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  1. Default Couple's First Road Trip: Witchita to Atlanta via St. Louis

    Let me start by saying that it was a bit surprising and quite pleasant to find a community of people so enthused about roadtripping! As a college student, I find myself missing the good old days in the car with my family as a little girl. My boyfriend, Eric, and I have decided it's about time to do the old "meet the parents:" his in Witchita, KS and mine in Atlanta, GA. I also have relatives in St. Louis, so that will be our first night, but after that we have a very monotonous ten hour day to Atlanta.

    I know that the midwest holds all sorts of quirky roadside stops and hidden dining gems...But I've never been on these specific highways minus my family (and minus my mother, our trip planner extraordinaire).

    So, my question is twofold:

    1. Where can we find fabulous bits of roadside americana to spice up our drive? (Anything from abnormally sized balls of twine to a beautiful old hotel in nowhere, USA)

    2. Any advice for a young couple taking their first roadtrip? He's a spontaneous person, while I need to plan everything to the day...but I want to be more spontaneous, just with an evening destination in mind...general advice welcome as well of course!


    Thank you all for your help! We're both looking foward to this trip and are determined to make it fabulous...we really appreciate your valued advice.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,059

    Default A good distance for a first!

    Quote Originally Posted by Adelheid
    Let me start by saying that it was a bit surprising and quite pleasant to find a community of people so enthused about roadtripping!
    We are a diverse group of roadtrippers and all welcome you to the Forum!
    As a college student, I find myself missing the good old days in the car with my family as a little girl. My boyfriend, Eric, and I have decided it's about time to do the old "meet the parents:" his in Witchita, KS and mine in Atlanta, GA. I also have relatives in St. Louis, so that will be our first night, but after that we have a very monotonous ten hour day to Atlanta.
    First rule of roadtripping -- there are no boring places, I have driven several hundred thousands miles in North America and I have yet to find a single boring place or a monotonus place.
    1. Where can we find fabulous bits of roadside americana to spice up our drive? (Anything from abnormally sized balls of twine to a beautiful old hotel in nowhere, USA)
    There actually is a town named Nowhere, but it is in Arizona... The way I like to spell that is " Now-Here". A couple of resources for finding those bits of Americana: Books that we personally recommend, RoadsideAmerica.com,
    2. Any advice for a young couple taking their first roadtrip? He's a spontaneous person, while I need to plan everything to the day...but I want to be more spontaneous, just with an evening destination in mind...general advice welcome as well of course!
    I wrote an article with you in mind... it will be published on Friday, and I will add the link at that time. In the interim, I would suggest reading some of the essays we have written about the nature of roadtripping. There is a list of them here.

    Attractions... Just north of St. Joseph is the Glore Psychiatric Museum (I haven't been there, but several of our regular posters have);

    On your leg to Atlanta, you could go by Hot Springs, Arkansas and "take the treatment" -- until you have been bathed by a professional....

    Your trip from St. Louis to Atlanta could be chock full of amazing places to stop, but you have a significant problem -- time -- as you know it is over 550 miles between these two cities and it will take you all of that 10 hours just to cover the distance -- so unless you can open up some more time -- you really don't have time to stop anywhere.

    Happy Planning!

    Mark
    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 02-08-2006 at 10:42 AM. Reason: add more

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

    Default A Semi-Beaten Path

    One good way, I think, to compromise between spontaneity and planning on a road trip is to have a general schedule that says, essentially, ok - we'll be in Capital City tonight and we'd like to look at the World's Biggest Hairball and eat at Joe's along the way, but not say how you'll get from one point to another or how long you'll spend anywhere, and in particular, leave enough time to take that interesting side road and see where it goes. If you end up getting to your day's destination early, spend some time poking around. If you start running out of time, you've probably had a great day already and it's time to move on. That way the scheduler is happy that progress is being made, while the free spirit feels that they can explore a bit. Note that, as Mark has pointed out, there's no way to be spontaneous if you only have enough time to get from point A to point B by barreling down the most direct interstate, so see if you can add another day to your St. Louis to Atlanta leg.

    So, what are some of the quirkier locations along your general route? I didn't see where you're coming from or how long you'll be staying in the cities you'll be visiting, but a couple of oddities are a hundred miles or so to the west and northwest of Wichita: the World's Largest Hand Dug Well is in Greensburg, KS and also has a fairly nice meteorite museum attached to it, while the World's Largest Ball of Twine is in Cawker City, KS.

    On the way to St. Louis, you should seriously consider staying north of I-70 and use US-36 and US-24 which will take you to such unique sites as the Glore Psychiatric Museum which Mark suggested, as well as the World's Largest Pecan (sadly, now a concrete replica) in Brunswick, MO and the World's Largest Goose in Sumner, MO.

    Between St. Louis and Atlanta, you'll generally be following I-24, but again make time and try the back roads such as the Great River Road, IL-3, down to Chester, IL for a town that revels in its role as birthplace of the creator of Popeye and even has erected a 6 foot bronze statue of the biceps-challanged sailor. Still on a comics note, continue to Metropolis, IL on the Ohio River for all things Superman. In Tennessee stop in Murfreesboro for the World's Biggest Red Cedar Bucket and in Georgia drive down the main street of Rome and try to find the family sculptured entirely from auto parts.

    AZBuck

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