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  1. #1

    Default Charlotte to New Orleans - October 2012 - 16 days

    Hello RTAers,

    We are planning a trip from Charlotte to New Orleans from 12th October to 28th October. We are coming over from the UK.

    We've done road trips before through California to Nevada (San Fransisco > Yosemite > Pacific Coast Highway > Los Angeles > Las Vegas) and Florida (Orlando > Keys > Miami)

    We realise we are going to get charged a one-way car rental fee but are happy with that rather than a looped trip in order to see as many places as possible.

    We're after any helpful advice on the following rough plan, are the length of stays about right and is there anything we shouldn't miss.

    Some likes are : Historic architecture and towns, wildlife, good food, micro breweries, amusement parks, and motorsports but none of these are an overriding reason to miss anything else that's good.

    Rough Plan:
    Fri 12th Oct - Arrive Charlotte mid afternoon (Stay Charlotte)
    Sat 13th Oct - Visit Carowinds Amusement Park (Stay Charlotte)
    Sun 14th Oct - Drive to Charleston (Stay Charleston)
    Mon 15th Oct - Charleston (Stay Charleston)
    Tues 16th Oct - Drive to Savannah (Stay Savannah)
    Wed 17th Oct - Savannah (Stay Savannah)
    Thu 18th Oct - Drive to Tallahassee or nearby? (Stay ??)
    Fri 19th Oct - Drive to Panama City or Pensacola on Gulf Coast Road (Stay ??)
    Sat 20th Oct - Drive to Mobile, Visit Deep South Speedway or Mobile Dragway (Stay Mobile)
    Sun 21st Oct - Drive to Biloxi , Re-visit Land Train Tour last visited in 2000 (Stay Biloxi)
    Mon 22nd OCt - Drive to Natchez or Vicksburg (Stay Natchez or Vicksburg)
    Tue 23rd Oct - Day in Natchez (Stay Natchez)
    Wed 24th Oct - Drive to New Orleans (Stay New Orleans)
    Thu 25th Oct - New Orleans (Stay New Orleans)
    Fri 26th Oct - New Orleans (Stay New Orleans)
    Sat 27th Oct - New Orleans (Stay New Orleans)
    Sun 28th Oct - Mid day return to UK.

    We had thought of seeing NASCAR at Charlotte but it looks as if it huge and likely to be very busy and time consuming for someone who's not a huge fan. So this is where the idea of more local level motorsport at Mobile came from. I'm tempted with the Drag racing and my partner's more convinced about Dirt Track racing, so who should win this battle?

    We ruled out Atlanta as I've been there a couple of times before including the nearby Amusement Park.

    Thanks in advance for any tips and advice.

    Paul and Rhyannon

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default A Little Coast Heavy?

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    Although each of the places you've listed is worth visiting, I'm just a little concerned that you're trip is overly concentrated on coastal regions. One place where you can correct this possible imbalance, and hit some sites that fit your described interests, is between Savannah and Mobile. If, rather than following Florida's Gulf coast to Mobile, you head inland a bit through southern Georgia you can see some unique wildlife at Okefenokee Swamp, some history at Andersonville and Warm Springs, and some historic architecture at Selma, AL. Brew pubs are everywhere, as are drag strips and dirt ovals throughout the South. Just keep your eyes open and your radio tuned to the local AM stations.


  3. #3

    Default The racing side of things

    Hello Paul and Rhyannon,

    Motorsports, like so many pastimes, takes many forms and some enjoy pretty much all of it, others just this and that. So the following is not a promotion of one form vs another, but is instead just some information with which to further boil down your plans.

    I enjoy NASCAR. Not nearly so much as I used to, but I still enjoy it. I often say one needn't be a fan to enjoy a Sprint Cup race (the top series). Particularly in Charlotte, where nearly all of the teams are based, the boys put on a good show. It's one of the faster tracks, with speeds reaching 200 mph as they decelerate before entering Turn 1. They round the turns at something like 160 mph. If you were to go, by all means arrive at least an hour, hour and a half before the green flag flies. The people-watching opportunities are endless. The crowd is a genuine spectacle. American flags will be abundantly displayed and the military will be honored often. At the conclusion of the National Anthem, military aircraft will come streaking over the crowd. It is, quite simply, a slice of Americana you won't find elsewhere. Oh, and taking a free tour of one of the teams "shops" is worthwhile even if you choose not to dedicate a full day to a race. The shops are arranged with elevated walkways and windows so fans can stroll about watching engines being built, braking systems assembled, chassis fabricated, and sponsor decals applied. The shops are as clean and orderly as an operating theater in a hospital.

    And I really enjoy local dirt-track racing. I had the distinct pleasure of taking in an evening of dirt-tracking at Volunteer Speedway in Bulls Gap, Tennessee last month, and it was great. Friday or Saturday night dirt-tracking often features the running of a number of classes of competition, and the lower levels can be downright comical. Local drivers have fiercely loyal local fans, and there's always a load of cheering and jeering to be enjoyed. If you go, be sure to try the fried bologna sandwich (pronounced "baloney sammitch"). If you happen upon a dirt track which doesn't offer them, please post your observation. These sub-par track operators must be reported.

    My only fear about local drag racing would be it might seem difficult to follow. I know little about drag racing, but it seems much of it, at least on the local level, is "racing the clock", where the various levels of competition cannot run flat-out inasmuch as they can't exceed pre-determined speeds or too-low ETs (elapsed times). They do race side-by-side, but often with "on and off the throttle" methods. The small bit of local drag racing I've seen wasn't entirely thrilling. If, on the other hand, you find yourself at an NHRA event, by all means go. The Funny Cars and Top Fuelers appear to be shot out of a cannon. It's unreal. Fair warning: buy good, high decibel earplugs from a pharmacy, and consider "headset" style ear protection such as lawn equipment operators wear. Yes, earplugs AND a headset, and it will still hurt. The noise level at an NHRA event is indescribable.

    I hope this helps and hope you'll enjoy your trip to the South.


  4. #4


    Many thanks AZBuck and Foy.

    I should have mentioned that we're not really "sitting on beach" people so the suggestion of heading inland makes a lot of sense. We'll probably try and switch Tallahassee and Pensacola for Warm Springs and Montgomery with visits to Selma and Old Cahawba as well.

    On the Motor Racing side I think we'll aim for a dirt track rather than drag as anything on the dates we looked at appeared small scale/local drag racing.
    Might try NASCAR as well on the Friday we arrive in Charlotte but possibly deciding on the day as we fly in that day. Is it likely we'd still be able to get tickets on the day though?

    Not sure about the fried Bologna Sandwiches - looks to be an acquired taste, then again I've eaten stranger things!

    Thanks a lot

    Paul and Rhyannon

  5. #5

    Default Pre-race activities


    You might want to make yourself aware of the track schedule for the days preceding the Cup race on Saturday night. Qualifying is Thursday night, the Nationwide Series runs Friday night, so Friday afternoon should include a Cup practice session. About a week before the race the website will publish the hour-by-hour schedule for the Charlotte weekend.

    A "game day decision" seems workable. Cup tickets have been pretty easy to come by for the last couple of years.

    Pity you won't be in CLT on the 10th. The "World of Outlaws" sprint car series runs their season finale at the dirt track beside the main speedway that night. Sprint cars are the ones with the giant wing atop the car, super-wide tires, 900 hp, and no brakes or clutch. Talk about a car looking as though it was shot out of a cannon. When the sprint cars straighten out after sweeping through the turns in a 4-wheel drift, those back tires "bite" the clay surface and they really take off down the straits.


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