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  1. Default Raleigh, NC to Boulder, CO

    Hey guys, I'm new to the forum:

    I'm planning on taking a 4 days (3 nights) trip from Raleigh, NC to Boulder, CO. Furthest west I've been from the great Tar Heel State is Louisiana (North= Pennsylvania and South= Venezuela). I need help planning good stops along the way. We're going to be going through St. Louis, MO and Lawerence and then on to CO.

    I would like recommendations for places to stay/visit outside of the bigger cities (St. Louis, Kansas City). The lonely planet suggests Hannibal, MO (North of St. Louis) or Independence (East of Kansas City).

    I'm from a part of the country where the nooks and crannies are typically the best part of the area. Where are they in KY, MO, and KS?


  2. #2

    Default With 4 days and nooks & crannies on your mind...........

    Hello Raleigh neighbor,

    I just returned from an out-and-back RoadTrip to Montana and in that process traveled the Raleigh-Kansas City (KC) part of your trip twice. But, I did not travel the route most often suggested by Mapquest and other mapping software, which is I-77 from Winston-Salem to Charleston, WV, thence I-64 to St Louis.

    Instead, I drove I-40 to Nashville, TN then northwest on I-24 to Paducah, KY. I-24 continues northwest into Illinois where you merge with I-57 for a short spell and then join I-64 around an hour, hour and a half east of St Louis. But, what I did was turn west on US 60 at Paducah to Wickliffe, KY, crossing the Ohio River to Cairo, Illinois, then immediately crossing the Mississippi River and following US 60 to I-57 to I-55 at Sikeston, MO. Although US 60 is 2-lane and a bit curvy and actually takes you south and southwest a bit, you get to cross the Ohio and the Mississippi on cool old 2-lane bridges which rise to something like 150' over the rivers. From Paducah back to I-55 at Sikeston is around 50-60 miles altogether, with some cool old diners on US 60 west of Paducah.

    The stretch of I-55 from Sikeston to St Louis is fairly lightly-traveled and joins a new I-64 segment on the southwest side of St Louis, where a turn west on I-64 brings you out to I-70 at Wentzville, a good 35-40 miles west of St Louis. By doing so from Paducah, you miss the tangle of traffic from East St Louis through the western suburbs of St Louis along I-70. While that tangle does include the Gateway Arch, it's a tangle well worth missing, in my opinion.

    Leaving Raleigh in the fairly early morning would bring you through Nashville before rush hour. Between the TN-KY line and Paducah is fairly out-of-the way country with interesting stops in the Land Between The Lakes region, and downtown riverfront Paducah seems to be a fun night's stop, too.

    I admit bias against I-77 and I-64 in WV. The last time I drove it, it was in terrible condition (badly broken/rough concrete road surface) and traffic, especially trucks, from Charleston to Lexington was terrible. But that was 8 years ago, so it could be better now. If you go through Charleston, Lexington, and Louisville, be aware of some nice hill country in southern Indiana west of St Louis. I-64 looks like a foothills parkway for around 100 miles west of Louisville, and surely there are some nice out-of-the way stops through there.

    Have fun planning and taking your RoadTrip!


  3. Default

    Thanks for your response Foy.

    Along the route you suggested, do you recommend any places to stop for food or sleep?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    If you go through Sikeston at meal time, you may want to go to Lambert's Cafe. Note: Lines can be long and they do not take credit cards.

    I have no specific hotel recommendations, but when I'm traveling, I almost always stay at lower end chain hotels (such as Motel 6 and Super 8) at Interstate exits away from the big cities. I don't need high priced luxury or city prices when all I need is a place to crash for the night.

  5. #5



    No, sorry, I don't. My trips West, while regular, are infrequent. I also tend to push the envelope as to daily travel mileage as my trips are usually speed runs (as defined here on the RTA Forums, not "Cannonball Run" style. Perhaps I'll stop and smell the roses more once I'm retired.

    I wholly subscribe to glc's motel selection method, too, particularly the part about "away from big cities". The Land Between the Lakes, Paducah, and Sikeston suggestions were merely areas for which the lay of the land and Interstate billboards piqued my interest and were not derived from direct experience. The riverfront French town of Cape Girardeau looks interesting, too.

    One more thing: There are a number of locations along the KY-MO and the IL-MO border, that being the Mississippi River, where ferry crossings are still running. I was a hair's breadth from crossing on a very small ferry at Hickman, KY, a little below Sikeston, MO, on my way out, but fear of getting all the way to the landing and having some issue crop up preventing my crossing that day stopped me. I then saw regular DOT signage further up I-55 denoting ferry crossings over to the IL side between Cape Girardeau and St Louis.

    Last note, the Lambert's link provided above was explored by me prior to the trip. Looks like a unique and fun place, but alas, I didn't stop.


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