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Todd58JK

NC to ME - 1st trip!

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Headed from NC to Bar Harbor, ME next week. First long RV trip for us. 34' Motorhome, Jeep in tow, 2 kids (11 & 13). Would love a route suggestion. Plan is to leave Tuesday afternoon and boondock about 6 hours in. Wednesday hit up Mystic, CT area and Friday head to Bar Harbor for a week. We are staying at Narrows Too. New to the RVing - purchased our first RV 4 months ago. Husband and I both plan on driving. From reading forums looks like i'm going to run out tomorrow and get a truckers atlas! Any/All suggestions welcome - please :)

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We left Raleigh a year ago, and our first planned destination was eastern MA and Cape Cod to visit family. Where in NC will you originate? That will, of course, determine your route and any advice.

One caution I would make (right out of the gate) is to not set your daily distance expectations too high. Enjoy the trip, not only the destinations.

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Raleigh is our starting point. My plan was about 6 hours a day travel - I think that's reasonable with 2 kids. CT to Bar Harbor will be a haul that will be the only day we "push" it. I have planned 4 full days to return at our leisure. Thanks!

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Welcome to FMCA and to rv'ing. A very good investment, if you haven't already done so, is a good gps. I mean one that is made for your motorhome, not the standard across the counter, made for your car. A reasonable one can be purchased at cw, or many other camping stores. I have found this to be very helpful, especially when traveling to places unknown. With the one that is made for your RV, you plug in the height, width, length, and weight. This will help keep you out of places that could be potentially hazardous. Also the program will have all campgrounds, and service points for your motorhome.

Good luck on your first long trip, and HAPPY TRAILS,

Kay Smith.

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I plugged this into my Garmin program and it is pretty simple, I-95 to US 1 to Bar Harbor. As long as you are on interstate highways and US highways, you need not worry about a GPS or a truckers atlas. It really isn't a big deal until you go exploring. You are planning to travel about 1000 miles in three days, mostly driving. We do 300 miles in a 6 hour day. I drive about 62 or 63 MPH on interstate highways but I think in terms of 50 MPH average with stops for fuel and restrooms, etc. Take time to stop and rest or plan a visit at some attraction to keep the kids interested along the way and you can easily have an 8 to 10 hour day. Plan to get through the NYC area sometime in the 10:00 to 2:00 time period when traffic is lightest. Beyond that, just enjoy the ride. Take I 495 around Boston and then you are on US 1 shortly. This will be much more interesting. Lots of small towns, just drive slowly, don't try to drive like you are in a car, think like a truck driver. Be extra courteous to those zippy little cars! Slow starts and plenty of room to stop. Pull off at interesting places and take a look. We traveled with friends up this route and they wanted to stop and look at old homes in some of these towns. Great scenery and the old east homes and communities are interesting to older people, not so much to kids. Bar Harbor can be a circus in the summer, plenty of tourists. The National Park is fun, take time to explore. I think the kids will enjoy the park. If you have time, wander a little further north in the area the call down east Maine. It gets much less hectic and the scenery is just as good. For a first trip out I think you will find this to be challenging enough. After a few years of doing this you'll be ready to get off the interstate and spend days, maybe weeks traveling the distances you do in a day on this trip. Surprisingly, the world doesn't end when you travel narrow two lane roads with curves. In fact those may be some of your most vivid memories... but not now, You are just starting out, the interstate is a good way to start, get a feel for the road. Enjoy.

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Do not stay on 95 through New York city. Do the 287 loop AROUND THE CITY. YOU CAN PICK UP 95 AGAIN ON THE OTHER SIDE.

Dan

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Thanks for all the good advice. I did buy an "RV GPS" but was told not to rely on it alone! Looks like we'll be taking our time both ways and enjoying some family time. I have to admit, I'm nervous - that's a long way with kids and car in tow. But i'm sure it will be the first of many long trips! Maybe next trip we'll invite the dog!

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I will guarantee if you go through the NY area on your first trip two thing are going to happen. You will be a white knuckle driver and you may swear off of any further RV trips.

I would suggest I-81 north to I-84 to the Mass Pike then onto 495 all the way to NH then 95 north.This will take you around all the Washington DC to NY mess, not to mention less tolls. It will most likely be a little longer but a lot less stressful. One hurdle through CT is Hartford, make sure you get through between rush hours. Been there done that.

