This report is from a trip from Norfolk, VA to northern New Jersey on November 15, 2002.

VA-NJ roadtrip (long)

Was let out early on Friday, so combined a bit of a roadtrip (mostly county collecting) into my trip up to New Jersey. Wound up collecting 5 new counties each in VA and WV, and 3 new counties in PA along the way. Some notes:

- Headed out via I-64, and used I-295 to avoid central Richmond. Last week was definitely the peak for fall colors between Hampton Roads and Richmond...many trees have dropped their leaves, and most of those leaves that remained had turned that russet color they usually do before dropping.

- Picked up photos of the ends of VA 208, VA 22, and VA 53 enroute to Mike-Tantillo-land. Then, once in Charlottesville (my first time there), I toured the US 29/US 250 bypass. Nominally a freeway (except for a narrow median and the ramp configurations at either end), the guide signage left a lot to be desired.

- Whoever approved all that development right up along US 29 through northern Charlottesville should be shot. Whoever opposes an limited-access bypass should be doubly-shot. And the two traffic lights immediately north of US 250 are the "whoppers" of them all...

- From Ruckersville, took US 33 across the ridge to Elkton. US 33 bypass of Standardsville seems relatively new...I'd guess within 6-8 years. Meanwhile, heading up the hill to Skyline Drive and back down was a fascinating drive....awesome scenery. The "uphill" direction has a 2nd lane for slower traffic, and there's about 1/2 mile of 4-lane divided at the top. Once back down the hill, Rockingham County had a couple of motorcycle cops running traffic stops.

- Took US 340 from Elkton back down to Waynesboro. Mostly 2 lane, though it's straight for the most part, with good sight distances.  Noticed that both Rockingham and Augusta Counties name their rural streets/roads. Street signs showed US 340 as "East Side Highway".

- From Waynesboro, took the short hop over on I-64 to Staunton, then tried out the VA 262 loop. No construction noticeable on the planned extension of VA 262 north from VA 252. Routed back through Staunton...saw a "Route 252 Ends Here" sign (shaped similar to an Interstate shield), and some VA 254 cutouts in town. Took VA 254 out west to get its western end photographed, then took VA 42 back up to US 250.

- US 250 is an absolutely fascinating drive between Churchville and Monterey, though passing opportunities are a bit limited. Occasional US 250 cutouts along the path. Lots of curves and switchbacks heading up and down the ridge between West Augusta and McDowell. Once in Monterey, US 220 has stop control where it intersects US 250 in town.

- From Monterey, basically took US 220 from there through West Virginia and up to I-68 in Cumberland. More passing opportunities than were expected. Wasn't an issue south of Petersburg, but traffic was thick from Petersburg until well into Maryland, though it being the "evening rush hour" may have accounted for that traffic. Still, it got frustrating at times being stuck behind someone going 40-45 with no passing opportunity for miles, and oncoming traffic when you finally DID catch a passing zone.

- US 220 takes a 90-degree turn and crosses a fascinating one-lane, steel-overhead-truss bridge somewhere between Franklin and Petersburg (I think near Upper Tract).

- Cut up MD 53 up to I-68. Fairly heavy traffic, though this is on the outskirts of Cumberland. There's a mall located near I-68/MD 53.

- At this point, it was well dark, and I was more interested in making time than anything else. Took I-68 to I-70 to I-76/PA TPK, cut through Harrisburg, then out I-81 to I-78 to get to NJ.

- The 55 MPH speed limit on I-70 between MD and Breezewood was irritating. Almost as irritating as the signal sequence where I-70 drops into Breezewood. As for Breezewood, as long as the local businesses oppose a "proper connection" between I-70 and the Turnpike, I will never solicit those businesses.

- Looked like the bridges on the Turnpike over I-70 were either being reconstructed or widened...couldn't tell which...

- Exited the Turnpike at US 15, to take a stroll through Harrisburg enroute to I-81. Most of US 15, PA 581, and I-83 looked really old.  Saw exit numbers on PA 581.

- Once on I-81, took that to I-78 and headed east into Jersey. Not much new along that stretch, although I was "reminded" of the 55 MPH speed limit between PA 61 and PA 309.

- Last time I was on that stretch of I-78, construction was about halfway through on the I-78/PA 33 interchange.

That's about it. Hope to collect some more counties while I'm up here.

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