8 day Road Trip! Spokane to New Orleans

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Oct 21st, 2017, 09:57 AM
  #1
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8 day Road Trip! Spokane to New Orleans

So we are driving down to New Orleans, and unfortunately due to not-the-greatest scheduling we will only have 8 days to drive from point A to point B. (no need to point out that this is not long enough to enjoy places, not long enough to see a lot and we should take more days, we know this but we can not change this, so 8 days it is)
Would love some suggestions on places to stop at on the way. By stop at I mean places we could spend the night, places we should check out and places we should spend a bit of time in.
We are not huge fans of big cities, love to check out landscapes and odd attractions.
We would prefer to keep driving below 8 hours a day but we understand that w may have to have a longer day than wanted here and there.

We would like to head over towards Mount Rushmore, then aim for New Orleans.

Anyways I know it is a little general, and may not seem enough information to give me some suggestions, but I am hoping to mix and mingle peoples suggestions together and create a road trip for us.



so huge thanks in advance for the suggestions as well as the non -judgement over the short length of time we have to make the roadtrip
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Oct 21st, 2017, 11:11 AM
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We will be traveling end of January
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Oct 21st, 2017, 12:15 PM
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I don't know. In late January, so much depends on weather. What I would do personally is just focus on the drive. Get as far as you can each day. If things are going well, you can always find stuff to do. Are you from Spokane? Comfortable driving in icy or snowy conditions?

From your other thread- you're going to Mardi gras. Any reason why you're not flying? It might make more sense money and time wise to fly to NOLA, rent a car, and use that week to tour the south instead.
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Oct 21st, 2017, 01:08 PM
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we aren't flying because we will be doing some traveling around USA before we head home. we understand that lots depends on the weather. we are trying to get as many ideas as possible before making definite decisions. we will be driving and if we have time we will be doing other stuff. but we are focusing on the drive, just nice to have a few things to break up the drive. if possible
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Oct 21st, 2017, 06:51 PM
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Sorry, but you really cannot preplan that drive at that time of year. As marvelousmouse says, it will be a matter of how far you can can get each day and where the weather will 'let' you go.
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Oct 21st, 2017, 10:29 PM
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Consider even that your route may completely change one week out. I lived northern Idaho for a decade, have family all over the region. January is a nasty time to be on the road if you have a firm date you need to be somewhere. Can't count on the shortest route being the fastest, you might need to take a whole different route based on the weather report and then you'd miss Rushmore entirely.

I mean, if you have to do it, you have to do it. But if you're flying into Spokane specifically for the drive, then my advice would be don't. If you do have to do it, I'd plan on the southern route- Utah, NM, Texas.

Where do you go after NOLA? Where/when to do you fly home from? Where are you from and how much winter driving experience have you had? Will your vehicle have winter tires or 4WD?

Check winter hours of anything you want to see, since you appear to be more into nature or roadside attractions. Some things have limited hours at that time of year, and you'll want to maximize your driving in the daylight.
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Oct 22nd, 2017, 12:55 AM
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Vino_lover,

Are you still going to the Stampede? Are you still traveling from Florida to Maine? Is the trip from Spokane to NO a new idea or an add on before the next segment of the trip?

IMHO, if you post where you are from, the total amount of time you have, any flights you already have booked, and your general itinerary, you will get much better overall advice and your trip can be a lot better.

It is not the amount of time you have, but how it is spent. Snowy landscapes can be really beautiful and roads may be clear. During or right after a snow, they may not and that may slow you down. If there is no snow, things will look pretty barren. Try to drive only during the day.

It might be longer mile wise, but as someone else said, a Southern route might be easier in winter. However, it looks as if you want to go through SD. I have not driven west of SD, so can't speak for that, but if you do go through SD, a lot of your trip after that will be through the mid-West and South. Of course, there are cities and towns, but also miles of roads with really nothing. Small towns may be closed up at night, especially in winter, with only a few gas stations open.

If you live where winter weather can be extreme, then my apologies for this extra advice. I am not meaning to be an alarmist. I grew up in the upper mid-West. Generally, everything will go just fine, but better to be prepared and not need things, than to need them and not have them. At that time of year, weather is so unpredictable and an accident ahead of you or a storm can wreak havoc on your plans. So, if you go ahead with driving this route:

Besides antifreeze, be sure you have additive in the gas tank to prevent the gas line freezing. It happened to us once - a very, very bad experience. Make sure the liquid in the windshield washer tank is the antifreeze type. You don't want icy windshields or a cracked one. Yep, that also happened - cracked windshield.

Have super warm clothes, boots, etc. extra food, snacks, water, a couple of blankets, and flashlights. Keep cell phones charged. Keep gas tank filled.

Have the kind of insurance that you will get roadside help in case of a dead battery or flat tire. Once, the blade of a snow plow broke off and flew into our car, cutting a front tire, and we have got up an a cold morning to find the battery dead.

I enjoy a little winter travel, as long as it is pretty snow and ice covered trees, but if it is actually snowing or roads get bad, not fun at all then, and not pleasant when you have to get out of the car for stops.
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Oct 22nd, 2017, 02:57 AM
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If ya gotta go to NO via SD in January:

Day 1 Spokane to Billings, MT
Day 2 Billings to Rapid City, SD
Day 3 Rapid City to Colorado Springs
Day 4 Colorado Springs to Wichita Falls, TX
Day 5 Witchita Falls to New Orleans

That gives you three days en route for

(1) waiting out weather
(2) sightseeing
(3) taking a day off to relax

I assume that since you live in Spokane you are not put off by flat, brown country, but you should see some spectacular snowy mountains on the way.

Everything above about weather applies.
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Oct 22nd, 2017, 03:11 AM
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Another route

Day 1 Spokane to Pocatello
Day 2 Pocatello to Kayenta, AZ via Monument Valley
Day 3 Kayenta to El Paso
Day 4 El Paso to San Antonio
Day 5 San Antonio to New Orleans

No SD but still three days to play or wait out weather.
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Oct 22nd, 2017, 05:53 AM
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>>I assume that since you live in Spokane <<

Nope -- from one of the several other threads the OP is a visitor from overseas and this is part of a huge trip around North America.
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Oct 22nd, 2017, 05:57 AM
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The Amtrak plan: Take the Empire Builder east. It leaves Spokane about 1:20AM every morning. The train is often late getting into Chicago so plan on spending about 20 hours in Chicago.
The City of New Orleans leaves Chicago at 8:05PM every night. You might want to spend 24 hours in Memphis before continuing on to New Orleans.
The advantage to Amtrak is that you keep moving toward your destination while you are sleeping. It beats waking up at a motel and finding a foot of snow has fallen during the night.
If you like Amtrak at this point, you can take the Sunset Limited west (3 days/week) from New Orleans through San Antonio and Albuquerque on the way to Los Angeles.
If you are returning to Spokane, the Coast Starlight goes from Los Angeles to Portland and the Empire Builder will get you back to Spokane in the early AM. The two branches of the EB join in Spokane between midnight and 1:20AM.
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Oct 22nd, 2017, 11:07 AM
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From earlier posts, it seems the OP plans also to drive from Florida to Maine after NOLA. Maybe they will return and clarify.
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Oct 22nd, 2017, 11:41 AM
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>>Maybe they will return and clarify.<< hope so -- because what I am able to piece together seems awfully unwieldy . . .
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Oct 24th, 2017, 01:26 PM
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Once you get to New Orleans be sure you check out Frenchman Street for some ridiculously good live music. Don't get stuck on Bourbon!
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