Well, everything went PERFECTLY on this road trip, I'd have to say. Beautiful weather, no car trouble, friendly people, fantastic food, and best of all - lots of fun roads!
Here's a rough idea of our itinerary - (This will probably be a really long post.)
Winnipeg - Kansas City on I-29. Detoured to #77 and #75 in Nebraska for a bit on the way - much more interesting, but a little slower. Time flies pretty quickly on the I-29 as long as you can get 'in the zone', as my better half like to call it. A very very straight interstate. It's astonishing how fast you can get through the Dakotas.
Kansas City - Sedalia, Missouri, then south on the #65 into Arkansas. Spent a few days and nights in the Ozarks - did a lot of fun hikes and minor spelunking. By the way - Arkansas has some REALLY fun roads that are actually mapped out in their tourism information. We found an 'Adventure Guide' at a tourism office that was loaded with backroads info. Devil's Den Park, Lost Valley, and the hike to Whitaker point were highlights.
After a few days in AR, we bombed it down to Louisiana on the #7. I had wanted to take the 7 all the way through Arkansas because I had heard it was so beautiful, but there were so many fun roads to take in the northern half of the state. We drove the 7 until it turned into #167 in LA, which we followed into Alexandria. We then detoured on small roads and spent some time exploring Cajun country, landing in Henderson. Food tip: You gotta try Chicken on the Bayou for the freshest seafood, and the spiciest boudin and crawfish. Fantastic!
We spent a day or two in Cajun country, then headed southeast on the 182 towards Houma, where we picked up the #1 to go to Grand Isle. Even though tent camping is not allowed on the beach anymore, seeing the dolphins play in the water 15 feet off the shoreline at sunrise made Grand Isle State Park a really great stay. We were stuck behind a schoolbus on the way back - not a great situation when you're basically driving on the one solid strip of land for 50 miles. No way around the bus!
New Orleans came next - and it was the basic NO story - get into town, eat lots of oysters, then eat muffalettas, then eat gumbo and po-boys... We only stayed two nights in N.O.
Next on the trip was heading towards Mobile on I-10. We drove through GUlfport and Biloxi - I was astonished at the devastation of the beach area. All those hotels and casinos - wiped away. They've done a lot of rebuilding, but it's all further inland now. Probably a good idea.
Saw the USS Alabama in Mobile, and ate a lot more great food - fresh shrimp and boiled peanuts. Damn, but those peanuts are tasty! We headed up through Mississippi on the 98 to Hattiesburg, then the 49 to Jackson. We picked up the Great River Road just north of Vicksburg and followed that up to the Great River Road State park near Rosedale, MS.
Next day, we took the 61 up to Memphis, stayed long enough to eat lots of ribs, and paddle about on pedal boats on Mud Island, then cornered up to Hoxie, AR on the 63. We were seduced by a sign by the highway that advertised a $27.95 hotel room next to a BBQ restaurant. Best deal of the trip!
The next day we took the 19 up the Missouri Ozarks to Graham Cave State Park. We stopped on the way at Grand Gulf and Round Spring and did a little hiking. This was the first time I had experienced the Missouri Ozarks. Really pretty. The 19 was a fun road to drive.
From Graham Cave, it was a sprint back home and a return to the Interstates. I-70 back to Kansas City, then back on the I-29. We camped at Ponca State park in northern Nebraska (I really want to do some more exploring in Nebraska some time - this part of the state is really pretty.)
Next day - Ponca Park back to Winnipeg.
Phew. I'm tired out just writing it out - but believe me, we had lots of time to enjoy ourselves with this itinerary. Check out the album for pictorial details: