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Old 06-29-2022, 09:28 PM   #1
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Red Bay, AL to Palm Springs, CA - scenic/cultural route?

I'm looking for suggestions for scenic/must-see sites/routes between Red Bay, AL and Palm Springs, CA. Trip will be late Oct and early Nov of this year.

Only going to Red Bay because we need some specialty repairs to our MH. While repairs are underway in Red Bay we will probably visit Nashville and/or Memphis.

We're from Vancouver, Canada and, with apologies, know little about the American South. What should we see along the way? This will be our first and perhaps only trip through the southern USA.

If it helps:
We aren't looking for the shortest, fastest or easiest route. We enjoy geographic beauty and avoid big cities (they're pretty much all the same). We prefer smaller towns and cultural experiences, with a splash of history, versus commercial "amusements". We prefer to visit and stay in National/State Parks versus commercial parks. We can easily dry camp for up to a week at a time, but still like hookups (and wifi/cell service) every few days. Spent a week in New Orleans once, so it's off the list.

Even a list of "must-sees" would be helpful. I can TripWizard the route myself.

Thanks in advance for any suggestions!
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Old 06-29-2022, 11:08 PM   #2
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There is a Rolls Royce dealer a couple miles south of Palm Springs if you like looking at fancy cars. They keep the doors locked even on the showroom floor.
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Old 06-29-2022, 11:46 PM   #3
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The Ozark Mountains in northern Arkansas, southern Missouri

New Mexico - Santa Fe, Taos then take 84 north to Abiquiu, NM up to Pagosa Springs, CO for a long soak in the immaculate Springs overlooking the river. Then west on 160 to Durango and Cortez. Tour Mesa Verde Nat'l Park. At Cortez take 491 to 191 north and tour Arches Nat'l Park and Canyonlands Nat'l Park.

I-70 west a short distance to 24 to 12 (Capitol Reef Nat'l Park) to Bryce Nat'l Park to Zion Nat'l Park. You could head to Page, AZ and do the slot canyon then 89 south to Cameron, AZ & pick up 64 west to Grand Canyon South Rim. Trailer Village in the park has big sites. Then 64 south to Williams.

You could go a little east on I-40 to Flagstaff then south on I-17 to Camp Verde and west on 260 to Cottonwood, AZ - Dead Horse Ranch State Park. From there you can easily tour Sedona and Jerome and there are some Indian ruins in the area.

Cave Creek Regional Park is on the north side of Phoenix and a nice place to stay if you want to do anything in the Phoenix area.

Head south on I-17 and pick up I-10 to Palm Springs.
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Old 07-01-2022, 07:27 AM   #4
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You will probably go from I-10 to I-20 across the country (or routes close to it). We tend to stick to the interstates for driving and when we stop visit local sites of interest to us.

Some of our favorite spots include:

We did a Harvest Host over night at Shakespeare Ghost Town near Lordsburg, NM. Good way to get a feel for the "real" old west.

Karchner Caverns SP in Arizona - beautiful caverns and a dark sky campground. Also in the area are ghost towns, old west towns and stops, Murray Springs Clovis Site and many hiking trails.

If you stop in Phoenix, head up to Scottsdale and tour Taliesin West. Frank Lloyd Wright's western campus.

Heading east if you stop in El Paso check out the missions. They are on a much smaller scale than the California versions, all equally interesting and worth a day.

I know there are a number of other interesting stops along this stretch, others will fill in their favorites. East of El Paso you will soon get to I-20.

Some stops in Texas we enjoyed include Lubbock, TX, birthplace of Buddy Holly, the National Ranching Heritage Center, Prairie Dog Town, Silent Wings Museum, and Windmill Museum.

Going through Texas might as well visit Fort Worth and be a cowboy for the day, they even have a "cattle drive" down main street.

A trip through Dallas should include a stop at the Texas Book Depository. A chilling time in our history.

