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Fly-drive Southern USA Sept 2009?

Richard Bridge 04 Jan 09 - 07:52 AM
VirginiaTam 04 Jan 09 - 10:17 AM
Richard Bridge 04 Jan 09 - 10:35 AM
melodeonboy 04 Jan 09 - 11:02 AM
katlaughing 04 Jan 09 - 11:16 AM
Leadfingers 04 Jan 09 - 12:00 PM
katlaughing 04 Jan 09 - 12:04 PM
Richard Bridge 04 Jan 09 - 12:20 PM
VirginiaTam 04 Jan 09 - 12:35 PM
katlaughing 04 Jan 09 - 12:44 PM
JohnInKansas 04 Jan 09 - 12:49 PM
Ruth Archer 04 Jan 09 - 12:53 PM
Richard Bridge 04 Jan 09 - 01:01 PM
GUEST,richard's daughter 04 Jan 09 - 01:13 PM
Ruth Archer 04 Jan 09 - 01:23 PM
Richard Bridge 04 Jan 09 - 01:27 PM
katlaughing 04 Jan 09 - 01:31 PM
GUEST,pattyClink 04 Jan 09 - 01:44 PM
katlaughing 04 Jan 09 - 01:50 PM
artbrooks 04 Jan 09 - 02:19 PM
Melissa 04 Jan 09 - 02:48 PM
GUEST,leeneia 04 Jan 09 - 05:09 PM
Barry Finn 04 Jan 09 - 06:23 PM
retrancer 04 Jan 09 - 06:27 PM
wysiwyg 04 Jan 09 - 06:44 PM
GUEST,pattyClink 04 Jan 09 - 06:45 PM
Richard Bridge 05 Jan 09 - 12:22 AM
JohnInKansas 05 Jan 09 - 02:30 AM
Richard Bridge 05 Jan 09 - 05:24 AM
Tootler 05 Jan 09 - 05:02 PM
JohnInKansas 05 Jan 09 - 05:45 PM
DannyC 05 Jan 09 - 06:17 PM
Richard Bridge 05 Jan 09 - 07:04 PM
DannyC 05 Jan 09 - 09:07 PM
number 6 05 Jan 09 - 10:48 PM
GUEST,iancarterb 05 Jan 09 - 11:50 PM
M.Ted 06 Jan 09 - 12:29 AM
GUEST,pattyClink 06 Jan 09 - 09:36 AM
GUEST,pattyClink 06 Jan 09 - 09:40 AM
PoppaGator 06 Jan 09 - 11:49 AM
artbrooks 06 Jan 09 - 12:06 PM
PoppaGator 06 Jan 09 - 12:19 PM
PoppaGator 06 Jan 09 - 12:42 PM
katlaughing 06 Jan 09 - 12:56 PM
Richard Bridge 06 Jan 09 - 02:22 PM
Richard Bridge 06 Jan 09 - 05:49 PM
GUEST,jeff 06 Jan 09 - 08:00 PM
Richard Bridge 07 Jan 09 - 04:17 AM
PoppaGator 07 Jan 09 - 09:22 AM
Uncle Phil 07 Jan 09 - 09:45 AM
Richard Bridge 07 Jan 09 - 01:44 PM
Richard Bridge 08 Jan 09 - 09:12 AM
GUEST,jeff 08 Jan 09 - 12:01 PM
Richard Bridge 08 Jan 09 - 02:03 PM
PoppaGator 08 Jan 09 - 03:22 PM
wysiwyg 08 Jan 09 - 04:40 PM
Richard Bridge 08 Jan 09 - 05:06 PM
Arkie 08 Jan 09 - 05:12 PM
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Subject: Fly-drive Southern USA Sept 2009?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 04 Jan 09 - 07:52 AM

My daughter and her boyfriend are planning a fly-drive holiday to the southern USA in Sept 2009. Where should they go, what should they do, who should they see? Indeed what should they drive?

They are both musos - not limited to hard-core folk, liking a wide range of stuff from metal through rock, soft rock, country-rock, some jazzy stuff, Motown, Stax, soul, some blues (Delta and Chicago) and near-blues, race-music and old-fashioned definition Rhythm'n'blues (via Jackie Brenton's genre-defining "Rocket 88" to the (UK) "Blues Band"), country, new-country, alt-country, old-timey, bluegrass, as well as 1954 definition folk and US terminology folk (Weavers, Seeger, Guthrie, Odetta, etc).

She sings, he plays full-kit drums (not percussion) but sometimes carries sticks and a practice pad to join in joining-in style acoustic stuff. He will of coursenot have the full kit with him.

Oh, they are a bit foodie too - spices, chili, plan to eat some real meat while in the land of the burnt cow, any new culinary experiences.

Current plans (still vague and movable) are: -

Fly to Houston then drive: -
Austin
Dallas
Hot Springs
Memphis & Graceland
Nashville
Jackson
Down the Mississippi
New Orleans
Coastal Road back to Houston.


