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 > Toll roads or not

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craig7h

Branson MO area

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Posted: 06/26/20 06:36am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

In the latter part of September (covid permit) a group of 3 rigs will be finishing our 4000 mile trip of the n.e. I have reservations made at the parks between Bar Harbor Maine and Cleveland Ohio. We plan on stopping at Littleton, MA and Bloomsburg, PA.

Never really traveling via Toll roads I have a few questions. Our we better to travel off interstates on the way to Cleveland? I started to plan that way but found it very hard to travel the east without finding you are on a toll road.

If toll road are we better to get the Ezpass or pay cash? From what I read we pay forward on the ezpass, so if we do not use our money up do we get it back?

Any other suggestions would be helpful. I have made reservations at all the rv parks along the way.


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RobWNY

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Posted: 06/26/20 07:11am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Craig, If you avoid toll roads (Primarily I-90) you will go through every little town and village with traffic lights. Not that there's anything wrong with that but getting fuel may be more difficult due to the size of your Motorhome. EZ-Pass and I-90 is the way to go. You can load the acccount with whatever you are comfortable with when you get the transponder and then have your account replenished automatically in small increments. You will also have a much easier time getting fuel as there are many travel plaza's along the way. I would suggest getting the EZ-Pass, put $50 on it and set the replenish amount to as little as they will allow. You can't get a refund if you don't use it all but many States with toll roads accept EZ-Pass. As an example of toll cost on I-90, I have 4 Axles (truck and 5th wheel). From Exit 59 Fredonia NY to Exit 36 at Syracuse, it costs me $37.00 You certainly can pay cash at the tolls if you wish but keep in mind that because of the Pandemic, there are very few toll booths that are manned along I-90 so many times those lanes are backed up so the wait is longer than it used to be.


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Lynnmor

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Posted: 06/26/20 07:34am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I would run I81 & I80 and not pay tolls. Set your GPS to no tolls and enjoy the freedom. Fuel is a non issue.





BB_TX

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Posted: 06/26/20 08:02am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

If interested in speed over scenery, then take the interstates, toll or not. Not if that is an option. Or if the toll fee is not important, then take the one that your routing app suggest.

If speed is not important, and you do not mind smaller slower highways, then avoid the interstates.

jkwilson

Indiana

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Posted: 06/26/20 08:02am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Very few toll roads accept cash, and those that do sometimes require you to exit to pay, and then get back on the road. Most either use EZPass or they send you a bill from a picture of your plate.

It can be difficult to avoid toll roads around Boston because of the general level of insanity getting places. You won’t have to stop or pay at the time if you do, so don’t worry about it if it happens.

We drive from Cleveland to Boston and back several times in a normal year as we have two adult children living there. Mostly we are just driving the car, but we’ve done the 5th wheel as well.

Hands down, the easiest driving is 90. Steady traffic flow, easy on and off for fuel and breaks and a fairly flat route. It is tolled.

80/81 isn’t a bad road, but much hillier (Nothing bad) and you will see traffic as you near NYC even as far out as it passes. Bloomsburg is very close to 80.

Pennsylvania is not a good state to try to run the length on state highways with an RV. Too many hills. Go to Google maps and look at the terrain.


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DrewE

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Posted: 06/26/20 08:20am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

As a matter of principal as much as anything, I prefer to avoid toll roads if reasonably practical. Here in the northeast it is not always reasonably practical.

EZPass is a debit system, but in some cases the discounts available vs. cash will more than make up for any amount you have left in the account and any initial setup fees even in a single trip. If you have a motorhome and are going on I-90 across New York, for instance, the motorhome discount plan will save you a good chunk of money (about half the toll vs. cash) if you request it with a New York state EZPass transciever. The different states and agencies in the EZPass consortium have somewhat different fee structures so it's worth checking a few out for the best deal: things like initial charges, monthly fees, etc.

Paying by cash or by mail is certianly doable. Paying by credit/debit card rather than cash on roads that are not toll by mail is not always an available option.





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Posted: 06/26/20 08:29am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Lived in the NE for many years. For the type of travel you are planning, would definitely "bite the bullet" and get an EZ Pass for the Interstates and bridges. There are discounts for using it, and the time and traffic you will save makes it a far less stressful. The earlier suggestion for fueling is also significant. Too many fuel stations along the 'back roads' are not accessible for our 34'MH, towing our car. If you enjoy meandering, and don't mind heavy traffic, with many stop and go situations, by all means stay on local roads. If you are planning to deal with any of the many major cities, definitely pay the tolls. Just our experience


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dpgllg

South West Pennsylvania

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Posted: 06/26/20 01:39pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

In Pennsylvania they eliminated toll collectors and everything is now either EZ Pass or bill in mail based on license plate. If you use the bill by mail the cost is significantly more money. There have been issues with the bill by mail such as late bills excess charges wrong person billed etc. My EZ Pass has been flawless.

If you elect toll roads then I would definitely go EZ Pass.

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ferndaleflyer

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Posted: 06/26/20 03:35pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I would stay on I-495 to I-290 to I-90 (toll) to I-84 to I-81 to I-80. Would depend on where you are going in Cleveland as to what route to take once in Ohio.

mkc

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Posted: 06/26/20 04:11pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

DrewE wrote:

If you have a motorhome and are going on I-90 across New York, for instance, the motorhome discount plan will save you a good chunk of money (about half the toll vs. cash) if you request it with a New York state EZPass transciever.


That said, you cannot order a motorhome transponder online or over the phone with the discount plan. You must send them a completed form plus a copy of your current registration receipt and then they enable the discount. The registration must say "registration receipt" on it somewhere (be forewarned - the first one you get in Texas says "Title receipt" or something like that and they did not accept it for ours because it didn't match their needed verbage).

In addition, NYS uses different transponders for towing vs. not towing, or at least they were doing so up through 2017 when we got ours. Their transponders explicitly match the number of axles.

If you traverse the NYS Thruway often, it's worth the hassle, but plan ahead and give yourself a few months to get the correct transponders. Otherwise, there are other states that are easier to sign up with; you just won't get the discount.

And to the OP, be aware you cannot go on anything labeled "Parkway" in NYS, even if your GPS insists on it ;-) You're not allowed and you won't fit under the low clearance structures.


Edited to add - link to NYS Thruway Toll Calculator.

You are over 7'6" so put in "all other vehicles", then select "over 7'6"" and then the number of axles (total) on the ground.

Example - PA State Line to Mass State Line, 2 axle motorhome or truck pulling a 2 axle car or trailer - $68.80. Tag axle motorhome pulling 2 axle car is $92.95

Last we went through, NY takes cash only, no cards or checks, and nothing larger than a $20 bill.

* This post was edited 06/26/20 04:18pm by mkc *


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