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Old 02-20-2024, 01:29 AM   #1
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In late March I'll be traveling up to SE Indiana for total eclipse in April and wife's family reunion. After we'll be traveling from there (around Louisville) to Austin, TX to visit son who will be there on business. We'll have a couple of weeks to get from Indiana to Austin so I'm wondering if anyone can give some advice as to route and what to visit along the way.

Thanks.glenn
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Old 02-20-2024, 01:45 AM   #2
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In late March I'll be traveling up to SE Indiana for total eclipse in April and wife's family reunion. After we'll be traveling from there (around Louisville) to Austin, TX to visit son who will be there on business. We'll have a couple of weeks to get from Indiana to Austin so I'm wondering if anyone can give some advice as to route and what to visit along the way.

Thanks.glenn

You might want to consider taking he Natchez Trace parkway from Nashville to Natchez, Mississippi.



444 mile long two lane parkway with a very wide right away so wide open on both sides for quite a ways from the roadway, not the typical parkway through dense trees.


We did the drive in 2013 and took about 3 days to do it as we took our time. Very nice relaxing drive, quite flat. IIRC the speed limit was 45mph.
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Old 02-20-2024, 01:56 AM   #3
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We found the National Park(?) in Vicksburg Mississippi to be fascinating.
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Old 02-20-2024, 01:04 PM   #4
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Eureka Springs, AR We've stayed at the Kettle Campground(and will again) on the edge of town. One of the trolley routes goes to here. A wonderful way to explore the downtown and other areas without the hassle of finding parking(difficult). While in the area check out the mini Golden Gate Bridge and perhaps the Passion Play(accessable by trolley).

Hot Springs National Park in Hot Springs, AR. Reserve early at the Gulpha Gorge campground. Walking distance(a bit long) to downtown.

If doing Natchez they have a parking lot on the bluff overlooking the Mississippi River across from the post office that it is apparently OK to overnight at. I just spent two nights there a couple of weeks ago. Short walking distance to a vibrant downtown area.
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Old 02-20-2024, 03:41 PM   #5
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I grew up between Vicksburg and Natchez. A piece of the original Trace cuts through our family farm. I lived in Louisiana 9 years, and still visit family in both states. I travel to Arkansas because I love it.

Pretend the interstates don’t exist, particularly I30 and I40, major trucking routes. Arkansas has excellent, beautiful backroads. Texas backroads are OK. Louisiana backroads are challenging. Therefore, I wouldn’t cut down to the Trace—I’d go diagonally down from Memphis just snipping a corner of Louisiana. The new Trace also gets mind numbingly boring after a while.

Spend your extra time in Arkansas’s Ozarks and Ouachitas, maybe visit Buffalo River between them—the first National River. Their state parks are magnificent.
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Old 02-20-2024, 07:03 PM   #6
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I think there are benefits and detriments to both the trace and the rural routes.


The Trace is a long and easy drive that doesn't go through all the small towns or right by the farms and ranches. If you like the small town stuff either for frequent stopping at shops, restaurants, etc then the Trace is probably not the best choice.


If you want a comfortably easy drive without the hassles of two lane rural roads and frequent slow downs and stops and just like to absorb a bunch of non built up areas, then the trace is probably a better choice.


While not as fast as the freeways, you miss all that ugliness and still don't get much for delays along the way. The low speed limit makes it very safe and relaxing, at least for us. 5-6 hours a day for two days and you are in the gulf area from Nashville and probably pretty relaxed as the Trace is so easy to follow compared to rural routes which can be convoluted if you are not familiar with the area.


We would certainly chose it again over the freeway or rural roads as it suits us well.
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Old 02-20-2024, 07:23 PM   #7
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I think there are benefits and detriments to both the trace and the rural routes.


The Trace is a long and easy drive that doesn't go through all the small towns or right by the farms and ranches. If you like the small town stuff either for frequent stopping at shops, restaurants, etc then the Trace is probably not the best choice.


If you want a comfortably easy drive without the hassles of two lane rural roads and frequent slow downs and stops and just like to absorb a bunch of non built up areas, then the trace is probably a better choice.


While not as fast as the freeways, you miss all that ugliness and still don't get much for delays along the way. The low speed limit makes it very safe and relaxing, at least for us. 5-6 hours a day for two days and you are in the gulf area from Nashville and probably pretty relaxed as the Trace is so easy to follow compared to rural routes which can be convoluted if you are not familiar with the area.


We would certainly chose it again over the freeway or rural roads as it suits us well.
Me too. And this: "The new Trace also gets mind numbingly boring after a while."

