Results 1 to 9 of 9
  1. Default Midwest loop in October

    Hi everyone,

    I'm planning on doing my first roadtrip some time in October. The total trip is about 2500 miles. I have 9 days and I will be going by myself. Here's a brief summary of where I plan on going.

    Dallas,TX -> Hot Springs, AR -> Memphis, TN -> St. Louis, MO -> Chicago, IL
    -> Minneapolis, MN -> Des Moines, IA -> Kansas City, MO -> Wichita, KS ->
    Dallas, TX

    I have several questions.

    1. It's reasonable to do a 2500 mile road trip in 9 days for a newbie like myself?

    2. What's the best time to travel in October? (ideally, I would like to see some nice scenery, but at the same time avoid potential snow)

    3. Since this is my first trip, how does my itenerary looks? I would greatly appreciate any recommendation about possibly going through it in a different route. I don't have any cities that I must visit, but I want a good mixture of city and scenery on the road trip. If you guys can offer an alternative trip route (around the same vicinity), that would be great.

    4. I hope you guys don't take offense to this question. Since I'm a member of an ethnic group, is there any area I should avoid? I believe that most people are nice, but I also realized that in certain area, people may not be as exposed to different cultures and race. If that's the case, I don't want to antagonize the situation.

    Thank you all for your time and recommendation.

  2. #2

    Default 2500 miles in nine days

    2500 miles in nine days is an average of 280 miles per day. This is probably okay if most of your driving is on interstates. Your schedule doesn't allow for too much time to explore the cities you will be visiting. I would expect your roadtrip to be nine 10-12 hour days.

    If you're doing I-55 between St. Louis and Chicago, there will numerous Route 66 opportunities.

    If not already planned, I'd consider getting from Chicago to Minneapolis via Milwaukee and Madison, WI. During October, your drive through Wisconsin could be colorful.

    I don't see you getting stuck in a snow blizzard during October, but Mother Nature does have a mind of her own.

    I can't address safety issues. It is sad that you have to consider such stuff. I'd use the Internest to look at some of the local newspapers to see what the news is like in the cities you will be visiting.

    You have a fun roadtrip awaiting you.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default Quickly

    Welcome to the RTA forum!

    2500 miles in 9 days isn't an impossible trip, but you really aren't going to leave yourself much time for exploration. You'll be driving for at least a half day most days (sometimes a bit more) and then it seems you'd be heading out the next day. That itself isn't horrible, but you really won't have very much time to explore the cities where you'll be stopping.

    In terms of the weather, October is a great time for roadtrips. You'll likely be driving through Peak fall color at some point of your trip no matter where you end up going. A Winter snowstorm isn't impossible in October, but its fairly unlikely. I might lean towards taking the trip a little earlier in the month because the temperatures should be a bit warmer in general, but when you are only talking about a range of a couple weeks, you'll be at the mercy of mother nature no matter what week you pick.

  4. Default Modified route

    Thanks for the replies. I find this website to be very helpful. On looking closer at the map, I decided to change my route slightly. The only reason why I'm stopping at Memphis, TN was mainly due to google. I wanted to travel from Hot Springs, AR to St Louis, MO. What I found out was that a more scenic route exist if I go from Hot Springs, AR through Branson, MO, Springfield, MO. Do you guys think it's a good idea to go that route instead of Hot Springs, AR to Memphis, TN to St Louis, MO? How much more helpful would it be if I can somehow get 2 extra day (11 total) for my 2500 mile trip?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Mind Set

    One of the problems with mapping software is that unless told otherwise, they will give you the 'best' route according to their algorithms which strongly favor speed over all else. Thus they will invariably send you down the Interstates. One other route you might consider between Hot Springs and St.Louis is simply US-67. While the roads through the Ozarks (Branson) will certainly be scenic, going that way will add nearly 20% to the length of the trip between Hot Springs and St. Louis. Personally, if I were looking for a scenic and relatively stress-free drive, I'd consider AR-9 up to the state line at Mammoth Spring, then MO-19 north to US-60 east for a short ways, and finally MO-21 into St. Louis. That's roughly the same number of miles as the Interstate route, but can be taken at a much more sedate pace and will allow you to stop at will in some off-the-beaten-path towns.

