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  1. #1

    Default Another Loop out of St. Louis

    After my last short, pre-Christmas loop out of St. Louis with my daughter went so well. (See: http://www.roadtripamerica.com/forum...t-3-4-day-trip if interested) I am thinking of another one in early March.

    Parameters: I have work commitments until about noon on Thursday, March 1. I need to be back in St. Louis by early evening on Tuesday, March 6. So, I count four full days and two half-days. I would prefer not to do any days over 400 miles, if possible. I also don't want to get into a mad dash with too much driving and too little enjoying-where-we-are.

    My first inclination would be to just wait until a couple days before departure, grab a weather forecast, and head out whichever way looks best, but I am trying to get some ideas in each direction.

    Some initial thoughts:

    Possibility 1: St. Louis to Nashville via Interstate, then along the Natchez Trace as far as seems pleasant and relaxing (probably Tupelo - maybe Jackson if we are feeling particularly energetic), circle back to Memphis and then home.

    Possibility 2: (I think this is too far for the time we have, though) One-and-a-half days to the Gulf Shore (maybe around Destin or Pensacola?) hang out for a couple days, then back via a different route than the one down.

    Possibility 3: Meandering through the Ozarks and Ouachitas in Arkansas (although I think we are not in a great time of year here)

    Possibility 4: Pick a nearby city and explore it. Lots near (but not too near): ex: Kansas City, Memphis, Nashville, Indianapolis, Cincinnati, Chicago, etc. (Probably the best choice if the weather is bad everywhere..)

    I think my daughter would be okay with any of these as long as I make sure we stay at hotels with indoor pools. She also loves beaches, boats, and picnics which is why I keep thinking about trying to make it all the way to the Gulf Coast.

    Any thoughts?

    --Jon

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    4,546

    Default

    I hope that some day, your daughter will appreciate this. She is SO lucky that you think of her and her experiences, as well as the time you have with her! I'm sure she will -- I know when I was a kid, we were always going on a trip and I may not have appreciated it THEN, but I sure do NOW!

    If the weather is uncooperative, a trip to Chicago is a wonderful idea! So much to explore there -- the Museum of Science and Industry, take her for a ride on the Metra Rail, there's a lot on Navy Pier, walk along the beach of Lake Michigan (though it won't be pleasant enough for swimming, most likely), go to Brookfield Zoo -- so much more! From St Louis, Chicago is a 5 or 6 hour drive (depending on where you start from in STL and where you stay in Chicago). So it's perfect for a morning drive up and an afternoon drive down --


    Donna

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,358

    Default Maybe Not as Bad as you Think

    I make it ten hours driving time from St. Louis to Gulf Islands National Seashore. Even throwing in stops for food, a couple of short stops en route and a relatively early stop for some pool time before bed. I still think that translates to roughly a day and a half down, a day and a half back, and two full days at the shore. Some possible stops on the way: Ste. Genevieve MO, Tupelo MS (Elvis' birthplace and a bit of the Natchez Trace), Palestine Gardens in Lucedale MS, Mississippi Petrified Forest in Flora, and Memphis (Mud Island, Graceland). Obviously, I'm looking at basically using US-45 in one direction and US-49/I-55 in the other.

    AZBuck

  4. #4

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by AZBuck View Post
    I make it ten hours driving time from St. Louis to Gulf Islands National Seashore. Even throwing in stops for food, a couple of short stops en route and a relatively early stop for some pool time before bed. I still think that translates to roughly a day and a half down, a day and a half back, and two full days at the shore. Some possible stops on the way: Ste. Genevieve MO, Tupelo MS (Elvis' birthplace and a bit of the Natchez Trace), Palestine Gardens in Lucedale MS, Mississippi Petrified Forest in Flora, and Memphis (Mud Island, Graceland). Obviously, I'm looking at basically using US-45 in one direction and US-49/I-55 in the other.

    AZBuck
    Thanks for the ideas - especially the stops in Mississippi. I managed to finagle an additional day away, so the Gulf Coast is starting to look more probable.

    --Jon

  5. #5

    Default Rough Plan Emerging

    Buck:

    Thanks for your prompting. I think we are going to head that way, but I think we will be on the Florida end of Gulf Islands National Seashore.

    Current rough plan:

    Day 1: From St Louis to somewhere around Decatur, AL (I managed to get out of my morning obligation, so the full day is available)
    Day 2: To Pensacola Beach
    Day 3 and 4: Around Pensacola Beach
    Day 5: Morning around Pensacola Beach. Take off after Lunch/early afternoon. Head for around Hattiesburg.
    Day 6: To Memphis - I'd like to go via US-49/61 from Jackson if it feels like a good day and stop a couple of times in the Delta.
    Day 7: Back to St. Louis in time for my 5:30 pre-exam help session. (Thankfully, just giving an exam and so I don't have to lecture.)

    No legs strike me as unreasonable, and I think my daughter and I can definitely enjoy two full days at the beach. Weather is looking okay - if it rains some, I guess we can explore Pensacola or something.
    Last edited by jcorb2d; 02-26-2012 at 12:48 PM. Reason: Clarification

  6. #6

    Default

    Just as a wrap-up, here's what we ended up doing:

    Day 1: STL to Columbia, TN - Travel Day.

    Day 2: Columbia, TN to Pensacola Beach. Highlights: Staying ~30 miles ahead of the tornadoes in Northern Alabama (the ones that hit around Huntsville) and my daughter getting an ear infection. We found out that the Gulf Breeze Emergency Room is very nice at 11:30 PM.

    Day 3: A rainy day in Pensacola and my daughter was tired from the previous night. We went out to pick up the antibiotics and then wandered over to the Naval Aviation Museum for a little bit - she loves airplanes - and watched one of the IMAX movies they show. A bit of wandering around Pensacola, some good food, and a movie completed the day

    Day 4: We spent this day shuttling back and forth to the beach behind the hotel. We both needed the rest.

    Day 5: Absolutely gorgeous day, and our last in Pensacola Beach. We wandered a couple miles down the island to a public access beach with picnic and restroom facilities. Played ont he beach, had a picnic, and got a bit sunburned. Took off in early afternoon and headed to Hattiesburg, MS.

    Day 6: A long drive home from Hattiesburg.

    Take Home: Lots of fun - could have skipped the ear infection and trip to the hospital, but we will both always remember it. She wants to go back, but she wants Mommy to come along too next time.

    --Jon

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