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  1. Default Tips/suggestions for first US Road trip: NYC ==> Louisville (KY) ==> Chicago

    Hi All,
    I'm from Ireland and new to this forum.
    I'm planning my first US roadtrip at the start of November with my girlfriend and hope that you guys can give us some pointers.

    We're going to spend our first weekend in NY (Halloween weekend) and head out on the road on the Tuesday morning (Nov 2nd), we plan on going to the Breeders Cup in Louisville Kentucky on Saturday 6th Nov and fly back from Chicago on the 11th.

    We are open to suggestions for the route and all point in between????????

    thanks in advance,

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default With Plenty of Time in Between...

    Céad Míle Fáilte! Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    You have scheduled yourselves plenty of time to make very leisurely drives between your major stops, so let me just suggest some areas that you may want to explore on your journey. From New York to Louisville you should look at the possibility of heading over through southeastern Pennsylvania, visiting Hershey, Gettysburg and Amish country before then going down through the Eastern Shore of Maryland to Chestertown and St, Michaels. From there, cross the Chesapeake bay Bridge to Annapolis and Washington, up the Potomac River Valley to Cumberland, across the northern panhandle of West Virginia and down the Ohio River Valley to Louisville. Those are all scenic areas with lots of history, culture and just relaxation.

    Similarly, with three days or so to get from Louisville to Chicago, you should probably look at taking the long way around and first head over to Ste. Genevieve, MO and then take the Great River Road up the Mississippi through St. Louis, Hannibal and Nauvoo before crossing back through northern Illinois to Chicago. So, have a look at some maps and check out some of the places I've listed. If they seem to be to your liking, we can talk details.

    By the way, I hope you and your girlfriend are over 24 so that renting a car isn't prohibitively expensive or even impossible.

    Last edited by AZBuck; 09-09-2010 at 10:12 AM. Reason: Typo

  3. Default

    Cheers for the great answer AZBuck!

    I'm over 24 and have the car booked already, used some coupons for an upgrade and reduced rate with Hertz and they only charged $50 for the oneway rental surcharge compared to $250-$300 with some of the other companies.

    I don't have much of a feel for how many miles we'd be able to cover in a day and what the roads would be like, so had only a straightforward route laid out so far hitting DC, Lexington and Indianapolis in between the other stops.

    What's the best (most scenic) route across the Appalachians in that part of the country or are the all good ?

    I mapped out your route from Louisville to Chicago, it looks like a big detour, Is St Louis worth visiting over Indianapolis? Whats in Navoo and Hannibal?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default What's Where

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    Yeah, the size of America can seem overwhelming. but our road system is seriously up to the task of getting people around. For a solid day's drive on the Interstates (Motorways) you can expect to cover about 550 miles more or less, far more than you need to keep within your time frame. Even wandering the back roads outside the major cities, you can expect to easily cover 300-400 miles a day. So in general, you have plenty of time on your trip, which is why I suggested routes well off the straight and narrow.

    There are several good routes across the Appalachians in the Mid-Atlantic states. The route I suggested, using I-70/I-68 - and US-40 wherever available - is certainly one of them. Another I've enjoyed is to head almost directly west from DC using I-66 to Front Royal and then VA/WV-55 and US-33 to the Ohio River is another. Wherever you hit the Ohio, follow it using some combination of WV-2, OH-7, and US-52.

    I know the route I suggested from Louisville to Chicago looks like a big detour, and it will in fact add a day to your driving time between those two cities. But I think it will be worthwhile and you have the time. St. Louis is a vibrant city with plenty to do and see. Hannibal is the boyhood home of Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain), the quintessential American writer. Nauvoo is a town that was home to the early Mormon movement and is now a living history museum showing life in the early 19th century. The Great River Road is a collection of highways and byways that follow the river and offer great scenery and a relaxed pace.


  5. Default

    thanks again AZ. This website has just done a piece on the great river road (good timing):

    it looks pretty cool so we might weel take that route.

    Would you rate it higher than going via Indianapolis or Cincinnatti?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin


    Buck actually linked to that Great River Road article in his reply to you - I mention this mostly in case you also missed his links about St. Louis and Nauvoo too.

    I'm not sure how Cincinnati fits into your question, as that would be a destination you'd be better off visiting there before you get to Louisville, but I'd personally prefer going to St. Louis and the River Road to the direct option of Indianapolis.

    From Louisville to St. Louis, I-64 is the direct route, which is a nice and scenic trip through Southern Indiana, however, you could also consider working your way through Kentucky, visiting Mammoth Cave and Land Between the Lakes before turning back north towards St. Louis.

  7. Default

    Thanks Michael,
    I did miss those links (sorry AZ!).

    Cincinnatti was on my radar because there's a Monday night football game there on Nov 8th (Steelers vs Bengals) and was considering taking that in on our trip. The Jets play the Packers in NY on Oct 31st so might be able to get my football fix there instead though..

  8. Default

    Hey guys,
    Starting my trip next week, got my Jets tickets lined up for Halloween and they are on a roll so hopefully will be a good start to it.
    Going to take your advice and head to St Louis after Louisville and then on to Hannibal.
    From there should i keep heading north to Davenport or back east through Bloomington and Springfied to get to Chicago?

    Any other tips or info?

    It's still reasonably warm there at the moment right? Is that likely to change in next few weeks (will we need to bring jackets etc)?

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin


    You'll certainly want jackets.

    This is probably the hardest time of year to predict the weather, because you can easily see days with temperatures in the 60-70's and you can also see an early season snowstorm.

    Lately around Chicago daytime temps have been in the 50-60 degree range with it dropping into the 30s and 40s overnight. Its likely temps will continue falling a bit, with highs only in the 40s or even colder by mid-november.

  10. Default

    Bring sweaters at the very least and some jackets just in case. I live in South Bend, Indiana (which is North Centeral Indiana) and in the day time outside we are comfortable in hooded sweat shirts. At night though it gets pretty cold outside. However Micheal is right that its hard to say what the weather will be when you get here in November.

    As far as a place to visit, you may want to consider visiting Turkey Run St. Park in Indiana near Marshall, IN on your way through. It is about an hour to an hour and a half west of Indianapolis. Turkey run has some really good hiking trails, my wife and I have been there twice, and we absolutly love it. I know of people who make it a point to go there every year.

    The only problem with Turkey run is that a good visit will likely take an entire day and you will need to be prepared to hike with at the very least a comfortable pair of shoes and a water bottle or camel back that can hold a significant amount of water. (I seriously wouldn't go hicking there without at least a half of a galleon (roughly 2 liters) of water.) You may also want to bring a picnic lunch, but you can eat at a resteruant that is on the state park grounds. The only problem with this is that if you are deep into the hiking trails and you get hungry it could take you over an hour to get to the resteraunt.

    Also you are young so its probably not too much of a problem for you, but it goes without saying that you probably should be in pretty good shape to go hiking in Turkey Run. Especially when it comes to the rougher trails. You don't need to be a world class athlete, I'm certainly not. But if you or your GF are in bad shape you probably should skip it.

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