    Extra days are always helpful, but aren't really necessary to make your trip enjoyable. With the right attitude, you've already got enough time.


  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default time vs distance

    I agree that right now your problem isn't distance so much, as you can pretty easily cover the miles in 9 days just about as easily as you can cover them in 11.

    That said, I do think an extra couple of days would be helpful if you really want to explore any of the cities you have listed.

    If you are just looking for a fun drive, with quick stops to look around these places, then you'll do just fine if you have 9 days or if you have 11.

  7. Default Optimal choice?

    Hi everyone again. First off, thanks for the wonderful input. Here's my tentative schedule for my plan.

    Day 1 Dallas - Hot Springs 300 miles
    Day 2 Hot Springs - Branson Reach branson at 12:00 p.m. 220 miles
    Day 3 Branson - St Louis Reach St Louis at 12:00 p.m. 300 miles
    Day 4 St Louis - Chicago Reach Chicago at 2:00 p.m. 300 miles
    Day 5 Chicago
    Day 6 Chicago - Minneapolis Reach Minneapolis at 5:00 p.m. 410
    Day 7 Minneapolis
    Day 8 Minneapolis - Des Moines Reach Des Moines at 2:00 p.m. 300
    Day 9 Des Moines
    Day 10 Des Moines - Wichita 380
    Day 11 Wichita - Dallas 380

    I try to set it where my main long distance driving is in the daytime (to maximize scenic appreciation). I realize that I barely touch any of the city that I drive past. Is that a good thing? Would you guys prefer to spend more time on less city or maximize the number of places you visit? I also realize that it seems almost wasteful to spend all that gas to get to a city and not fully explore it. It's almost hard to make up my mind!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Central California

    Default Why not Memphis


    I haven't spent a lot of time in Minneapolis, so I have nothing against it, but in October I might be inclined to put Memphis in the loop and leave Minneapolis out. Memphis has an interesting, gritty soul about it, and it has Elvis's Graceland. But the best, from my point of view is Beal Street where the music flows nigthly. BB King has a nice place there.

    There is so much in Chicago that you need a full day there (two nights) and the same is true for St. Louis. Depending on your preferences, there is a nice little wine region west of town.

    In that part of the country I try to follow the rivers as much as possible. That means getting off the Interstates from time to time, especially if there is a parallel road. The small towns and farms are just too good to bypass at 75mph.

    It goes without saying that you'll do better with two more days. You can keep a more comfortable pace, and you'll be able to stop and see things that catch your eye along the way.

    Finally, good for you for seeing the great heartland of America. I doubt that there will still be crops in the fields, but you should see some beautiful trees in the northern part of the trip.

    Craig Sheumaker
    co-author of the travel guide: America's Living History-The Early Years

  9. Default Compact Car ok?

    Hi everyone,

    My roadtrip is only one month away. Do you think a compact car is fine (based on the road I'm taking). I don't plan on traveling to any mountainous area, but I do want to stay on the byway to catch as much sceneries as possible. I got most things plan out.

    I would like some opinions on this. Would it be preferable to take the Chicago -> Milwaukee route through middle Wisconsin or take the Chicago -> Madison route through southern Wisconsin? What I most want to see is 1. Natural Sceneries, and those European style small town charm.

    Thanks for the advice.

Similar Threads

  1. Colorado in October
    By Lorna in forum Fall & Winter RoadTrips
    Replies: 8
    Last Post: 08-10-2009, 03:39 PM
  2. Midwest Road Tripping
    By filup in forum Fall & Winter RoadTrips
    Replies: 10
    Last Post: 10-31-2006, 09:41 AM
  3. Driving the Rockies in October - need advice
    By Nico in forum Fall & Winter RoadTrips
    Replies: 8
    Last Post: 08-18-2006, 03:32 AM
  4. Two weeks in October
    By Redfellow in forum Fall & Winter RoadTrips
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 07-29-2006, 04:34 PM
  5. MidWest Adventure
    By Ben Redmond in forum Planning Summer RoadTrips
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: 10-22-2004, 09:12 PM


Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts