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Old 11-24-2010, 05:05 PM   #41
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Thank you !

This route (via Buffalo/Erie instead of Windsor/Detroit) is not "straight forward" as seen from Google Maps. Though I have a GPS with me, but I will spend time printing out the route, pay attention to areas where my route will change from Ixx to Iyy (not straight forward).

From my personal experience, I know that sometimes I will forget to look at road signs while driving, hence missing out exit ramps easily.

Even when I came back from Florida last year, I simply missed the ramp where people cross the bridge to Canada. BTW, that road sign was so close to the ramp that I wasn't the only person missing the ramp !

Road signs in the US are not as clearly marked as Canada's, plus some road signs are so close to the ramps in such if not pay attention, one can easily miss the exits.
Yikes...finish planning every kilometer of your drive...there may be a syndrome associated with this!? You can't plan for everything...like what if a truck overturns and you need to take a sudden detour...would you pack it in, go back home and re-plan everything?

Don't want to miss and exit or on-ramp...simple, turn on the speaker for your GPS.
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Old 11-24-2010, 05:52 PM   #42
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Road signs in the US are not as clearly marked as Canada's, plus some road signs are so close to the ramps in such if not pay attention, one can easily miss the exits.
There ya go................that was the reason I got lost.... and all the time I thought it was just me.
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Old 11-24-2010, 06:06 PM   #43
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There ya go................that was the reason I got lost.... and all the time I thought it was just me.
Oh no ! You are not the only one.

Even after I came back from Florida Xmas 2009, people told me they also missed the ramp.

If you cross the border from Ontario, the signs are so clearly marked but not the other way around (the ramp near Detroit).

No offense but road/highway signs in Canada are definitely better marked than those in the US (sometimes the sign is immediately next to the ramp, I would miss it as I am not a local driver).

One thing to note is GPS is not 100% accurate, even when I used it in Toronto or southern Ontario.
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Old 11-24-2010, 06:11 PM   #44
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..............If you cross the border from Ontario, the signs are so clearly marked but not the other way around (the ramp near Detroit)..................
Yea, but I can't believe how fast they let you drive in Canada - 100 posted speed on 401, for instance.
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Old 11-24-2010, 06:26 PM   #45
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No, it's 100 km/hour in Ontario Canada, not 100 miles/hour So it works out around 60 miles/hour in Ontario's highway.

If you drive 100 miles/hour in Ontario, you sure get your license suspended by our OPP (Ontario Provincial Police), and 6 demerit points.

Unless you meant 100 km/hour (60 miles/hour) in Canada's highways is fast ?
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Old 11-24-2010, 06:40 PM   #46
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No, it's 100 km/hour in Ontario Canada, not 100 miles/hour So it works out around 60 miles/hour in Ontario's highway.

If you drive 100 miles/hour in Ontario, you sure get your license suspended by our OPP (Ontario Provincial Police), and 6 demerit points.

Unless you meant 100 km/hour (60 miles/hour) in Canada's highways is fast ?
Oh, this explains all the red lights in the rear view mirror.
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Old 11-24-2010, 08:07 PM   #47
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I read one page of responses... curious why you would not take I-75 straight from Windsor to Florida? Is I-77 really that much shorter?

77 goes thru mostly rural areas- where as 75 takes you thru many big cities-Detroit, Toledo, Dayton, Cincinnati, Lexington, Atlanta. The 10 hour mark is somewhere between Lexington and Atlanta.
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Old 11-25-2010, 04:29 AM   #48
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I read one page of responses... curious why you would not take I-75 straight from Windsor to Florida? Is I-77 really that much shorter?

77 goes thru mostly rural areas- where as 75 takes you thru many big cities-Detroit, Toledo, Dayton, Cincinnati, Lexington, Atlanta. The 10 hour mark is somewhere between Lexington and Atlanta.
I did take I75 from Windsor to Florida Xmas 09, it was a longer drive according to Google Maps.

I agree I75 goes through many big cities, it's good for snowbirds who live in Windsor but I am from Toronto so this year I would like to try the Buffalo/Erie Ohio route which is shorter.

The problem I met coming back to Toronto from Windsor was it was blowing snow Jan 3/2010. I had to drastically reduce my speed to 40 km/hour with my hazardous lights on. There were a couple of cars simply ignored my warning, the drove passed me. Guess what ? 10 minutes later, I saw ambulance coming from the opposite direction and one minivan was in the median, upside down.

