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View Full Version : I81 vs I95


meg38
02-20-2020, 07:31 PM
So the wife & I are going to the Keys from NH this June. I've driven I95 many times before though several years ago. If I remember right 95 was fairly flat with lots of places to stop for fuel & or rest. Not sure about construction & condition of the road surface on 95. I do remember I95 had some really not so fun stops. As far as I81 how is that for towing a 5er? Is it really hilly? Several fuel stops? Road surface condition? I believe the route would make me take 77 at some point to 95. How is 77 as well? I'm just looking for the least stressful drive as possible. Thanks for any help & info on this!!!

Hblick48
02-20-2020, 07:40 PM
You can't take I95 through Baltimore because of tunnel propane restrictions. Must take I895 around town.

meg38
02-20-2020, 07:48 PM
Ya, I have an RV GPS & I believe it would route me around Balt & Wash.

Jeff n Susan
02-21-2020, 06:09 AM
I 81 vs I 95... I would go 95 if I had my choice. The 81 corridor is very busy. The 895 corridor is also very busy but when you get below Baltimore it seems to thin out. Maybe it was just the time, and days, but it seemed lighter to me that way. I am not a professional driver, but I get very nervous on 81, whereas on 95 it seems to be more open.
As far as hills and such, 81 and 77 are really not a bad tug. I have done them several times

mlh
02-21-2020, 06:40 AM
I live right on 81 in the western end of the Roanoke valley. I81 goes through the Shenandoah valley into the Roanoke valley and then up into the New River Valley. It’s a beautiful drive through the valleys with the Blueridge mountains around you. It’s hilly with some curves but a nice ride. Certainly nicer 95 and it does take you to 77 where you can go north or south. North to West Virginia and south to North Carolina. If you go south be very careful of Fancy Gap. It’s a long decent into NC. It’s a gap in the mountains that funnels wind up the mountains. It can be dangerous so take your time be careful. Coming through the Roanoke valley there’s a safety corridor do not speed. Speeding tickets start at $250 and go up to over $5000. They are serious about safety.
All and all I would say take 81 it’s a nice ride through pretty country with plenty of fuel stops for you and your truck. There are several Cracker Barrel restaurants and rest areas.
Lynwood

CFDFireman90
02-21-2020, 10:07 AM
Personally I go over to 81 to go anywhere south of New England. I live in NH and have done it many times. 95 goes right through all the big cities. I try to avoid 95 at all costs. Just my humble opinion.

Loneoak
02-21-2020, 12:17 PM
We have been travelling to Florida every winter since 2008. The first year we took I-95, because that is the way most people go. We hated it. It is flat and uninteresting, unless you like pine trees. Also, the traffic will be moving along at a good speed, then everyone stops for no reason. We found this to be very stressful. We looked around for another route, and eventually settled on I-81 and I-77. We come from Eastern Ontario, Canada.

There are some hills, but nothing too hard to handle. Sometimes there can be a bit of fog in the higher elevations, but it has only been a problem once. I happened to be driving at the time, and it only lasted a few miles. This route is much more scenic, and it is the one we always take.

Once we get to Columbia, SC, we follow U.S. 321, then U.S. 301 the rest of the way (to Zephyrhills, FL). 301 is four lanes a lot of the time, with very little traffic. We find this route to be much more relaxing, as well as more scenic. It may be a bit longer, but we like it better.

Cindy and Ray's Grand Tour
02-21-2020, 03:41 PM
After living next to I95 for 25 years and commuting to DC everyday, I would never recommend it until you are south of Richmond. Traffic crawls every day from DC to Fredricksburg and again before Richmond. It backs up in NC and SC sometimes too nowdays. I used to drive 60 miles out of the way to use I81 to go north into PA in order to avoid the DC beltway. I also hate the Baltimore traffic. I recommend I81 and I77.

mhs4771
02-21-2020, 05:17 PM
When we head South from Western NY, we pickup I81 just North of Harrisburg, take it to I77 South to I26 and finally picking up I95 in South Carolina approx 80 miles North of the Georgia Border.

meg38
02-24-2020, 08:30 PM
Thank you all for the info. I-81 it is..... :)

Dave W
02-25-2020, 04:38 PM
Yep. pick up I-84 off the Mass Turnpike to I-81 near Scranton. There are some long hills and at the wrong time of day, traffic. We have hauled through that area numerous times with no problems as far as Bristol, TN. The VA section is beautiful - but there is a fair amount of truck traffic - but a lot better then I-95

H. John Kohl
02-26-2020, 01:36 PM
I would take I88 from Albany to Binghamton and pick up I81 south.
Take I81 to Harrisburg and pick up US 15 south. Stop in Gettysburg if you have time.
Take US 15 south to US 17 south around Culpeper. This takes you to Fredericksburg back onto I 95.

You could run US15 down to I64 and take it east to Richmond. Stay away from Baltimore and Washington DC. I lived there many years.

Safe travels.

CaptnJohn
02-26-2020, 03:20 PM
I 95 from NC south is ok, VA north sux.

Dave W
02-26-2020, 03:56 PM
I would take I88 from Albany to Binghamton and pick up I81 south.
Take I81 to Harrisburg and pick up US 15 south. Stop in Gettysburg if you have time.
Take US 15 south to US 17 south around Culpeper. This takes you to Fredericksburg back onto I 95.

You could run US15 down to I64 and take it east to Richmond. Stay away from Baltimore and Washington DC. I lived there many years.

