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PostPosted: Sat Apr 16, 2011 7:21 am 
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Ever drive to Charlotte, N.C., and wonder if you were taking the quickest route?

Well, forget what the GPS says, Charlotte-based AAA Carolinas put testers to the road Friday to settle the age-old question of what's the best way to get from the Queen City to Myrtle Beach - which, of course, Charlotte-bound Grand Stranders could flip for their use. The trip also pitted speeders vs. those who obey the speed limits and tested gas mileage.

And the winner is: U.S. 74 to U.S. 52 near Wadesboro, to S.C. 9 to S.C. 38 to U.S. 501 to S.C. 22 and U.S. 17 to the Marina Inn at Grande Dunes. Winning time: three hours, 18 minutes and 54 seconds for the one driving over the speed limit, with the non-speeder arriving 24 minutes later.

"It took me three hours and 18 minutes from Charlotte. Are you kidding me? That's nothing. I spend that much time in rush hour," joked Jason Gaskins, a Charlotte construction company owner whom AAA recruited to drive that route as he normally drives, which this time meant about 7 to 8 miles over the speed limit. "It was easy."

That route was faster than the two others:

Interstate 485 to N.C. 218 to U.S. 74 through Rockingham to N.C. 38 to U.S. 501 near Latta to S.C. 22 then U.S. 17. This way took three hours, 36 minutes for the driver going the speed limit and three hours, 31 minutes for the speeder. AAA deemed this route the most efficient because the driver obeying the speed limit arrived only 18 minutes after the driver who got here first while erasing the chance for a speeding ticket and reducing the chances of an accident.

U.S. 77 to S.C. 9 to S.C. 903 to S.C. 151 to U.S. 52. I-95 then S.C. 327, U.S. 76 to S.C. 576 then U.S. 501 to U.S. 17. You don't want to go this way if you are in a hurry. This was the longest route, by far, taking about 4 hours and 30 minutes.

AAA also tested a route between Durham, N.C., and here, which took about 4 hours, with the driver following the speed limit arriving 10 minutes after the one who wasn't.

The "Great Myrtle Beach Road Race" aimed to help North Carolinians chart their path to Myrtle Beach with the summer vacation season just around the corner. The test also showed that speeding didn't save that much time - two minutes, five minutes and 24 minutes on the three Charlotte routes - and gauged fuel efficiency.

The results showing speeders don't save that much time surprised Myrtle Beach City Councilman Wayne Gray, who greeted the drivers at the "finish line" at the Marina Inn at Grande Dunes. He said he usually thinks he's saving substantially more time.

"If you drive the speed limit you are talking about only a 10 to 15 minute difference," he said.

A few more tips: U.S. 74 through Monroe is extremely congested and can hurt travel time, S.C. 22 will help drivers avoid congestion on U.S. 501 (as locals already know) and that Florence can confuse drivers - one in Friday's test got lost there.

"It is extremely confusing going through Florence," said Tom Crosby of AAA Carolinas. "It's just very, very confusing."

After hearing the routes and times, Gray told Crosby, "Now all we need is an interstate."

Source: The Sun News:
http://www.thesunnews.com/2011/04/16/21 ... -from.html
By Dawn Bryant - dbryant@thesunnews.com
843-626-0296

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PostPosted: Sat Apr 16, 2011 9:19 am 
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Great article.... Thanks ! brings to light the hazards of relying on "technology" to make all our decisions, like how to get to Myrtle ! :lol: And I can't believe AAA is advocating excessive speed ! I always drive at or below the posted........ eh, better not go there. :pirat:

I can't count the number of times GPS, AAA, MAPQuest, BingMaps, etc provided off-the-wall directions. Yes, they get you to the destination.... but not necessarily the shortest/quickest route. As we live in one of the worst traffic areas in the nation, I always review suggested directions before following them. Anyone driving into MB via 501 on a Saturday morning in the summer knows this.... :BandHead:

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PostPosted: Sat Apr 16, 2011 3:40 pm 
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Interesting test but nothing I'd take as carved in stone. To get more accurate results they would need to make the trip several times. Different times of day and different days of week.
Drive time you get on a Friday might not be the same as on a Saturday.

We've tried several different routes through the years. Same route. Multiple trips. Would have different drive time each trip.
We don't worry about it anymore. Rather have an 8 hour relaxing drive than a 7 1/2 hour edge of the seat, white knuckle ride.

