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  1. Default Clearwater, FL to Albany, NY with Budget truck and car carrier

    Hi:
    I will be driving a 24 ft Budget rental truck with car carrier in tow from Clearwater, Fl to Albany, NY in mid April. I plan on using my Garmin recommended route, I95, etc. Any info or recommendations such as tolls, weigh stations, toll roads I can't use, etc would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks
    John

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,067

    Default

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    I-95 is not the route I would use at all! It is the most heavily used/congested highway in the US, and trying to navigate that with a large truck/trailer combo would be a big challenge, to put it lightly. That doesn't even include tolls which would add a pretty huge expense.

    Instead, what I would recommend you take is follow your original plan of using I-95, but only as far as South Carolina. From there, head north on I-26/I-77 to I-81 in Virginia. I-81 will take you all the way to New York State, where you can use I-88 to cut over to Albany.

    That is about 100 miles longer, but when you factor in the inevitable traffic of trying to get through the DC/NYC corridor, the travel time difference should not be too significant, and I believe the only tolls you'd see on this route would be a very short section of the NY Thruway between Schenectady and Albany.

    Anyway you choose to go, you need to plan on this drive taking 2.5 days. If you leave in the AM, I'd be looking to make overnight stops in Columbia SC and Harrisburg PA.
    Last edited by Midwest Michael; 01-23-2014 at 05:22 AM.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,936

    Default Avoid tolls.

    The route suggested by Michael is better in many ways, including scenery. I-88 in particular is a very pleasant route through NY. Depending on where you need to be in Albany, you might find that route 20 will take you there.

    Lifey

  4. #4

    Default Tough sledding, either way

    John,

    I normally avoid I-95 between Richmond and points north of NYC at all costs, so advice to avoid it is normally music to my ears.

    That being said, your rental truck/car carrier combo will be somewhat to much easier to drive on a flat route. For all intents and purposes, I-95 and ancillary routes leading up to the NY State Thruway (I-87) are pretty flat. Dead flat from FL up through GA, SC, and NC, very slightly rolling through VA and MD, then dead flat again up the NJ Turnpike, I-295. By contrast, I-77 will be fairly rolling from Columbia, SC to Statesville, NC, very hilly to mountainous for 100 miles to I-81 as it climbs the Blue Ridge foothills and Blue Ridge Front, moderately to very hilly along I-81 to Harrisburg, and mountainous from Harrisburg at least to Scranton (traversing the Poconos). My personal preference would be to avoid hilly and/or mountainous routes with the kind of load you'll be moving. I would anticipate lots and lots of long, slow climbs were I to take the less congested but much more rolling route.

    If you can avoid approaching DC, Baltimore, Philly, or northern NJ from the south any time between 6am and 10 am, and likewise avoid leaving from the same areas during the evening rush hour between, say, 4pm and 7pm, you might avoid the most maddening part(s) of a run up the Ho Chi Minh Trail (aka I-95). Doing so will require some timing and some luck, as DC-Balto-Philly are one after the other over a fairly short distance.

    Below DC, I-95 is not only flat, but it is practically devoid of population centers once you get north of Jacksonville, FL and Savannah, GA. The I-295 bypass of Richmond, VA would be an obvious choice were you to run I-95, too. The roadway surface is generally smooth, important in a loaded rental truck, excepting some old and rough concrete sections in between about Fayetteville, NC and Weldon, NC.

    You mentioned following some GPS directions, and that's a fine resource. I'd be much inclined to buy a current-edition Rand-McNally US Highway Atlas, too. A GPS can suggest some very silly things sometimes, and since you'll be essentially unable to back up and can't turn around readily, you will want the situational awareness which comes with some elementary map study.

    Safe travels!

    Foy

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,067

    Default

    Based on my experience, I'd personally rather deal with hills/mountains with a Moving Truck/Trailer combo than heavy traffic.

    In hills, you can sit in the right lane and make your way up the mountain. It might be a little slow going but you'll have plenty of power to get the job done. That's far easier, imho, to do that than to try to navigate the large/long rig through heavy traffic, where you have to constantly be monitoring every direction, and can have to really fight other cars if you need to change lanes.

    To frame it within my experience, I've driven I-70 over the Colorado Rockies in a similar truck/trailer set-up, and thought the mountain drive was easier than getting through Denver traffic.

    You mentioned car carrier, so I'm assuming you're planning to use a full trailer, where all 4 wheels of your car are off the ground. That is a much better choice than going with a tow dolly, where 2 car wheels stay on the ground, if you are debating between the two.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,272

    Default

    The I-95/I-87 corridor also has considerable tolls, which can be really expensive with a truck and trailer. I also would prefer to deal with hills than traffic and high tolls. Interstates are set up for heavy trucks, they have climbing lanes where needed.

    If available, rent a truck with a diesel, it will perform much better than a gas engine in the mountains. I don't know if 24 foot Budgets are diesel, but I believe Penskes are.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    4,546

    Default

    Having done a lot of towing in my life, or riding along with my parents who were doing the driving with a trailer in tow: hills are MUCH easier than traffic and tolls. With tolls, for every extra axle over the main 2 (on your car), you are charged an arm and a leg. They DO add up. The hills on I-81 are comfortable, with no really ridiculous grades.

    Donna

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,272

    Default

    The hardest pull is I-77 over the Blue Ridge (NC-VA border).

    I researched tolls for a 2 axle 6 wheel truck towing a 2 axle trailer and came up with over $100 if you take I-95/I-87. Your break even point with extra fuel is going to be over 200 miles.

    The only roads that I'm aware of on the I-95 corridor that prohibit trucks are MD-295 between DC and Baltimore, and the Garden State Parkway in NJ. If you go this way (again, I don't recommend it) you will need to take the beltway around DC, then I-95 to Baltimore - and I-287 from the NJ Turnpike to I-87.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,358

    Default You Also Can't Use...

    The Baltimore Harbor Tunnel (I-895). And just trying to keep track of all these restricted roads is another reason to use I-77/I-81/I-88. The other big reason I wouldn't use I-95 is, as others have noted, the significant chance that you'll get caught in the wrong lane at a junction, be unable to get over into the correct lane, and end up heading down the wrong road or even worse, being forced to exit onto narrow, congested city streets.

    Note that no Interstate can have a grade steeper than 6%.

    AZBuck

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
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    Default

    Not that you would WANT to use it, but you can in fact use the BHT unless you are more than 8 feet wide. The other options are the I-95 tunnel, the Key Bridge, or the beltway. None of these are very fun, and totally miserable in rush hour.

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