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Day 13 Vacations Over

Today we hit the road and head back to Philly. The car was mostly packed the night before so all we had to do was grab the rest of the stuff in the room and hit the road. We were out of the room and on I-4 a little after 3am.

According to Google Maps it would take us a little over 15 and half hours. We should arrive sometime between 1930 and 2000 at night. I figured I might be able to get that to closer to 7 once everything is all said and done.

I just had to worry about traffic in the DC area. We should be coming up to that area around 4 in the afternoon. Right around rush hour so it should be interesting.

Now I topped off the tank with gas the night before. Gas prices were slowly going down but still much higher than last year. Since we didn’t need to stop for gas in Florida our first stop would be somewhere in Georgia.

We crossed into Georgia a little after 6 and were making good time so far. There was barely any traffic on the road so far. Much different than when we were coming down to Florida. Of course, I would be traveling through South Caroline around 8 so who knows what kind of traffic we will face there.

We traveled through Georgia making good time. It was very helpful that 95 in Georgia is three lanes. I would miss that third lane in the next two states but I was enjoying it now.

When I got to Brunswick, GA we stopped for gas. The car took 10.023 gallons and was $4.43 a gallon. That was the cheapest price I got on the entire trip.

Once we filled up we went inside to Burger King to get a bite to eat and some coffee. We ordered our meals and coffee. Well wouldn’t you know it. They didn’t have any coffee. Like how is that possible. It was a truck stop with no coffee at 7ish in the morning.

Luckily, the gas station had coffee. The coffee was pretty good and much better than what we would have gotten from the Burger King. So far we are not making out good on getting breakfast at gas stations on our travels.

After our disappointing visit to the Brunswick Burger King we were back on the road and heading to South Carolina. Along the way we got to see the one truck NO ONE wants to be behind. Like no one was following behind this truck for at least a quarter of a mile.

I made sure to pass the truck as quickly as possible. I had driving behind them. I also hate driving behind dump trucks. With dump trucks I am always getting hit with rocks. With this truck I am worried about getting hit with a log.

I passed the “death” truck and continued along the highway. Before you knew it the road was going down to two lanes and we were crossing into South Carolina. The next couple of hours was going to suck.

Now not to far into South Carolina we saw a billboard for a place called Buc-ees. Every ten miles or so we would see another sign. There were more signs for Buc-ees, than there were signs for South of the Boarder.

We knew we had to stop. Plus a friend of my mom’s told us we should stop there. He said they have the cleanest restrooms and the places is basically the Disney World of rest stops.

Now like I have said many times before I hate driving through South Carolina. There is nothing to see but trees on both sides of the road. No towns, no buildings, nothing at all to see. It makes for a very boring drive.

The only good thing was looking out for the next Buc-ee’s sign. One said you can hold it only 150 miles to Buc-ee’s. I found that sign very funny and figured this place had to be amazing.

By the time we go to Florence, SC and Buc-ee’s I could have gone a little further before I needed gas. But hey, we have been seeing these signs and it was a good time to stop and stretch our legs. Now they were not lying.

This place was huge. I have never seen so many gas pumps in one location. I was at pump 55 and there was still another huge row behind me. There was well over 100 gas pumps.

Gas was a little more expensive than it was it Georgia but it still wasn’t too bad. It was $4.60 a gallon. I ended up fill the car up with 11.435 gallons. After the tank was full it was time to check the inside out.

Now the inside was just as impressive. They had all sorts of items inside. Just about anything you could think you would want or need on a road trip you will find inside. Jerky, tacos, BBQ, t-shirts, coffee, soda, sandwiches and much, much more.

Now the bathrooms were so clean. Definitely the cleanest we have come across on this trip. Probably the cleanest on any trip I have taken. And this is with all the people that come through her.

If you find yourself traveling on I-95 through South Carolina you have to make a stop at Buc-ee’s. You will not be disappointed. Next time I plan on actually taking my time to really dive into what they have. For now it was time to hit the road again.

Right around 1030 we were getting ready to cross into North Carolina. But before we could do that we had to pass everyone’s favorite I-95 landmark. Of course, I am talking about South of the Boarder.

I would really love for them to do something with this place. It would be a really nice area to stop and take a break at. It’s just too bad it looks worn out and run down now-a-days. Maybe one day it will come back to life.

Now once we crossed into North Carolina it seemed like our arrive time home jumped up by a half hour. Just a couple of minutes ago we were scheduled to get home around 1914. Now it wasn’t until 1956.

I wasn’t sure if there was an issue in North Carolina or DC. I figured it had to be DC but only time will tell. About an hour and a half later our arrive time dropped back down to 1920. I could live with that.

