Came across this website while planning my trip down to Dallas this summer for my job. I am a college student, originally from Milwaukee, and will be driving down to Dallas come May 28th with my girlfriend for our summer internships. My internship starts June 2nd so the absolute latest we have to get into Dallas is June 1st. As of right now, we plan on taking the interstate up until Rolla/Springfield/Joplin area as the goal for day 1 of our drive. This is not set in stone as neither of us has done this before or are familiar at all with the areas, but we are really really excited for this road trip down before we have to start working full time!
I am wondering what is our best option regarding a scenic detour through Arkansas on our way to Dallas instead of driving into Oklahoma and Texas on the I-44/US-69 Google Map option. Specifically, I want to drive through the national forests in Arkansas and any scenic byways also in Arkansas. Also, is there much to see on the Chicago-Rolla/Springfield/Joplin portion of the drive (landmarks, places to eat, scenery, etc.)? We were planning on stopping in some of the old Route 66 towns in IL for food and gas along the way.. i.e. along the lines of Pontiac and I am interested in any other specific Route 66 sights we might hit before Rolla/Springfield/Joplin. Any other advice would be greatly appreciated!!