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Old 07-12-2016, 08:35 PM   #1
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Washington DC beltway

We plan to travel from near Philadelphia to Charlottesville VA in August and Goggle maps take us by Baltimore and on 495 around Washington DC. It should be on a Saturday which hopefully will reduce traffic. We will be towing a 34 ft 5th wheel. Is this do able or are we crazy? Let me know what you think.

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Old 07-12-2016, 08:55 PM   #2
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FWIW I would take 50 and 301 because I am not in a hurry and hate 4-6 lanes on my side of the road. YMMV. ;-)

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Old 07-13-2016, 04:08 AM   #3
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Rt. 301 has a lot of traffic lights thru Waldorf. I live in the area and avoid the Waldorf area on weekends. I have gone both ways many time, if it was me I would tale the 495.
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Old 07-13-2016, 05:16 AM   #4
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Washington DC beltway

I take I95 to 896 ( last exit before tolls ) in Delaware, then take 896 south to where it becomes 301. Take 301 to where it joins 50, and then stay on 50 west to Capitol Beltway. I then take the Beltway until I pick up I95 south. A Saturday should cut down the heavy traffic, although that isn't any guarantee. Have taken this route several times with our MH and toad.

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Old 07-13-2016, 06:37 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by Dhoman46 View Post
We plan to travel from near Philadelphia to Charlottesville VA in August and Goggle maps take us by Baltimore and on 495 around Washington DC. It should be on a Saturday which hopefully will reduce traffic. We will be towing a 34 ft 5th wheel. Is this do able or are we crazy? Let me know what you think.
It is no more congested than any other major city. I have had my rig through there many times without problems. The roads and traffic are just going to continue to get more and more crowded.
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Old 07-13-2016, 10:11 AM   #6
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I just drove thru yesterday from Pirateland back to PA. Though it was not the weekend it wasn't any worse than driving thru Philly.
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Old 07-18-2016, 08:01 PM   #7
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Philly to Charlottesville

As you can see, you have two major options. If you're thinking of coming down I-295 from the Philly area, headed towards Wilmington DE and points south, your first headache will come on the DE side of the Del Mem Bridge - with all the construction there, the southbound lanes of I-295 that feed into I-95 are ALWAYS backed up on Saturday mornings. Trust me. We were just through there on 7/16. So I'd stay in Pennsylvania, and take I-95 thru Wilmington, or I-495 down along the river, and thusly stay west of the crap at the Del Mem. But we don't know exactly where you're beginning from, so it's hard to say.

Once you get past the spot where all three roads join up, around Christiana, it's not so bad. Four or five lanes southbound, even more when you get near Baltimore. If you decide to stay on I-95, the only concern you have is the prohibition against Propane in the harbor tunnels. You need to take the I-695 bypass and the bridge, rather than either of the I-95 tunnels - IF you have those big ol' tanks off the front end of your towable. If you don't have those 20+ pounders, I'd just slide on through the tunnels. Then stay on I-95 and the eastern I-495 beltway past DC, following the signs for Alexandria.

The somewhat less 'hectic' alternative is, as mentioned, US 301/50 (mostly 301) Follow the directions above taking the DE 896 exit off I-95 (I think it's 1A) and sliding south to hook up with US 301 a few miles down the road around Glasgow. 301 down through the Delmarva is a nice, flat, relaxed ride with only about three traffic lights between Wilmington and Annapolis.

Well, actually, there are a couple more, but not until you get to the bridge across the bay, where you've hooked up with US 50. About a couple of miles on the other side of Annapolis, 301 splits off to the south (take it) and 50 heads directly into DC (don't take it, unless you're planning on lunching on the White House lawn...)

It's not too bad, but as mentioned, there is a stretch around Waldorf/La Plata that has some traffic, but it's really not bad. Once past La Plata, and over the Potomac River, it's smooth sailing through Fort A P Hill and then you will see all sorts of signage hooking you back up with I-95 just north of Richmond. You're going to look for the I-295 WEST or NORTH leg, since you're heading out I-64 to C-ville.

If it was me, I'd do the US 301 route, especially if you've never done it that way. It's really night and day from I-95. Apart from Waldorf area, it's a smooth, easy, ride.

Here are some sample shots of what the 301 route looks like, taken at various times and dates in the last few years. (They were taken going NORTH, but you get the idea..)
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