Safe travels.


Absolutely no way will I subject an RV to I-81. Yeah, NYS has done a bunch of repairs and rebuilding but not nearly enough to remove most of the bumps, craters and frost heaves.....


Then there is the 'Bambi factor'. I never hit a deer in 60 years driving until I traveled (not towing) but have hit two on that @#$% road and in the same 5 mile stretch but opposite s ides in consecutive years. The first took out the rear fender flare on '06, the second was a bit more expensive on the '11- the bumper, RHS head and fog lights.

pitman44
02-26-2020, 07:10 PM
Absolutely no way will I subject an RV to I-81. Yeah, NYS has done a bunch of repairs and rebuilding but not nearly enough to remove most of the bumps, craters and frost heaves.....


Interesting. We're from upstate NY as well and had relatives that lived in Falls Church and later in Chantilly, VA. The worst drives to and from always occurred on the I95 part. TONS of traffic that flies at 80 or so until they come to complete stops. I hated it. A while after they moved to Chantilly we started going from I81 to Rt 15 and in the back way. We shaved about a half hour off and a much more comfortable ride.


Someone else mentioned picking up I95 south of Richmond. Traffic really has thinned out by that point.

SteveandAnn
02-26-2020, 07:19 PM
Not sure where in NH but I 81 would add a couple of hours to your trip, but it is a beautiful drive unless you hit fog-like the kind you have to pull over for. If you take 95 stay on I-695 Towson to avoid the tunnel; (there are two tunnels 95 & 895), when you hit the Capital beltway I-495 it has some brutal bumps, try the slow lane. Your window for getting through that section (Md 95/695/95/495/95 thru Richmond) without horrible traffic is 9:30-1:30, safe travels!

mlh
02-26-2020, 07:31 PM
frost heaves, that is in the frozen north land not Virginia. It was 64 down here today. A perfect day to ride my motorcycle.
Lynwood

pitman44
02-27-2020, 06:03 AM
frost heaves, that is in the frozen north land not Virginia. It was 64 down here today. A perfect day to ride my motorcycle.
Lynwood


Some folks just have no pity on their suffering brethren. LOL

mlh
02-27-2020, 06:07 AM
Some folks just have no pity on their suffering brethren. LOL


Iím sorry, just couldnít help it especially the part about the motorcycle.
Lynwood

We can have a little fun.

pitman44
02-27-2020, 06:29 AM
Iím sorry, just couldnít help it especially the part about the motorcycle.
Lynwood

We can have a little fun.


My brother-in-law and his wife live in Ruckersville, VA. We got about 3" overnight and blowing like crazy. And they're in the mid 40s now. I love southern VA. We plan on heading south when I retire.

Dave W
02-27-2020, 06:50 AM
A ferinstance - it's snowing along neighboring I-87 as I type this, temp is right at 32 (went all the way to 35 yesterday), our town has spread so much rock salt on the roads that we can't walk the dogs and the plow jockey has dug gaping our new road along with destroying the curbs. All other local roads have turned white, not from snow but from salt. We should have moved to VA 10 years ago but that state has become a political situation as bad or worse as NY,s. And we live only 18 miles from the state's capital

colligsmith
02-27-2020, 07:09 AM
We live in upstate eastern NY and always take the interior route of I-81 and depending on how far south we are going take either I-64 to I-295 to I-95 or I-77 to I-26 to I-95. While this route is longer mileage wise taking I-95 all the way is longer time wise due to congestion and heavy traffic from NYC area until below Richmond / Fredricksburg area in Virginia and not worth the stress and aggravation.

Someone mentioned taking I-88 from Albany NY to Binghamton NY and then I-81 but would only recommend this route if trying to avoid tolls, while the road is being improved the condition of the road is horrendous and will shake both you and the trailer quite a bit. There are some areas in northern PA where I-81 can also be rough but not nearly as bad as I-88.

From I-87 south (NY Thruway) I either take I-84 to I-81 or continue on I-87 to NJ and take I-278 to I-78 to I-81.

Good travels and stay safe.

Dave H.
02-27-2020, 11:38 AM
I 81 all the way.

DebNJim B
03-03-2020, 05:22 AM
We live in upstate eastern NY and always take the interior route of I-81 and depending on how far south we are going take either I-64 to I-295 to I-95 or I-77 to I-26 to I-95. While this route is longer mileage wise taking I-95 all the way is longer time wise due to congestion and heavy traffic from NYC area until below Richmond / Fredricksburg area in Virginia and not worth the stress and aggravation.

Someone mentioned taking I-88 from Albany NY to Binghamton NY and then I-81 but would only recommend this route if trying to avoid tolls, while the road is being improved the condition of the road is horrendous and will shake both you and the trailer quite a bit. There are some areas in northern PA where I-81 can also be rough but not nearly as bad as I-88.

From I-87 south (NY Thruway) I either take I-84 to I-81 or continue on I-87 to NJ and take I-278 to I-78 to I-81.

Good travels and stay safe.

I agree with these routes. I hate the BaWash corridor on I95.
I find I-88 less of a problem going south in the fall but heading north in the spring as the frost is leaving the road I-88 can be horrible, I have done trailer damage on that route. I-87 tolls are a killer if you're towing but preferred as we stop overnight near Allentown on I-78.
I have come to prefer taking I-64 over to 95 in Richmond as we will make an overnight at Walnut Hills CG near Staunton VA.