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  1. #1

    Default Help Please Memphis to Vegas - From Sun to Saturday

    Hello Everyone - i am from the UK and will be driving from Atlanta 30308 to Holiday Inn Biltmore East (Asheville) on Oct 18th. Can you advise the most scenic route I should take ? I am hoping to stop at Stone Mountain en Route and then hopefully see some of the Blue Ridge Parkway ? I have only one night in Asheville then heading over to Gatlinberg so can you also advise best most scenic route for that as well?

    Many thanks

    Please do not start multiple discussions about the same trip. - Mod
    Last edited by AZBuck; 09-21-2015 at 10:24 AM.

  2. #2

    Default Help Please Memphis to Vegas - From Sun to Saturday

    We are from the Uk and Sun Oct 25th we will be driving from:

    MEMPHIS TN to
    LITTLE ROCK, AR and then to
    OKLAHOMA CITY, OK
    DOWNTOWN, AMARILLO TX before heading onto
    SANTA FE and
    MONUMENT VALLEY
    GRAND CANYON
    VEGAS

    We have one night in each place, before arriving in Vegas on Halloween for two nights. Can you advise if this is realistic and is there a scenic route between these places, i really would prefer to avoid the interstate roads and take the pretty routes where possible.

    Many thanks for your advice.

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

    Default Scenic Routes are Everywhere

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    But first, let's clear up a misconception. It is not necessarily a choice between an Interstate Highway OR a scenic routes. Many Interstates are sce3nic routes in their own right. Examples include I-81 through the Great Valley and the Pennsylvania Appalachians, I-70 over the San Rafael Swell, and others. But if you want to travel at a slower pace and enjoy the scenery a bit more, and have the time, there's certainly nothing wrong with taking a scenic back road (or two or three). So let's look at a few.

    Starting with your run from Stone Mountain up to Asheville, there is an excellent albeit considerably longer (mostly in terms of time) route that combines a number of local scenic roads. This is not a route that you can simply plug into your GPS and expect it to navigate for you. Your GPS will always try to put you back on I-85/I-26. You will need to get some decent paper maps, mark the route out on them, and have your passenger/navigator help you with. Leaving Stone Mountain take W. Riggs Ave. west to Mountain Industrial Blvd. north. That becomes GA-104 and will take you up to I-85 which you will take northward to Exit 113 and I-985 north. At Exit 24 leave I-985 on GA-369 west just to connect with US-129 north. Stay on US-129 through Cleveland GA and for 3.5 miles more to Alt-GA-75 (NOT GA-75!) north past Unicoi State Park. At the junction with GA-75/GA-17, turn right and go a few blocs and then turn left onto GA-356 through the town of Robertson. At Batesville turn left onto GA-197 north. Next up is a right onto US-76 east to Clayton and then US-23 north. Just past Dillard GA, take GA-246 east. This becomes NC-106 after crossing the state line and will take you to Highlands NC and US-64 east. At Ecusta/Pigash Forest, continue straight onto NC-280 which will bring you out (finally!) at Asheville Regional Airport and I-26 for the last few miles into Asheville.

    Note that the Blue Ridge Parkway does not figure into the above directions. That's because near Asheville, at its southern end, the parkway is an east-west road and is far better suited to be your first road out of Asheville towards Memphis and the next part of your RoadTrip. It will, in fact, bring you out on US-19 which you could then follow south to US-441 north through Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

    I am curious, though, why if you say that you would "really would prefer to avoid the interstate roads and take the pretty routes where possible" you have planned stops in towns that all are on the Interstates. There are a number of great scenic roads that you could take including the Talimena Scenic Drive, the Santa Fe Trail, the San Juan Skyway, and AZ-66 (the longest remaining stretch of old 'Route 66') among others. Have you already made reservations in the cities you've listed or are those just 'place holders' on your route west.

    AZBuck

  4. #4

    Default

    Hi AZ thanks for your advice. Yes we have made reservations via a uk travel agent. We told him we wanted a cross country trip from Atlanta to LA taking in certain key elements like the blue ridge parkway and Smoky Mountains, Grand Old Opry, Graceland, Monument Valley, Grand Canyon, Vegas for Halloween and then fly home from Vegas. So we have accommodation all booked and have made plans for things to do from Atlanta hence Stone Mountain. The thing is we don't know the best routes and don't want to blindly follow a sat nav racing from place to place. Thank you very much for any ideas you can share and your advice regarding route to Asheville is appreciated already. Thank you. Ps sorry about two posts earlier I am just getting the hang of this x

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,358

    Default Two Things Then

    First, even with reservations in cities on the Interstates, there's no requirement that you use the Interstates between those cities. For example, between Little Rock and Oklahoma City, you could first head down to Hot Springs and then take US270 west to Alcorn AR near the start of the Talimena National Scenic Byway. After following the scenic byway, you'd continue on OK-1 to rejoin US-270 into the Oklahoma City area. But Oklahoma City to Santa Fe is over 500 miles, and the only way to make that in a day is to follow I-40 all the way well into New Mexico and just use US-285 for the last 50 miles or so into Santa Fe.

