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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Edinboro, Pennsylvania, United States

    Default Erie, PA to Wilmington, NC

    A group of my amigos are headed out of the snowbelt in NWPA and heading down to visit our friend who departed for the southland. It's looking like a 12 to 13 hour drive each way without any planned stops yet. I-79, I-77, and I-40 are what our trip is looking to consist of.

    However I want a road trip, so our route is extremely flexible if there are notable things to be seen. I'm very much into photography, so I'm mandating a stop at New River Gorge, and we'll probably eat lunch prior to that in Morgantown. Probably a stop in Raleigh towards the end, but even then i don't know where to go in Raleigh. 4 21 year olds, but we have an underager of 20 years of age with us. Any must-stops along the way?

    Could anybody shed some light for us?


  2. #2

    Default The NC/VA end of things

    Hello Jason,

    It's a little unclear what you're considering as to time on the road. On the one hand, you seem to be looking at a straight through shot, and on the other hand, you mention side-trips.

    Be aware most mapping software underestimates overall travel time by around 25%. If you see the total miles vs travel time and the average speed is, say, 62-67 mph, the software is underestimating. Even a "speed run", with only minimal and short fuel, food, and nature stops will end up with a "beginning to end of day" average of some 58-60 mph, and that's including some bending of the speed limits. Plus, from Winston-Salem to Raleigh you're in a heavily-developed urban/suburban corridor of about 140 miles in length. Hit that at rush hour, and you'll lose more time, particularly from Chapel Hill to I-95 some 30 miles past Raleigh.

    Without myself agonizing over the maps, etc, but with a good idea of a couple of things I'd look to include in a RoadTrip, I'd spend an entire day getting to the New River Gorge and would overnight in that vicinity. Head to Mount Airy, NC, on I-77 north of Winston-Salem, and get there by, say, 11am the second day. Have a fried pork chop sandwich at Snappy Lunch, made famous by Andy Griffith's TV show. In fact, you can get a haircut at Floyd's barber shop and if you get frisky, Deputy Barney Fife might pull you over in his 1961 Ford Galaxie Police Special. The whole town of Mount Airy is "Mayberry, USA" and the pork chop sammiches at Snappy Lunch are GOOD. You must arrive early, however, as Snappy Lunch closes for the day when the last sammich is served.

    Absent rush hour traffic, it's around 2.5 hours from Mt Airy to Raleigh and another 2.5 to Wilmington. I-40 is pretty bare-bones from Raleigh to Wilmington, but it's flat, smooth, and has a 70 mph speed limit.


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Edinboro, Pennsylvania, United States

    Default Thanks Foy

    Thanks Foy, I appreciate it. Yeah we have a good week for the trip so we aren't too concerned with rushing anywhere, I was just looking at how long we had on the road generally speaking. We'll definitely check out Mount Airy. We are planning on leaving Erie at around 8 a.m. on Sunday and heading straight down to Morgantown first for lunch with some friends and explore WVU a little bit, then probably proceed to New River Gorge and let the chips fall where they may from there on out on whether we stay or go that night and what not.

    I appreciate it all.

    Thanks so much,

  4. #4


    Generally we say to leave it to 600 miles a day and that's without any stops at all. I would take two days to get there, though, as you plan on seeing West Virginia. Morgantown to Sutton, where you would get off of I-79 according to my mapping system, is some great mountain road and you may have to take it slower in this area.

    It's been 2 and a half years since I have been in this area but I remember West Virginia being pretty bare as far as places to stop for the night. Beckley may have some stuff although I am not sure. I know Wytheville, on the Virginia side of I-77, has a couple places to stop. Stopping in Wytheville will set you up for a Raliegh lunch.

    If you go up I95 to northern VA and do some off interstate driving you can get your trip back to less than 700 miles which I have done for a day but is something you have to be comfortable doing. I would only do it with experience.

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