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Old 01-14-2022, 08:12 AM   #1
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Santa Fe toward Mobile AL

Heading west along coast from Florida to AZ. Return trip will be in early April from Santa Fe NM towards Mobile AL. I want to bypass large cities (Dallas), prefer a good state hwy to interstate (but do the Interstates when best option), and don't mind going out of straightest route (~100 miles) to get to good state park or scenery. I see 2 general options. Looking for suggestions as we have never been through Texas or Arkansas.

Santa Fe NM towards Mobile AL Option 1 Easterly (north of Dallas):
Santa Fe to Amarillo (I40), to Wichita Falls (281/82), Eisinhower SP, to Texarcana, Shreeveport LA , Jackson MS.

Santa Fe NM towards Mobile AL Options 2 South east (south of Dallas):
Santa Fe to Lubbock (84), Abilene, Waco to central/southern LA. (options Angelina NF, Alexandria LA (inland), Beaumont TX (coastal but same route as going out).

Suggestions appreciated.
Bill,
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Old 01-15-2022, 10:11 AM   #2
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If you decide on the southern route, I can heartily recommend: Abilene State Park, Mother Neff SP and Village Creek SP.

Abilene SP is outside Buffalo Gap, a charming small village with several historic buildings. Nearby is the world-famous Perini steak house, located on the Perini Ranch. Abilene is known as "Story City" and is well worth exploring. The Zoo is worth a stop.

Mother Neff is outside Waco, is small but offers full hookups. If you are a Magnolia Market fan, it, along with a throng of tourists is present. Among the many things to do in Waco, there the dinosaur dig, well worth the visit.

Also nearby is Temple/Belton, with a very good railroad museum.

Village Creek SP is north of Beaumont and is a small, nice SP. The Beaumont area, also known as the Golden Triangle offers several places to visit. To the north of Village Creek is the Big thicket, worth visiting.
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Old 01-15-2022, 02:15 PM   #3
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We have made similar trips many times, as we used to live in Mobile and still have lots of family in the Mobile and southern Louisiana area. And yes, it is very worthwhile avoiding Dallas, which last year was even worse than usual with construction projects. Depending on which direction you go, there are some very nice campgrounds east of Dallas and north of I-40, including Tyler State Park and campgrounds along Lake of the Pines. If you end up cutting through Louisiana, I-49 from Shreveport through Alexandria is mostly rural and in pretty good shape, but I-10 west of Baton Rouge is terrible and under construction. I would definitely suggest cutting off on Hwy 190 from Opelousas to just west of the Mississippi River if you are heading that way. I-12 isn't bad from Baton Rouge to link up with I-10 around the Mississippi line, although again Hwy 190 is a non-interstate alternative. Fontainebleau State Park on the north shore of Lake Ponchartrain is nice if you need a stop in that area. If you end up going through Jackson, MS, and cutting down to Mobile, highways 49 and 98 are mostly ok. Hwy 98 used to be known as "bloody 98" because of frequent crashes, but has been improved somewhat over the years. It still would be better in daytime than at night.
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Old 01-15-2022, 04:04 PM   #4
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Do not take I-20 through Shreveport as it will destroy your trailer. Worse piece of road in the US.
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Old 01-15-2022, 07:22 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mojo View Post
Do not take I-20 through Shreveport as it will destroy your trailer. Worse piece of road in the US.
Took a chunk of asphalt on the hood in Shreveport. Thought it was coming through the windshield but the windshield held albeit with a massive crack. No popped rivets but I dont no why. Should have been.

Forget about I-10 west of Houston. Sealy to Brookshire is white-knuckle construction driving without the AS. Narrow lanes that swing to the opposite side of the bridge abutments. Beaumont to Lake Charles (IIRC) is only marginally better.

Id camp at Palo Dura Canyon south of Amarillo for sure. Then drive north of DFW. Lake of the Pines is nice but the campsites can be small. There are more than a few great campsites though. Southern Arkansas has some good state parks. Watch the bald eagles at Canes Creek SP near Star City AR. Then into southern Tennessee. Chickasaw is a nice SP but out of the way for your trip. Saw plenty of Airstreams there this fall. Some full hookups. Good hiking. Tishomingo SP in MS is considered the best in MS but we were underwhelmed. It needs some TLC.
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Old 01-16-2022, 07:25 AM   #6
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Thanks All and forgot to ask about the weather

All replies were great - the kind of info I was looking for.
I forgot to mention that along with my considerations for best route, I am REALLY concerned about traveling in the tornado belt in April.
By my map - the northern route around Dallas is the straightest, but sends me to northern Texas (near Oklahoma boarder) most of the way.
I would think that the southern route is less "bad storm" prone, but not sure if that's true. I've looked at historical weather data - the closer to the coast the better I think.
That being said, I will go the "best" route if the difference in weather concerns is not that great. "Best" being like your responses - best roads and most things to see, and best state parks to camp in.
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Old 01-16-2022, 10:52 AM   #7
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I-10 west of Baton Rouge

"I-49 from Shreveport through Alexandria is mostly rural and in pretty good shape, but I-10 west of Baton Rouge is terrible and under construction. I would definitely suggest cutting off on Hwy 190 from Opelousas to just west of the Mississippi River if you are heading that way."

Due to the warning about I-10 west of Baton Rouge, I am planning on re-routing my trip out. I had one night booked at private CG half way between Baton Rouge and Beaumont just off I-10. Next stop is north west to Lake Livingston SP. Given your warning I can get to Lake Livingston by jumping on 190 in Baton Rouge (bypassing I10) and hook up to I49 north. change my one night to the Alexandria area and head west on hwy 28/8/63/190 (all same road). Indian Creek Rec Area south of Alexandria has good rating and is one option. Does this route sound better than I-10?
THX!
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Old 01-16-2022, 01:53 PM   #8
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IS I-20 Shreveport to Jackson MS OK?

Quote:
Originally Posted by mojo View Post
Do not take I-20 through Shreveport as it will destroy your trailer. Worse piece of road in the US.
If I come down I49 from south to Shreveport, I can take I-220 to bypass I-20 in the city. I-220 connects to I20 in Red Chute east of Shreveport. Is I-20 OK from there to Jackson MS?

If this section of I-20 is bad the only alternative I see is to continue south on I-49 (which by another post is supposed to be good), and head east on #190 to Baton Rouge (after which will be a repeat of my going west route). OR I could head east on a rural state road like #28 to Hattiesburg to #98 to Mobile.
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Old 01-17-2022, 09:01 PM   #9
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[QUOTE=WorkBGone;2569971 Is I-20 OK from there to Jackson MS?
[/QUOTE]

It's been nine-ish months since I took that route between Shreveport and Jackson. I don't remember it being too bad except through Monroe. But last pass through Shreveport had improved from earlier. The repairs seemed to be pot-hole patches so are likely to deteriorate quickly.

US-84 through Texas is a pretty decent highway. Does anyone have experience taking it through LA and MS? It becomes 98 for a while which you would stay on if heading to Mobile.
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Old 01-18-2022, 12:58 PM   #10
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Went through Shreveport last month on I-20 and thought I was on a bucking bronco. Even slowed down to 45mph and it was still bad. Table became disconnected and on floor, everything in disarray including all dishes in cabinets.


No it's worse than potholes. Try the bypass, maybe it's better.
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