For the past few years, when making the transition between New England and the sultry south, I’ve avoided the usual route that took me from the Garden State Parkway to Delaware. It was off onto US Route One at Edison, New Jersey, and onto Route 130, to Interstate 295, and over the Delaware Memorial Bridge.
We who drive pay gas taxes to keep the roads in good condition. That this revenue ends up in the general fund, and the roads are left wanting is not of our doing. But we all suffer the broken promises, as well as the broken suspensions and worn-out tires as a result. Crossing bridges is kind of necessary when one approaches the Delaware, the Susquahannah, the Hudson and myriad other rivers that obstruct our smooth journeys
I HATE TOLLS! Why, I ask you, should we pay tribute to the state for crossing these structures? Tax monies have been collected for their upkeep, and the Federal Highway Fund kicks in for them as well.
Okay, so I try to avoid crossing a bridge in the direction in which the toll booth is raking it in. Heading south, I now take the Garden State (tolls here have increased dramatically in these poor economic times) to US 1, but now I stay on US 1 through Princeton, and pick up Interstate 95, around Philadelphia, past the airport to Interstate 495, and into Delaware. This route is the ONLY one where a toll is not collected for crossing the Delaware. And I didn’t have to do it standing up in the front of a boat, ala General Washington. In a car it may seem insignificant, but the tolls required of an RV can really sting.
I recently travelled in my Saturn S1 to New England from D.C. ….Baltimore Tunnel: $2.00; crossing the Susquahannah: $5.00; the Delaware toll road: $5.00; the Garden State Parkway: $2.50 (The Jersey Turnpike would have been $7.50 for this stretch), the the Tappan Zee Bridge: $5.00. That’s $19.50 to travel with crazed drivers and tractor-trailer rigs with more crazed drivers, a total of 250 miles or less.
By skirting D.C. on the beltway, through Annapolis on US 50 to US 301, and north on the Chesapeake Bay Bridge; zoom along through lovely Maryland farmland, to meet Route US 40 in Delaware. Then joining US 13, proceed through New Castle to Interstate 495. This joins Interstate 95, which traverses Philly to Trenton, and on to Princeton, NJ. Then grab US 1, and follow it to Edison, and the Garden State Parkway. YOU JUST SAVED MONEY! It was no longer; it was more enjoyable, there was less trucking and (unexplainably) fewer crazed drivers. There was the north-bound toll on the Chesapeake Bay Bridge, but the savings are still dramatic and the scenery is worth it!
This week, just to see what might be different, I went north in the RV, into New Jersey by going up and over the Delaware Memorial Bridge (no toll northbound), and proceeded on Interstate 295 toward Camden and Trenton on the east side of the river.
The roadway is GREATLY IMPROVED. Until you get past Route 38 (Morrisville exit). Then, the road ceases to be navigable. It is a series of unconnected pot holes and broken pavement. Really dangerous stuff! I got off at US 130, the Brunswick exit. Route 130 is HORRIBLE! New Jerseyites cruise blithely over this sea of destruction, never realizing that there are actually places in the USA where you don’t sacrifice your wheels (literally) to commute to the next stop in Hell. I’m swearing off NJ totally!
My next jaunt south will be via Scranton and Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, on the Interstates. More mileage will be repaid in better gas mileage, and less concern for the chassis beneath me!