Category Archives: Travel

This Sunday – 4 NFL games and a winter storm for a 235 mile stretch of I-95

This Sunday, at 1 p.m. in an approximately 235 miles span of Interstate 95, there are four NFL games taking place, each located within 2 miles of the East Coast’s main highway:

Kansas City Chiefs at Washington Redskins, Fex Field, Landover, Md.
Minnesota Vikings at Baltimore Ravens, M&T Bank Stadium, Baltimore, Md.
Detroit Lions vs. Philadelphia Eagles, Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia, Pa.
Oakland Raiders at New York Jets, MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, N.J.


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There is also a winter storm warning, in particular the D.C. region. From Capital Weather Gang – Winter storm watch issued for much of D.C. area Sunday into Monday:

The onset of precipitation across the area is most likely between mid-morning and noon with the precipitation probably starting as snow but changing to sleet and or freezing rain by late afternoon (in most spots)…

…Snow is likely for the commute to FedEx field (and for the Ravens game in Baltimore) with the snow changing to sleet and freezing rain during the game. Sleet or freezing rain is likely for the drive home.

The storm will also hit Philadelphia and the New York area, though seemingly not as hard around game time. Accuweather says:

While a large amount of snow is not expected, the city could receive its first inch or two of snow of the season, joining some of the northern and western suburbs from Friday night’s storm.

Warmer air is forecast to move in during the storm Sunday evening through Monday, causing a changeover to a wintry mix, then rain from the coast to inland areas.

In short, travel on the I-95 corridor could be pretty tough on Sunday, though most major Northeast Corridor traffic bypasses Philadelphia via the New Jersey Turnpike. On the other hand, MetLife Stadium is directly adjacent to the Turnpike. FedEx Field can be bypassed by using the Baltimore-Washington Parkway (unless you are a truck) and the opposite side of the Capital Beltway. M&T Bank Stadium is right near the terminus of the B/W Parkway, but the Harbor Tunnel Thruway provides a bypass too.

There is also a New England Patriots vs. Cleveland Browns game in Foxborough, but the forecast there is sunny and 34°.

I don’t know how much these games impact I-95 in general (an interesting question), but whatever that is could be magnified this Sunday.

Yes, I’m aware I-95 isn’t technically continuous between Pennsylvania and New Jersey

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Sailing out of Baltimore’s Cruise Maryland terminal

Cruise Maryland, Port of Baltimore
BALTIMORE — In July, my whole family took a cruise aboard the Carnival Pride. A big selling point for this particular cruise was that it was out of the Port of Baltimore, only an hour away from over half the extended family.

We were pleased with the service at Cruise Maryland as the terminal is called. We drove into the lot and had our luggage put away by helpful staff. We then parked — $15 a day and walked into the Cruise Maryland terminal. We arrived a few hours before departure and were quickly processed for our international trip. It probably took less than 30 minutes for two adults and one child. Then we boarded our ship and were off.

Returning home, we found the disembarking went smoothly, though there was a wait of a few hours to empty the large ship. Once our deck was announced we were able to efficiently leave the ship and find our luggage after passing through customs. Our luggage was wheeled out to the car and we were off.

Parking is $15 a day. If you have a way of getting dropped off, go for it.

Pride of Baltimore model

Overall, I was happy with the process. The cruise terminal was well run. However, Carnival is pulling out of Baltimore: Port officials looking to replace PrideThe Sun

Carnival Cruise Lines announced (in June) the Pride’s weekly cruises from Baltimore to the Bahamas and Caribbean will end in November 2014, when the 2,124-passenger ship will transfer to Tampa, Fla. Officials of the Miami-based company said pending federal requirements to reduce air pollution on all ships in coastal waters prompted their decision.

“It was unexpected, but it wasn’t a shock to us,” said James White, executive director of the Maryland Port Administration. “I’m not taking this lightly. This hurts. This is going to be tough for us.”

White said he believes Carnival will return by late spring 2015 and that parent Carnival Corp. will have resolved its issues by then with the Environmental Protection Agency over how to curb pollution from its fleet of ships. Currently, the Pride is scheduled to cruise from Tampa through March 2015, Carnival announced.

But, White said, the cruise business is too valuable to Baltimore’s economy to count on Carnival’s return.

“We’re talking to a lot of cruise lines,” he said. “You’ve got to get a hook in the water. … Although we’re very married to Carnival Cruise Line, we’re going to work as hard as we can to get somebody to fill that slot.”

I hope that something can be worked out. I don’t anticipate being a regular cruiser, but I certainly liked having an option nearby.

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Great Allegheny Passage, Pittsburgh to D.C. bike trails, nearly finished

Yurasko Bicycle LogoLast section of bicycle trail connecting Pittsburgh, Washington, D.C., set to openPost-Gazette
On my list of things I really want to someday is the approximately 335-mile bike ride from Pittsburgh to Washington, D.C. via the Great Allegheny Passage and the C&O Canal Tow Path. The Great Allegheny Passage is expected to be officially completed in June.

Mind the GAP & avoid getting in a rut

From the Allegheny Trail Alliance’s About the Trail page:

The trail has a packed crushed limestone surface for a smooth ride. Built mainly on abandoned rail beds, the trail is nearly level with the average grade of less than 1%. The steepest eastbound grade – 0.8% – is from Harnedsville to Markleton and Garrett to Deal. The steepest westbound grade is from Cumberland to Deal at 1.75%. Near the Big Savage Tunnel, the trail crosses the Eastern Continental Divide. From that point going east, the trail drops 1,754 feet in 24 miles to reach Cumberland and, going west, it drops 1,664 feet in 126 miles to reach Pittsburgh.

From Cumberland to Washington, DC, you drop 625 feet to sea level on the C&O Canal towpath. The towpath is overall much less improved than the GAP, as it was built for mules and not railroads. Be prepared for ruts, tree roots, mud and mosquitoes.

Hmmm, maybe I just psyched myself out. Still, it seems like a great adventure, perhaps one of the best challenges for an Eastern cyclist. BikeCandO.com has a Trip Planner if you are interested.

2012 story from The Post that I never got around to blogging: Biking the Great Allegheny Passage and C&O Canal from Pittsburgh to D.C.

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