I live in Maine and if you are not worried about time US 1 is OK, very slow. I would take 95 to Bangor I-395 which will put you onto US-1A, at which point you are about 50 miles from Bar Harbor.

Do not take 295, it takes you right thru downtown Portland, take 95 the Maine Turnpike, yes there are tolls but the road is very good.

Also keep in mind when you go across that green bridge from NH into ME you still have a little over 200 miles to go to Bar Harbor.

Good luck and have a safe trip.

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I COMPLETELY agree with Sawdust. Being from upstate New York and having been an RVer for the past 10 years, and having made hundereds of trips up 95, I would avoid NYC if you can. In fact, RVing on 95 from Washington D.C. all the way to Boston is heavy, heavy, aggresive traffic the whole way. I would avoid this if you can. You also have the very tricky Baltimore situation in there because you cannot go through the inner harbor tunnel so your options are beltway to the west or high bridge to the east. Best to just avoid all of this nonsense and take 81. The scenery through Pennsylvania is VERY nice. I would suggest a short respite in Gettysburg with the kids.

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If you take I-95 through DC & Baltimore. I would suggest you take the bypasses. If you are carrying propane you can not go through the tunnel/bridges that go through Baltimore, which is I-95, I-895 & I-695 South. You should try I-695 North. It is 15 miles longer, but no restrictions. I have no idea about NYC, never been there. However my 1st wife & I went to Mystic Seaport on our honeymoon. That was a loooonnnng time ago. Very interesting from what I remember. I lived in Middletown CT at the time & the wife was from Pittsburgh PA.

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Also, I see your RV is gas. Since you're towing a jeep, you wil have to be VERY careful in choosing gas stations. Unfortunately, this can be a real hassle because you cannot back up when towing (unless your tow vehicle is COMPLETELY off the ground on a trailer). You need to choose stations that you can get into and out of without backing up.

Flying J has RV lanes that enable you to get in and out with having to back up. The lanes are always located next to the big white propane tank off to the right or left of the main pumps for cars. There are Flying J stations on 81. Pilot does NOT have RV lanes at all of their locations. Get a Pilot/Flying J RV guide at your first Flying J and check for RV Lanes.

I'm gas so I now about this. If you were diesel, you could always go where the trucks go and its no problem.

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Okay - So I'm convinced to take I 81 now - mapquest gives me I 81 to I 78 - then I 287 (around NYC) then to 95N - No I 84 showing? I see I84 further north - anyone know of a reason I would avoid I 78 to cut across to I 287? Hope to leave mid morning tomorrow and am looking forward to a more scenic route - THANK you all so much!!!

I must admit I'm very nervous! (Jurisinceptor I have the Flying J app, I have already found that just driving around NC it's tough finding gas we fit in! And yes we are towing 4 down so backing up is not an option). There is a Flying J off of I 78 near Harrisburg, PA that I am going to shoot for our first overnight at.

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Hello again.

I-81 will take you through Wilkes Barre/Scranton area where you pick up I-84 which will take you all the way through NY, CT and into Mass where you will get onto the Mass Turnpike go (I think 3 exits) and get on I495.

Before I moved to Maine we lived in Easton PA. it is where I78 cross' the Delaware River I have driven that route many times, I commuted into NJ.

That route, 287, will take you over the Tappen Zee bridge. That corridor is very heavy with traffic most of the day. You have two ways to go after crossing the Tappen Zee, continue on 287, this will take you to I95 through CT and RI and on to I495 or you can go to I684N to Danbury and pick up I84.

Here are a couple more app's for your gas locator, gasbuddy.com which you can load onto any smart phone or iPad and I think iPOd touch. Also YPmobile (the YP is Yellow Pages) both are available in the iTunes store and are free. There are no Flying J's in Maine. In my opinion Flying J does not always have the best price even with the RV discount but having said that thier RV access is very good. BTY I have a diesel pusher, GVW 31,000 and no car in tow.

If you decide to take I78 try to get gas in NJ its cheaper and they pump it for you.

Hope this helps. Or it may confuse you more.

I hope that I have helped you.

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Good Morning Todd58;

One thing I forgot to mention is that in Harrisburg a bridge on one of the interstates had been torn down due to a firey truck crash. Not sure which road but there are detours marked, they are working on the replacemen the bridge. It is on the East side of Harrisburg.

