Thursday, November 17, 2011

Great Plains + Mississippi & Florida, too

Hi Jamie!

First of all I'd like to thank you for such an insightful and useful website. I will be sure to order your book. Just a quick question. Both myself and my girlfriend are looking to travel down US-83 or 'The Road to Nowhere' next July. Once we arrive in Texas we want to carry on through Louisiana, Mississippi etc before entering Florida and travelling to Orlando where we have friends who live there.

We want to do this in approx. 5 weeks. Am I underestimating the scale of the trip? Would it be better to end the journey in Texas in order to fully enjoy the trip without rushing?

Hope you can help!

Ross from Essex, England


Hey Ross --

Thanks for writing in to Road Trip USA -- and thanks for your nice words.

I'm glad to hear you're going to be hitting the Road to Nowhere -- it's a fascinating tour. And I think you've got plenty of time to enjoy yourselves --- more than enough time to get to know New Orleans (and Memphis? and Austin?? and all the other fascinating US places you'll be passing thru... ) You wouldn't want to miss these, for sure, and 5 weeks is a very generous amount of time; I think 10 days is enough to do the US83, top to tail, at a pretty leisurely pace.

(And just to let you know -- I usually end my Road to Nowhere tours in the Hill Country around San Antonio and Austin, because I have found the lower Rio Grande Valley to be a bit ugly and depressing -- not to mention dangerous, with all the cross-border crime of recent years...) The rest of the "Road to Nowhere" is so wide open and sparse, while this section is busy and sprawling (and US-83 turns from being a calm two-lane stroll into an 8-lane freeway free-for-all ...)

Another thing: be aware that summer is the start of hurricane season -- a few years ago (in 2005, I think) I got caught in Hurricane Dennis, which made travel just about impossible. So watch the weather reports, and take heed. Fortunately, Hurricanes (in contrast to tornados!) usually give days if not a whole week of advance warning, so you can adjust your plans if one is brewing next July. Which I'm sure it won't be....


So, I hope you have a great trip -- I suspect you'll love the wide-open spaces of the Great Plains (and if you want a good read before you go, look for the book "Great Plains" by Ian Frazier, republished by Granta -- it's wonderful!... )

Happy Trails,

Jamie Jensen
Road Trip USA


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