Road Trip. Chicago, Head South and Back

hyperfish

Distinguished Member
This year we fly into Chicago, pick up a car and as usual we have no fixed itinerary. The return flights, Doncaster-Dublin-Chicago are booked as is the car.

I will find accommodation off the cuff as we go.

We will head South and may even get as far as New Orleans but this is not a requirement, it depends on what we find along the way. Then at the end of two weeks we fly home from Chicago.

We have a few things on the list but I would like to hear your suggestions. You guys have done us proud in the past.

Things on the list so far:

Mammoth Cave National Park KY
Nashville TN
Gracelands Memphis TN
The Gibson guitar factory tour Memphis TN​

A paddle boat trip on the Mississippi is a must but I haven't checked on this yet.

Thanks in anticipation, Colin.
 

hyperfish

Distinguished Member
No issues with the flights other than problems with my ESTA. Nice guy at Dublin sorted that out. Turns out the check in girl at Doncaster typed the wrong passport no.
O'Hare was a bit chaotic but we left that behind us when we picked up the car. It's a Mitsubishi Outlander, not bad but was hoping for something a bit bigger.
Drove 60mi south to Merilleville and got into bed at 10pm (4am uk).
 
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hyperfish

Distinguished Member
Early start today, South into Indiana. Visited Blue spring Caverns. A boat trip in a cave system. Very quiet, only one more couple there
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Staying at Springmill Inn tonight.
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Not a decent restaurant in the area. KFC it is then ;)
 

hyperfish

Distinguished Member
Cheers mate, I'll check that out if we get that far.
Early start, set the satnav to avoid interstates. Quiet roads and quiet places.
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Stretched out legs by the lake.
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A bit unusual.
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Arrived at Mammoth Cave in Kentucky. Did the 2 hour tour. Steps could be a bit challenging.
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Took the interstate towards Nashville Tn.
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Checked into a Hampton Inn, reasonably priced in downtown, but thought $32 to park the car was a bit steep.
On the toon tonight.
 

deantown

Distinguished Member
Hopefully in October, we could be flying in to Chicago and doing a road trip too. In the meantime I shall be reading all your posts and gaining as much info as poss. We may be doing Nashville from Houston next year though, so many possibilities, just have to make a decision lol. :D
 

hyperfish

Distinguished Member
I'm pleasantly surprised at the cost of fuel and accommodation so far. Around $2.30 per gallon for the middle grade and around $120 for a room at HI/Hampton. Last night was $200 which is good for downtown.
 

hyperfish

Distinguished Member
Up at the cracks again, not adjusted yet.
Headed towards Memphis on the interstate, then into Alabama for a while to tick that one of the list.
Had a break at Savanna TN. Took a look around the small civil war museum there.
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Next stop Shiloh National Military Park. The site of a civil war battle. Museum, lots of memorials and cemetery. Done in the car with about 20 places to stop.
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360
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Interesting but very sad.
Had enough today and Julie needs some pool time so pulled in to a HI at Corinth MS, About 90mins from Memphis.
 
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hyperfish

Distinguished Member
Gibson factory tour.
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Had to try a couple out.
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By the time we got out it was raining but it son stopped and brightened up.
 

hyperfish

Distinguished Member
Thanks mate, same time as last year as it happens.
Had a walk around downtown then took the monorail over to Mud Island.
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There's a detailed model of the river, maybe a quarter mile start to finish.
Part of it from the monorail station.
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This is probably as close to New Orleans as well get. It's at least 400mi each way from here and the hurricane in Florida has effected the weather in that region. So it's a pass this time.
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hyperfish

Distinguished Member
Next on the todo list is a paddle boat on the Mississippi. Interesting commentry along the way.
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The Eagle eyed will notice the lack of drive/gear box ;)
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Shared catfish, ribs and burger last night, might try something a bit lighter tonight.
 

hyperfish

Distinguished Member
Live band at the Hard Rock Cafe.
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Friday night is busier.
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The street is totally shut down by 9 cop cars and fire engine.
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This allows the whole of Beale Street to become one big bar. Every bar has counter on the street where you can get a beer and walk along the street.
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My phone can't capture it but there's a team of guys doing back flips from one end of the road to the other.
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hyperfish

Distinguished Member
Over the river into Arkensas.
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Then a 2hr drive to Little Rock. Booked in to the downtown Hampton Inn. Got a nice suite for $120, so much cheaper than lat years trip.
 

rousetafarian

Moderator
This is a great thread, thanks for taking the time to create it.

I remember a few years back driving from Chicago to Palm Beach Florida, with an overnight stop.

The satisfaction and relief when I hit the Florida border was palpable, then the reality hit of another 5 or so hours driving south through the state (which was the part I'd forgotten about)
 

hyperfish

Distinguished Member
Took a stroll around the River Market District. Found an Indian cafe in the indoor market for lunch. A pleasant change from the fried food.
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Walked across the bridge.
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To the submarine on the other bank.
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hyperfish

Distinguished Member
Walked down to the river before beer and steak at a bar in the market district.
The bridge we walked over earlier changes colour.
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hyperfish

Distinguished Member
I overheard a guy at the hotel bar who had driven up from Louisiana. The weather was pretty bad with lightning and heavy rain. That puts to rest my regrets about not reaching New Orleans.

Forgot to mention that we were woken in the night at Memphis by the room gently shaking. Saw on the news the next morning that there had been a small quake in Oklahoma, minimal damage.

Heading NW after breakfast towards the lakes and forrests in the Ozark region. Tomorrow is Labor Day (bank holiday) so it could get a bit busy.
 

hyperfish

Distinguished Member
Took just over an hour to reach Petit Jean Park which is up in the hills, roads were clear.
Stretched our legs at the overlook.
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Tried to get a room there but the lodge was fully booked.
So headed north to a place I saw on Google maps.
The road through the Ozark Forest was bends and hills for miles.
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By the time we got to Table Rock on the lake we'd had enough.
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Stretched our legs again and watched the showboat pull away. A proper paddle boat.
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Tapped hotel into the satnav and drove to a Hampton Inn at Branson Missouri, luckily they had a room.
Tried downtown for dinner but all the parking was full, the restaurant we managed to get to was queuing out of the door. So we ended up in a Wendy's which was empty. For good reason as it turned out.
Guinness and wine from Walmart ends the day.
 
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hyperfish

Distinguished Member
North on the interstate. Fast and nose to tail with bank holiday folk heading home. Saw 2 accidents in the first 20 mile so took the slow route.
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Stumbled across a watering hole so parked under the bridge and took a stroll.
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