I asked those who live in the London Ontario area and they told me hwy 401 from Windor and well pass London Ontario is wide open field, hence susceptable to blowing snow. According to my experience Jan 2010, the driving condition was very risky !

Do you have any experience to share ?
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Old 11-25-2010, 04:41 AM   #49
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Oh, this explains all the red lights in the rear view mirror.
Hwy 401 is the busiest highway in North America, believe it or not !

The police will tolerate 15 clicks above the 100 clicks posted max. However, the speed you see (through traffic, no delay) is "normally" at 120 km/hour. The reality is if everyone is driving at 120 km/hour (20 km above the limit), it's very hard for the police to nail down anyone.

So they (the police) don't take any action, especially the section in the Toronto area (from Oshawa, Ajax, Pickering, Toronto, Mississauga, probably to Milton) because it's too busy and the police can't afford to slow down the traffic.

Having said that, but if you do 160 clicks then of course you will be nailed.

The redlights you see from the rear view mirror is not because cars going 100 km/hour (60 mile/hour). It's mostly because of volume and accidents, and cars slowing down to see the accidents in the opposite direction.
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Old 11-25-2010, 09:00 AM   #50
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I did take I75 from Windsor to Florida Xmas 09, it was a longer drive according to Google Maps.

I agree I75 goes through many big cities, it's good for snowbirds who live in Windsor but I am from Toronto so this year I would like to try the Buffalo/Erie Ohio route which is shorter.

The problem I met coming back to Toronto from Windsor was it was blowing snow Jan 3/2010. I had to drastically reduce my speed to 40 km/hour with my hazardous lights on. There were a couple of cars simply ignored my warning, the drove passed me. Guess what ? 10 minutes later, I saw ambulance coming from the opposite direction and one minivan was in the median, upside down.

I asked those who live in the London Ontario area and they told me hwy 401 from Windor and well pass London Ontario is wide open field, hence susceptable to blowing snow. According to my experience Jan 2010, the driving condition was very risky !

Do you have any experience to share ?
I believe I-75 is the longest US interstate, and I believe it is also the most used (or in top 3) of all US interstates. It is more populated than I-77, so easier to find stops.

I went to college in Flint, MI, grew up in Buffalo NY and now live in Cincinnati. I know the routes well north of the Ohio River. My college commute was I90 to the 403-401-402-I69. I have done the I75-I90 commute a few times too.

Weather is hit or miss. I have driven I-90 to I-71 and take I75 from Detroit to Cincinnati. When next to the lake (Erie) it was snow, the moment I got south of the lake it was clear (as in dry roads). I90 is rough. There is a portion by Dunkirk/Fredonia where we have seen the thruway closed (I90) and we had to take side roads into Buffalo. I have seen the drive clear all thru NY, then hit Erie and it be a white out for 30 miles. I have seen it be whiteout in Cleveland and clear once south of the great lakes.

My advice is travel where you have 2 routes- one west of the lake, one east of the lake, then those routes merge and take I77 down (I77 hits I90/I71 outside of Cleveland). I75 will have less snow being further west. The wind patterns and snow belts differ- Buffalo-Erie-Cleveland all have different weather patterns, even though all are east of the lake. The pattern on the 401 west of the lake will also be different. My experience was Canada takes better care of the roads with snow removal than does Pennsylvania. NY does EXCELLENT on I90 and Ohio does OK on I90.
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Old 11-25-2010, 09:04 AM   #51
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also note you have a second route in Canada- which is take the 402 to Port Huron/Sarnia. I assume the weather pattern off Lake erie (Windsor) will be different than the pattern of lake Huron (Sarnia). Adds a little to commute, but moving at 55 mph for 100 miles trumps 20 mph for 60 miles.
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Old 11-25-2010, 11:08 AM   #52
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Hi jIMOh,

It seems to me the section from Buffalo to Erie (I90) along lake Erie is the worst ?

I was thinking, the shortest route from Toronto:
Buffalo: I90 to Erie <------ Any thought about this section along lake Erie Dec 18 ?
Erie: I79 to Pittsburgh PA then Charleston WV
Charleston: I77 to Columbia SC
Columbia: I26/I95 to Florida

Thanks for sharing the experience but I would like to know how "bad (driving condition, snow ...)" is the section along lake Erie (I90) on Dec 18 (I know you don't have a crystal ball) ?

