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Driving Home to NY From Florida
Old 03-19-2020, 01:53 PM   #1
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Driving Home to NY From Florida

DW and I are nearing the end of our 4 month snowbirding winter in The Villages. We are paid up through March. If we desired, we could extend our stay through April, and likely beyond, as the folks following us into the rental unit have cancelled.

Most of the activities have been closed, and those not yet closed may become closed. We are considering getting out of here and heading to the Finger Lakes of NY. about a week or so early, like maybe Monday the 23rd.

It would be a two day hop, with a motel stop in the middle.

I'm wondering if anyone out there has any knowledge of what the roads are like now. We'd be taking 95 N from Jacksonville, then 26 up to Columbia SC, then 77 through Charlotte, 81 through Roanoke (likely our night stay near Roanoke) then up 81 to Harrisburg, then from there the roads are never too bad.

Normally the snowbird migration north would be awful after March 31, but it seems quite a few folks have left early, especially the Canadians who are concerned about healthcare costs of they get sick down here.

I'm tempted to stay through March and come up a week later, maybe April 7...I'm in a quandary.

Anybody with any knowledge of what traffic is like along this route?
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Old 03-19-2020, 02:20 PM   #2
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I'm going (kind of) the other way tomorrow (Friday 3/19) Chicago to Atlanta, then to St. Augustine on Monday. We'll drive Chicago to ATL in a day. If Chicago traffic is any indication, it's going to be a breeze - very lite rush hour here the last week or so. Atlanta traffic is reportedly down, but not gone (is it ever?). Spring Break seems to be effectively cancelled with Florida beaches/bars/restaurants closed. Flying is pretty much out also. I do expect some adventurous people to be making the drive like we are, but I'm expecting a smooth trip. Audible is my friend...
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Old 03-19-2020, 02:29 PM   #3
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Curious...I've read two articles about people in "The Villages" being very blase about COVID-19. Gathering in public places, dancing cheek-to-cheek, etc. What reactions did you observe?

Quote:
Originally Posted by HadEnuff View Post
DW and I are nearing the end of our 4 month snowbirding winter in The Villages. We are paid up through March. If we desired, we could extend our stay through April, and likely beyond, as the folks following us into the rental unit have cancelled.

Most of the activities have been closed, and those not yet closed may become closed. We are considering getting out of here and heading to the Finger Lakes of NY. about a week or so early, like maybe Monday the 23rd.

It would be a two day hop, with a motel stop in the middle.

I'm wondering if anyone out there has any knowledge of what the roads are like now. We'd be taking 95 N from Jacksonville, then 26 up to Columbia SC, then 77 through Charlotte, 81 through Roanoke (likely our night stay near Roanoke) then up 81 to Harrisburg, then from there the roads are never too bad.

Normally the snowbird migration north would be awful after March 31, but it seems quite a few folks have left early, especially the Canadians who are concerned about healthcare costs of they get sick down here.

I'm tempted to stay through March and come up a week later, maybe April 7...I'm in a quandary.

Anybody with any knowledge of what traffic is like along this route?
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Old 03-19-2020, 02:52 PM   #4
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I don't know of any route suggestions, but would imagine they are no worse or better than normal. Probably more folks making an early exodus, but then less regular traffic.

In your shoes OP I'd start heading home stat. Things are changing day by day, and while I think we're a ways off from things like true lockdowns and wide curfews, I wouldn't want to risk waiting another week or two to see how things go.
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Old 03-19-2020, 02:56 PM   #5
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We've had a number of people head back north early... in most cases relating to caring for grandchildren who are out of school but whose parents can't work from home.

We talked about it but don't see where sheltering in place here or at home would be much different other than it is warmer and more comfortable here and more things to do... so unless things chenge dramatically I think we'll stick to our original plan to return north in late April or early May.
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Old 03-19-2020, 02:57 PM   #6
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Family just made the southbound journey along 95 on Tuesday. She indicated North bound was extremely heavy with lots of backups.

Might be better to extend your stay. I hear sunshine kills the flu virus.
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Old 03-19-2020, 03:03 PM   #7
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Hadenuff, My bil will be coming from FL to NY with a stop in Pa. to drop someone off. His wife has been checking the roads. Rest areas restrooms and visitor centers were closed in some states but they had port-a-pots. Truckers can sleep at some stops. Hotels/motels are also a problem in some areas. My bil and his buddy are going to drive straight through. Also he will stock up on water and food before getting on the road.
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Old 03-19-2020, 04:07 PM   #8
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I just drove from Sanibel Island FL to Raleigh NC. We had tickets to fly but decided to drive as the safest / least risky option.

Traffic along 75 was the lightest we have seen in years. Mostly truckers and older couples leaving Florida. It would expect you would see a similar pattern. Plenty of gas and food options as there weren’t many people on the roads.

