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Old 12-27-2008, 12:12 AM
 
Location: South Dakota
1,961 posts, read 4,482,590 times
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Are there some Cajun eating options along the way or local cusine? I would love to see local and historical suff. Is US 61 a safe highway, driving and crime wise? Is Natchez a good town to stop and taking a little driving tour through the historical areas? I looked up online and there are a lot of historical plantations along that route and I would not mind stopping by one or two on my way to Gulfport.

The idea of taking I-20 to US 61 and taking that down to Baton Rouge area or before then on the suggested route seems appealing. Less traffic and interesting things to see, that may be good idea. A person can see more of the countryside along a highway as opposed to an interstate.

I am gathering up some ideas. I plan to head to Mississippi/Louisiana and incorporate Colorado and Oklahoma in the road trip. I have to take two weeks off solid and this is a good time to get the traveling in (see relatives and college buddies in Colorado and see a college buddie and his wife in Gulfport area along with seeing a few others in Oklahoma). Also, I would love to head down that area again. Most likely, I will head to Colorado first and then to the Lousiana/Mississippi area. I may see several different scenarios and do the Lousiana/Mississippi leg first and head to Colorado later. However I do my trip, I am excited about the trip and some of the ideas.

I love to take pictures and a small stretch to take er' easy would be good and make the trip a very good and memorable one.
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Old 12-27-2008, 12:18 AM
 
Location: South Dakota
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I forgot one thing. If I went down to Lafayette and over to BR and stick on I-12, is it recommended to visit Avery Island and some areas south of I-10 until one reaches Baton Rouge? My coworker went down to an area south of Lafayette and told me about Avery Island.

He also went down US 61 down through Natchez also and had good things to say about that route also.
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Old 12-27-2008, 03:01 AM
 
Location: Baton Rouge
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Most of the communities along 61 are fairly safe, but Fayette is really ghetto. Luckily 61 bypasses to the west of that town. I'd say it's a pretty safe drive. Four lanes for a good majority of the route. Natchez would be a great place to stop and explore. Not really cajun food, but I know that there is an old run-down country store in Lorman, Ms that has home made fried chicken that is out of this world. Also, on Airline Highway in Baton Rouge, Don's seafood serves a wide variety of Louisiana seafood dishes.

I've never been to Avery Island, I'm not even sure how far it is from Lafayette.
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Old 12-27-2008, 09:12 AM
 
Location: Baton Rouge, LA
1,357 posts, read 3,716,899 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris19 View Post
I forgot one thing. If I went down to Lafayette and over to BR and stick on I-12, is it recommended to visit Avery Island and some areas south of I-10 until one reaches Baton Rouge? My coworker went down to an area south of Lafayette and told me about Avery Island.

He also went down US 61 down through Natchez also and had good things to say about that route also.
Avery Island is worth a visit - it has beautiful gardens, and is where Tobasco is made. It is roughly due south of Lafayette, and is near New Iberia. So you'd take I-49 south to Lafayette and continue down 167 (I-49 "dead ends" at I-10). Follow 167 through a seedy part of Lafayette (where it merges with US 90) and keep going until you get to New Iberia, where LA 329 will then take you to Avery Island.
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Old 12-27-2008, 09:12 PM
 
Location: Louisiana
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Hey Chris you should at all cost avoid I-10 Or I-12 between the hours of 4pm to 8pm, 6am to 9am monday thru sunday. The traffic is way to much to deal with. Take the I-20 route you will enjoy the ride alot more than the 10 and 12 way. Along I-20 you will find some really great places you can pull over and gas up or eat. While you are driven on I 20 east from the Shreveport Bossier area drive the speed limit. there will be plenty of local police and troopers looking to make stops.
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Old 12-29-2008, 07:59 AM
 
Location: Baton Rouge
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I spent the holiday weekend traveling along the northshore to the coast and I-12 was pretty heavy most of the weekend. I can't really complain though because it never did stop. It was just constantly heavy so it was hard to get around and pass. The traffic stayed between 60-70mph usually.

