The Scenic Route

Each time I've driven to my parents' home, I have gone the shortest route from TX - AR - TN.  One of the things I'd really like to do is see all 50 states.  Having never seen Lousiana or Mississippi, there is a route that takes us from TN-GA-AL-MS-LA-TX and, according to Google Maps, only adds an hour and a half.  Mind you, they don't include stops along the way for lunch or rest stops.

My dad thought I was a little crazy to go the scenic route as it would just be longer.  We went over the trek before I headed out the next morning and it looked like it'd be good.  Plus there wasn't any rain forecasted in any of the states so that would be a plus.  Only two construction areas noted in the map as well.

The last time I drove home with the girls we stopped after about 7 hours in Little Rock, AR, and the next morning we spent time at Children's museum before driving the remaining 5 hours.  I chose to drive a longer route from TN to Shreveport, LA in one day and then drive home the next day.  It was nice to drive far and only have a 3 hour drive the final day.

The girls were troopers and travel amazingly well!  In our car, there are two USB ports in the back seat so this maximized the time that they could use iPads/Nintendo Switch.  They also chose to just sing to music or to look around at times too.  Neither of them slept the entire drive either day.

Some highlights:
1) We cheered each time we passed the "Welcome to..." State signs.  There were five of them and it was fun. We got out in each state to eat or use a rest stop - not to say we'd been there, but because it was perfect timing each time.  The views were beautiful throughout the states until we reached TX past Longview and Tyler.  It became flat, city-like and just okay.  Though I absolutely love the city of Dallas and once we reached closer to home, it really felt like home.

2) We ate at Cracker Barrel and a lovely lady asked us where we were from.  Possibly noticed our lack of southern accent (comparatively).  We shared we were from Texas.  She said "Well, I hope you've found the people of Alabama to be hospitable."  They truly had been.

3)  Listened to the Chvrches album - a lot.  Riley's new favorite group.

4)  Passing over the Mississippi River was so neat!  I loved the height of the bridge so you could see out onto both sides.  It was beautiful.

5)  So much for lack of construction - there was seemingly non-stop construction!  Though many of the barrels and workers were not out, there was work for hundreds of miles and a few times where we were dead stopped in the road.  In Mississippi, we were at a stand still for a few minutes and I noticed lots of cars leaving the nearby exit ramp.  I asked the girls if they trusted me and they said they did.  I got off the exit ramp and glanced at the navigation map on my dashboard.  Figured there had to be some streets that went SW so I chose to turn left and was rerouted for 1.6 miles through a small town.  It was not the safest looking area, but it worked.  Julia said that she had trusted me, but didn't really feel very safe driving through it.  I told her I understood and prayed it had been a smart move.  We ended up on the other side of the highway, past whatever accident or construction had held up the traffic, and continued on.  There was only one car when we reentered the highway so I knew that we had made the right choice.

6)  So much for no rain - we hit a large, dark rainstorm area for over an hour in Mississippi.  It was the kind of rain where you just pray you're still on the road and you simply follow the lights of the car in front of you because you can't see anything more than 5 ft from you and nothing on the sides of you.  I'm not a fan of driving in the rain like this and get nervous that I'll lose control.  The girls were completely silent the entire hour plus.  I think they knew I'd need to concentrate and it helped so much.  It felt great to get through it and was thankful.

7)  Maybe I need to actually spend more time in Shreveport, but I really didn't enjoy it.  The roads were horrible!  Lots of bumps, construction, and overall, just wasn't nice - except the huge casino buildings that were shiny and new-looking.  We ate dinner at iHop - or should I say iHob.  One of the waiters kept teasing the girls and while they found it silly, I found it unnerving and uncomfortable.  He'd point his fingers at his eyes and back at them, give bunny ears to the waitress, and showed them his tattoo on his leg.  The girls kept wanting the funny guy to come back and they kept looking for him.  At one point, Riley told Julia to call out to him and say "Don't take my soul!"  Instead Julia yells out "Take my soul!"  They both giggled.  At this point, we were the only people in the restaurant. Thankfully - but I was so glad to get out of there.

The scenic route was a nice trip and while I really enjoyed going a new way, I'll be sticking with the shorter route.  We drove 12 hours the first day including 3 stops and then drove just under 3 hours the second day.  It wasn't a bad drive at all - even with the detour and rain.  Glad to have experienced it!


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