Take 270S from Frederick, MD to 495S near rockville, MD. Now 495S is the dread "Washington beltway"--yes, but I will try not to travel during rush hour. Alright, and I'm only on 495S from Rockville to getting off unto 95 S at Springfield, VA., a trip of perhaps 25 miles, max....<<<<


You are not familiar with these roads, and should heed the advice of those who are. You go to great lengths to avoid a possible bit of construction on I-81, yet unhesitatingly disregard the helpful advice of experienced travelers regarding the DC area, saying 'well its only 25 miles from Rockville to Springfield.'

What you don't understand is that the high density traffic will begin at or before Gaithersburg on I-270 and likely continue all around the beltway. And I assure you it will not end at Springfield. It is likely you'll also be in crawling congestion all the way from the mixing bowl (Beltway x I-95 interchange at Springfield-- why do you suppose they call it that?) south to at least Quantico (47 miles from Rockville), and it is not unheard of for the congestion to reach 15 more miles, all the way to Fredericksburg.

Now, its strictly your choice Gabriela, but many who have literally gone before you have offered their advice that your trip would be far more pleasant if you were to make an alternate choice.

Enjoy!
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Old 10-27-2014, 11:26 PM   #12
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I just did the 81 - 66 - 17 - 95 this past summer and there are no mountains to go over unless I was asleep at the wheel and missed them. You are crossing just south of Washington DC so your out of that mess and just north of the mountains, I thought it was a very relaxing way to go. Used wally world in Fredricksburg for and overnight just off the exit on 95.
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Old 10-28-2014, 08:53 AM   #13
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You've convinced me to go the other route to get to Fredericksburg

Quote:
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Gabriela....
>>>>>....To get from Mount Pocono to Frederick, MD on day 1, a trip of 200 miles, I shall try out this route, unless someone tells me "don't do it":


Take 80 to 476..... to Route 78....15S to Frederick, MD, stopping in Gettysburg, PA.....<<<<<


I don't understand your aversion to I-81, but you should be aware that on the route you've selected above I-78 and I-81 are collocated for several miles in and northeast of Harrisburg.

>>>>..... Next day: Take 270S from Frederick, MD to 495S near rockville, MD. Now 495S is the dread "Washington beltway"--yes, but I will try not to travel during rush hour. Alright, and I'm only on 495S from Rockville to getting off unto 95 S at Springfield, VA., a trip of perhaps 25 miles, max....<<<<


You are not familiar with these roads, and should heed the advice of those who are. You go to great lengths to avoid a possible bit of construction on I-81, yet unhesitatingly disregard the helpful advice of experienced travelers regarding the DC area, saying 'well its only 25 miles from Rockville to Springfield.'

What you don't understand is that the high density traffic will begin at or before Gaithersburg on I-270 and likely continue all around the beltway. And I assure you it will not end at Springfield. It is likely you'll also be in crawling congestion all the way from the mixing bowl (Beltway x I-95 interchange at Springfield-- why do you suppose they call it that?) south to at least Quantico (47 miles from Rockville), and it is not unheard of for the congestion to reach 15 more miles, all the way to Fredericksburg.

Now, its strictly your choice Gabriela, but many who have literally gone before you have offered their advice that your trip would be far more pleasant if you were to make an alternate choice.

Enjoy!
Dear RV friends:

Well, you've convinced me, folks, I am re-routing. Yes, Washington DC beltway is horrifically horrific, and I lived in McLean VA from around 1963-1973 and it was awful then, when it was far less crowded.

And i've also decided "the point is to smell the roses." So I'm just going to go pokey slow and stop a lot because I'm almost 62, travelling alone and an RV newbie. So I have to take it easy, because I am sure there are going to be surprises (there always are). I'm taking the alternative route to Fredericksburg. Got to get to Fredericksburg to see the sister, but other than that, I am as free as a bird, which was the whole point of buying an RV.

So now I'm going that alternative route even though it will take me longer.

And if i get in trouble en route, you'll be hearing from me.

Aside: so glad I got a 30 footer now, because I'm so late in booking in FL that if I'd had anything longer, i'd have been out of luck entirely. As it is, i'm getting bounced around quite a bit within Tomoka State Park in Ormond Beach. Oh, well, I was lucky to get anything.

Anastacia State Park in St. Augustine totally, totally booked. Have to try for 2016.

And the Flagler Beach State Park (that's not it's name) is totally, totally booked.

Wow, I had no idea.

Is anyone going to Tomoka State Park in February? 90% of my trip is there.

Thanks. Sincerely, Gabriela
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