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  1. Default Milwaukee to Dallas May 28th via Arkansas (looking for scenic detours)

    Hi all,

    Came across this website while planning my trip down to Dallas this summer for my job. I am a college student, originally from Milwaukee, and will be driving down to Dallas come May 28th with my girlfriend for our summer internships. My internship starts June 2nd so the absolute latest we have to get into Dallas is June 1st. As of right now, we plan on taking the interstate up until Rolla/Springfield/Joplin area as the goal for day 1 of our drive. This is not set in stone as neither of us has done this before or are familiar at all with the areas, but we are really really excited for this road trip down before we have to start working full time!

    I am wondering what is our best option regarding a scenic detour through Arkansas on our way to Dallas instead of driving into Oklahoma and Texas on the I-44/US-69 Google Map option. Specifically, I want to drive through the national forests in Arkansas and any scenic byways also in Arkansas. Also, is there much to see on the Chicago-Rolla/Springfield/Joplin portion of the drive (landmarks, places to eat, scenery, etc.)? We were planning on stopping in some of the old Route 66 towns in IL for food and gas along the way.. i.e. along the lines of Pontiac and I am interested in any other specific Route 66 sights we might hit before Rolla/Springfield/Joplin. Any other advice would be greatly appreciated!!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,936

    Default They're all on paper maps.

    Hi, and Welcome to the Great American Roadtrip Forum.

    If you've been reading these forums you will find that there is one subject which keeps coming up, like a broken record. That is the one of good paper maps. Rarely are scenic routes hilighted on digital devices.

    If you were to get some good paper maps such as are produced by AAA (free to members) and Rand McNally, you will find the scenic routes hilighted on them with a dotted line. I would be getting a map of each and every State you will be travelling. You can also get free maps at most Welcome centres along the highways. These State produced maps often have local scenic routes hilighted, which other maps may not.

    Armed with good maps, you will have the option of switching between interstates and scenic routes as the mood, and time, allow.

    Lifey

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

    Default Start the Scenic Detours Earlier

    You've got four days for a journey that could conceivably be driven in two, so you'll have plenty of time for 'scenic detours'. In fact, your entire trip could be a scenic and relaxing drive, starting a good bit closer to home than you are currently planning on. If, instead of spending the whole first day just barreling down the Interstates to southwestern Missouri, you headed more towards the upper Mississippi you could add a number of great relaxing roads and interesting sites to your journey.

    Specifically, I'd suggest that you consider taking IL-2 from Rockford to the Quad Cities and there join the Great River Road along the Mississippi. That would set you up for visits to historic Nauvoo IL and Hannibal MO as well as a number of state parks and national wildlife refuges along that great river. South of Hannibal you could pick up US-54 through the Mark Twin National Forest and past Lake of the Ozarks state park to Springfield and from there US-65 south through Branson and into Arkansas. At Bear Creek Springs AR, take US-412 west to Huntsville and then enjoy wandering through the Ozarks on some 'back' roads, AR-127/AR-23, to I-40 and cross into Oklahoma. Then depending on how much time you have and/or how much more driving you want to do you could either take US-271/TX-24/I-30 from Fort Smith (the slower route) or US-69/US-75 from Checotah (the faster route).

    Should you choose to take the roads less traveled, you'll have to keep an eye on where you are each evening so as to maintain a pace that will get you to Dallas in time. Taking all four days, your overnights would need to be roughly in the vicinities of Burlington IL, Camdenton MO, and Fort Smith AK. You could also cover the same ground in only three days, still at a leisurely pace with overnight stops near Hannibal MO and Springdale AK.

    AZBuck
    Last edited by AZBuck; 05-19-2014 at 10:09 AM.

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

    Default

    A couple of additions to what AZBuck suggested in regards to overnights. First, you are traveling over the Memorial Day weekend, and some of those places will be "hot spots". So you might want to decide ahead of time where to stay, and get reservations accordingly. One of those places would be Camdenton, MO, which is just south of Lake of the Ozarks and a more affordable alternative for folks wanting to spend time at the Lake. Same would apply to Hannibal. I'm not sure when Hannibal-La Grange College or Culver-Stockton (two major schools in the area) have their graduation ceremonies, though I suspect C-S already has, but that could affect Hannibal. BTW, if you ever read "Tom Sawyer" or "Huck Finn", Hannibal is where it all started for Mark Twain. There are a few places there that could be seen in a couple of hours.


