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Old 06-15-2009, 06:51 PM
Location: 60 miles east of Memphis, 20 miles north of Mississippi
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All I want to do is travel extensively in the lower 48 without hitting the interstates unless I just have to. Any pre-determined routes or suggested tours? Any personal trips you can speak of first hand? I am in the Memphis area and will have to eat this elephant in small bites but I would like to hear about your back road/cross country tours.

Keep the shiny side up,
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Old 06-15-2009, 07:04 PM
Location: rain city
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I try to avoid interstates whenever possible. Usually there is a state highway nearby and parallel to the interstate. Much more pleasant. In most places state highways are in good condition and there are a lot of places to stop and smell the roses.

I hate fighting 18 wheelers roaring up on my bumper, especially in the dark and the rain. I'm just about never in that big of a hurry that I need to do 75 MPH only stopping for gas at an interstate off ramp every 5 or 6 hours. That's just a miserable way to travel.

Lots to see in this country if you stay off the interstates.
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Old 06-15-2009, 07:09 PM
Location: Eastern Washington
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Are you driving a classic MG T series by chance? Offhand I'd recommend the Nachez Trace, although, LOOK OUT FOR DEER particularly morning and evening. HWY 61 also is a good route.

Although, remember the big black square on the Mississippi driver's license test - the question is, "What is this"? The answer is: "It's the rear end of a broken down Mississippi log truck at night.".
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Old 06-15-2009, 07:23 PM
Location: NC/SC Border Patrol
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The Blue Ridge Parkway would be the first in my book.

We traveled from Union County, N. C. to Fairfield Bay, Arkansas, on an Easter weekend and went on Highway 74 to Highway 64 and did another highway that went directly to the Fairfield Bay area after we passed over the Mississippi River in Memphis. I noticed that the 64 highway just kept going West even beyond where we left it. I believe highway 64 also goes to Manteo near the coast of North Carolina. From Murphy to Manteo would be an interesting trip. Be sure to visit the North Carolina Zoo. "The zoo with happy animals." Really if they don't want to see you that day, you won't see them because they have hiding places. I like that.

Just choose where you want to go and google the most direct route rather than the fastest route and you will find a lot of side roads. If that is not enough off the beaten path, google the walking trip. I love to do that sometimes. LOL

One of the most interesting trips we did is going up to the Southern tip of Illinois and crossing the Mississippi on a really OLD bridge and doing the back roads across Missouri to Branson. Sorry I cannot remember the road numbers, but that bridge when the Mississippi was flooding was a really memorable experience. It would have been interesting if the Mississippi had not been flooding.

A lot of state maps will mark the scenic routes.

BTW you live in a pretty area. I really enjoy so many state parks in Tennessee. We have been to a lot of them.

Last edited by NCN; 06-15-2009 at 07:38 PM..
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Old 06-15-2009, 07:37 PM
11,256 posts, read 43,421,010 times
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It's very easy to avoid the interstate highway system, if you choose to do so.

We've gone from the West Coast all the way to Eastern Ohio, all up and down the West Coast, and through most of the USA West of the Mississippi River entirely on the old "US Highway" system of roads.

Most of these are 55 mph top speed limit, but you'll have a lot of lower speed limits (and local speed "traps") as you travel through the many small towns on your route.

We've done this in search of finding our own little backwater restaurants and places of interest. For the most part, we haven't found too many classic little diners or restaurants worth the effort. It would seem that most of the USA is now franchise burgers or pizza joints, if some of the small towns have any restaurants at all. We have found some great places to camp, or some older "mom & pop" motel courts that were reasonably priced, clean, and comfortable. Note that I didn't say "in good repair", as some were very worn out, with worn fixtures, furnishings, and furniture ... but at least they were clean and cheap. Some weren't ....

I think you can use MapQuest or similar routing services to give you travel routes that don't use interstates.
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Old 06-15-2009, 07:52 PM
Location: Orlando, Florida
43,858 posts, read 44,614,349 times
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The only way to really get the feel of any town/city is by driving off the beaten path. The trip goes slower....but it's always so interesting. Just a good map should work perfectly.
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Old 06-15-2009, 07:57 PM
Location: Eastern Washington
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I think you can find some books on "backroad adventures", particularly at Whitehorse Press. Sunsprit's right, if you just drive along the backroads, you don't find that many really interesting places to eat or stay at random. In Eastern Washington, I could direct you to a few, but it would take a while to find them at random - it took me a while anyway.

When I lived in Iowa, it seemed that every small town had an interesting bar, and the bar had food on offer (I think they called them "taverns"). Likewise around Raleigh, NC, found a lot of amazingly good restaurants out in the sticks. But these adventures were 20 years ago, I don't know if these places are still there.
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Old 06-16-2009, 01:35 AM
Location: Aloverton
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Check out Blue Highways by William Least Heat-Moon. He did that kind of a trip.
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Old 06-16-2009, 06:04 AM
Location: Wichita Falls, TX
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Try to take in some or all of old Route 66. A lot of the states along the route are realizing the importance of the road and have stared to put up signage to help you follow the old road. I'm using info from several sites and building the route in Google Earth with alternate routes and points of interest along the way.

Check out www.histric66.com. They have a turn-by-turn description of the route broken down by state.
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Old 06-16-2009, 01:45 PM
Location: New Jersey
4,085 posts, read 7,671,900 times
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In NJ, I recommend sticking to the interstates and the parkway and turnpike. The non-interstate highways are very slow and have lights on them for much of the way. But, if you still want non-interstates, Rt. 1 and Rt. 9 (they are the same in North Jersey near NYC but split up) are good ones. Rt. 1 will take you from NYC to Philly, pretty much, and is probably the most interesting. Again, there are lots of lights, but NJ isn't that big a state so you'll move along OK, just avoid rush hours.

Good luck, have fun!
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