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RVing message boards => Destinations, RV Parks, Routes => Topic started by: Black Iron on February 17, 2018, 02:52:05 PM

Title: JAX, FL to Seguin, TX in mid-March ??
Post by: Black Iron on February 17, 2018, 02:52:05 PM
Hello, all.

We have a tentative trip from Jacksonville to Seguin, TX planned for mid-March. Looks like we'll be rolling thru that leg of the trip mid-week, also. On the way west to Seguin, we'll be driving a class A with no trailer. On the way back to JAX, we'll be towing a pretty good sized trailer.

I've searched some of the threads here, and I've seen some discussion about construction issues in Houston, taking I-10 vs any of several by-pass routes, crappy roads in LA, etc. I haven't been west of Mobile on I-10 for quite a few years, and I was hoping someone could boil this all down for me. We're flexible on time-of-day through Houston, to some extent, but I can't pull off my usual early-Sunday-morning trick this time.

Anybody offer up some advice for this leg? Decent US highway alternatives are fine. We don't need to stick to the interstates.

Thanks in advance.
Title: Re: JAX, FL to Seguin, TX in mid-March ??
Post by: edjunior on February 17, 2018, 08:58:29 PM
I can't help you much for LA or points east, but I can help you get through Houston.  If you're coming through on a weekday, your best bet is to stay on I-10 right through Houston.  But you want to time it for the traffic.  Which would be after 9:30 or so in the morning and before around 2:00 pm or so.  If you don't mind paying some tolls, taking 105 out of Beaumont to Cleveland, then down to Hwy 99 (The Grand Parkway) is still pretty new, and rarely sees much traffic.  But it is a bit out of the way.  Once you're back on I-10 in Katy (if you take 99), it's a straight shot to Seguin.

For some reason, west of Houston, between Sealy and Columbus, traffic seems to slow down, sometimes to a crawl.  It has been like that the last few times we've gone to San Antonio.  Could never see a reason, it just jams up.  Anyway, good luck, and hope all goes well.
Title: Re: JAX, FL to Seguin, TX in mid-March ??
Post by: Isaac-1 on February 17, 2018, 09:10:15 PM
For the Louisiana portion take I-12 to bypass New Orleans, and the I-210 loop around Lake Charles to avoid the old narrow / steep I-10 bridge over the Calcasieu river that pre-dates the interstate highway system.

For Houston there is no good way of avoiding it, I-10 straight through is likely the best bet, late morning is likely the best time of day on a weekday.  There is relatively little commuter traffic from the east side of Houston due to all the wetlands on the north side of Galveston bay.
Title: Re: JAX, FL to Seguin, TX in mid-March ??
Post by: Black Iron on February 18, 2018, 05:45:55 AM
Thanks for the info, folks.

Ed:  Is 99 open all the way from I-69 to Katy now? Did they put in regular toll plazas, or is it one of the new automated toll roads?

Isaac:  That old bridge at Lake Charles looked like it was ready to crumble into the water 20 years ago. I was looking at the 210 bypass on the map wondering if that is the way to go now. Will do. Thanks.
Title: Re: JAX, FL to Seguin, TX in mid-March ??
Post by: Bobtop46 on February 18, 2018, 09:37:04 AM
We make this trip several a couple times a year (family near Austin), from where US 19 meets I-10 in Florida to Buda, TX.  We take I-10/12 all the way.  Going either way our stops are near Pensacola (Blue Angles Rec Park, military only) and Western LA. (Coushatta Casino).  We are going down the road by 9am and pull in around 3-4pm.   Either way this sets us up to hit Houston around noon.  In 10-12 trips we have only been stuck in traffic once, but accidents can happen anytime.  The roads in LA are not great but getting better.  It was noticeably better coming back around New Years then going out in the spring last year.  I second taking I-12 to by pass New Orleans.  If you decide to really push thru and do it in 2 days ( not recommended) your overnight will be in or around New Orleans/Hammond area.  Trying to do it in 2 days will also set you up in Houston for evening rush hour.  Keep in mind the time change near Tallahassee.
There is a usual slow down coming out of Houston headed west usually where the I-10 goes back down to 2 lanes.  You steadily drop lanes from 6 to 5 on down to 2, the one going from 3 to 2 seems to be the only one that causes a slow down, rarely a complete stop.
Title: Re: JAX, FL to Seguin, TX in mid-March ??
Post by: BigLarry on February 18, 2018, 03:43:26 PM
99 (also called the Grand Parkway) is open from I-69 on the northeast side all the way around to I-69 on the southwest side.  Google Maps are up to date if you want to look at the map.  There are no toll booths, however it is a toll road and they'll send you a bill if you don't have a TXtag or an EZtag.
Title: Re: JAX, FL to Seguin, TX in mid-March ??
Post by: edjunior on February 18, 2018, 05:48:28 PM
What BigLarry said.  It is open all the way, and it is a nice drive.  Kinda boring actually, but as I said...very little traffic ever.  Yet.  Pretty soon it will be crowded and ugly just like all the other Houston traffic.

And yes, all automated.  No booths to stop at.
Title: Re: JAX, FL to Seguin, TX in mid-March ??
Post by: Isaac-1 on February 18, 2018, 11:39:30 PM
Careful about that with Texas Toll roads not all allow pay by mail see https://www.hctra.org/MissedAToll
Title: Re: JAX, FL to Seguin, TX in mid-March ??
Post by: Black Iron on February 19, 2018, 11:37:14 AM
Well, bummer.

I checked into the prepaid costs for either the Harris Co. EZ Tag ($40 + $15 activation) or the Texas Tag (looks like there's a $20 starter tag available). Looks kinda pricey for the short duration I'd be on 99. Another downside is the no-trailer-going-west vs trailer-coming-home issue. Looks like that's treated as a "vehicle change" that would foul up the EZ Tag. And double bummer that Harris County doesn't accept the Florida SunPass.

All things considered, I guess we'll just skip the nice new empty 99 and stick to the old congested I-10.

And considering my past luck . . . .

I was born and raised in PA. Most of my family still lives there. When I was a kid, we spent a chunk of the summer at camp in Ontario. In 2013 everybody decided we all needed to have a reunion, of sorts, at camp. My brother's family still goes up every year, and he still lives in PA. The traffic through Toronto can get pretty bad sometimes, but my brother told me about this fantastic bypass that just opened off the QEW called the 407. Yes, it was a new automated toll road, but he never purchased a pass, and for the 2 or 3 years they had traveled the 407 they never received a bill in the mail.

OK. Great. Up the 407 we go. Super wide open, hardly any traffic. Cuts off all of the congestion on the old QEW-to-400 route. Just great. Took the 407 on the way home, too.

Back home in FL for a few weeks, and a nice little letter arrives in the mail from Ontario. Real nice bill for $65. I called the number listed on the bill, and to my chagrin, I find out Ontario has a reciprocal agreement with PA to allow tourists to travel the 407 at no cost. But, not surprisingly, no such agreement exists for residents of Florida. And now I knew why my brother never got billed.

What is it they say about something that seems too good to be true? So now we check into these new out-of-state automated tollways in advance.

But, I still thank y'all for the tips and advice.
Title: Re: JAX, FL to Seguin, TX in mid-March ??
Post by: edjunior on February 19, 2018, 06:10:01 PM
Well, bummer.  But as long as you hit Houston at the right time, you really shouldn't be too bad. 
Title: Re: JAX, FL to Seguin, TX in mid-March ??
Post by: BigLarry on February 20, 2018, 05:00:42 PM
I agree.  You'll be fine as long as you follow Ed's timing recommendation.