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  1. Default Winter driving trip from St. Louis

    Itís early November, I (70+ old guy) am considering a solo trip of 5 days and maybe 1500-1800 miles round trip just to get a break from family, mostly looking for a scenic, serene drive, maybe overnight near water or mountains.Itís winter so likely south of St. Louis. Any suggestions.

    Thinking maybe smoky mountains but itís winter so, donít know if itís a good idea. Maybe going down to the Gulf...

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,691

    Default

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    If you're just looking at a scenic drive, perhaps you could make your way down the Mississippi River down to Natchez MS, and then make your way back by following the Natchez Trace Scenic Parkway? That would work out to around 1400 miles, and would very easily fill up 5 days on the road.

    You could potentially go all the way to New Orleans before turning back, but that would start pushing you up into a point where driving would be about all you'd have time to do and/or would force you to spend a lot of your time on freeways, rather than serene drives, to make that work.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    10,022

    Default Agreed - Two (at least) Very Nice Roads

    I whole-heartedly agree with Michael's suggestion, but be aware that the scenic road(s) we recommend will not be the first suggestion of any computer-based mapping algorithm, including your GPS'. You will have to take responsibility for navigation. But all the roads should be well marked.

    To start with you can take, as Michael suggested the, Great River Road. The name does not do it justice since it is actually a network of roads down both banks of the Mississippi. So you'll have to have a look through their web pages to see what's of interest to you along the way. Speaking of which, it would greatly help us to help you if we knew what some of those interests were.

    Your turnaround point would be Natchez MS where you would pick up the Natchez Trace Parkway. Not only is this road scenic, it's historic as well and I'd encourage you to visitor some of the information centers and ranger stations. One other note, the Natchez Trace is a two-lane controlled access highway. Being a two-lane road it has a charming rural character, but being a controlled access road means that there isn't a lot of traffic on it. The best of both worlds.

    The final leg would be Nashville to St. Louis. The straight forward route here is just I-24/I-64 if you are tired of driving or just want to get home in a timely manner. But you could also head up through Land Between the Lakes to whichever bank of the Mississippi you missed on the way down to Natchez.

    AZbuck

  4. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Midwest Michael View Post
    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    If you're just looking at a scenic drive, perhaps you could make your way down the Mississippi River down to Natchez MS, and then make your way back by following the Natchez Trace Scenic Parkway? That would work out to around 1400 miles, and would very easily fill up 5 days on the road.

    You could potentially go all the way to New Orleans before turning back, but that would start pushing you up into a point where driving would be about all you'd have time to do and/or would force you to spend a lot of your time on freeways, rather than serene drives, to make that work.
    Thanks, great idea.

  5. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by AZBuck View Post
    I whole-heartedly agree with Michael's suggestion, but be aware that the scenic road(s) we recommend will not be the first suggestion of any computer-based mapping algorithm, including your GPS'. You will have to take responsibility for navigation. But all the roads should be well marked.

    To start with you can take, as Michael suggested the, Great River Road. The name does not do it justice since it is actually a network of roads down both banks of the Mississippi. So you'll have to have a look through their web pages to see what's of interest to you along the way. Speaking of which, it would greatly help us to help you if we knew what some of those interests were.

    Your turnaround point would be Natchez MS where you would pick up the Natchez Trace Parkway. Not only is this road scenic, it's historic as well and I'd encourage you to visitor some of the information centers and ranger stations. One other note, the Natchez Trace is a two-lane controlled access highway. Being a two-lane road it has a charming rural character, but being a controlled access road means that there isn't a lot of traffic on it. The best of both worlds.

    The final leg would be Nashville to St. Louis. The straight forward route here is just I-24/I-64 if you are tired of driving or just want to get home in a timely manner. But you could also head up through Land Between the Lakes to whichever bank of the Mississippi you missed on the way down to Natchez.

    AZbuck

    Much thanks. I wonder how Zi could map it, tell me where I get on the Great River Road and other roads I take. I will try mapping it. Thanks!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    10,045

    Default

    Here is a map of the Great River Road:

    https://experiencemississippiriver.c...c-map-2019.pdf

    Here are downloadable maps of the Natchez Trace Parkway:

    https://www.natcheztracetravel.com/n...kway-maps.html

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    10,022

    Default South of St. Louis

    Remember that the Great River Road is not single road but a network of roads. That said, I could not find a decent map on-line to point you to, but the opening page of the link I gave you earlier has a free map available that should at least give you route numbers all the way along the river.

    When you're actually on the road, it is marked by green and white signs that show a steamboat framed by a ship's wheel. From the St. Louis area it should start out as US-61 south on the Missouri side of the river or as IL-3 south on the Illinois side.

    As I noted earlier, mapping routines and GPS will always want to take you via efficient roads. The Great River Road is not efficient. The only way to follow it using GPS is to put in so many way points that using the device becomes a distraction.

    AZBuck

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    5,564

    Default

    The AAA maps, as well as the Rand McNally atlas, mark the Great River Road with a stern wheel. When I was mapping this road for the Camping Guide, I also used the website that AZBuck cited. It is marked when you're on it, but I don't think there are directional signs...just the signage mentioned above.



    Donna

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,526

    Default Each state determines which highway is the "Great River Road"

    Quote Originally Posted by DonnaR57 View Post
    The AAA maps, as well as the Rand McNally atlas, mark the Great River Road with a stern wheel.
    The thing to remember is that none of the states who claim the "Great River Road" accept the mapping authority of either AAA or Rand McNally.

    Mapping publishers create products based on their best attempts to be accurate -- but in the case where there has never been any uniformity or agreement as to which of the roads that follow the Mississippi River is the "OFFICIAL GREAT RIVER ROAD" -- you will still find ambiguity. I know of of at least two places where the "stern wheel" icon appears on signs on highways across from the river from each other (in different states).

    Bottom Line: Each state designates which highway running through their state is the "OFFICIAL GREAT RIVER ROAD" route.

    So, it really is a driving adventure!

    Mark

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