The reason I chose the Windsor Ontario I75 last year was because people "advised" me it is the easiest route (I75) to Florida, but it takes longer. However, on the way back, the section of 401 from Windsor to London Ontario was the worst (blowing snow, hazardous driving condition, 1 minivan went into the ditch up side down).

Thanks
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Old 11-25-2010, 05:39 PM   #53
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If you are alert and drive in snow enough, the I90 trip from Lackawanna (Buffalo Suburb) to PA (state line) then thru Erie to I-79 is tough. A little closer to Cleveland my wife put us in ditch late on xmas eve many years ago- she is NOT a good winter driver.

I have seen I90 on NYS thruway close, only way to know that is to check weather- it can come fast and furious off the lake.

90% of my winter drives thru that area are uneventful, you are hearing of my 10% "other".

What I would do is map 3 routes thru NY:
One route is 90 EAST to Syracuse and take 81 south. This would be weather patterns off Lake Ontario and 81 has its own challenges. Slight alternate is 390 South to US-15 South and thru Washington DC. 15 has lights, but it does not get snowed on like I81. This route is worst case, but avoids ALL lake Erie Weather once you cross border.

Second route would be 90 WEST to 86 EAST to "anything" south". If Lake Erie was wreaking havoc on whole trip in PA/OH, this takes you EAST fast, however you go thru small towns and I86 presents challenges of its own.

Once you clear I-86 you are within 40 miles of I-79. 79 South takes you away from Lake, so the challenge is getting thru Buffalo/ NY area and into PA. The roads in PA will be the worst of the entire trip- PA does not plow when it snows, so know that ahead of time, and the fastest way thru PA is to stay on I90 and get into Ohio (90 is only in PA for about 40 miles, 79 south will keep you in PA for 150-300 miles I think).

90 in PA is BAD because PA does not plow
90 in Ohio will clear up once you hit the state line, and I-77 is about 100 miles ahead when you take 90 into Ohio (90 to 271 to 77)
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Old 11-25-2010, 06:09 PM   #54
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Thanks !

I believe it doesn't hurt to ask !

I can't believe PA does not plow I90 ... Hmmm the govnmt must be short in their budget

I am a good winter driver but will check the weather before deciding on which route to take ...
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Old 11-26-2010, 08:01 AM   #55
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However, on the way back, the section of 401 from Windsor to London Ontario was the worst (blowing snow, hazardous driving condition, 1 minivan went into the ditch up side down).
I worked in Sarnia and in London. The 401 is always blowing snow around Woodstock. It gets lake effect snow from Huron, Erie and Ontario. The only direction of winds without snow is NE and that almost never happens! I have driven that stretch many times in all conditions.

I would take I-75 because the highway conditions are better during the winter. You can maintain a higher average speed on I-75 in the winter.
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Old 11-26-2010, 09:04 AM   #56
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I worked in Sarnia and in London. The 401 is always blowing snow around Woodstock. It gets lake effect snow from Huron, Erie and Ontario. The only direction of winds without snow is NE and that almost never happens! I have driven that stretch many times in all conditions.

I would take I-75 because the highway conditions are better during the winter. You can maintain a higher average speed on I-75 in the winter.
Thanks !

In regard to the blowing snow between Windsor and London/Woodstock Ontario Jan 4/2010, obviously those whose minivan in the ditch flipped upside down did not know, did not care, did not exercise winter driving skill, did not care about my hazardous lights, did not slow down (my speed was 40 km/hour) ... So they ended up in the ditch upside down. I hope they were fine as I didn't follow up on that !

If I take the I75 again, then I won't be able to make it to Orlando in 2 days / 1 night. Moreover, I may experience the same white out condition on 401 (Windsor to London/Woodstock) again on the way back to Canada.

I will check the weather forecast before making a decision.

It was a relatively short distance from Buffalo to Erie OH. I will try to familiarize myself with the Ohio TV stations which I have to see what the road condition is like in mid Dec.
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Old 11-26-2010, 11:41 AM   #57
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Thanks !

In regard to the blowing snow between Windsor and London/Woodstock Ontario Jan 4/2010, obviously those whose minivan in the ditch flipped upside down did not know, did not care, did not exercise winter driving skill, did not care about my hazardous lights, did not slow down (my speed was 40 km/hour) ... So they ended up in the ditch upside down. I hope they were fine as I didn't follow up on that !