Steve

P.s. we started at 7 am and drove all day. It took about 12 hours with the stops.
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Old 03-19-2020, 04:27 PM   #9
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There’s always a wreck on 81 in Va. It’s law of nature.

Seriously, though, you can check https://www.511virginia.org/ anytime to access the traffic cameras in Virginia and see for yourself.
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Old 03-19-2020, 04:50 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kfsinc View Post
I'm going (kind of) the other way tomorrow (Friday 3/19) Chicago to Atlanta, then to St. Augustine on Monday. We'll drive Chicago to ATL in a day. If Chicago traffic is any indication, it's going to be a breeze - very lite rush hour here the last week or so. Atlanta traffic is reportedly down, but not gone (is it ever?). Spring Break seems to be effectively cancelled with Florida beaches/bars/restaurants closed. Flying is pretty much out also. I do expect some adventurous people to be making the drive like we are, but I'm expecting a smooth trip. Audible is my friend...
We are staying in midtown Atlanta as I speak and can tell you traffic is almost non existent here...even at rush hour. It's like they are filming The Walking Dead or something. We are hitting the road on Saturday or Sunday to head back to flyover country and am very much looking forward to the lack of traffic.
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Old 03-19-2020, 05:24 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Amethyst View Post
Curious...I've read two articles about people in "The Villages" being very blase about COVID-19. Gathering in public places, dancing cheek-to-cheek, etc. What reactions did you observe?
I'm sure it happens, although I haven't witnessed it personally. Nearly everyone I've talked to is toning the social life down. The usually crowded pickleball courts are not very crowded. Generally folks are obeying the "recommendation" of no more than 10 people on the courts at a time. The first day of that, yesterday, a lot of folks, me included, didn't know about it, but today I drove by a few and the play was very light indeed.

I did play golf, nobody touched the pin in my group.
Pools are all closed, all indoor clubs and gatherings cancelled. All recreational leagues are cancelled.
Nightly dancing outside at the squares is all cancelled. Restaurants have much more limited seating inside and outside, keeping folks apart.

I don't know about the social "hotspots" because I never go there anyway. We have a group of about 10 couples and we sometimes get together at someone's house for dinner, drinks, a boardgames or something, but that's not happening in our group.
There are probably in the neighborhood of 120,000 people here, so there are bound to be a few reckless souls.
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Old 03-19-2020, 08:41 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pb4uski View Post
We've had a number of people head back north early... in most cases relating to caring for grandchildren who are out of school but whose parents can't work from home.

We talked about it but don't see where sheltering in place here or at home would be much different other than it is warmer and more comfortable here and more things to do... so unless things chenge dramatically I think we'll stick to our original plan to return north in late April or early May.
we're in a metro phoenix RV resort until (scheduled) april 15. then we're to head to SW FL to see my aunt and then home before memorial day. but we're now considering heading home from here within the next week. if we get sick we'd rather be at home with family and friends for support, our own docs and larger quarters. if i get sick down here we're in trouble since my wife can doesn't like fo drive. haven't made a final decision or set a departure date yet but leaning strongly towards leaving.

btw, according to my buddy in southwest FL spring break is in full swing with crowded beaches.
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Old 03-19-2020, 08:50 PM   #13
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Consider booking an Airbnb instead of a hotel - asking about sanitation . I know our Airbnb is bleaching the sh*t out of everything. Way cleaner than any roadside motel
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Old 03-19-2020, 10:29 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rk911 View Post
we're in a metro phoenix RV resort until (scheduled) april 15. then we're to head to SW FL to see my aunt and then home before memorial day. but we're now considering heading home from here within the next week. if we get sick we'd rather be at home with family and friends for support, our own docs and larger quarters. if i get sick down here we're in trouble since my wife can doesn't like fo drive. haven't made a final decision or set a departure date yet but leaning strongly towards leaving.

btw, according to my buddy in southwest FL spring break is in full swing with crowded beaches.
Might want to leave even earlier. California has ordered a statewide shelter in place order...I think we will more states enact similar orders and there is a lot of land you need to cover!
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Old 03-20-2020, 05:05 AM   #15
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Heading north from Panama City Beach this Sunday. There are still spring breakers here. Some restaurants are still open with 50% seating(for social distancing). I am leaving 3 days early mostly due to the early exodus of many
friends from Canada. I hear traffic is light on the interstates, but I will find
out how it goes this weekend.
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Old 03-20-2020, 01:35 PM   #16
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Got the word today that NY State is now under an order to stay put, shelter in place, lockdown, whatever they want to call it...

We may stay right here in Florida for another month.

I'll let you all know as soon as DW let's me know. I may have convinced her to stay here with the report about the rest areas being closed and using port-a-potties. DW hates port-a-potties.
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