Also we use the Walmart parking lots to stay overnight. Its free and there is also an App for that, it is on Allstays. Most Walmarts allow overnight parking

however you should check inside the store. Also Cracker Barrel sometimes allows free overnight parking.

Another site http://www.roadnow.com, gives you the road conditions and construction for the interstate system.

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There's also a Flying J on 81 in Virginia just north of Winchester. Also, don't be nervous - remember that you have TONS of FMCA people behind you who have made these same trips MANY times before. Enjoy your motorhome and you'll have a great trip!!

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if you haven't commited yourself to a route already, and being a retired 18 wheeler driver who lives in the catskills of NY; I would travel by way of I-495 in DC to I-270MD to RT15 MD to Rt 15 PA to I-81PA to I-84PA thru NY and into Ct. at that point I would take I-691(exit27, stay on I-691 until end and follow signs to RT-9 so.) to Ct state Rt-9 so. to I-95 no CT..Reasons being: miss all eastern seaborard traffic, see great country, avoid expensive tolls and bumper to bumper traffic from the time you would enter NJ untill you get past Boston. I would of stayed on I-84 till I-90MA, but you mentioned that your planning on a visit to Mystic Ct.. I would also consider stopping at Old Orchard Beach ME as its a nice seacoast town with 3 campgrounds located within walking distance to town & boardwalk, with fresh lobsters and clams. And one more thing; when you get to the PA NY border, as you go across the delaware river, you will see the 1st exit in NY.That will give you an oppertunity to stop in NJ for reasonable price fuel. When travaling in this region you will see a moument up on the top of high point mountain; that is where the 3 states (NY,NJ & PA meet at 1 point, big rig friendly, and a number of cheap fuel stops, all off exit 1 in ny. After that fuel will become pricey.

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We are on the road! 64W currently over to I 81 - plan is to get to Harrisburg PA area tonight, boondock, then figure out tomorrow plan to Mystic, CT. So for so good - traffice light, sun shining! Thanks ya'll! I'll stress over tomorrow's route when we "land" - LOL

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Hi

Me again. If you stay on I-84 through Pa, Ny and into CT there is a CT welcome center just over the line NY to CT. There is a free dump station there.

I also believe they allow over nite parking. Its a very nice rest stop clean.

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Hi

Me again. If you stay on I-84 through Pa, Ny and into CT there is a CT welcome center just over the line NY to CT. There is a free dump station there.

I also believe they allow over nite parking. Its a very nice rest stop clean.

We stopped at a flying J on I81 - plan on heading East on I78 in the morning and next stop Mystic CT - THANK YOU all again for keeping an eye on us! What an adventure!

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Good Morning;

When you go across the bridge PA to NJ on 78 you may want to go off into the Phillipsburg area, gas is very cheap there, something to do with a depressed area and the taxes are less there than in the rest of the state. I would get gas there all the time during my comute years.

I believe it will be exit 3, and the return to 78 is easy and well marked.

The road on the 287/87 route is pretty good but can be heavy traffic crossing the Tappen Zee and getting to I95. Just stay alert there are crazies out there.

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We made it!!! Only one small "incident" - we had the brakes lock up on our jeep we were pulling - (bad signal from the brake system) after being on the side of 95 for a short bit- all is well.

With my new phone apps and you guys guiding us I feel a lot more comfortable on a long trip (long for us). The trip home I have left 3 full days for travel and plan on just boondocking all the way back and taking our time.

Thanks again everyone!

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So glad to have read all those comments! We had planned on going to Maine this summer, but did not want to go that far by ourselves. I was apprehensive on crossing Washington and NYC... Definitely I will save these comments and go next year!

I'd like to recommend you to buy "The Exit Book". It has all the nations interstates exits and what you can find on each one. For example, it tells you the gas stations available, the Walmarts (where you can overnight for free), restaurants etc. Last year we went all the way to Glacier Pk in Montana and this book was our bible!

Good luck and I look forward to your comments after the trip!

Jocelynn and Quico Power

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I would say the trip was a huge success!

All your input was the reason! I figured it cost us about 3 extra hours to avoid DC/NYC areas - but well worth it! The drive was beautiful, the roads good, traffic flowed. The best advice was the Allstays app. for finding a place to boondock and finding gas (not diesel). we were able to click on the location, call and ask questions before getting off at the exit.

This Christmas we are headed to south Florida - and I'm looking forward to planning 2 weeks west next summer!

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