Arkansas, Biloxi, Byways of America, byways of East Texas, camping, camping in rest areas, Cedar Key, Champaign, Chicago, Cruise America, East Texas, Hot Springs, KOA, Marshall, Martinsburg, RV road trip, Sparta, Tennessee, Tourism, Travel, West Virginia
Summary of our 17 Day RV Trip through 16 States
At long last I’ve finished writing about each of our days on the road and our explorations along the way. The one thing I’ve learned about the trip is that travel through the back roads of America can be quite enjoyable and there is something special around each corner.
Our RV (from Cruise America) we picked up in Chicago – it was brand new – and we were to deliver it to Tampa and it only cost us $19 per day due to the relocation of the vehicle. It included 200 miles per day without additional charge. It was a 31 foot class C motor home that served us well and was fully self-contained.
Some of the places we visited were complete surprises, others were delightful as expected. There is nothing I would have changed – since I couldn’t change the weather. All in all – we saw a lot – took a lot of photographs – ate and drank quite a bit – and had a ton of fun. It was all somewhat spontaneous and random based on what we’ve read and seen about possible routes and towns. Part of the fun is being in spontaneous discovery mode.
Day 1: Tampa to Southern Illinois via Macon, Georgia and Nashville, Tennessee – here we spent the night in Metropolis at a dog-friendly motel that was off the highway – and we slept in our clothes as it wasn’t exactly the Ritz.
Day 2: Southern Illinois to Franklin Park via Champaign to pick up the RV, then south to Indianapolis. Here we enjoyed a fabulous stroll around downtown Chapaign and an overnight in Indianapolis.
Day 3: Indianapolis to Western Maryland via the National Road in Indiana. This was a great drive and we eventually hit the interstate system to try to beat a cold front and snow. We did pretty well until the mountains in western Maryland where we spent the night in snow in a rest area.
Day 4: Family time in Frederick, Maryland. This was our Thanksgiving dinner!
Day 5: Frederick, Maryland to Virginia via Martinsburg, WV and Roanoke, VA. We enjoyed a great breakfast in downtown Martinsburg and a drink in Roanoke before settling in for the night in a rest area.
Day 6: Roanoke to Crossville, TN via Jonesborough, TN. We spend the night at a KOA in Crossville after a great dinner at a Mexican restaurant there and prior to that an incredible afternoon in historic Jonesborough.
Day 7: Crossville, TN to Decaturville, TN via Linden, Hohenwald, Hampshire and Sparta. A wonderful drive around the Tennessee countryside with small towns and art.
Day 8: Decaturville, TN to Little Rock, Arkansas via Parsons, Lexington, Jackson, and Memphis, TN. More countryside in Tennessee and a fun urban experience in downtown Little Rock was a perfect way to cap off the day.
Day 9: Little Rock, AR to Atlanta, TX via Hot Springs and Texarkana. So I could sing the song “Cotton Fields” and drive through Texarkana after an incredible trip to Hot Springs – one of the highlights of the trip for sure was Hot Springs.
Day 11: Onalaska, TX to Brookeland, TX to via Livingston, Woodville and Jasper. More great fun travelling around the East Texas byways and another nice night at another KOA.
Day 12: Brookeland, TX to Natchez, Mississippi via Leesville and Alexandria, Louisiana. Downtown Natchez was right there but we just relaxed after a day of driving and a fun lunch at a fabulous greasy spoon in downtown Alexandria.
Day 13: Natchez, Mississippi to New Orleans via Gloster, Clinton and Greensburg, LA. New Orleans – what more to say – steps from the French Quarter and still camping in our RV. What fun!
Day 14: New Orleans, LA to Gulfport, MS. A beautiful ride along the Mississippi Gulf Coast and a night at an RV park directly across from the Gulf of Mexico. Just wonderful!
Day 15: Gulfport, MS to Lake Talquin, FL via Biloxi and Pascagoula, MS, Mobile, AL and Blountsown, FL. Lunch in downtown Mobile, Alabama was incredible and a nice drive through Florida Panhandle countryside and a sunset over Lake Talquin was priceless.
Day 16: Lake Talquin, FL to Cedar Key, FL via Perry, FL. Starting the trip south to home with a stop in magical Cedar Key was really a lot of fun with a wonderful trip down US 19 from Perry to Cross City.
Day 17: Home to St. Petersburg via Crystal River and Hudson, FL. And home we finally reach after an incredibly enriching and fun 17 days on the road!