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Driving from Toronto Canada to Orlando
Old 11-19-2010, 03:39 PM   #1
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Driving from Toronto Canada to Orlando

Hi,

I will be driving from Toronto to Orlando Sat Dec 18, I know I will have to overnight somewhere in southern West Virginia (Beckley) along I77 or pass through the Jefferson National Forest to the western part of Virginia along I77 or northern part of North Carolina, also along I77.

From Toronto to:
(1) Beckley WV: About 10 hours (excluding border delay)
(2) Just pass the Jefferson NF in western part of Virginia (I see no city or town)
(3) Charlotte North Carolina: About 13 hours

Could someone recommend WHERE to stop and check in some motel ? Could you also recommend where and which motels/hotels are more economical ?

Also, could someone tell me if there are towns in (2) above (just pass the Jefferson National Forest) ?

Thanks

LS
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Old 11-20-2010, 08:19 AM   #2
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LuvSouth, from your posts, I get the feeling that you are not getting as much from the internet as you could.

One tool that I find indispensable these days is Google Maps

For example if you type in "Toronto to Orlando", it will show you the best route and turn by turn directions with estimated driving times and mileages. If you want to change the route, click on the blue line and drag the line to your preferred route

If you want to find a hotel, type in "hotels near Beckley, WV". It will show all the local hotels on the map, with reviews and website links so that you can check on their rates and make a reservation. You can find a restaurant or local attractions this same way.

Hope this helps.
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Old 11-20-2010, 08:51 AM   #3
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If you are a member of CAA (and you should be) why not take advantage of their travel services to supplement your own internet searches?
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Old 11-20-2010, 08:57 AM   #4
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Yes I just used Google Maps to plot our return trip from Bellagio Italy to Frankfurt Germany. The ability to drag our trip route to Lucerne and Strasbourg made planning a snap.

I used Hotwire.com to book hotels ahead of time (half price). Of course, now I fly to my snowbird destination where I have left a car.
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Old 11-20-2010, 09:22 AM   #5
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Hi all,

I did use Google Maps for my route all the time. But what I would like to know is the info on motel/hotel as I will be tired after driving aroudn 10-12 hours.

Ideally if someone who actually stayed there and know where to get the best rate would be best but it looks like I will need to do more research for that one night.

I will try "hotel near Beckley" as Travelover suggested to see what what rates I will find.

I am not a member of CAA so will not be able to to take advantage of its service for now.

Never heard of hotwire.com but will try it later to see what rates I get.

I tend to book hotel along the way before 6pm by visiting the tourist info centre, call directly from the Tourist Info Centre as I don't know where I will end up in the evening. Making booking a hotel/motel ahead of time a challenge.

Not related to this thread: I will also consider leaving my minivan in my snowbird destination in the future after I replace my current minivan which is still in good shape and well cared for. I wonder if it's safe to leave a minivan in South Florida for 6 or 7 months ?

I have tried rates from Geiko, it's pretty cheap for my minivan compared to what I have paying in Toronto (Cad$1900/year with a clean driving record for over 20 years). I will suspend my insurance in Toronto, activate the one in Florida, it might work out cheaper.

I noticed that food is also much cheaper in Florida as Toronto has become so expensive these days (ranked the 8th most expensive city in the world). I hate that
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Old 11-21-2010, 09:49 PM   #6
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Not knowing where you'll come into the States (Queenston, Peace Bridge?), and depending on how long it takes you to get past ICE, think about the Hampton Inn in Beckley, WV. We've stopped there twice in the past 3 years and had no issues. It's right off the Interstate; easy-off easy-on. Not too many places to east in the area if you arrive late, so plan ahead.
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Old 11-22-2010, 05:02 AM   #7
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Not knowing where you'll come into the States (Queenston, Peace Bridge?), and depending on how long it takes you to get past ICE, think about the Hampton Inn in Beckley, WV. We've stopped there twice in the past 3 years and had no issues. It's right off the Interstate; easy-off easy-on. Not too many places to east in the area if you arrive late, so plan ahead.
Here's my route:
Toronto
Buffalo
Erie Ohio
Pittsburgh I79

I am planning to check in hotel/motel along the following towns (either before or after the Jefferson National Forest):
(1) Beckley (2) Ghent (3) Princeton (4) Bluefield off highway (5) Jefferson National Forest (6)Wytheville (7) Fort Chiswell

I would like to know:
(a) If arrive late without reservation, can I still find hotel/motel ?
(b) Would they jack up the rate if I arrive late in person without reservation ?
(c) What's your experience along the highway before and after the Jefferson National Forest ?
(d) How's the driving condition in the Jefferson National Forest ? It's a FOREST, is it a hard to drive in forest in the evening (after sunset) ? Is it mountainous with deep slope ? <-- Please comment on the driving condition after dark ?

Thank you !

