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  1. Default Toronto to Philadelphia in one day ...and back?

    This may not be the typical road trip thread in regards to suggestions on what to see and scenic routes. I'm more looking for some advice from anyone familiar with these areas on what the best way to go from Toronto to Philadelphia is. Trying to do this trip and return home in a day. (I'm actually started about 45 mins West of Toronto and ending about an hour north of Philly near Quakertown - so I'm guessing this would cut an hour off the standard Toronto to Philly trip each way?)

    I've been advised to take I90 from Buffalo to Syracuse then I81 to just before Scranton and then the PA Turnpike I-476...
    1. Is this the fastest route to take?

    2. I'm planning on going July 1st (holiday weekend in Canada) - am I going to be waiting hours to cross the border? I'm assuming on a long weekend that Sunday would be the least busy day, with more people crossing Fri night & Sat morning and going home on the holiday Monday? I could be wrong... I have no idea. My plan was to hit the border on the way there sometime around 5-6am, will this help me avoid delays? Is there a better bridge to cross to save time?

    3. I've obviously mapped this a couple ways but don't trust Google Maps time estimates over an actual human... so what's the real driving time between Toronto & Philadelphia?

    4. Are there lots of speed traps or areas to watch out for? Not that I plan on speeding, but more wondering if the flow of traffic is 10-15 over, are you good in NY State & PA? I remember a couple years back in TN we were doing about 140km/h and getting passed consistently on the interstate.

    That is pretty much it... so I'm just wondering how realistic this is in terms of driving time as I have no idea on the real time vs. estimated map times. Google has it around 8 hours each way... 16 total. I have done as far as Toronto to Atlanta in a day which took about 17 hours but included at least an extra hour going through rush hour traffic when arriving downtown.

    Any other tips are appreciated and welcome.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Nope

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    You're looking at right around 900 miles, round trip, not to mention two border crossings and several stops for tolls on the shortest (time-wise) route even allowing for the fact that your route is shorter than Toronto to Philly. That is half again as much as professional long-haul drivers are legally permitted to drive in a day. In the real world, allowing for the fact that most traffic is in excess of the speed limits, but also for food, fuel and bathroom breaks, Speed traps are the least of your worries. You're looking at 16+ hours driving time. Yes, you can probably stay awake that long, but you cannot stay safe that long. The fact that you've pulled off a similar stunt once just gives you a false sense of confidence, sort of like someone who, playing Russian Roulette, figures he didn't die the first time, so his odds of surviving another try (and another, and another...) are pretty good, and going up each time he survives.


  3. Default

    So in less words, bad idea? :)

    Just to be clear, the other trip I was well rested, started very early in the morning and if at any time I felt like I was getting tired I wouldn't hesitate in pulling off the road and staying somewhere for the night. So what is the actual recommended max driving time for people in a day? 8 hrs? PS - I can bring a second person.

    Okay, so if I do a 2 day trip, is there a recommended scenic route? Recommended place to stay in PA besides Philadelphia?
    Last edited by a4udi; 06-05-2012 at 01:02 AM.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default May as well enjoy it.

    So in less words, bad idea? :)
    You got it ! lol.

    Everyone has different limitations but if you feel OK then you could travel for 11/ 12 hours and cover 650 odd miles with appropriate rest stops, to eat, fill with gas and just have a little walk to stretch those limbs. If you spread the trip over 2 full days it will become a much more relaxed and enjoyable affair, if not and you want to do it in a day and a half then you could start the trip either during the afternoon and get a few hours under your belt before stopping for the night, or simply finish the trip off next morning in a 'fit' state of mind and body.

    Two people don't help a lot in a case like this other than for company along the way. You would both still need to be awake at all times, because when one gets tired and nods off [namely the passenger hopefully!!] the driver is left with no one to keep an eye on them when they get drowsy. To do a 'Speed run' you would need 3 people rotating, one sleeping and two awake at all times.

    Have a safe trip !

  5. Default

    Kind of figured after AZBuck scolded me like I were a small child. :p

    I think I'll adjust my dates and spread it over two days then, likely leaving early and arriving near Philly mid-afternoon. Leaves the rest of the day to rest and drive home the next day. 500 miles in a day for me is not a lot, usually trips like this I get on the road around 4am and once the sun is up I can go until it starts getting dark. It's commendable you guys have everyone's safety and best interests in mind though.

    Speed traps I guess will be less of a concern if I'm moseying through everywhere. I asked because I have heard from people that they are pretty bad in parts of PA, lots of radar setup and handing out tickets for as little as 5 over the limit?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default As a General Rule...

    You will find people who will tell you that you can drive 800, 900, even a thousand miles at one sitting, because they've done it - once or even a few times. That is the extent of their experience. Then you will find people like me who will tell you that you can, on occasion, pull it off but your chances of doing so safely are not great. My experience? 15 years on the graveyard shift in an Emergency Room just off I-95. Take your pick.

    You seem to have made the wise choice of taking your time and enjoying the drive. So for a scenic route, you have lots of options. Remember that you're going to be crossing heavily wooded, rolling mountains with many rivers and lakes. That should give you an idea. And, very roughly, if you drive as straight a line as possible between Niagara and Quakertown, you almost make up (by driving fewer miles) the time that you would save by using the Interstates, and you do save on the tolls. So, what would a 'straight as possible' route look like?

    By all means use I-190/I-90 to clear the Buffalo metro area, but then get off at Batavia and head south on NY-63/NY-36 as a cut-off down to I-390 and use that to join up with I-86/NY-17 to Waverly/Sayre. US-220/US-6 will take you to Tunkhannock and PA-309. Use that to Willkes-Barre and I-81 to McAdoo where you will again switch back over to PA-309 (note that it is occasionally co-located with I-78) and it will bring you out in Quakertown. As I said, that route is shorter (miles) than I-90/I-81/I-476), cheaper, and only takes about half an hour longer of actual behind-the-wheel time. You will need your wits about you both for navigation and driving, so it's not a route you want to be on for 16+ hours, but it is scenic and can be quite enjoyable.


  7. Default

    I don't know this area at all, but is there a reason you recommend the Waverly to Wilkes-Barre routing over say Corning, south to Williamsport and then across I-80?
    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 06-15-2012 at 12:37 PM.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Just That... asked for a "scenic route" and were planning on "moseying through everywhere". The route I recommended strikes a balance between an enjoyable drive on scenic routes and getting to your destination in a reasonable amount of time. It makes use of Interstates/Autoroutes where they're handy, but doesn't follow them when they go wandering off in the wrong direction. You want to go southeasterly and the roads I listed go that way. US-15 runs north-south, I-80 runs east-west, and I-81 runs northeast-southwest. Going fast in the wrong direction is usually not a help. I have driven extensively in this area and the highways I named are all enjoyable and have at least reasonable speed limits. But they are just suggestions. Feel free to use or ignore them as you will.


  9. Default

    I just wasn't sure if one route was more scenic than the other or if there were particular things to see going that way, as I've never driven either of them.

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