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  1. Default Need Feedback on driving itinerary to SC from NJ....

    Hello All:

    My family and I are planning a trip to Charleston, SC from Red Bank, NJ. I would like to know what you all think of the route and overall schedule taking into consideration traffic, hours on road, etc.

    Day One: Leaving at 4pm and driving to Richmond, VA area. Estimated time of arrival is 10:00pm.

    Day Two: Leaving Richmond, VA area at 7am and driving to Wilmington, NC. Estimated time of arrival 1:00pm.

    Day Three: Leaving Wilmington at noon and driving to Mount Pleasant, SC. Estimated time of arrival 4pm.

    Does anyone know how traffic will be driving thru Myrtle Beach area on a Saturday afternoon?

    Return Trip: Charleston, SC to Fredricksburg, VA estimated 7-8 hrs and then 5-6 hrs home following day.

    Thanks

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

    Default If Everything Goes Right

    On the face of it, your plan(s) should work, but there's quite a bit that could go wrong. My biggest concerns are exemplified by your first day. On paper, six hour should be sufficient time to get from Red Bank to Richmond. But if that first day is during the week, then you'll be trying to navigate Philadelphia's New Jersey suburbs as well as Baltimore and Washington, all during one portion or another of their respective rush hours. The drive could easily end up taking eight hours rather than six putting you into Richmond, exhausted, around midnight. That's no way to start a RoadTrip. The other leg that I think you're seriously underestimating is Mount Pleasant to Fredericksburg. That's 500 miles so much closer to nine hours, possibly even ten, than the seven to eight you're planning on.

    I suspect that you're getting your driving times from mapping software. If so, note that the mileage calculations are accurate, but the driving time estimates are pure fantasy. And the longer the drive, the more fantastic they become. The reason is simple. The software is only estimating the time you're actually behind the wheel and does not take into account time spent getting gas, eating lunch, going to the bathroom or anything else, including the time spent getting off the highway for such stops and then getting back on. In addition, software assumes that you will always be driving at or above the speed limit; that no stop signs, lights, traffic, construction, or anything else will ever slow you down. That's simply not going to be the case, particularly on that first day's drive on one of the most traffic-choked major highways in America.

    Again, it's not that any particular portion of your itinerary is impossible, it's just that in the real world it will be a bit harder and longer than you've allowed for.

    AZBuck

  3. Default

    I figured by the time I got down to Baltimore 7pm and DC 8pm the worst of the rush hour should have passed and then by 8pm it would be smooth sailing. I'm more concerned with traveling thru the Myrtle Beach area on Sat morning. Never been to that area and don't know what to expect with beach traffic and all.

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

    Default Nope

    Rush 'hour', particularly on I-95 and the two beltways, I-695 around Baltimore and I-495 around Washington, lasts several hours in both the morning and evening. If you are expecting that "the worst of the rush hour should have passed and then by 8pm it would be smooth sailing", you are in for a rather rude awakening. That's not to say that things won't also be bad on a Saturday morning at a weekend resort town. Both can be bad and that's indeed what you should expect. If you plan for the worst, then anything else is a pleasant surprise. If you expect conditions that are unlikely to exist, the surprises will all be bad.

    AZBack

  5. #5

    Default

    Leaving Red Bank, NJ, traveling south, can be quite bad during rush hour along the NJ Turnpike. I have seen that area backed up several times during the week. You can catch it really BAD or okay. There has also been road work near the Delaware Memorial Bridge in recent months so it is worthwhile checking on the status of that project.

    Instead of planning to sleep over in Richmond via Newark/Wilmington, Delaware; Baltimore and D.C., my personal choice would likely be taking Rt. 1/US 13 south from Delaware and staying over on the MD or VA eastern shore. From there, continue on to Norfolk/Tidewater Virginia (toll bridge/tunnel), loop around on I-64 to US 58 West to I-95 and continue south.

    Summer at any east coast beach city/town is going to be congested (except between midnight and 5am!), so going inland a little bit would probably avoid the worst traffic congestion.

    Returning north during the summer doesn't present many good options. All days from Fredericksburg through north of Baltimore, via I-95, are bad. For example, several years ago I left Quantico at 1:30pm and arrived to southern Baltimore at 5:30p.

  6. Default

    I'm planning a very similar trip -- central NJ to Charleston. Mom with two kids (8 & 5). Debating a one night stay in Williamsburg, VA, than down to Charleston the following day. Question is ... leave Friday night after work (95 will be hellish), or leave early Saturday morning. Which is worse? Will it truly be 6 hours to Williamsburg? Or, should I break up the first leg -- leave around 8 pm Friday and stop somewhere in between? Appreciate any thoughts.

  7. #7

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by njmcb View Post
    I'm planning a very similar trip -- central NJ to Charleston. Mom with two kids (8 & 5). Debating a one night stay in Williamsburg, VA, than down to Charleston the following day. Question is ... leave Friday night after work (95 will be hellish), or leave early Saturday morning. Which is worse? Will it truly be 6 hours to Williamsburg? Or, should I break up the first leg -- leave around 8 pm Friday and stop somewhere in between? Appreciate any thoughts.
    Leaving very, very early in the morning is the best bet through mid-September. Last year I left from Central Maryland around 5:30a and decided that 4:45a would be much better.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,936

    Default Not for the faint hearted.....

    Hi njmcb, and Welcome to the Great American Roadtrip Forum.

    You would do well to note AZBuck's comments above. Google may be able to do that in 6 hours, but you will be looking close to 8 hours - which is not something I would want to attempt after a full day's work.

    Lifey

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