1891 miles. 15 days in total. Probably in September, if there are no problems with work etc.


They are half thinkig of hiring an SUV, but a friend of mine who recently did something a bit similar siad he nearly rolled one off a mountain several times due to the difference between US handling and UK handling in cars... but maybe he is a more insistent driver.


I KNOW the Mudcat will have useful suggestions...


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Subject: RE: Fly-drive Southern USA Sept 2009?
From: VirginiaTam
Date: 04 Jan 09 - 10:17 AM

That is a lot of driving. It will still be super hot (95+ farenheit and humid) in September, so a light coloured vehicle with AC is a must.

I drove an Isuzu trooper over a mountain (with high winds) daily. As it was a high profile vehicle you could really feel it lift. You just have to adjust to it. Have they looked at a terrain map for the routes they plan to take. There should be something available that shows how sharp the curves and steep the grades are. One good thing is that in US, the roads tend to be wider so there is more room for error.

I should warn about weather and visibilty... you think you get fog here. And there is regular sheeting rain.

As I don't much about the places being visited I can't offer much more. My big bro used to play and sing at Papa Joes on Bourbon Street in Nawlinz but that was when he was a tweenager. Don't know that he has any of his Nawlinz contacts any more.

Hope they have fun.


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Subject: RE: Fly-drive Southern USA Sept 2009?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 04 Jan 09 - 10:35 AM

Thank you VT


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Subject: RE: Fly-drive Southern USA Sept 2009?
From: melodeonboy
Date: 04 Jan 09 - 11:02 AM

If they had a weekend in Cajun country (possibly based in Lafayette), they could end up seeing probably three zydeco bands and half a dozen Cajun bands (there's music from morning to night there at the weekends!). I don't claim to be an expert on the area, but I could plan the weekend for them. There are certainly great bands to be seen in New Orleans, but the atmosphere out in the sticks is unmissable!

And Lafayette is between New Orleans and Houston!


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Subject: RE: Fly-drive Southern USA Sept 2009?
From: katlaughing
Date: 04 Jan 09 - 11:16 AM

I have a good friend in Austin who knows about great things to do there, etc. including music and food. I'll send him an email for info.

That is a heck of a lot of driving. Have they ever visited before? It may seem just a hop, skip, and a jump on the map, but those distances really s-t-r-e-t-c-h out.:-)

I imagine Poppagator might have some suggestions about New Orleans.


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Subject: RE: Fly-drive Southern USA Sept 2009?
From: Leadfingers
Date: 04 Jan 09 - 12:00 PM

I managed 1500 miles in 15 nights in '05 , and that included two weekends when the car hardly moved , and full days just hanging out with Cattrs ! In a 'Cheapest Rental on the fleet' Chrysler .


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Subject: RE: Fly-drive Southern USA Sept 2009?
From: katlaughing
Date: 04 Jan 09 - 12:04 PM

Let's hope gasoline prices stay low, too.:-)


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Subject: RE: Fly-drive Southern USA Sept 2009?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 04 Jan 09 - 12:20 PM

To us in the UK US petrol prices seem unbelievably low anyway!


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Subject: RE: Fly-drive Southern USA Sept 2009?
From: VirginiaTam
Date: 04 Jan 09 - 12:35 PM

Are they both going to drive? It will make the long stretches of nothing but scenery go easier if they can spell each other.


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Subject: RE: Fly-drive Southern USA Sept 2009?
From: katlaughing
Date: 04 Jan 09 - 12:44 PM

Richard, PM coming shortly with my friend's email addy for them to contact directly. In the meantime, here's a bit fo what he said:

Of course who is playing at the time they are in Austin would be a big determinate, but as I have raved before if they are around on a Tuesday seeing Erik Hokkenan is a must. As far as I am concerned Clapton has nothing on Erik.

There are plenty of great restaurants to fulfil their food needs.
Hot Springs is another favorite of mine, and I could recommend certain things to do and places. Of course how much money they can spend is another factor.

Going through Mississippi especially at that time of the year going down the Natchez Trace is a great drive. To do this right without having to run around like a loon I would hope they have at least a month.

Since Austin is at the beginning I could give them some tips on their down the road itinerary especially Hot Springs. Hell with what they like, if they come to Austin they might never leave.


As you can tell, my friend loves his city!


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Subject: RE: Fly-drive Southern USA Sept 2009?
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 04 Jan 09 - 12:49 PM

My DeLorme "trip planner" shows the trip out, Houston - Austin - Dallas - Hot Springs - Memphis - Nashville - Jackson - New Orleans and back to Houston at 2,028 miles with an estimated driving time of about 36.3 hours, using the "quickest" routes.

A "shortest" route cuts it to 1974 miles, but at 42.3 hours driving time. Six hours to save 50 miles doesn't appear to be a good trade.

Both calculated routes return back through Memphis for the Nahsville to Jackson jump, which appears to be about the longest single jump.

