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  1. #1

    Default Chicago to New Orleans

    We are planning on driving from Chicago to New Orleans in July this year, would like to use 10-12 days on the trip.
    Being from Norway we would love to get good tips on where to stop and what to see.
    Every advise is appreciated!!

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

    Default

    Welcome to RTA!

    Is this a round trip, or a one way trip? Do you like nature? History? City life? Or...??? It will help us give you meaningful information, to have that information.



    Donna

  3. #3

    Default

    Hi Donna - this will be a one way trip, we fly in to Chicago and back to Norway from New Orleans. We like the genuine and small town USA - no fancy big resturants, more the family style diners, we also like history, country music and everything that involves cars :)

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,358

    Default Follow the River(s)

    Velkommen!

    You can hardly do better in building your trip southward from Chicago than by worrying less about following roads and more about following the great rivers that drain the middle of North America and empty into the Gulf of Mexico at New Orleans. The backbone of such a RoadTrip would be the Mississippi and the Great River Road.

    For such a major river, there are surprisingly few large cities on it. St. Louis and Memphis being the exceptions rather than the rule. Both of those cities are also homes to vibrant music scenes, although more of the blues and jazz variety than country. Still, I'm sure if you wandered Beale Street in Memphis, for example, you could find a few cowboy honkey-tonks.

    Also along the Mississippi are several small but historic towns as well as the chance to cross the river by ferry to get a much better feel for it than you ever could by using bridges. A good place to see both is Ste. Genevieve MO, south of St. Louis. As an extra bonus, the town still has an old-fashioned ice cream parlor. Farther down the river, history abounds, particularly in some of the old ante-bellum (before the American Civil War) river towns such as Natchez and Vicksburg.

    However, the Mississippi is not the only historic, scenic, or musical river that you should consider investigating. South of St. Louis you can bend your drive eastward a bit through the Land Between the Lakes (actually between the Tennessee and Cumberland Rivers) on your way to the absolutely unquestioned home of Country Western music: Nashville TN. From there the best way to return to the Mississippi is by taking the Natchez Trace Parkway, a road that follows the route that boatmen used to return from New Orleans to the Midwest in the days before steam power. As a bonus, it also passes the Tupelo Automobile Museum.

    Other car-related things you might want to check out include trying to follow the old Route 66 from Chicago to St. Louis; the Museum of Transportation outside St. Louis; and the Lane Motor Museum in Nashville. As far as diners go, one of our unwritten rules here is that we try to give recommendations only for places we've personally experienced, which makes it difficult, but one diner chain I think you'd enjoy in the upper Midwest is Steak 'n Shake.

    AS your planning progresses, please let us know what appeals to you from our suggestions and what choices you've already made as far as route and timing go. That way we can refine our advice to be of greater use to you.

    Ha en flott tur!

    AZBuck

  5. #5

    Default

    Thanks!!! Many great ideas and things to see :-)
    One more question - from St Louis to Nashville is a long drive - more then 300 miles. Where would be a nice place to spend a night in between these cities??

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,270

    Default

    You don't necessarily have to spend a night if you would rather spend your time elsewhere - you can drive the 300 miles in 5 hours. It's Interstate highway all the way with a 70 mph speed limit.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,358

    Default Or...

    ...if you wanted to take your time and see small town America and the Land Between the Lakes, you could eschew the superslabs and continue down the Illinois side of the Mississippi on IL-3 (part of the Great River Road system) to Jonesboro IL and then take IL-146 east to Vienna and US-45 south across the Ohio River and into Kentucky. US-60 into Paducah and US-62 out of it will bring you to the Trace, the main road through the Land Between the Lakes. At the southern end of that, US-79 (north!) and Alt-US-41 (south) will take you into Nashville.

    Paducah KY is roughly halfway on such a relaxed, scenic route. It has a nice River Walk along the Ohio and is also the site of one of General Grant's early victories in the Civil War.

    AZBuck

  8. #8

    Default

    Just one month to we go and we have some updates on plans...there is Nascar race in Indianapolis on Sunday 26th - never been to one so this is our chance to experience this. Leaving from Indianapolis should we take 70 to Saint Louis then cross back to get to Nashville or take 65 through Louisville and then Nashville.


    Best route to experience the most??

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    4,546

    Default

    What would you be trying to achieve, by going west to St Louis then southeast to Nashville? If you would be interested, Mammoth Cave National Park is just off I-65 between Louisville and Bowling Green, KY. It's a gorgeous, huge cave, and there are many tours that you could choose from. Also, Abraham Lincoln's birthplace is just east of I-65, near Hodgenville.


    Donna

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