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Hi, I posted this in the Texas forums, but got no responses at all in the last two days. I'm beginning to think that I might have had to post it here for some comments...
I just registered, and I'm hoping someone here might have done this drive before. I have searched so much on these forums for people's experiences, and either there's nothing out there, or I'm doing something wrong
I've made the drive from Columbus to Houston before. I went there doing OH-KY-TN-AR-TX (entering through Texarkana)and on the way back doing TX-OK-MO-IL-IN-OH. I was wondering if someone had any other suggestions. I love driving, and wouldn't mind doing another route with better scenery, or simply to go through different/more states, even if it means an extra couple hundred miles (not more than a couple though!). I know it might be a stupid question, but I'm a third year medical student at OSU, and my life revolves around studying - I really need this trip - however, I do have to do it in one stretch like last time, i.e. just bathroom breaks. There's a wedding on Sunday afternoon, and I can't leave OH before Saturday morning, and I have to be back in OH for my Tuesday morning classes. My last drive was also in one stretch - so I've definitely done the 25 hour drive in one day (one long day). I've been doing clinicals these days at school, so I am used to staying up for 2 days (or 3 if need be).
Again, I would appreciate any feedback (or even advice on road conditions).
If you're going to Houston, do the following (and I know this route well-I used to go to school in Rice; Cleveland is where I'm from). Take 71, to Louisville, then 65 to Nashville, then 40 to Memphis, then 55 South through Mississippi. Hit up 12, north of Lake Ponchitran in LA, run that over to I-10 all the way to Houston. When I do this trip, i set my cruise on 80 and let it roll. Takes me about 18:30 from Cleveland. Best of luck.
I've done this drive! Be prepared for a long haul regardless of route, and be careful of storms blowing trees into the highways & blocking traffic! The route to TX (thru Texarkana) that you have planned is great aside from the potential for the storms (though those are a sight in their own right). I didn't go through OK at all, but when I came back I drove Route 10 across LA to New Orleans which was SO gorgeous - all those swamps - and up through Alabama thru Nashville on Route 65 - not so much scenery in AL as LA, but there are woods (they had a ton of logging trucks out when we were driving, something else to keep an eye out for) and it's not TOO monotonous as I'd imagine Oklahoma would be (though I don't know, having never been there).
From Houston, I know that there is a faster way to get St. Louis then going through oklahoma, that roughly an hour out of your way. Take I-45 north to Dallas, get on I-30 east to Little Rock, then at Little Rock get on U.S. 67 into Missouri and then get on U.S. 60 east and drive east to I-55 North and take that to St. Louis and get on I-70. Just stay on I-70 the rest of the way unless you are trying to go to Cincinnati, in which case you should get on I-74 east at Indianapolis. 90% of the stretch of U.S. 67 in Arkansas north of Little Rock is freeway grade. Another option instead of getting on I-55 North is to just stay on U.S. 60 past 55...I believe that the stretch of U.S. 60 in Missouri east of I-55 shares the same freeway with Interstate 57 North. This actually is faster than I-55 because it takes you north and east while avoiding St. Louis. You could either get on I-64 east at Mount Vernon and drive to Louisville and pick up I-71 North there, or you could go further north and get on I-70 east at Effingham, get on I-74 east at Indianapolis if you want to go to Southern Ohio, or if you want to go to Toledo or Northwestern Ohio from there take I-69 north from Indianapolis to I-80/90. For Central Ohio, take I-70. For Northeastern Ohio, take I-70 east from Indy and either get on I-71 at Columbus or I-77 at Cambridge, depending on where you want to go. For Southeastern and Southwestern Ohio, it is better to get on I-64 east at Mount Vernon, Illinois. There is also the option of completely avoiding Illinois and Indiana all together and just staying on U.S. 60 and taking it into Kentucky. I believe that all of it is freeway grade during its run northeast to Louisville. Then you should pick up I-71 in Louisville. Many different ways to get to Ohio, all taking relatively the same amount of time. If you want to be insane and take as long as possible to get to anywhere in Northern Ohio, you could take either I-57 or I-55 north to Chicago and then get on I-80/I-90. The merging of these two interstates through Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio is likely the most heavily traveled stretch of any highway in the country.