LS
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Old 11-22-2010, 06:46 AM   #8
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a web enabled cell phone is a wonderful tool - as late afternoon approaches use the internet ont he phone for a "target" town and book on line. I did thsi in europe recently and ended up just searching for the next Holiday Inn Express repeatedly... inexpensive, clean and consistent.
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Old 11-22-2010, 06:50 AM   #9
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How's the driving condition in the Jefferson National Forest ? It's a FOREST, is it a hard to drive in forest in the evening (after sunset) ? Is it mountainous with deep slope ? <-- Please comment on the driving condition after dark ?
I think Robert Frost said it best:
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The woods are lovely, dark and deep...
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Old 11-22-2010, 08:00 AM   #10
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Depending on how early I leave home and how much delay at the border, I suspect I have a 50-50 chance of reaching the FOREST in the evening, meaning "dark".

Could someone let me know:
(1) If there are street lights along the FOREST ? I guess not !
(2) Is the Jefferson National Forest mountainous with deep slope ?
(3) Last but not least, is it easy to drive during the day AND at night ?

Thanks !
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Old 11-22-2010, 08:35 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by LuvSouth View Post
Depending on how early I leave home and how much delay at the border, I suspect I have a 50-50 chance of reaching the FOREST in the evening, meaning "dark".

Could someone let me know:
(1) If there are street lights along the FOREST ? I guess not !
(2) Is the Jefferson National Forest mountainous with deep slope ?
(3) Last but not least, is it easy to drive during the day AND at night ?

Thanks !
I get the idea you've always lived in the city...
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Old 11-22-2010, 08:41 AM   #12
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I get the idea you've always lived in the city...
And used public transportation
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Old 11-22-2010, 08:47 AM   #13
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We find AAA to be extremely useful in situations like these. If CAA is an affiliate with access to the same tools, it might be well worth a membership, especially if this will be a regular peiodic migration.

The most useful tool is the TripTik. Not only helps plan the route but has an excellent inventory of hotels along the route. Also advisories for construction and areas of increased police vigilance. In addition, the guide books give detailed info on hotels that you can take along in the car.
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Old 11-22-2010, 08:58 AM   #14
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In the forest there are no lights, and cell phones don't get reception, and even compass needles just whirl around, and scary people jump out at your car when you least expect it. And people who check into the "hotels" are never seen again.
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Old 11-22-2010, 09:18 AM   #15
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And used public transportation
50-50
Live in the city but drive.
I thought it didn't hurt to ask, though I suspected there's no street lights. Well, I have got to give the Jefferson NF the ... benefit of the doubt Who knows if the 2 states had enough budget long time ago to erect street lights along the forest
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Old 11-22-2010, 09:23 AM   #16
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50-50
Live in the city but drive.
I thought it didn't hurt to ask, though I suspected there's no street lights. Well, I have got to give the Jefferson NF the ... benefit of the doubt Who knows if the 2 states had enough budget long time ago to erect street lights along the forest
With the exception of major interchanges on our Interstate highway system, few US highways outside city limits have street lights.
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Old 11-22-2010, 09:24 AM   #17
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The whole idea is to find out ahead of time if reservation ahead of time is necessary as I really don't know where I will end up after driving 10 or 12 hours plus other unexpected delays ...

Making advance reservation will force me into staying in a hotel when I still want to drive further down or not able to make it to that hotel due to fatique.

But I did find entering key words such as "hotel near Beckley" in Google Maps helps ! I did located lots of hotel/motel with pricing as well. Just uncided on whether I should make advance reservation or show up in person when I am done with the driving that day.
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Old 11-22-2010, 09:24 AM   #18
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Your posts make me think you should be flying instead of driving, in all seriousness. At the very least, plan your trip so you are NOT driving at night.

Very few Interstate highways are lit, except at the exit ramps or in the urban areas. Mid-December weather might be snowy or icy. Trucks drive at night, and if the roads are wet, your windshield wipers and wiper fluid will be working nonstop trying to beat the spray the trucks throw up. The highways through Pennsylvania south to Georgia wind through the mountains, so you are going up and down (and the trucks are slow going up and fast going down) and around, which is more of a challenge than the lack of "street lights."
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Old 11-22-2010, 09:25 AM   #19
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With the exception of major interchanges on our Interstate highway system, few US highways outside city limits have street lights.
Thanks !
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Old 11-22-2010, 09:31 AM   #20
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Your posts make me think you should be flying instead of driving, in all seriousness. At the very least, plan your trip so you are NOT driving at night.

Very few Interstate highways are lit, except at the exit ramps or in the urban areas. Mid-December weather might be snowy or icy. Trucks drive at night, and if the roads are wet, your windshield wipers and wiper fluid will be working nonstop trying to beat the spray the trucks throw up. The highways through Pennsylvania south to Georgia wind through the mountains, so you are going up and down (and the trucks are slow going up and fast going down) and around, which is more of a challenge than the lack of "street lights."
I did drive down to Florida last Xmas but using a different route (from Tennessee). I checked in the hotel before Nashville as it was dark and I didn't plan to climb the mountain from Chattanooga.

Woke up the next morning at 7am, the driving was smooth as it was a beautiful day. Climbing the mountain was OK with me, 60 km/hour speed.

This time, I am using the Buffalo route so it's brand new to me. I might stop before the Jefferson Forest if it's dark unless I get more info/experience from people who drive through the forest at night.
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