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  1. Default The Great River Road... From start to finish.

    Okay Folks, it's time to visit the USA again and do another roadtrip, this time down the Mississippi, from the headwaters to the delta. And wouldn't you know it, just as I will be landing, the USA is closing down... Hopefully this will have minimal impact on the trip though (should have held off buying my US dollars though...).

    The trip will take 10 days on the road. Coming from Australia, and being a photographer who covers very lengthy car rallies (5000km plus), the 300km per day average is a very easy walk in the park. The plan is to stick to the Great River Road as closely as we can without getting to off track or lost. The plan is to have a 100 mile corridor down the river either side, and if something appeals to us, we'll head to it). If nothing appeals to us we'll head over onto the interstate and burn south as fast as we can, then go to somewhere interesting.

    We will be staying in Montecello MN after arriving for 5 days, during which time a trip to Bemidji will get us to the headwaters, then follow the river to New Orleans (and hopefully down into the Delta), where we're staying for 2 nights before heading to L.A. for our last two days.

    What do I hope to see on my trip? I'm hoping to see 'small town USA', I've seen NY, Vegas and LA before, and want to travel somewhere less touristy. I want to eat my way down the river, and enjoy the changes in cuisine all the way from Poutine (from Canadia, I know) to Crawfish & Grits in Lousianna and everything in between. While in MN I desperately want to visit Fort Snelling and pay my respects (as an ex Aussie grunt) to the fallen.

    So, if anyone has any ideas or location of places to visit, please free free to update the post. If ayone knows what this 'shut down' business is likely to do, please free to update. If anyone knows where I can get good Crawfish, well, feel free to update...

    Other than that, I'll update on my return with a comprehensive report into the trip.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Southern California


    I have a few places to recommend. In Missouri, be sure to travel down US-61 from Keokuk, IA, and go into Canton, MO. Lock and Dam No. 20 is an interesting view. There's a city park with picnic facilities (if the weather is nice). Then keep going about 30 more miles to Hannibal. Hannibal is Mark Twain's town -- lots of Tom Sawyer/Huck Finn related sites there including the Cave, Tom's house, Huck's house, Becky Thatcher's house, and more. From there, head down MO-79 if you want to stick closer to the river. In St Louis, the Arch and the Museum of Westward Expansion are worthwhile -- the view from the top of the Arch is incredible! South of St Louis, you'll want to travel on the Illinois side, but fuel up first on the Missouri side (cheaper fuel).

    If you happen to be on I-55 going through Sikeston, you could have lunch or dinner at Lambert's Cafe -- the home of throwed rolls. They serve good Mississippi catfish, and have big portions (or did the last time my husband's family went).


  3. #3


    Donna has made some very good suggestions about Hannibal. However, south of Hannibal, the Great River Road is actually on the Illinois side. You might conisider going as far south as Clarksville which has become kind of a art/antique center and is also great for eagle watching at certain times of the year. You could then back track to Lousiana which is a typical old river town and crossing over to the Illinois side on US 54. Then you could go about 6 miles east and pick up Illinois 96, The Great River Road. 96 will junction with Illinois 100 at Kempsville and 100 becomes the Great River Road. Take 100 south to Alton where you would have to decide to continue south on the Illinois side or cross to the Missouri side on US 67. Along 100, which runs right along the river, Grafton, Elsah's Landing and Alton are all great river towns. Grafton has a number of interesting little shops. Elsah's Landing in the old days was the home of a number of river boat pilots. Alton is a comparatively large town with some high areas which overlook the river. You might also take the scenic drive through Pere Marquette State Park north of Grafton for some great river views. The lodge at the park is also a great place for a meal.

    If you stay on the Illinois side there is a Lewis and Clarke observation tower which overlooks the confluence of the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers. There is also a nice Lewis and Clark Museum along this stretch of Illinois 3.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Las Vegas, Nevada

    Default One of the great American Road Trips!

    Ah yes, following the Great River Road.... I love this trip. You gotta have lots of patience, because the states on both sides of the river tend to BOTH claim that their roads are the "True River Road" -- The good news is that there is lots to see on both sides of the river. Here's a post from a few year's back -- but is still chock full of good advice for following this "road."


  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    I just happened to have lunch at Lambert's yesterday. Bring an appetite! It can be very crowded at peak hours, especially on weekends, and they only take cash. Plan on $20 a person. I got there about 11:30 and went right in, it was only about half full. However, I've been there on Friday at 6:30 and had to wait an hour for a table.

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