Most of the trip through North Carolina was uneventful. We did have to get off of 95 once due to an accident but it wasn’t too long before we were heading back north. Not too long after that we did get stuck behind a wide load.

Not really sure what this truck was hauling but it sure was wide. Once the shoulder opened up the truck moved over a little and a bunch of us were able to get by. It was really nice to see that since he was only going about 50 mph and who knows how long he would have been on 95.

Now for the second time today, I saw another truck hauling logs. Two different states. Two different trucks hauling big freaking logs. I just hop I don’t hit another one in Maryland since it seems like it is skipping states.

Once I flew by that truck it wasn’t too much further till we entered Virginia. Once in Virginia, I knew I only had about a half hour before I would see that sweet third lane come back. I couldn’t wait for that.

Most of the trip through Virginia was nice and peaceful. A couple of spots we would get a little rain on us but for the most part it was uneventful. Once I got towards Richmond I started paying closer attention to my gas gauge.

I would check to see how many miles I could go till E and how many miles were left till I got home. I wanted to make sure that my last stop would be my last stop even with all the traffic I would soon encounter.

I ended up pulling into a Love’s in Fort A.P. Hill. The last couple of times I drove home from SC, I ended up stopping here for gas. I never go inside. Instead we usually go to Arby’s right down the street before we head away from 95 and cut through Maryland.

Today we stopped inside to grab some drinks and use the restroom. Boy did Buc-ee’s ruin all other restrooms for me. Gas here was slightly cheaper than in SC.

I knew it would probably be months before PA got gas prices this low. Here it was $4.50 a gallon. I filled up the car and it took 12.928 gallons to fill her up.

This would be our last stop till we arrived home. Our estimated time to arrive was 1925 at this point. For the next couple of hours it would jump around 20 minutes faster or slower. It just couldn’t make up its mind.

Now this road isn’t a back road but it isn’t a main highway either. There are tons of traffic lights and hills to travel through. It does help keep you alert and aware of your surroundings.

Which is a good thing when you are traveling in the car for so long. The only bad thing is the bridge. This bridge is insane. I don’t normally have a problem driving over bridges or any road in general.

I can drive along mountain roads. Snow covered highways. Tunnels or bridges. You name it, I can drive it with little worries.

The Memorial Bay Bridge outside of Annapolis, MD is a tall and narrow bridge. The last couple of times they have been doing construction on it too.

Now we made it across with no issues. It just makes me a little uneasy. Plus I keep both hands on the wheel the entire time across the bridge.

From here it was smooth sailing the rest of the way through Maryland. Next up would be Delaware. On 95 you are only in Delaware for a short amount of time. This way we travel through much more of the state.

Now Maryland had plenty of cars on the road with us. Most of Delaware we didn’t have many other vehicles at all. We definitely didn’t have anyone trying to pass us.

Of course, once we got closer to I-95 the traffic increased. At one point I saw our arrive time jump to 8. A couple minutes later it was down to 1925.

Finally around 1830 we crossed into Pennsylvania. Little did I know that my home state would give me the most problems when it came to traffic on this whole trip home. We were not far into the state when we hit bumper to bumper traffic.

It would be bumper to bumper traffic for a mile or two than it would open up and everyone would flooring it. Again when we hit the airport we hit a major slow down. Turns out it was for two different reasons.

There was some car parts or something in the center lane right near the airport. The other reason was all the cars exiting at the stadiums for the New Kids on the Block concert that night. Once we got passed the stadiums we were good for a couple of miles.

Once we got a little closer to Center City it slowed down. Than would speed up, than slow down again. Pretty much from exit 1 to 40 it was like this.

Go 70 or 80 for a mile or two than down to 5 mph. I don’t know what it is about Philadelphia but the driving through here just sucks sometimes. Now once we got to the Northeast the left lane was blocked.

Surprisingly, this didn’t cause too many issues. Even with all this added traffic at the very end of our trip back home it didn’t set us back too bad. Without this traffic I know I could have cut at least 10 minutes off of my time.

Even without being about to do that I still made great time. It took under 16 hours to make it from All Star Music Resort in Orlando to outside of Philadelphia. Not bad if you ask me.

This was an amazing 13 day trip. We had a lot of fun and got to do a bunch of amazing things. Not sure when I will be going back. It could be next year or maybe I might skip it to do something else. Time will just have to tell.

The whole trip was 2,829 miles. I filled up a total of 11 times for a total of 122.479 gallons. Not bad if you ask me. Now it did cost me a lot more this year than last year. I would say at least $200 more.

This trip gas cost $575.27. That is still cheaper than two plane tickets and a car rental. I think I still made the right decision to drive instead of flying.

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