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Thread: NC to Miami

  1. Default NC to Miami

    Hi, folks. I could use some help with my driving plans:

    We're driving from North Carolina to the Port of Miami. Actually, we're driving to Fort Lauderdale on Saturday, and then we're doing the last hour that'll take us on into the port on Sunday. As you might guess, we're taking a cruise.

    I've been to Miami, but I got there in an airplane. I've never driven on the east coat between Orlando and Miami, and I've heard that it's not necessarily a pleasant drive.

    Here's my question:

    All the map programs tell us to take I-95 essentially all the way to Miami. What a simple drive!
    It's been suggested to me that we'd be better off to leave I-95 around Orlando and pick up the Ronald Reagan Turnpike.

    Is this a good idea?

    It'll add 39 miles to an already long trip. Going straight down I-95 is 788 miles for us. Taking the Turnpike will make it 827. I'm familiar with the idea that more miles don't always equal more time -- what speed limits might we expect on the Turnpike vs. I-95?

    Also, the Turnpike charges tolls. If I chose the right exits on the Toll Calculator, we're looking at $15 each way . . . and adding $30 is significant. Will we save enough time on the Turnpike to justify $30?

    Finally, what about conditions? Are we looking at stop-and-go traffic or other negatives?


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    I wouldn't detour all the way to Orlando. If traffic proves to be bad on 95, you can access the turnpike directly off it at Fort Pierce at Exit 129. Once you get that far, there are many connections between the 2 roads the rest of the way south.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default That First Step is a Killer

    Trying to drive more than 700 miles on any day is not the greatest idea you've ever had, and doing it the day before the start of a major undertaking only adds to the stress level. I would be most worried about the amount of effort you're going to be putting out the day before the ship leaves and the distinct possibility that you could oversleep and miss the sailing. I'd try to be fully packed in the afternoon before the drive down to Fort Lauderdale, relax on the veranda with a good stiff drink in the evening, and then get up dark and early the next morning so that I could hit the road before sun-up, get to my motel in the relatively early evening, and get a good night's sleep before boarding the boat.


  4. Default

    Ah, I wasn't really thinking about multiple opportunities to switch over to the other road. Thanks!

  5. Default

    Shoot . . . I had a good post typed out, and then the power company guy came to my door to fix something, and I lost it -- if this is a repeat post, I apologize . . .

    While I normally agree with not over-extending yourselves with too many miles, our situation isn't really as dire as you might expect:

    First, we're driving a big comfortable van, and we're not taking much luggage; between the back area and the Stow-and-Gos, everything'll be put away, giving us plenty of space to stretch out and move around in the van. We'll be able to switch places, watch a DVD, etc. No one'll be sitting Indian-style for the whole ride because of a duffle bag on the floorboard. I've hidden away the first season of "Secret Life of the American Teenager" (though my poor husband might die if he's forced to listen to it -- better make sure the girls pack their rockstars so they can split the headphones) and the newest season of "Heros", which we all like. We have magazines, snacks, etc. My girls love long drives because I'm so much more indulgent than I am at home!

    We expect 15 hours of actual driving, but split between four drivers, it's not like anyone's going to be doing massive amounts of time behind the wheel. We won't allow the girls to drive in crowded/unfamiliar areas (near Jacksonville and Orlando, for example), but they can certainly put some miles behind us in SC, Georgia, and most of Florida. The oldest is no stranger to interstate driving. Anyway, driver fatigue shouldn't be a problem.

    Our ship doesn't sail 'til 5:00 pm on Sunday and I figure at the latest we'll be in our Fort Lauderdale hotel by midnight Saturday, so over-sleeping really isn't a concern -- especially when we're sharing a suite with four over-excited teenagers. We plan to board around noon, but even if we are running late on Sunday morning and even if we have a flat tire or some other trouble getting to the port, missing the ship just won't happen.

    We also have this night-before-a-cruise thing down pat: We'll not be unloading suitcases, etc. from the van. We'll have two tote bags that'll go into the hotel with us. That'll just give us our night clothes and our toiletries. Our cruise suitcases, already tagged for the ship, will stay in the van.

    This isn't a typical road trip, in which you don't want to over-do today for fear of running out of steam tomorrow. Once we get on the ship, it's time to relax. It'll be all about sitting by the pool with that afore-mentioned stiff drink.

    Our kids are no strangers to marathon driving days. Our youngest, who's now 13, was still in diapers the first time we set out on one of these: It was NC to Marco Island, FL -- that's almost as far as Miami, though it's on the Gulf side. We've learned some things since then, but our girls are all excellent travelers.

    So really, don't worry about us. This isn't the first time we've done such a trip -- in fact, we're heading out to Sanibel, FL tomorrow -- and we know we can handle it. We'll take a good break for lunch and dinner, and we'll stop at rest stops regularly. What our family cannot do is long drives two days in a row; that kills us.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    With 4 drivers, I'd use the "speed run" procedure, keeping at least 2 people awake at all times and using a driver/navigator rotation.

    Jacksonville is no sweat, just take 295 around the west side. You shouldn't be going anywhere near Orlando.

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