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Old 01-31-2021, 04:51 PM   #1
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Great River Road

We are thinking about traveling the Mississippi River Road from New Orleans all the way to the headwaters in Minnesota during the month of May. Our concerns have to do with driving a 40 ft motorhome and camping along the way. Are the roads adequate for the motorhome? Will there be available camping locations along the way? We are thinking it will be a slow and leisurely trip for us driving 75-100 miles daily on the average. Anyone have ideas or suggestions?
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Old 01-31-2021, 05:17 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by jayhawk117 View Post
We are thinking about traveling the Mississippi River Road from New Orleans all the way to the headwaters in Minnesota during the month of May. Our concerns have to do with driving a 40 ft motorhome and camping along the way. Are the roads adequate for the motorhome? Will there be available camping locations along the way? We are thinking it will be a slow and leisurely trip for us driving 75-100 miles daily on the average. Anyone have ideas or suggestions?
We have stayed at Tom Sawyer RV Park outside of Memphis, in Arkansas. It is a nice park and you can sit on the benches to watch the barges/tugs going up/down the river.
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Old 01-31-2021, 05:27 PM   #3
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We stayed at Ameristar Casino in Vicksburg, MS about a year ago. It is right beside the Mississippi River, but not within view.

In September we stayed in Fort Massac State Park in Metropolis, IL. It is on the Ohio River, probably 30-40 miles upriver from the Mississippi.

Hope this helps.

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Old 01-31-2021, 05:41 PM   #4
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In the Tennessee/Kentucky/ Illinois I think the east side of the river has more to see. I've driven semi wide loads down there and there are a lot of civil war sights to see there. The Mississippi was a big travel corridor during the war.
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Old 01-31-2021, 05:47 PM   #5
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There are tours the go that way, so, I am sure you will find the road good and plenty of campgrounds. There are a lot of state parks along the river. It is a very nice trip.
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Old 01-31-2021, 07:25 PM   #6
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I think it will take some planning as to which side of the river to travel between bridges. But what I have seen there is a lot of 2 lane roads.

We have been looking at about the same trip in the fall. But starting in Minnesota and ending in Naches.

I would love to hear about your trip. If you could post an update it would be appreciated, thank you.
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Old 01-31-2021, 10:12 PM   #7
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We travel the Avenue of the Saints yearly, very nice set of roads between St Paul and St Louis. I canít speak to following the river further south from St. Louis but the mostly 4 lane divided highway from SL to central Iowa are very nice to travel. We tend to stay at Walmarts when on the road and there are plenty, see the AllStays App and likely plenty of CGs.
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Old 02-01-2021, 12:37 AM   #8
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This website may help you some, if you haven't already seen it.

https://experiencemississippiriver.c...ve-in-america/

If you can work it in, consider crossing the river on one of the two ferrys that still operate on the river.

Dorena - Hickman Ferry

https://stegenmodocferry.com/

I have driven bits and pieces of the road, and to me, one of the most scenic sections is the drive up Wisconsin highway 35 from Prairie du Chien Wisconsin to LaCrosse Wisconsin.

Charles
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Old 02-01-2021, 08:46 AM   #9
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The roads up here in Illinois/Iowa/Wi/Mn will be no issue for your rig. Beautiful, wide roads. There are ample casinos and campgrounds to overnight at.

Two things I would strongly recommend:
https://www.nationaleaglecenter.org/
https://www.mmam.org/
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Old 02-02-2021, 02:14 PM   #10
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Thanks for your info. I'm getting the GRR news and they have a lot of good info. Probably won't do the ferry since we've been on ones in Texas which are free.
Quote:
Originally Posted by CharlesinGA View Post
This website may help you some, if you haven't already seen it.

https://experiencemississippiriver.c...ve-in-america/

If you can work it in, consider crossing the river on one of the two ferrys that still operate on the river.

Dorena - Hickman Ferry

https://stegenmodocferry.com/

I have driven bits and pieces of the road, and to me, one of the most scenic sections is the drive up Wisconsin highway 35 from Prairie du Chien Wisconsin to LaCrosse Wisconsin.

Charles
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Old 02-02-2021, 03:04 PM   #11
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We have driven from Lake Itasca south to Cairo, Illinois, and think this is the most scenic part. Things get pretty flat further South but driving the entire length sounds like a great adventure. Allstays should be useful to find campgrounds nearby, if not on the actual road.

