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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Southeast Ohio on the Ohio River
    Posts
    5

    Default Going to Marion, IL then Branson, MO then Lawton, OK. Any must see or do?

    Hi,

    We're leaving SE Ohio August 10th for Marion, IL for work-related stop, so all day on the 11th while my husband is working, is there anything nearby that might be fun?

    The evening of the 11th we land in Branson, MO for one night, then to Lawton, OK the 12th for a five day stay for a family reunion. Then retracing our trip home the 17th through 19th or 20th. Would really like to stay an extra night in Branson on the way home.

    Any suggestions will be appreciated!

  2. #2

    Default

    What kinds of things do you like doing for fun?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,270

    Default

    Welcome!

    You do realize it's about a 7 hour drive from Marion to Branson, and another 7 hours from Branson to Lawton?

    I don't think it's wise to start out on a 7 hour drive after working all day.

    You also are not going to make it from Branson to SE Ohio in one day safely.

    I'd really suggest you re-examine things.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Southeast Ohio on the Ohio River
    Posts
    5

    Default

    Antique shopping, flea markets, seeing attractions that are unique to that area...

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Southeast Ohio on the Ohio River
    Posts
    5

    Default

    We're stopping on the return trip whenever we get tired and if need be stay a second night in Marion so we'll have a fresh start the next day! Our schedule is flexible but thanks for your concern. My AAA Triptik states 5 hours between Marion and Branson and 6 hours between Branson and Lawton. I hope they're not wrong!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,063

    Default They are

    All of the computer map programs operate in a virtual world where you never have to stop for fuel or food, will never run into a construction slow down, or have any delays of any kind.

    Many times, common sense will simply prove them to be inaccurate - and that is certainly the case on your AAA estimates.

    Its 350 miles from Marion to Branson, and most of that trip is on 2 lane highways, yet they are telling you it will take just 5 hours? That would be an average of 70 miles per hour! Even on a freeway, you'd need a police escort for that to be your average speed when you factor just a minimum of stops.

    Considering the terrain and the route, the 7 hour estimate that you got from a real person on this site is far more accurate than what a mindless computer came up with.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,270

    Default

    Way too optimistic. Add 20% to Triptik times. Computers are never delayed by construction, traffic, or even red lights - and never have to stop for food, fuel, or go to the bathroom.

    I'd spend that second night in Marion, so you would have the whole next day to actually sightsee on the way to Branson. The best way in my opinion is not through STL on the interstates - I'd go down 57 to Sikeston and take US-60 across southern MO. This takes you through the Ozarks and it's quite a scenic drive. US-60 is near-expressway quality.

    What might be even better is get a head start after work in Marion - and spend the night in Sikeston. That way, you could have dinner at Lambert's Cafe. Note - cash only, no plastic. If you don't do that, there's another Lambert's in Ozark - between Springfield and Branson.

    If you really wanted to get out in the sticks, you can take US-160 from Poplar Bluff to Branson - but be forewarned, it's a very winding 2 lane road and it's slow going.

    EDIT: Saw your response, Michael - S&T says the fastest is I-57/I-64/I-44/US-65. This is 370 miles and is all Interstate. The US-60 route is 340 miles, and US-60 is almost all 4 lane now. The state of MO is turning it into an expressway. Still, 7 hours would be a prudent estimate.

    I have run I-44 from STL to Joplin more times than I care to remember - and it is going to take you 4 hours from STL to Branson, best case with NO stops. It's 120 miles from Marion to STL, and no way can THAT be done in an hour! I don't have a clue what AAA is smoking!
    Last edited by glc; 07-21-2010 at 10:43 AM.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Southeast Ohio on the Ohio River
    Posts
    5

    Default

    Thanks glc! And LOL about AAA comment!

    Good stuff - thank you for the recommendations!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,358

    Default My Prejudices are Going to Show

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    {Note: I started writing this well before you received any responses. It has take quite a while, and the advice you've gotten is spot on. Still.....}

    To me, this is a trip that cries out not for simply "retracing [y]our trip home", but for taking completely different routings of each leg even though you'll end up in many of the same places at the end of a day's travel. So first let's look at the 'obvious' routes, the ones that software programs would have you take. These will generally follow the Interstates and are good for when you mostly need to get from Point A to Point B in the most cost and time efficient manner, so certainly the route of choice to get to Marion on your first leg. So from 'southeastern Ohio' (I assumed Athens) get to I-71 south ASAP via US-50/US-35 and take that through Cincinnati to Louisville, then I-64 west to I-57 south and Marion. That's already a pretty full day's drive, but for some short, out-of-the-car photo ops try the Hopewell Culture National Historic Site, the Louisville Slugger factory, or the Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial. Then while your husband is busy on business, you will be but a short drive from Magnolia Manor in Cairo, the Science Center of Southern Illinois in Carbondale, Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge in Marion itself, and the Super Museum in Metropolis.

    However the next day, from Marion to Branson, calls out for something other than just zooming down the superslab. After all, you do want a story or two for the upcoming family reunion. So rather than just head back up I-57 to I-64 and I-44 (where I suspect your Triptik is sending you) try to cut straight cross-country. From Marion head west on IL-13 to Murphysboro, then take IL-149/IL-3 to just past the small town of Ellis Grove. Turn left (west) on Roots Rd and follow the signs for Modoc and the Modoc Ferry over to Ste. Genevieve. Ste. Genevieve is an historic town that's worth a short walk through - be sure to ask for the ice cream parlor. Then it's back on the road, in this case MO-32 west to Farmington, county road W to Iron Mountain and county road U to MO-21 to rejoin MO-32 all the way to Licking and US-63 south, US-60 west and finally US-65 south in to Branson. That is a full day's drive, but should get you into Branson in time to enjoy dinner and a show.

    The next leg takes you to family, so no need to dawdle, just head back up US-65 to Springfield, hop on I-44 and take that to Lawton. But for a scenic return to Branson, you might want ot consider the following. Take OK-7 east out Lawton to US-81 north then OK-29 east to I-35 north and OK-19 east to Ada. There pick up OK-1 east through Calvin to McAlester and US-69 north to I-40 east for a bit to Gore. You are now set up to take the Cherokee Hills Byway to Siloam Springs, AR. From there, US-412 east to Alpena then US-62 east and US-65 north will bring you back to Branson at the end of and admittedly long, but certainly interesting and scenic day.

    Finally, and I suspect a little warn out, you need a 'new' way to get home. Without having to go through Marion this time, you can stay south of the Ohio and explore Kentucky a bit. Start by taking US-160 east across southern Missouri to US-63 south into Arkansas and US-412 east to I-155 over the Mississippi and up into Kentucky using US-51/US-45 to join up with the Purchase Parkway, Western Kentucky Parkway (past the Mammoth Cave area), and Blue Grass Parkway to the Lexington area and finally I-64/OH-7 to roughly home.

    I know that all sounds a bit overwhelming, and it certainly calls for some map reading and navigational skills, but it will take you down roads and past attractions that just following the Interstates and/or the Triptik never will.

    AZBuck

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Southeast Ohio on the Ohio River
    Posts
    5

    Default

    Wow! This is awesome information! Are you a travel planner, by chance? Thank you so much!

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