If you take I-20 to Vicksburg and come down US 61, you're doing some backtracking and you're not taking BTR or the northshore out of your equation, so you're only adding more time. Not to mention, US 61 between Woodville and Vicksburg is really a boring drive (to me personally, and I've had to drive it countless times). When I need to travel to Vicksburg and Jackson, I've gotten to where I use the Natchez Trace between Natchez and either Port Gibson, Utica, or Jackson. It's a lot more scenic drive and you bypass all of the little towns. Port Gibson looks pretty from the outside, but it's not a town I'll stop in anymore. Fayette, especially. Natchez is fine for the most part but I find the citizens of Vidalia a lot more welcoming and hospitable than most in Natchez. Woodville is not somewhere I care to stop anymore either. St. Francisville is the best town on that route.
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Old 12-29-2008, 11:59 PM
 
Location: Baton Rouge
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Originally Posted by darylwi View Post
I spent the holiday weekend traveling along the northshore to the coast and I-12 was pretty heavy most of the weekend. I can't really complain though because it never did stop. It was just constantly heavy so it was hard to get around and pass. The traffic stayed between 60-70mph usually.

If you take I-20 to Vicksburg and come down US 61, you're doing some backtracking and you're not taking BTR or the northshore out of your equation, so you're only adding more time. Not to mention, US 61 between Woodville and Vicksburg is really a boring drive (to me personally, and I've had to drive it countless times). When I need to travel to Vicksburg and Jackson, I've gotten to where I use the Natchez Trace between Natchez and either Port Gibson, Utica, or Jackson. It's a lot more scenic drive and you bypass all of the little towns. Port Gibson looks pretty from the outside, but it's not a town I'll stop in anymore. Fayette, especially. Natchez is fine for the most part but I find the citizens of Vidalia a lot more welcoming and hospitable than most in Natchez. Woodville is not somewhere I care to stop anymore either. St. Francisville is the best town on that route.
I agree with you assesment for the most part, especially Fayette. I'm not terrified to stop in Port Gibson or Woodville like I am with Fayette, and there's no reason I would stop in unless for gas. I just love to drive down Church Street in Port Gibson, though. How bout that church with the hand pointing to God for a steeple. I wonder who came up with that lol. Anyway...I just wanted to try to get him to avoid 55. I HATE 55 with a fiery passion, especially in Jackson. 61 does backtrack you slightly, but so does 55 if you look at a map.

Chris, something else that just came to mind... you could also on Highway 98 in Natchez and take it to Hattiesburg and go down Highway 49 to Gulfport if you think the Northshore would be to hectic for you. 98 does take you onto 55 for just a few minutes outside of McComb, but not for long.

Undeniably 55 or 49 would be faster, but they don't hold a candle to 61 and other secondary highways when it comes to enjoying the drive and seeing things. I could take it or leave it myself. It was only a thought.

Last edited by MetroBTR; 12-30-2008 at 12:10 AM..
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Old 12-30-2008, 12:46 AM
 
Location: South Dakota
1,961 posts, read 4,482,590 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MetroBTR View Post
I agree with you assesment for the most part, especially Fayette. I'm not terrified to stop in Port Gibson or Woodville like I am with Fayette, and there's no reason I would stop in unless for gas. I just love to drive down Church Street in Port Gibson, though. How bout that church with the hand pointing to God for a steeple. I wonder who came up with that lol. Anyway...I just wanted to try to get him to avoid 55. I HATE 55 with a fiery passion, especially in Jackson. 61 does backtrack you slightly, but so does 55 if you look at a map.

Chris, something else that just came to mind... you could also on Highway 98 in Natchez and take it to Hattiesburg and go down Highway 49 to Gulfport if you think the Northshore would be to hectic for you. 98 does take you onto 55 for just a few minutes outside of McComb, but not for long.