We've stayed at Abilene State Park and Cedar Hill State Park along this route. If you head south then you might want to visit Austin (watch the bats and visit Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Gardens) we stayed at McKinney Falls State Park. When in Waco visit the Texas Ranger Hall of Fame, and Waco Mammoth National Monument. While there visit parts of the famed Chislom trail. We stayed a ways from town at Mother Neff State Park. Beautiful park on the river with caves used by early indigenous people, hiking trails, a prairie restoration project, and original CCC buildings and structures.

Keep heading east and you will soon enter Louisiana. On I-20 we usually keep going east and stop in Vicksburg. The battlefield is worth a quick day trip. I do not recommend the local historical society museum. If you take the return trip on I-10 stops in New Orleans and Lafayette areas are worth your time.

In Mississippi you can visit the home of the blues further north in Clarksdale. While that far north, a visit to Faulkner's home in Oxford is a good stop as you head to Tupelo and the birthplace of Elvis. Many people enjoy the Great River Road, we've not taken it but drove part of the Blues Highway.

Detour up to Memphis and get the full Elvis experience at his home, Graceland. While in the area you can visit the National Civil Rights Museum located in the former Lorraine Motel. We camped south of the city at T. O. Fuller State Park, a small campground with Chucalissa Indian Village, excavations and museum on site.

When you head back down to Alabama stop in Huntsville and tour Redstone Arsenal and the US Space and Rocket Center.

If you take I-10 on your return head south through Alabama and stop in Montgomery. Many museums and sites dedicated to the American Civil Rights movement.In Texas a stop in Houston will give you a chance to visit the Johnson Space Center and you can enter a space shuttle. While in Texas visit San Antonio and visit all of the missions, not just the Alamo. A trail takes you to all the missions that is an easy bicycle ride.

Texas has a really nice system of state parks. You can't go wrong with any of them.

Enjoy your trip, I hope you have time to see many of the amazing sites on your travels.
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Old 07-01-2022, 07:21 PM   #5
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Lots of good recommendations in the posts above. I’m a Texas native. We love to take the “old highway” before the interstate or the bypass was built, which typically takes you right downtown to the square of the town. That applies to every state - not just Texas.

For me the most unique city in the state is San Antonio. The history is everywhere. The architecture has influences from so many cultures. The food is fantastic. The river walk is a pleasure to see. I am always amazed at how easy it is to get around the city - like clear minded people mapped out the loops and the highways…but I have lived in Austin for 35 years…the definition of close-minded stupidity in planning…so San Antonio is a pleasure to drive in for me. We always stay at the SA KOA. Stayed there with my parents for the 1968 Hemisfair Worlds Fair and have been back many times.

We have not been down there since Covid. We always felt safe, but I don’t know what it is like now. Frankly, Austin has become a unsafe trash pile. If you don’t want your car broken into or your catalytic converter stolen while you are in a museum or Macys - stay away from Austin. Driving anywhere at anytime of the day sucks. Put San Antonio on your list but do your research.
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Old 07-01-2022, 11:34 PM   #6
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I agree with a stop at the National civil right museum, we stayed at Tom Saywer RV park right on the river with a great view of river traffic. At Redstone they have an RV park. We stayed there enroute to RB
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Old 07-03-2022, 10:11 AM   #7
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I would try to see "The National Museum of the Pacific War" in Fredericksburg, Texas. It is the home of Adm. Nimitz. The stop is really nice as there are around 60 wineries in the area.
The National Museum of The Pacific War has now became part of the Smithsonian.
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Old 07-03-2022, 11:13 AM   #8
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Have not made it East of AZ so this is just a few places we like travelling east of Palm Springs. Joshua Tree NP, Quartzsite, Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, Jerome, Sedona, Bisbee, Catalina State Park north of Tucson, Arizona - Sonora Desert Museum, Patagonia, Lake Pleasant Regional Park north of Phoenix, MIM (Musical Instrument Museum) in Phoenix MIM is a must see hidden gem even if you are not a musician.
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Old 07-04-2022, 09:19 AM   #9
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I hope we've given the OP many ideas for his trip and reasons to come back many more times. As was mentioned above, Fredericksburg, and all of Texas Hill Country is a beautiful area to explore. Another route, perhaps heading west along the I-40 corridor would have side trips on the iconic Route 66. Too many stops to mention from Memphis west.
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