Austin TX to Plainfield NJ
Hi, I am driving from Austin TX to New Jersey. I have 7 days to do it in and I'm looking for route ideas. I have no idea about that part of the country. Want to avoid interstates where possible - old/forgotten quiet roads are my favourites. Looking for scenic routes - I take a lot of photos.
Would you prefer inland or coastal routing? On this trip you could also do a combination of those if you choose. The direct route takes about 3 days (just driving) so in 7 you'd have plenty of time I'd guess. If it were me I'd probably take a long coastal route, but Tennessee and the Smokies are right in the middle of the area you could pass through and they'd also be a big temptation for me. Are you ready to leave now, or will this be a winter trip?
I would prefer a mixture of both. So far, it's been recommended I head east towards Houston and then onto New Orleans via the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway. I'm not too interested in spending too much time in cities - only if there's a little history to see or interestinting architecture or enigneering marvels!
I love mountain routes so the smokies sounds good! I'm leaving this Saturday (18th).
Anywhere you recommend worth visiting and stopping over at?
Smokies and Gettysburg
I'm no expert on that area, but if I were doing it the way you're suggesting, my stops would be New Orleans, the Smokies and Gettsysburg. I've been to Gettysburg, the others I haven't, at least as someone who could stop and look. (I've been to New Orleans as a professional driver on a few occasions). My route out of New Orleans would run through Meridian MS, Birmingham, Chattanooga, Roanoke, Harrisburg PA, pass north of Philadelphia and on into Plainfield. There's plenty of things to see along the way I'm sure, but using non-interstate routes takes about 6 days driving-time according to Microsoft Streets and Trips. You might want to combine SOME Interstate driving along with the two-lanes in the more spectacular stretches in order to give you some stopping time, so you can take a look, if as you say you do not have more than 7 days. You can easily spend a day just at Gettysburg alone. This will probably be a great time to see some fall color in the Smokies, Tennessee and Virginia areas, probably PA too. Bob
TX to NJ
Thanks, I'll take your advice and let you know when I get back!
Gettysburg certainly sounds interesting!
You have no idea!
I spent the better part of TWO days at Gettysburg and still could've stayed longer. One of the great things about Gettysburg is that people in the area seemed to know the battle there was a pivotal event in history, and they immediately began preserving the battle sites and buildings right afterward. So today, you can see many of the original buildings -- some with battle damage still visible, such as cannonball holes in the eaves, etc. You can also see the land, undeveloped to a great degree, much the same as the generals saw it in July 1863.
The loop tour is mentioned as a three hour tour? Well, I spent an entire day plus the previous evening on that 3 hour tour. I read every word on every plaque, looked on or across every field and hillside, every artillery placement. I found a neighbor of one of my ancestors in the cemetery. I looked across Pickett's Field and near cried thinking about those thousands of Southern men who marched across it for about 2 miles into the muzzles of waiting Union infantry. All the Union soldiers could do was sit behind the wall, wait, and polish their buttons (literally).
Needless to say that will be a day I'll remember for the rest of my life. Well over 50,000 men died in three days of fighting there -- almost the same number we lost in Vietnam over 11 years. In three days. That visit had a like-effect on me as The Alamo does on many Texans.
Enjoy your trip and I hope you do share your adventure with us when you return. Keep the shiny side up! Bob
Thanks for your suggestions. It was a great trip.
I mostly managed to stay off the Interstates and took backroads and old highways. I spend half the day exploring the place I stayed at the previous night, then made the most of the daylight to find good routes and as soon as there was no light, jump onto the Interstate to get to my calculated destination.
It was 2879miles in total and a journey I'll never forget and I really appreciate the suggestions you made. Gettysburg was most interesting - just a shame I only have half a day. The colour of the trees through the Smoky Mountains were out of this world!!!!
Again, thanks for your suggestions. Here is the route I took.
Day1 Austin TX to New Orleans
Day2 Across the Lake Ponchatrain Causeway up to Montgomery AL
Day3 Montgomery to Chattanooga TN
Day4 Through the Great Smoky Mountains NP to Gatlinburg - Saw a bear!
Day 5 Picked up the Blue Ridge Parkway all the way to Roanoke, Virgina.
Day 5 Back onto the Blue Ridge Parkway and through the Shenandoah NP to Gettysburg
Day 6 to Plainfield NJ and flew back to SFO from JFK.
Thanks for the field report!
Thanks for sharing your trip with us. One day soon, I hope to be able to offer an easy way to post photos of roadtrips like the one you just completed. We all would have liked to see the fall color vistas in the Smoky mountains you alluded to!
In all the years I've been driving the highways, I've only ever seen one (on the road) once! So that's a red-letter day!
Great that you had a memorable trip. If you're like me you're already thinking about your NEXT one.
I have a couple coming up -- this next week I will be doing a short road trip along the NE coast of Scotland, up around Aberdeen. Then in December, I am headed for the Outer Banks of North Carolina. I just can't stay home -- life is too short and there are too many roads to drive and places to see!
Keep the shiny side up! Bob
Distillery Tour perchance
That is trip that has Single malt written all over it!