    Secondly, I would note that hotel reservations are perhaps the easiest reservations to cancel in the world of travel. Typically as long as you cancel a reservation more than 24 hours in advance, there is no penalty. Some of your reservations make sense - Monument Valley and the Grand Canyon can be particularly hard places to secure lodging in the park. But others don't - Memphis and Little Rock are only 135 miles apart while Oklahoma City and Santa Fe are 550! More evenly spaced nightly stops would certainly make for an easier trip. So I guess the question at this point is: Are you willing to live with the reservations you already have or would you be willing to rework some of them?

    AZBuck
    Last edited by AZBuck; 09-23-2015 at 03:55 PM.

  6. #6

    Default

    Hello again. Thank you for this I really do appreciate your help. I may have forgotten to mention that we are heading from Oaklahoma City to Amarillo for one night and then onto Santa Fe. I would be willing to change the bookings if my travel agent allows but I have already paid for the trip so it may be difficult as I got the whole thing. By that I mean a package that included return flights from London the car hire and the accommodation.

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

    Default

    As Buck mentioned, some interstate highways are quite scenic. Last year I drove west along I-40 through TX and NM. Having driven it before, I had forgotton just how scenic this interstate is along some stretches. I recall stopping to take many photos.

    Quote Originally Posted by Scruffygirl View Post
    I would be willing to change the bookings if my travel agent allows but I have already paid for the trip so it may be difficult as I got the whole thing. By that I mean a package that included return flights from London the car hire and the accommodation.
    How often we hear this. Travel agents designing trips which they have most likely not travelled themselves. Nothing wrong with using an agent to do the bookings, but do the research yourself before you book. The day of the travel agent knowing best are mostly gone. It is not always easy to cancel bookings. I have heard from a traveller who cancelled bookings but never got refunded, even though they were cancelled days in advance. The agent just did not cancel them in time so as not to lose their commission.

    Maybe next time you will feel confident to plan your own trip, knowing there is help available here, and elsewhere on the internet.

    Lifey

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,358

    Default In That Case

    Ah, yes. I do see where you listed Amarillo in your original itinerary. My mistake. OK, then, let's see if we can't find you some interesting routes for those middle parts of your RoadTrip...

    Oklahoma City to Amarillo: This is high Plains, relatively flat and dry, so not the most scenic of places along your route, but I find such 'desolate isolation' to have a beauty all its own. Basically, I think you should head south a bit to sample the Red River Valley and some of the badlands terrain. Leave OKC to the west (I-40) unt5il you come to US-281 south near Hintion. Follow US-281 south to the town of Apache and turn right onto OK-19 west which you'll follow (through a few turns) to Blair and US-283 south. This route is also marked as OK-6 and it's that road that you really want to follow. It becomes TX-6 when you cross the Red River into Texas. At Quanah, take US-287 west to the town of Estelline where you'll head west on TX-86 past Caprock Canyons State Park to TX-207 north back onto US-287 into Amarillo. Other parks you'll pass very near on the above route include Red Rock Canyon State Park and Wichita Mountains National Wildlife Area.

    Amarillo to Santa Fe: By not sticking to the 'standard route', you've got the opportunity to see some majestic and little visited bits of the American west. Head north (!) out of Amarillo on US-287, picking up US-87 north in Dumas. In Clayton NM, continue straight onto US-64. You'll then follow US-64 for quite a while past Clayton Lake State Park, Capulin Volcano National Monument, and Cimarron Canyon State Park. As you near Taos, take Bypass US-64/NM-585 to NM-68 to Santa Cruz and US-285 the rest of the way into Santa Fe.

    There's nothing particularly special about the above routes. You can find similar alternatives by just getting a good set of maps and looking for roads marked as scenic (usually with solid or dotted green lines) and parks and other natural areas.

    AZBuck

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,936

    Default Maps.

    Quote Originally Posted by AZBuck View Post

    There's nothing particularly special about the above routes. You can find similar alternatives by just getting a good set of maps and looking for roads marked as scenic (usually with solid or dotted green lines) and parks and other natural areas.

    AZBuck
    If you are a member of the AA at home, be sure to bring your membership with you. One of the first things you could then do after your arrival in Memphis is visit the AAA (who have a reciprocal arrangement with AA) and pick up maps of the States through which you will be travelling.

    There's nothing like having good maps when on the road. You will be able to pick up all the routes Buck has described and other scenic alternatives.

    Lifey

  10. #10

    Default

    Thanks to both of you. I have bought a 2015 Rand McNally map and atlas which will no doubt be used a great deal. The advice of best routes is invaluable though. I've looked up the hot springs link and the state parks you listed. That led to my following other links and I have some plans to visit Apache Junction and hopefully ride on the Steamboat which I'm really looking forward to. Our trip started as a chat about how fab we imagined it would be to visit Vegas on Halloween. Before we knew it we were talking about all the Americana Kitch we would love to see. So Graceland. Dollywood. Etc. Then we wanted awesome natural wonders so Grand Canyon. Smoky mountains and then the chat became a plan and now it's just a few weeks from reality and we are so thrilled and lucky to be able to do it. Can't wait to be over there in the fabulous USA. Thanks so much for your help X

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