Planning a trip to Maryland

Today we started looking at the map in order to plan our trip to Maryland for a visit with our son and his family. We have started making this an annual trip in the camper and end up staying at the Drummer Boy Camping Resort in Gettysburg, PA , 40 minutes north of our son’s home, every time. At this time of year, it is hard to find a campground due to the festivals that are held in the area on the weekends. Everything is booked before we call and we always call well in advance of the trip. I guess people make reservations farther ahead than we do. Since the Drummer Boy is a large campground we always manage to get one of the last sites available.

We are going to take a few extra days on the trip up and maybe go to Ohio and see some of the Amish Country. My wife is really intrigued with visiting the Amish. Maybe we can take a look at some of that Amish craftsmanship that camper manufacturers say goes into their campers? We will go up north through Oklahoma City and then northeast and pick up I-70 pretty much to our destination.

I use a computer mapping program to lay out the route and figure out how far to go in a day and find the total distance and time. There are filters in the program so that you can adjust your route to your type of driving. I usually let the program find the shortest route and then make adjustments if I don’t like where it takes me. Somewhere out in Pennsylvania, I-70 turns into I-76 and then the route takes us onto US Highway 30 which then goes into Gettysburg. My first thought about Highway 30 was that it looked like a good road but appeared to have a number of twist and turns. Having been in the the Gettysburg area several times, I knew that there were some mountains west of there. Although they aren’t really very high, like the mountains of the west, they are still mountains. It is my understanding that Intersate Highways are limited to a maximum of 7% grades but other roads can have up to 10% grades. Time to get out the Mountain Directory East for Truckers, RV.

In a previous blog, I mentioned that there are two books that list almost all, if not all, of the mountain grades in the United States. I use the one for the west all the time, but haven’t really had a reason to use the one for the east. Today I used it and I’m glad that I did. I found that between McConnellsburg and Fort Loudon, PA on Highway 30 there is a 7% 3 mile grade going up and a 9% 3 and 1/2 mile grade going down the east side.  I don’t know about you but I will not use a road with a 9% grade if I know about it ahead of time.  I have been, inadvertently, on a short 9% grade before and didn’t like it.  Nine percent for 3 and 1/2 miles with a large trailer is courting disaster!

The 9% grade ruled out taking US Highway 30.  We will have to stay on I-70 to Frederick, Maryland and then turn north to Gettysburg.  It will be a little longer but it will save my nerves and prevent me from being beat over the head by my wife.

I have learned that even small mountains can have some pretty steep grades.  If you don’t have a copy of the two books that list all of the mountain grades, I suggest you get a copy to save yourself from going someplace you didn’t need to be.

The two books:
Mountain Directory East for Truckers, RV
Mountain Directory West for Truckers, RV, and Motorhome Drivers


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