If I take the I75 again, then I won't be able to make it to Orlando in 2 days / 1 night. Moreover, I may experience the same white out condition on 401 (Windsor to London/Woodstock) again on the way back to Canada.

I will check the weather forecast before making a decision.

It was a relatively short distance from Buffalo to Erie OH. I will try to familiarize myself with the Ohio TV stations which I have to see what the road condition is like in mid Dec.
two notes

erie is in Pennsylvania
and Ohio weather patterns will vary. Focus on the EASTERN suburbs of Cleveland- western suburbs and southern suburbs have much different weather patterns depending on which direction wind is blowing off Lake Erie. Like I said, I have seen whiteout just west of lake erie, then once I get south, it is 10 degrees warmer and completely clear.

75 is more predictable- you get further away from great lakes faster (once you clear detroit, you are "free" of lake effect snow). With I90 you are literally driving about 250 miles next to the lake from Buffalo to Cleveland.

Then with Pennsylvanie not plowing (that is true), even I-79 will be touch and go if weather hits.

There is a reason PA has lower taxes than NY and Ohio which border it- they have ways of cutting costs, and the one which applies here is PA is notorious for calling snow emegencies (means stay off the road) then once it stops snowing, plowing once and being done with it.
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Old 11-26-2010, 01:26 PM   #58
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Thanks !

I just found out Erie is in PA before I revisit this thread.

It's 92 miles or 149 km between Erie & Buffalo, about 1.5 hours drive (good condition) or more if there's blowing snow prior to my trip.

An alternate route from Buffalo to Erie (away from lake Erie): Buffalo, 219 South to Great Valley, then 17/I86 West to I90 near Erie), this L shape route is away from lake Erie, but takes 50 minutes more.

Do you have experience or know about this alternate route (Buffalo, 219 S, 17/I86 W, I90) ?

I will probably take this alternate route if it forecasts blowing snow along I90.
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Old 11-26-2010, 01:55 PM   #59
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According to the US highway forecast:
USA Highway Forecast: I-90 - The Weather Network

The section between Erie and Buffalo near Dunkirk NY is pretty bad: Blizzard, close to 5cm of snow.

Erie: Flurries
Buffalo: Flurries

Hmmm ... I must check this website before heading to I90 !

No wonder a lot of snowbirds left Ontario on Oct 30, especially if they drive ...
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Old 11-26-2010, 02:06 PM   #60
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Thanks !

I just found out Erie is in PA before I revisit this thread.

It's 92 miles or 149 km between Erie & Buffalo, about 1.5 hours drive (good condition) or more if there's blowing snow prior to my trip.

An alternate route from Buffalo to Erie (away from lake Erie): Buffalo, 219 South to Great Valley, then 17/I86 West to I90 near Erie), this L shape route is away from lake Erie, but takes 50 minutes more.

Do you have experience or know about this alternate route (Buffalo, 219 S, 17/I86 W, I90) ?

I will probably take this alternate route if it forecasts blowing snow along I90.
I am real familiar with that portion of 219/86. Take I90. If its bad, you want to be on the interstate, not in the mountains (hills). There is a reason ski resorts are off 219 and not off I90. That part of 219 and 86 is a snow belt. DO NOT consider that route in bad weather. 86 in and of itself in bad weather has some challenges (like a .5 mile bridge over chatauqua lake).

If you need an alternate route, I have taken route 5 from Dunkirk exit to Buffalo when the thru way closed. I am an experienced snow driver, and I know the area, so even though I was closer to lake in a pure whiteout I knew it moved, and a few of us took that route when thru way closed that night.

So taking route 5 from Buffalo into Erie, then to I-79 south is an option. If you hit bad weather, avoid Pennsylvania (re-read my posts above). You may not understand how "bad" that is until you do it once. I would much rather deal with the 401 and head to windsor than to risk a snow storm in PA. The extra day on the commute is worth the safety.

Most of my winter traveling is based on visiting family in Buffalo at xmas time. PA is the worst part of the trip... even though (for me) it is 40 miles of a 400 mile trip, that 40 mile stretch is really bad (it is up on a bluff, so it gets dumped on if any front comes off the lake), plus PA does not plow it much. You will know when you cross the state line just based on quality of the roads.
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