Wednesday, July 24, 2013

The Avoid I-95 Road Trip

The goal: Drive my son and daughter-in-law’s car, six-year-old daughter, and 12-year-old golden retriever from New Jersey to their new home in Florida.

Additional persons on board: Yours truly and hub.

Objective: Avoid I-95 until or unless there are no alternatives.

For drivers lucky enough to have not experienced or endured this interstate, I-95 runs north/south along the Eastern seaboard, the main thoroughfare for vacationers, businesspeople, truckers, college kids, drug runners, smugglers, and others intent on reaching their destination ASAP. Unwilling to pay the price of a plane ticket or forced to haul more than the carry-on freebie allotted to Spirit passengers, thousands upon thousands of vehicles drive some part of the highway every day. The road is often a nightmare around major cities, and there are a lot of them along the East coast.

One memorable Christmas season we spent hours - no exaggeration - in bumper to bumper traffic in Georgia, half of New York and New Jersey intent on either getting to Orlando in time to spend Christmas with Mickey, or heading south to share the holidays with Grandma and Grandpa.

Our current trip began Sunday morning in New Jersey. Attempting to avoid Jersey roads most likely to cause indigestion, arguments leading to divorce, traffic jams, getting squeezed between two belching trucks, and most likely to get stuck in traffic going in and out of rest areas, is a difficult task. I eagerly await the limited access bridge over the entire state to be built from Perth Amboy (entranceway to Staten Island, New York) to the Delaware Memorial Bridge (gateway to Delaware). But I digress...

 We drove south on the Garden State Parkway and eased our car onto the Cape May/Lewes ferry for a 1 1/2 hour boat ride across the Delaware Bay. Charlie (the dog) enjoyed the sea breezes and Hailey (the 6 year old) explored the ship’s three decks and savored snacking al fresco - and that was before the ship left the dock.

We followed the gulls down the Delmarva Peninsula, stopping for lunch at the annual Blueberry Festival in Chincoteague, Virginia, feasting on crab and avocado tacos and blueberries. Continuing south, we crossed the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel and by early evening headed into North Carolina, settling in for the night at a dog friendly Holiday Inn Express, I-95 avoided the entire day.

Meanwhile the six-year-old carried on a non-stop conversation. She read books, watched movies, listened to books on tape, played Travel Bingo, and through it all the chatter continued. She and I would walk into a rest room, get into adjoining stalls, and the talking continued throughout our rest room doings. 

And while on the subject of rest rooms, there is no such thing as a quick rest stop when stops involve:
walking the dog,
watering the dog,
rest room time for three travelers,
reconnoitering the entire convenience store for suitable snacks, and
fueling the car.

Hub and I have made the trip in two days.

It took us three and a half days.

And we all survived.

After the 9,355 (not the exact number, but close) time hearing “Gramma” I am going to change my name. Any suggestions?

More on avoiding I-95 in my next post.


  1. Four days ago we also were dodging I-95 on our way to/from grandson's birthday in the hills of New Jersey.
    (Yes, parts of Jersey actually DO warrant being called 'The Garden State'. You are a brave, patient lady. And those tacos sound amazing.

  2. How about Grandma KinI or Grandma I wanna. You are a saint!!

  3. I laughed at the picture you painted of a chatty little one! She sounds like a ball of energy. :-)

  4. A medal to you, braveheart! We avoid I-95 on our trips to Florida as much as we can. We also avoid having travel companions.

  5. When we planned our trip to Hilton Head, SC, I was surprised that google maps gave your route as the alternative to 95. I thought it might be Rte 78 to 81 to 77. Anyway, we stuck to 95 ... and lived to regret it.

  6. Bubbe. Which gets shortened to "Bub" when the rest of the running commentary doesn't allow space for a two-syllable name. And, yes, your are amazing grandparents, and, yes, those tacos do sound wonderful!

  7. Oh, my. I hate long road trips; my hubby hates even short ones. And I love my chatty six-year-old granddaughter and spend lots of time with her, but in a car? For that long? That would be a real test of patience!