I'll be doing a very similar trip - Akron, Ohio to Dallas - in a few weeks. We're planning on doing OH-IN-IL-MO-OK-TX on the way down and TX-AR-TN-KY-OH on the way back.
On the way down, we will be making an overnight stop at a hotel, probably somewhere between St. Louis and Tulsa. Any suggestions for good overnight places to stop? Also, suggestions on sites to see or a good place for the kids to run around that evening and/or the next morning are appreciated.
While we're not in a big hurry, we do want to drive pretty much straight through, but make a couple worthwhile stops for must-see things - like the St. Louis arch, scenic overlooks, & maybe a great place to eat.
We're traveling with children, so suggestions on child-friendly sites are appreciated.
Iím back! I came back on Monday evening, just in time for my classes for the next morning. Glad to see the thread is still alive
Proud American, unfortunately I didnít see your post until I got back; however, for what itís worth, not only do I really appreciate the feedback, but now that Iím reading your message again, I think Iím going to be printing it out and using it for my next trip which should be in a couple months or so.
Mally and whoever else is interested, I went to Houston using one route, and came back to Columbus using another, so I can pretty much guarantee you that what Iím about to tell you is as up to date as it can possibly get.
I did it the same way I did it last time, i.e. I went there via OH-KY-TN-AR-TX (entering through Texarkana) and on the way back I did TX-OK-MO-IL-IN-OH.
The way there was awesome for the most part. It took me a little less than 18 hours to get into Texarkana Ė unfortunately, thatís also exactly where the ďfunĒ part of my drive ended. The second I entered Texas, it started raining like crazy. At first I wasnít too worried since it was about fourish in the morning. I figured there werenít too many drivers out there, etc. After about an hour on 59 south, it started raining even harder, and I reached the construction area. The lanes werenít marked, the road was so unbelievably noisy, and I wasnít used to that kind of rain at all. On top of that I had been driving for almost 20 hours straight, and the last thing I needed was something I had to really focus on. One second youíre going 70 miles an hour Ė another second it goes down to 45. Cops were everywhere also Ė so you can rest assured that you definitely wonít be using your cruise control between the Arkansas-Texas border and Houston. It took me about 5 hours to get into Houston from the border. I was EXHAUSTED when I finally got into Sugar Land.
Now as for the way back, I had promised myself that I wasnít going to use that dam 59. So I only took it for a few miles out of Sugar Land, got to 45 north and took it straight to Dallas from there, and on to OK. It was about midnight by the time I reached the MO border, so there were barely any cars out there. I put the car on cruise control, and was basically in Columbus at around 10 a.m. It would have even taken me at least 1-2 hours less if it werenít for Indianapolis. 70 east bound (and west bound) is under some heavy construction. Thereís about 70 or so miles where you feel like youíre screwed. Youíre driving 50 or so miles an hour on a two lane highway that is surrounded by cement blocks. Thereís no emergency lane or anything like that. Thereís room for exactly two vehicles. Basically if you want to pass a truck, for those few seconds, youíve got both hands on the steering wheel scared ****less. You move one inch to the right, you crash into the truck. You move one inch to the left, you crash into the wall.
Other than Texarkana and Indianapolis, Iíd say the drive was awesome. Heads up on bathrooms though. Iím a guy and I donít need to sit down on a toilet seat. But there were some bathrooms out there that I even couldnít use, especially in MO. This wasnít a big issue for me because I was doing it in a straight shot and didnít really need good bathrooms. For other people who may be concerned about that, Iíd suggest either trying to make the majority of the drive in the daytime when you actually have options for bathrooms, or Iíd suggest using a few of the other posterís above advice for other routes.
Gas prices were very similar the whole way there and back (2.68-2.99 a gallon). It was about $350.00 in gas for the whole trip on my v6 engine.
I canít think of anything else. Feel free to PM me if you have any questions. Hope this post helps someone. Off to class I go. Thanks again everyone.