My memory is of some 2 lane roads with short hilly sections, but we drove several times in a shorter Class A motorhome towing a car trailer.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jayhawk117 View Post
We are thinking about traveling the Mississippi River Road from New Orleans all the way to the headwaters in Minnesota during the month of May. Our concerns have to do with driving a 40 ft motorhome and camping along the way. Are the roads adequate for the motorhome? Will there be available camping locations along the way? We are thinking it will be a slow and leisurely trip for us driving 75-100 miles daily on the average. Anyone have ideas or suggestions?
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Old 02-02-2021, 04:55 PM   #12
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This youtuber has a series on the Great River Road from when he drove it 2 years ago:


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Old 02-02-2021, 11:57 PM   #13
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This youtuber has a series on the Great River Road from when he drove it 2 years ago:
If you can handle the drama

To add, there are lots of little things of interest that are easily missed. Chester ILL is the home of Segar, the creator or Popeye, and the town is full of Popeye statues of all of the characters. The Hardees has a huge Popeye mural on the wall. There is a small museum at the east end of the bridge over the river that covers Popeye, and the bridge itself. It was destroyed about two years after it was constructed, by a tremendous windstorm one night, blown off the piers and into the river.

A detour over to the Ohio River at I-24 is Metropolis Illinois and is the home of Superman. The have a 20 ft or so tall statue of Superman in front of the courthouse and there are superman phone booths wall murals, etc all over downtown.



In Illinois, highway 3 (GRR) from the intersection of state 149 north to Chester runs right below the bluffs, Its rather scenic looking up at the bluffs and across the flat flood plain of the river. I found a couple of places where I could drive up the bluff a ways for a better view, one was a cemetery. I was in a car, and it was easy to do.

North of Chester, highway 3 veers away from the river. If, at Chester, you instead take the road that runs north along the river, E. Kaskaskia St, It will take you to Pierre Menard Home State Historic Site, Fort Kaskaskia State Historic Site, and Fort Kaskaskia Campground, which I have never stayed at but looks like a nice place to stay. If you continue to follow the road, it takes you back into Ellis and highway 3 and from there, you can take Roots Rd across the Kaskaskia River. If you turn south it will take you to the lock and dam and a COE campground, If you go straight on Bluff Rd it will take you to Modoc and Prairie Du Rocher (which was a French settlement if I recall.) It is quite a spectacular setting, with houses backed up to the bluff. About four miles away is Fort de Chartres, a French fort that has been rebuilt, and is a State historic site.

On the Missouri side, north of Chester is Ste. Genevieve, the oldest town in Missouri, a French settlement, which has a lot of nice old buildings. That is where the ferry is, which is a small ferry that will carry about 9 or so cars or combinations of cars, motorcycles, etc.

Further north is Savannah Ill and Sabula IA, and the oldest bridge across the river, built in 1929. It is only open to auto and light truck traffic due to the narrow 10 ft lanes and weight limits. Sabula is a cute town on an island in the river, you ride a causway out to it then take the bridge across. It is a high, iron girder bridge with open grate roadway.

Galena is where U.S.Grant's home is located and can be toured.

Personally I liked the ride up the west side of the river (US 52) from Clinton to Dubuque better, much more scenic.

North of the Quad Cities where I-80 crosses the GRR actually runs up the Illinois side. If you cross over on I-80 and take the first exit and circle back down to US 67 going north thru Le Claire, there is a county museum right on the river across the train tracks from the highway (there was a derailment last year right in the museum's parking lot!) It is the Buffalo Bill Museum, but has lots of nice exhibits. Cody was born in Le Clair. Further north is a turn off to a county operated site that is the Cody home place after they moved out of town. It is a large two story house, part of it is limestone blocks, filled with antiques. I own a lot of antiques I inherited and some of the stuff in this house was identical to what I have, which came from west central Missouri.

Back on the Illinois side at Clinton is Fulton and they have a real Dutch windmill on the levee. Pretty neat to tour. President Reagan's parents were both born and married in Fulton, and there is a family burial plot in the cemetery there.

On US 52 south of Prairie du Chien is Guttenberg, Iowa, which is a 1840's German immigrant community, with lots of limestone buildings built by the Germans, Its a quite scenic town.

There is a aquarium in Dubuque near the river, however it was under construction when I was there last so I never got to see it.

As I noted earlier, the ride up the Wisconsin side from Prairie du Chien to La Crosse was a very scenic ride. At La Crosse is a large campground on an island in the middle of the river. Owned by the city, Pettibone Resort, looks interesting.

Charles
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Old 02-14-2021, 02:13 PM   #14
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In the Tennessee/Kentucky/ Illinois I think the east side of the river has more to see. I've driven semi wide loads down there and there are a lot of civil war sights to see there. The Mississippi was a big travel corridor during the war.
I agree the east side is better, especially north from Alton til almost Wisconsin. I’d suggest switching to the west side a little north of Galena IL , at Dubuque Iowa, if I recall correctly. The “Great River Road” scenic route is pretty well marked by green or brown signs (I forget) and will serve you well. As CharlesInGA points out, Rt 52, Metropolis, Gutenberg all have merit. It seems that some of the densest Eagle populations in the USA reside along the IL/IO/WI/MN sections also. Enjoy the Great River Road- it’s one of the USAs “National Scenic Roads” or drives.
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