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By car to FL this month

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Hi all,
Just found this site, it's great. We will be driving from RI to FL later this month. We plan on two nites; we're both seniors and we've found it's better if we don't push it.
We are planning on 95 to NJ Tnpk and then back to 95.
We are shooting for ~500 miles/day.
On the last trip, about 18 months ago we hit horrible traffic south of DC. About a 3 hour delay. Just wondering if this is normal. It was just before Christmas.
Also, any suggestions places to stay along the way. I'd like to try to get to south Jersey so we'd be fresh for the Baltimore/DC area in the AM.
We'll be leaving on a thursday.
Any help or advise on the trip would be really appreciated.

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