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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Location
    East Jordan, Michigan, United States
    Posts
    5

    Default Question about low altitude route through Pennsylvania or West Virginia

    My husband recently had eye surgery. The eye doctor said we need to find a route from Michigan to Virginia that is the lowest possible altitude. The goal is to avoid a change of elevation greater than 1000 feet. We would appreciate any suggestions.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,270

    Default

    Welcome to RTA!

    Where in Virginia are you going? Less than 1000 feet may not be possible.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Location
    East Jordan, Michigan, United States
    Posts
    5

    Default

    We are going to Norfolk. I understand that the elevation through the mountains is greater than 1000'. The goal is to avoid changes of elevation greater than 1000'.

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

    Default The First Question is for Your Doctor

    As glc pointed out, you can't cross the Appalachians without changing elevation by more than 1,000 feet from your current approximately 600 foot level (a rough average for Michigan). The lowest passes in the Pennsylvania/Maryland/Virginia area are around 2,000 feet. The real question, I think, is over what time frame should you avoid elevation changes of 1,000 feet. If your doctor can let you know that you can only do 1,000 feet in 24 hours or some such value, then you can start up one side of the mountains, stop overnight to let your husbands eyes adjust to the new pressure, then climb over the mountains the next day, pausing again on the way down for another overnight once you are within 1,000 feet of elevation of your final destination. But those are medical questions you need to take up with your doctor before we can help you with the possible ways to meet his restrictions.

    If you really can't go above 1,600 feet or so, then you have only one choice, and it's a long one. You should take I-90 all the way to Albany. This follows the shore of Lake Erie and then the Erie Canal to the Hudson River. You'd then come down the Hudson on I-87 to New York City and pick up I-95 (New Jersey Turnpike) through NJ/DE/MD and into Virginia. As long as your final destination is on the Coastal Plain or Piedmont Plateau, that will work, but if your home is in the Appalachians of Virginia, then you may have an insurmountable problem.

    AZBuck

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,063

    Default

    The problem is, your destination is at sea level, so any place over 1,000 feet in elevation is going to include a 1,000 foot change.

    I just don't know any way you can get across the appalachians without getting up to around 2,000 feet in elevation. I suspect the only way your trip might be possible would be to drive all the way down to the Gulf Coast, across to the Atlantic, and then come back up I-95.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,270

    Default

    I-90 to I-87 would work (but if you have passports or EDL's, going through Canada would be a lot quicker, take I-75 to Flint, I-69 to Port Huron, 402 to 401 to 403 to the Hamilton bypass, the QEW to 405 and back into the US, I-190 to I-290 to I-90) then what you would do is take the Garden State Parkway to the NJ Turnpike (I-287 is a better option to avoid traffic, but it's a bit hilly in northern NJ). After crossing into Delaware, take DE-1 to US-13 and cross the Chesapeake Bay Bridge/Tunnel to avoid Baltimore and DC traffic.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Location
    East Jordan, Michigan, United States
    Posts
    5

    Default

    Thanks for the suggestions - helped us think this through. We may end up going 69S to Indianapolis to 65S to Birmingham. 20E to Atlanta. 85 and then east to Norfolk. More miles but warmer!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,270

    Default

    That's almost 400 miles longer than my suggested route through Canada, and will take an extra day.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Location
    East Jordan, Michigan, United States
    Posts
    5

    Default

    Don't have up to date passports unfortunately but I think we can shave off some miles by going Chattanooga to Atlanta. There's a section of steep descent between Nashville and Chattanooga but we found out that steep ascent is the main thing to avoid. And an extra day in the south will hopefully be pleasant.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,358

    Default Warning

    Sections of I-24 into Chattanooga near Monteagle TN are over 1,600 feet in elevation. That's probably near the beginning of the "sharp descent" you mention, because shortly southeast of there, you'll be down to below 600 feet as you cross the Tennessee River. So you'll be going through a greater than 1,000 foot elevation change in less than 20 minutes. I'd really make sure that such a rapid compression is alright with your doctor.

    AZBuck

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