Making Travel Plans

We continue to work on our travel plans for our first trip south.

We have two options under consideration in terms of how we will start the journey.

Our first option is to stay in our condo until the end of October and then take three days to get to Hilton Head Motorcoach Resort for our first brief layover of a couple of nights before making the final leg to Myakka River Motorcoach Resort in Florida. We would pick up our coach from Gan 401 Storage and head south crossing the border at the Thousand Islands.

The trip down to Hilton Head Motorcoach Resort would look something like this:

We have been told that if we take this path down we should make a few changes to our route.

Follow I-81 South to Syracuse and take the 481 Bypass around Syracuse. Then continue on the I-81 South through the rest of New York State, and on into Pennsylvania through Maryland, and West Virginia and on into Virginia.

Just south of Middleton Virginia take the I-66 East (the exit will be marked as Front Royal and will be a left-handed exit off the I-81). Drive I-66 until it is intersected by I-17 South. Then follow I-17 until you connect to I-95.

Google Maps and GPS programs will advise you to head towards I-95 sooner on your trip and they’ll take you closer to Washington DC which can be overcome with traffic. So much better to do this bit of detour through Virginia’s very scenic horse country.

By doing this routing, you will have avoided all of the major traffic for the biggest cities on the US Eastern Seaboard. The only time that there is even the slightest issue with traffic in this by-pass around Washington DC is if you happen to hit during rush hour and then only for a short distance down the I-95 towards Richmond Virginia. If you plan your timing right, then here shouldn’t be any issues at all.

The I-95 will lead you south thru the rest of Virginia. Take the 295 By-Pass around Richmond and continue on the I-95 on thru North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia on into Florida.

Take the 295 By-Pass around Jacksonville. If headed to the Gulf Coast area you can take the I-10 Westbound and connect up to the I-75 for places such as Tampa, Clearwater, Fort Meyers or Naples.

Heading to Orlando take the I-4 just south of Daytona Beach.

Heading further south to Fort Lauderdale, Miami or The Keys, stick with I-95 thru Florida.

This was great advice and we modified our route and planned our two overnight stays to break the 17-hour drive to Hilton Head Motorcoach Resort into more manageable 5 to 6-hour daily drives.

And then came option two.

Rather than staying in our condo until the end of October, we stay until mid-September. We then head over to Sherkston Shores RV Resort, which is very close to the US border by Buffalo, New York, and live in our coach until the end of October.

We then would make our way to Hilton Head by following I-77 and I-79. The trip is shorter and we might be able to get to Hilton Head Motorcoach Resort in two longer days. Or, if we keep to three days driving, we would certainly be less than a 5-hour drive each day.

That option looks like this:

I’ll need to do some more research to see if there are any tips for doing this route. Given we are driving in the first week of November, I wouldn’t anticipate any severe winter weather. I do prefer the border crossing at the Thousand Islands as it is usually pretty quiet.

2 replies
  1. VP
    VP says:

    Option three? One with a slower pace that avoids trucker filled Interstates, has much shorter drive days, with several 2-3 day stopovers along the way to see the sights? Have read that transitioning from the still working “gotta get there fast” vacation mode of travel to it being all about the journey, is one of the most difficult things for the newly retired. With 11 months on our retirement clock, we’re already working on that mindset :).

    • Richard
      Richard says:


      We’ll have to learn to slow down!! We really want to get south quickly this year. Snowbirds looking for the sun and warmer weather. You are right though. It is all about the journey. Something for us to keep in mind.

      Congratulations on your upcoming retirement.


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