Where did the test start? Charlotte is a big area. What works from center of town might not be as fast from out by I 77.
In the time it would take to get through town and through Monroe you could be a good ways down I 77 and into SC.


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PostPosted: Sat Apr 16, 2011 6:51 pm 
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Quote Alan:
"Where did the test start? "

Good point. If the starting and ending locations are cities (rather than addresses) do they start in the middle of town (like the corner of Trade and Tryon) or do they start from the city limits?

Kirk, I wondered about the speeding, too. "AAA" and "speeding" in the same sentence? :dontknow:

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 17, 2011 3:44 pm 
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Location: Mississauga(Toronto), ON
Last couple of years I've travelled down, I flew. I've driven down twice using 2 different routes.

Once we headed east through Winston salem and Greenboro and then south. I believe this is the popular route from the north (Toronto).

The other trip, we went south to Charolette. We then made our way to MB but I draw a blank how I did it.

These two trips were with a buddy from work and we drove right through the day and night. 5am to 10pm.

This September Im driving down with my family and stopping for the night in Summersville, WV. Any suggestions for what the best, quickest, most direct and scenic route is? This will be the first time my wife and 2 sons (19&21) will drive through the US, so I want it to be a memorable experience. I'll have maps and trip tic from CAA/AAA which will probably guide me through Winston and Greensboro and I'll have my Garmin GPS which will suggest no doubt a different route. Any suggestions from here? Anything from Beckley at I77. I can pick up your suggestions there. Would be nice to maybe go down 1 way and return another.

Thanks

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 06, 2011 10:21 am 
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Hi dbusguy,

Hello from a fellow Canadian - we are from Hamilton, ON.

I have driven as a child with my parents and now with my family to Myrtle Beach more times than I can count now.

The general route we follow is the most popular you mentioned - through Winston-Salem etc. Mostly on I79.

In 2007 we headed to the beach with a larger group and there were a few who had not done any driving in the US, so we also wanted to do two different routes to make the most of the trip. On our way down to the beach we took the route mentioned above, mostly I79. On the way home we took the I95 route and enjoyed some different scenary. It only added an additional 20 minutes or so to our usual route home.

We are headed down again this year in August (20 - 27), just my family. So we will take the usual I79 route. We generally stop for the night in Beckley,WV; but seeing as we will be arriving at the beach on a Saturday, we are going to drive a bit further the first day so we only have a little over 5 hours to drive on the Saturday. We are going to stop for the night in Max Meadows, VA this year. We are planning to leave Hamilton at 4am on the Firday, so we will see how this goes.

:lol:

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 06, 2011 5:05 pm 
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Hello gillianrn

I just checked my map. The I 95 route, I think I nearly took that back in 2004. Is that 95 to DC and then I 70 to Pittsburgh?

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PostPosted: Tue Jun 07, 2011 10:04 am 
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Hi dbusguy,

Yes - that's the one! Provided some different scenary and driving through different states on the way home then we did on the way down.

First day heading home we had a late breakfast in Myrtle Beach and then we drove just shy of 7 hours and stayed at a great Hampton Inn in Fredericksburg, VA for the night. Headed out early the next morning and had about 9.5 hours to Hamilton, ON.

This year I think we are just going to stick with the usual mostly I79 route there and back. We mainly use our Garmin GPS but I do like to pick up a triptik too from CAA just to check out any areas of construction. Fingers crossed that we don't run into too much traffic arriving at the beach on Saturday - I'm thinking we will be arriving at The Dune Village sometime beween 2 - 3 pm. :lol:

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PostPosted: Tue Jun 07, 2011 5:09 pm 
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Ok, you've convinced me. We'll take I95 home for the variety. :)

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 17, 2011 7:22 pm 
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Patrish, We have always taken the first route that you mentioned and which came in first place, except for 1 year. Of course like Alan states, we plan on what time of day we will be traveling thru that area as an early weekday morning at rush hour is not the same as an early Saturday morning.

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 19, 2011 1:43 pm 
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I had a wedding to attend in Charlotte the beginning of Oct. left MB 2 miles from the Back Gate at 2 in the afternoon got to the DoubleTree at South Park at 5:15, not sure of the route numbers but was not on a highway, mostly 2 lane roads.

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PostPosted: Tue Jun 11, 2013 7:09 am 
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We don't worry about it anymore. Rather have an 8 hour relaxing drive than a 7 1/2 hour edge of the seat, white knuckle ride.
:angel13:




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