    Donna

  5. Default

    Thanks for the responses guys! After talking to my girlfriend, we are also considering driving through Memphis? How would this impact our drive, specifically the Memphis to Dallas portion?

  6. Default EDIT: Milwaukee to Memphis to Dallas

    After some more careful planning, we have decided to instead drive to Memphis on day 1 and spend the night hopefully if we can make it (google maps says its about a 9 hr drive). On day 2, we plan on taking I-40 from Memphis to US 270 to AR 88 in Mena where we hope to take the Talimena Scenic Drive into Oklahoma and Dallas shortly after. If anyone has done portions of this or has any other advice, it would be greatly appreciated!!

    Thanks again!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,936

    Default Don't believe it.

    Day one will be a lot more than 9 hours on the road. At 600 miles, you will be looking at more like 11 hours, if all goes without a hitch. Remember to add at least 20% to any fictitious time quoted by computer mapping programs.

    Lifey

  8. Default

    If you're still considering the Rolla/Springfield/Joplin thru Arkansas route, I would HIGHLY recommend that you think about doing a canoe float on the Buffalo River (SR65 crosses it, so it'd be RIGHT on your way).....

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

    Default Now for Something Completely Different

    The fact is that by adding Memphis to your itinerary, all of your previous plans and all the advice you've gotten so far are out the window. That's fine - it is the essence of RoadTripping to be able to design your route to suit your own objectives and to change your route at will, up to and beyond even the last minute. But realize that by heading first to Memphis, you'll probably be skipping the upper Mississippi and certainly foregoing the Ozarks. Instead, you'll be going through Lincoln country in Illinois, the mid-Mississippi, and Arkansas.

    I-43/I-39 still offers the best option for getting around Chicago, then at Bloomington-Normal switch over to I-74/I-57 to continue southward through Illinois to I-55 in Missouri. Memphis to Dallas is then just a straight shot on I-40 to Little Rock and I-30 the rest of the way.

    At well over 650 miles, there is simply no way that you can make it to Memphis in a single day. No matter what some software tells you. Remember that software makes no allowances for traffic, construction, gas or meal breaks, or even time to go to the bathroom. Software stupidly assumes that you can drive at or above the speed limit every second of every minute of every hour you're on the road. Sound realistic? In the real world, professional drivers are limited to no more than 600 miles a day because they with the inevitable fatigue that comes with driving that many hours/miles they become a danger to themselves and every one else on the road. And 'multiple drivers' don't really help since the more people in the car the more breaks you need and the longer they take, and no one gets meaningful rest while sitting in a cramped moving car.

    Assuming you're still looking for some scenic 'detours', and are willing to take the time necessary for them, then you should be looking at routes such as US-45 through southern Illinois and Kentucky, and then US-51 through Tennessee to Memphis. In Arkansas US-79/US-370 would take you to Hot Springs before taking I-30 into Dallas. But you can't do both: Have a relaxing, scenic (and safe) drive, and get to Memphis in a day.

    AZBuck
    Last edited by AZBuck; 05-22-2014 at 12:09 PM.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,067

    Default

    Are you now planning to make this trip in 2 days? If that's how I'm reading your current plan, you've pretty much eliminated your ability to add in the kind of scenic drives and detours you've talked about wanting to take.

    Milwaukee to Memphis is tough to do in a day, being more than 600 miles, It will be at least 11 hours, and likely more. The 9 that Google shows you is a complete fantasy.

    To get from Memphis to Dallas via the scenic detours you're talking about would mean at least another 550 miles the next day. That's 9 hours via the freeway, but you'd easily be adding several more hours if you want to start taking scenic drives you've mentioned.

    Basically, you'd be so pressed for time, you wouldn't really be able to enjoy the detours, which are your reason for adding the extra miles in the first place. If you want to make this trip in 2 days, it becomes a trip where you really just need to focus on getting there.

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