I did the Trace south to north. Then went over to the Blue Ridge Parkway south to north and then Skyline Drive. Never experienced any mind numbing stuff.

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Old 02-20-2024, 07:43 PM   #8
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Me too. And this: "The new Trace also gets mind numbingly boring after a while."

I did the Trace south to north. Then went over to the Blue Ridge Parkway south to north and then Skyline Drive. Never experienced any mind numbing stuff.

Bud

We did the same route in 2013 but North to South, and it was a fantastic experience. Did you go across to the Blue Ridge through Smoky mountain nat park, also. The makes the "parkway tour" complete.
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Old 02-20-2024, 08:35 PM   #9
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We did the same route in 2013 but North to South, and it was a fantastic experience. Did you go across to the Blue Ridge through Smoky mountain nat park, also. The makes the "parkway tour" complete.
Yes, but the second time I did the parkway.

I've done little in the eastern US, but other drives:

Go to the Sun Road, Million Dollar Hwy, Independence Pass, and Charles Kuralt's favorite - Beartooth Hwy and others.......
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Old 02-20-2024, 08:40 PM   #10
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If you do the Trace, be sure to stop at all of the historic site pulloffs. They are very cool.
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Old 02-20-2024, 09:18 PM   #11
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Similar route. Late April planning to hit the Blues Trail and making a number of stops. Will also integrate a few segments of the Tamale Trail. There are a lot of options when, The Joy is in The Journey.

Thought I said it first, but:
Quote:
The joy is in the journey, the struggle is part of the joy and the final destination is not an end but another beginning of another journey.”
― Kathy Boyd Fellure
But alas, I don't read women's or children's books, so I couldn't know...

Cheers - Jim
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Old 02-21-2024, 03:07 PM   #12
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I'd maybe run South and pick up Hwy 60 ( yes the same which runs through AZ) which runs across the bottom of Missouri into the Ozarks and from Western MO, Arkansas find my way towards TX


Hwy 60 runs from Virginia Beach to Long Beach and I've enjoyed it all, but particularly the piece in MO


From Austin ( or before) Padre Island natl seashore is very nice, couple of campgrounds there
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Old 02-21-2024, 10:24 PM   #13
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60, 62, 64 all good across Arkansas.
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Old 02-21-2024, 10:45 PM   #14
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I mentioned the Tamale Trail.
I forgot there might be some Pork Tenderloin Sandwich stops along the way too.

Davydd! Paging Davydd.

Cheers - Jim
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Old 02-22-2024, 11:15 AM   #15
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We enjoyed this link through Natchez Trace Parkway all 444-miles of the trip.
https://www.natcheztracetravel.com/
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Old 02-25-2024, 02:29 PM   #16
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Thanks to everyone for giving me some good recommendations for the trip. Much appreciated.
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Old 02-25-2024, 04:32 PM   #17
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In late March I'll be traveling up to SE Indiana for total eclipse in April and wife's family reunion.

Depending on where you are in southern Indiana, I'd recommend stopping by Nashville, IN and Brown County State Park. The park is like a small version of the Smokies. There's a fire tower that gives you a view over the hills. It's really pretty in the fall, of course. Nashville started out as an artist's colony in the 1930's and is currently a touristy town with lots of little shops, like a small version of Gatlinburg, TN.
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Old 02-25-2024, 04:51 PM   #18
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would definitely stop at Shiloh national battlefield. beautiful and thought provoking
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Old 02-26-2024, 02:48 AM   #19
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If you go across northern Arkansas Eureka Springs is definitely worth a visit. Don’t miss Thorncrown Chapel. Lots of beautiful country in the Ozarks.
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Old 02-26-2024, 06:11 AM   #20
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We did the Natchez Trace and enjoyed it. Lots of places to stop and wander around and discover some history. Make sure you stop at the museum in Natchez if you get there. If you do the Trace you could head to southern LA. In addition to New Orleans, Lafayette is interesting with lots of Cajun food and history.

A more northern route would take you to Saint Louis. There is lots to see there especially the arboretum and art museum.

Bentonville AK, home to Walmart, is a surprising place. Several world class museums funded by the Walton family. Washington State Park, north of Hope AK, is also an interesting stop. It was briefly the confederate state capitol during the civil war but it has been preserved as a state park with lots of old buildings and live demonstrations of period crafts.

Fredericksburg TX is a tourist town but again interesting history of German immigrants. The drive through Texas in March is likely to catch the Bluebonnets in bloom. Texas State parks were good places to stay, but the eclipse might make that a crazy place to be.
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