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  1. #1

    Default Spring trip to DC

    My wife and I are planning to drive to Washington DC later this month from St. Louis. I was planning to take I-70 to WV then 68 into the DC area but I'm now wondering if maybe I-64 to 81 might be a better route. Any opinions on I-70 vs. I-64?

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

    Default That Depends on Your Priorities

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    The differences in mileage and time-to-drive for the two routes you mention are minimal and shouldn't drive your decision either way. What that means is that other considerations should be used to make up your minds. Either route is going to take a day and a half (of dedicated driving) to two full days (at a more relaxed pace with some short sight seeing stops). The I-70/I-68 route is slightly shorter but not enough to be really noticeable, but goes through some fairly large cities where traffic might be a bother including Indianapolis, the Dayton area, and Columbus. The I-64 route is marginally longer, but is less used and goes through just two somewhat smaller cities, Louisville and Lexington. I would also give the edge to the I-64 route in terms of scenery, Note that both routes share I-68 through western Maryland into Washington, perhaps the most scenic portion of the trip. The I-64 route also offers an optional route from Charleston WV into Washington. You could take the short route north on I-79 to I68, or you could continue on I-64 south down the West Virginia Turnpike (toll) and on into Virginia to see/use places such as Monticello or the Blue Ridge Parkway. But ultimately the choice is yours.

    AZBuck
    Last edited by AZBuck; 03-20-2015 at 11:33 AM.

  3. #3

    Default

    Thanks AZ. Yes, it looks like mileage and time is basically a wash either way. I already have a room reserved at Morgantown that I could probably use either way, but was also looking at Charleston and taking 81 up from there the second day. Might go one way there and the other home just for variety. Thanks for the reply.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
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    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,358

    Default A Bit Too Far on Day 1

    Trying to make Morgantown in one day from St. Louis could prove counter-productive. That's a good bit more than you can expect to do comfortably, and is even farther than professional long-haul drivers can legally do in a day. That means that you will have absolutely no time for any significant break from driving on that first day and even if you complete the leg safely, you'll arrive worn out and will need the next day to recover. Remember as well that you're going to lose an hour of sunlight when heading eastbound and will almost guarantee that you'll be driving well into the dark. You'd be far better off to stop for your overnight after about 550 miles which would be roughly Wheeling WV on the I-70 route or Charleston WV on the I-64 route. I realize that would mean that you'd have to decide which way you are going, but surely you can do that ahead of your departure. Even if you waited to get a reliable weather report you should have a couple of days to book your overnight stop.

    AZBuck

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,270

    Default

    I don't even see where you would need to book a room in advance. Between St. Clairsville OH and Wheeling WV there are a whole bunch of hotel choices in all budget ranges and I highly doubt that they would all fill up before you get there. Same thing goes for the Charleston area.

  6. #6

    Default

    I agree. My wife and I did the Lake Michigan Circle Tour a few years ago without any reservations. It worked out just fine. I guess I'm more concerned with Day 2. I'd like to get into the DC area by mid PM at the latest.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,270

    Default

    If that's the case, go via Wheeling. It's only about 5 hours from there to DC, from Charleston it's about an hour longer.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,358

    Default Again, That Depends on Your Priorities

    It will be relatively easy to get into DC well before evening rush hour (count on it starting around 3:30 PM) from either Wheeling or Charleston. And that assumes a relatively late start (say 9:00 AM) and a leisurely lunch. So, if you want to go via I-79/I-68/I-70/I-270 from Charleston, there is no reason not to. You could even take I-64/I-81/I-66 if you got an even modestly early start (say 8:00 AM), and still arrive in DC before rush hour.

    AZBuck

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