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  1. Default Outer Banks to Saranac Lake NY

    Hello all, what a neat forum ! Planning a trip from the Outer Banks NC to Saranac Lake and the routes mapquest and others give me takes me up the Jersey turnpike and I am worried about traffic. Mapquest says 13 hours, anyone driven this before ? I want to be there by five o clock on a Thursday. Thinking of driving about 5.5 hours Wed and staying in Maryland with family then leaving early Thursday for what map says will be eight hours. Any thoughts ?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
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    Tucson, AZ
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    9,358

    Default "13 Hours" is a Day and a Half

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    Here's the very unpleasant truth about any estimate of driving time that you get from a computer program. It is only true in the virtual world where you get to drive at or above the speed limit for as long as you want, and never have to stop for gas, food or bathroom breaks, never get slowed down by traffic, and never have to sleep or even stop to stretch. Here in the real world, trips over 700 miles are measured in days of driving, not hours. So first things first. You need to schedule a full day and a half for this trip. Your plan to stop in Maryland is ideal IF you are starting out from near the northern end of the Banks AND your family in Maryland is somewhere on the Eastern Shore opposite Annapolis. Too much deviation from either of those parameters is going to make it more difficult, but not necessarily impossible, to arrive in Saranac Lake by 5:00 PM on the second day.

    Just for your sanity and enjoyment, I would not recommend the NJ Turnpike. Think instead about driving all the way up the Delmarva Peninsula to Wilmington and then taking I-95/I-476 up to Scranton and then I-81/I-88 to I-87 for the final run to Saranac Lake. nAgain, assuming you're starting out from around Manteo, and your family is somewhere near Queenstown MD, that would be a solid half day to Maryland, and a full day to Saranac Lake. But you could still get to your destination with a reasonably early start on the second day, and the route I suggested minimizes the chances of getting caught in heavy traffic, especially by avoiding the NYC area.

    AZBuck

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
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    Joplin MO
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    Default

    Let's help clarify this by telling us exactly where in the OBX you will be, and exactly where in MD your family is. I'm not even very keen on I-476 between I-95 and the PA Turnpike, that's the "Blue Route" and it's known for congestion.

  4. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by glc View Post
    Let's help clarify this by telling us exactly where in the OBX you will be, and exactly where in MD your family is. I'm not even very keen on I-476 between I-95 and the PA Turnpike, that's the "Blue Route" and it's known for congestion.
    Starting in Kitty Hawk and family is in Annapolis.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
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    Default

    Kitty Hawk to Annapolis is about 6 hours in the real world. You have 2 ways to get there - start off on US-158 to NC/VA-168 into the Norfolk area. If you plan on heading for I-95, take I-664 around the west of the Norfolk metro to I-64 to Richmond. You could also go up the Eastern Shore, take I-64 to US-13 across the CBBT.

    From Annapolis to Saranac Lake, you are looking at a 10+ hour drive no matter which way you go. I would probably take I-83 out of Baltimore to Harrisburg, then I-81 to Binghamton, then I-88 to I-90 to I-87. To get to I-83, take I-97 out of Annapolis to I-695, and go around the west side of Baltimore.

  6. #6
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    Default Pick Your Poison

    Being as far north as Kitty Hawk helps, but with your family being on the western shore (note that while Eastern Shore is capitalized, western shore is not) of the Chesapeake the specific recommendations of my previous post change. To get to Annapolis, there is now no point in coming up the Delmarva Peninsula. I also wouldn't recommend trying to drive around both Richmond and Washington. But the alternative, while scenic in the most part, has its problems as well. From the Norfolk area, I'd start up I-64, towards Richmond, but around 5 miles northwest of Hampton, I'd take US-17 (mostly 4 lane, divided but not controlled access) all the way up to US-301 (similar) and take that into Annapolis. Unfortunately, the Washington suburbs have grown out to US-301 and so it is not the great alternative to I-95/US-50 that it used to be, but I still think it's better than the Washington Beltway.

    Similarly, heading north, you have to choose between a few not great options. Such is the nature of traveling north-south on the east coast. Previously, I suggested you use what passes for the Philadelphia beltway (the Blue Route, I-476) rather then head up the Jersey Turnpike to New York. Since you're starting on the west shore of the Chesapeake on Day 2, I'll now suggest that you bypass both Philadelphia and New York and instead fight your way around Baltimore instead. You have to brave driving around one of those three cities, and the sooner you do it, and the farther west of the coast you can remain for the bulk of your drive the better. From Annapolis, you'd head up I-97 and take the beltway around Baltimore to the west to I-83 north. You'd then pick up I-81 at Harrisburg to I-88 at Binghamton and I-87 around Albany. Since you want to be in Saranac Lake by 5:00 PM, you should really aim to leave Annapolis very early in the morning in an attempt to get around Baltimore and headed out of the city on I-83 before 7:00, that means leaving Annapolis before 6:00 AM.

    AZBuck

  7. Default

    Thanks a bunch. Thats kind of what I thought. I may keep driving on Wed. and do ten that day instead of Thursday skipping family. I am going to a rugby tournament and have a practice Thursday night and games Friday. I think it would better to get to town early check into room, nap and walk around. I still may take that route without stopping in Maryland. Any thoughts ?

  8. #8
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    Default

    That changes it back to Buck's Eastern Shore suggestion - with the following suggested to avoid the Blue Route. Take US-13 to Dover, then DE-1 to I-95. Take I-95 to US-202 north into PA, stay on it to King of Prussia. At I-76, jump over to the PA Turnpike east for a short distance, then take the NE Extension (I-476) to Scranton, then follow the I-81 etc. routing. Scranton would be an appropriate place to spend the night, it's a full day's drive from the OBX and it's about another 6 hours on to Saranac Lake. If you are still feeling fine when you get to Scranton, you could press on to Binghamton, that's only about another hour up the road. Both cities have a wide choice of lodging.

  9. #9

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by AZBuck View Post
    Here's the very unpleasant truth about any estimate of driving time that you get from a computer program. It is only true in the virtual world where you get to drive at or above the speed limit for as long as you want, and never have to stop for gas, food or bathroom breaks, never get slowed down by traffic, and never have to sleep or even stop to stretch. Here in the real world, trips over 700 miles are measured in days of driving, not hours. So first things first. You need to schedule a full day and a half for this trip.
    I just drove from St. Augustine to my house in one day with my family. I did 100% of the driving. Google maps says it's 764 miles and 13 hours 5 minutes. I completed the trip in exactly 12 hours, which included a 50 minute dinner stop with the family. If we had just made a quick stop for dinner it would have easily been a 11.5 hour drive. Keep in mind that at no time I was speeding out of control. I kept it to 5 over unless i was in a big group of cars going faster. It has been my experience that google maps/mapquest over estimates drive time. :shrug:

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2003
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    Default

    Based on what you said, if you factor out your dinner, you had an average speed of 68 mph.

    That assumes you made no other stops at all for fuel, restrooms, or to stretch.

    I can say that, making just the very minimum of stops, to average the kind of speeds you are talking about, you typically have to be driving well in excess of 80mph nearly the entire day. It also assumes you see no significant traffic or construction delays on what is one of the busiest freeways in the US.

    I'm not quite sure how you've pulled off the trip you described, but I certainly wouldn't expect others to have those kinds of results. Driving 750+ miles in a day is also significantly more than professional drivers are allowed to do for safety reasons, not to mention, all that time strapped into a car without a chance to move around is generally not going to be enjoyable for a child, which are some of the other reasons we would not recommend others attempt to replicate your trip.

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