Undeniably 55 or 49 would be faster, but they don't hold a candle to 61 and other secondary highways when it comes to enjoying the drive and seeing things. I could take it or leave it myself. It was only a thought.
Good assessment, Metro BTR. I may end up nixing the I-10/I-12 idea coming down from Colorado, but as the saying goes, never say never. I can take the Natchez way or back, depending on whether I will have more time going there or back. At this point, I will keep it flexible. Oddly enough in the past day or so, I was thinking of taking a similar path going from Natchez to Hattiesburg and then down to Gulfport.

At this point, I have it narrowed down to taking I-20 to Jackson and taking US-49 way down or heading down towards Natchez (whether it would be US 61 (or getting off in Rayville and going through Winnsboro and down towards Natchez) and head to Hattiesburg and down to Gulfport.

I have been inside Vicksburg with family and have some rather interesting memories of it. It was rather cool there for a June day, but the air was somewhat moist. It was humid but not like other times visiting the South in the summer two other times. We visited the park area that overlooks the Mississippi River and the I-20 bridges. Had a picture of my brother with the cannon. We toured a museum and went though a few areas of Vicksburg that make our run-down areas look nice. I enjoyed the historical aspect of Vicksburg and loved the tree-lined areas of the South.

Even though there are some varying opinions on routes and ideas, each person's suggestion is welcomed and have their good points. Thanks everyone for the ideas and insight. At some point, I will make a decision and that will be when I have a good timeline in place (which may be in a couple months-trip will be in May/June area).

I plan on visiting with my friend on the phone or via e-mail on the Gulfport area. I am sure he will give me an earful of his experiences in Southern Mississippi.
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Old 12-30-2008, 08:23 AM
 
Location: Baton Rouge
794 posts, read 2,340,767 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MetroBTR View Post
I agree with you assesment for the most part, especially Fayette. I'm not terrified to stop in Port Gibson or Woodville like I am with Fayette, and there's no reason I would stop in unless for gas. I just love to drive down Church Street in Port Gibson, though. How bout that church with the hand pointing to God for a steeple. I wonder who came up with that lol. Anyway...I just wanted to try to get him to avoid 55. I HATE 55 with a fiery passion, especially in Jackson. 61 does backtrack you slightly, but so does 55 if you look at a map.

That's the First Presbyterian Church in Port Gibson. It is a beautiful church. Church Street is really what makes that town nice. MDOT is strongly considering bypassing that town with a new US61 route. The citizens of Port Gibson are seriously fighting it. I for one would love a bypass because I have no business in Port Gibson. I'm usually passing through to Vicksburg and other points. But I can see how it would seriously damage the tourism aspect of that town. Lorman still has the old general store that I remember stopping at all the time as a kid, but it's been converted into a southern restaurant now (nothing fancy). The new four-lane basically bypassed the store front.

I-55 is a horrible road to drive on. There is also MS 27 that comes out of Vicksburg southeast towards Monticello and then you could use US 84 to get to US 49 north of Hattiesburg. This would bypass Jackson then. I-20 is in pretty poor shape within Jackson not to mention driving near The Stack (I-20/55/US49) can be tricky sometimes with all the other drivers weeving across lanes and such.
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Old 01-01-2009, 12:18 PM
 
Location: South Dakota
1,961 posts, read 4,482,590 times
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I would consider some rural routes. I can vaguely rememer the stack area of Jackson, but will have to look at some of the traffic cameras and use the google map where I can zoom in on the area to see what would be in store if I happen to go through Jackson or any other area where there are complex interchanges. I have driven in Denver (and in the moustrap area), KC, Memphis, Indianapolis, Omaha, and Minneapolis/St. Paul, so driving in Jackson may be challenging but not impossible.

With taking 55, I do not plan on taking it when going to or coming from Colorado but may take it between Jackson and Memphis when going to or from South Dakota. I have driven on it for a short stretch between the motel in Southhaven and going through Memphis about five years ago and did not have any major problems.

The question that I have is when I get off in Rayville, LA and go through Winnsboro and down to Nathez, MS, if that is a route that is easygoing and safe (if I have a little time to spare) or consider a different route. I was thinking of that route since it goes at somewhat of daigonal direction to Natchez where it hooks up to US 98 and take most of that route over to US 41 on down to Gulfport/Biloxi.
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