12-19-2008, 07:38 AM
I'm a little concerned about tomorrow's traffic on I-95 as I head from SC to the Boston area. Can anyone advise for or against taking I-77 and I-81 instead? It adds about 90mi and a little over an hour according to Google, but if I get stuck for a couple hours in DC, Baltimore, and/or NYC it might be worth it. I'm mainly edgy about it since this is the Saturday before Christmas and I expect traffic volume to be very high. That drive was once stretched from 13.5 hours to 18.
Keep in mind that I don't hypermile well in gridlock. ;)
12-19-2008, 10:36 AM
What, you don't want to putter along at 10-20 MPH to boost your FE?? ;)
I'll speak mainly to I-81 in Virginia, since that's the stretch I'm familiar with. I-81 in general carries a lot of truck traffic typically. Presumably there will be fewer truckers on the highway over the weekend and during the holidays, though more cars of course. Nonetheless, there are no major areas of chronic congestion (along the lines of the Capital Beltway, for example) on 81 in VA that I'm aware of. So barring a wreck, you should be OK. If it was me, I'd probably drive the extra 90 miles -- and enjoy a much more scenic route. I try to avoid I-95 around DC in high-volume periods at all costs.
12-19-2008, 10:56 AM
I drove from PA to western NC down I-81 in Aug 06. Very pretty scenery and easier than I-95. Travelling this weekend, be prepared for snow and slick roads as we're getting whacked with a bad storm right now.
The only other route I can think of (from SC to MA) is to go east in VA and over the Chesapeake Bay bridge/tunnel and up Rt 13. Rt 13 is fairly open and rarely congested. It has its stops in MD and southern and northern DE, but they're traffic lights so you can probably time them pretty well. Rt 13 drops you on I-95 just before the bridge to NJ.
12-19-2008, 03:49 PM
It seems silly, but it's such a tough call. At this point I'm thinking I should just take the western route because, at the very least, I ought to try it some time.
12-21-2008, 09:03 AM
I took the western route, and it was a pretty nice drive. The speed limits are a bit lower which made for better than normal FE along with much lighter traffic than on I-95. So the stress factor is much improved. I also saved about $20 in tolls, which is substantial. If not for an accident jamming up in CT I would have made it in ~15 hours vs. about 14 for the other route in ideal conditions. Actual travel time was exactly 16 hours due to the storm slowing most people down and throwing the rest into the median.
On the down-side, the route is very hilly compared to I-95. It was a nice stress-test of the hybrid system (which performed perfectly) but I'm sure FE suffered from all of those excursions to 3-3.5k RPM to maintain speed on the long, steep grades. Warp-stealth and a little DWL came in handy for keeping battery SoC from getting too high. (Battery depletion seems to be an imaginary problem.)