Taking a plane is out of the question of course (even if it means saving a lot of money).
If anyone has any ideas for scenic routes, crazy routes, middle of nowhere routes, I'm all ears, and would love to hear your thoughts.
Up until now, I haven't been through Florida when I go to Texas, so I'm hoping I can go south until I hit Florida (I guess somewhere around Pensacola, FL)and then take 10 all the way, trying to stay as close to the coast as I can. Still trying to figure out the details though.
- Will have about 40 hours for this trip. Won't have to sleep if I don't need to.
- Will not be using the same route back (because let's face it, that would be too boring)
- Oklahoma is out of the question. Way too boring. Unless I can find something really cool along the way to make up for it. Also, it seems that they don't believe in bathrooms.
- There seems to be this awesome road that travels above Lake Pontchartrain in LA that I would like to (somehow) incorporate in this trip (it connects highways 12 and 10)
- I'd like to get as close to the water as I can for as much part of the drive as I can, even if it means I have to stray off the highway for a bit
- I love long bridges, so I've been trying to find as many in my way as possible. All the ones I can find that will be on my way though are in Louisiana
Sure. Here's a general route taht may actually be too "boring" for you
First, take 23 down to Portsmouth. Nto terribly exciting, but efficient and easy.
Then, take 52 along the river to Indiana. You may want to cross the river into KY at times, and see the Ripley House, Coney Island, etc. on the Ohio side of the river from the car window. Also, this is probably one of the best and most exciting routes through Cincinnati.
Then, hit I-275, and take I-74 out to Greensburg, not too far off. Hop on 46 and drive to Columbus, Indiana. Hopefully you'll pass through in Daylight hours, because the city's architecture is amazing, and the town itself is beautiful and comsopolitan.
Continuing on 46, you'll drive through Brown County, Indiana's famed land of antiques. Truly a neat and quirky place. After passing through, you'll hit Bloomington, home of Indiana University (which has by far the most beautiful campus in the Big 10, if not the USA. Apologies to OSU ). If you can, grab a bite to eat here at one of the town's many restraunts.
Then, take IN 37 south to Paoli, and go west on US 150 to French Lick. If you like gambling, this is the place to do it: otherwise, take a little while and stroll the grounds and lobby of the beautiful West Baden Springs hotel, and maybe even do tours of the French Lick resort and surrounding town. It's really an interesting place.
After going here, take 150 back on out to Vicennes, and then continue on US 50 straight into St. Louis. Illinois people may want to enlighten you about interesting diversions for this part of the trip.
Obviously, St. Louis has a lot of "diversions", sites to see, and scenery in general. If you like grit, a trip down I-55 to I-57 to Cairo may be worthwile.
If you end up all the way down there, backtracking back to the I-55/57 junction and taking US 60 to Springfield, MO may be scenic and worthwile. Otherwise, taking I-44 out of St. Louis takes you near many interesting diversions, like lots of caves, forests, and small towns. This will also take you straight back to Springfield.
Once you reach Springfield, drive down to Branson, and of course, see a show or two. If you like theme parks, Silver Dollar City is right in town. After that, continue south on US 65 into Arkansas, the land of the Ozarks and Hot Springs.
In you attempt to dodge Oklahoma, visiting Fayetteville, home of the Wal-Mart HQ, might be fun to do, unless your attitude toward the company is the same as mine . If you go here, I-540 and I-40 will take you to Little Rock efficiently instead of driving US 65 all the way down to there.
Anyways, the next stop will be Little Rock, home of Bill Clinton, and other stuff, I'm sure . Continuing southwest on I-30 will put you near Hot Springs, which is probably worth a stop. After that, head on out to Texarkana, and the World's largest collective ego.....
In Texas, US 259 to US 59 is the most efficient way to reach Houston. DFW is nearby if you wish to sightsee or visit, and going there will put you onto the interstate. I kinda doubt Shreveport, LA is too exciting, but may be a worthwile side trip from Texarkana if you wish.
Good Luckk with your trip!!!!!
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