For the quick route, based on a 12 gallon (US) fuel tank and 24 miles per gallon, the planner shows 14 - 16 "fuel stops" recommended. An SUV, for which I guessed a 22 gallon tank and 16 mpg stops about the same number of times but of course you'll put in a bit more at each stop. The planner uses a rule of "never start" a leg of the trip with less than 3/4 tank, and fill at the next good place when down to 1/4 tank. You'll have to assess your own personal practices - for the slowest fellow traveler - on whether to add ten minutes or an hour for each fuel stop. Good practice for most is to add in one of the longer stops, stretch, snack, and of course "dump," which adds a possible 12 to 15 hours to the 36 hour driving time, for closer to 50 hours of "travel time."

The entire trip for the quick route is on Interstate highways, with the exception of the short drop off at Hot Springs which is not far from the Interstate. The I-routes are generally pretty good and should mostly allow 70 mph (112 kph) speeds (range 65 to 80 mph); but most of the area has been through some "weather stress" recently and road repairs are constant even in best of times. Some slow-downs might be anticipated. It's impossible to predict even a few months in advance, but most states have "road condition" reports on the internet, some have transportation or patrol phone numbers where you can ask, and asking the locals and/or travellers at the meal stops daily at each stop should get reliable enough information to make allowances for the "plan of the day." For any source, one must consider the source as well as the data, since even the official websites are subject to being "behind the curve." If in doubt "ASK A TRUCKER" who's not obviously busy (but DON'T EVER try to talk politics or religion with one).

And do keep an eye on the weather, especially when "on the road."

The route looks quite reasonable, and obviously they've already done some planning. I hope comments aren't too redundant.

John


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Subject: RE: Fly-drive Southern USA Sept 2009?
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 04 Jan 09 - 12:53 PM

I was going to suggest the Carolinas, but that's probably for another trip.

If they could do a rental where they pick up in one location and drop off in another it would take some pressure off...I've done that in the past. They could finish up in New Orleans, maybe, instead of having to schlep back to Texas.


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Subject: RE: Fly-drive Southern USA Sept 2009?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 04 Jan 09 - 01:01 PM

Thank you very much KL and JiK.

I will try to persuade estimable daughter or boyf or both to become members to be able to PM as well as post here.

The other issue was what car to hire for preference. I forget the one they were talking about. I gather that collect it here drop it there is a lot mor expensive. If they had been going into California I would have suggested LAX and Bundy's rent-a-wreck. I think that what they need is not necessarily an SUV, but probably not a compact - big mles, big potholes requires not only aircon but also sogmatic suspension.


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Subject: RE: Fly-drive Southern USA Sept 2009?
From: GUEST,richard's daughter
Date: 04 Jan 09 - 01:13 PM

Thanks guys. From what everyone is saying, it sounds like we may need to cut some driving hours down. The trouble is that means choosing between Nashville and New Orleans., which is a tough one...

We did consider doing a one way drive, but it costs so much more in car hire fees, and also plane flights that we decided in the end to do a round trip and do the east side of the south another time.

We will only have a maximum of 3 weeks (as work will not allow us longer), so will have to fit as much as we can in, but at the same time we don't want to do so much driving that we miss all the good stuff.
We definitely want to do some of the sticks as well as the main cities and tourist points.

We have a clash of interests because I really want to go to Tennessee and Texas, and Sam wants to drive the Mississippi down to New Orleans....

So much to see, so little time.

We have a while to bash out the details though, so everyone's thoughts are greatly appreciated.


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Subject: RE: Fly-drive Southern USA Sept 2009?
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 04 Jan 09 - 01:23 PM

Ah - when we did the one-way, we went with a tour operator who specialised in fly-drives to the region. That doesn't have to mean a prescriptive itinerary - they put together the trip we wanted. It might be worth exploring.


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Subject: RE: Fly-drive Southern USA Sept 2009?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 04 Jan 09 - 01:27 PM

It's about 3 hours driving a day, figuring in the double nickel limit. At I-route speeds as JiK says it's probably only a couple of hours driving a day. They recently did Kent to Yorkshire (about 300 miles) in one hit in one of my beloved Volvos and likewise back in a single day to London, so I hope the current target miles are feasible.


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Subject: RE: Fly-drive Southern USA Sept 2009?
From: katlaughing
Date: 04 Jan 09 - 01:31 PM

Welcome to the Mudcat, Richard's Daughter.:-)FWIW, I heard a report the other which said some of the smaller cars coming out these days are considered a lot safer than others including SUVs as they are equipped with side air bags. My daughter and husband rented a Dodge Cobalt and got really good gas mileage and found it comfortable, too.


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Subject: RE: Fly-drive Southern USA Sept 2009?
From: GUEST,pattyClink
Date: 04 Jan 09 - 01:44 PM

As much as Ole Miss would love to have you visit, I must warn you there is really no such thing as 'driving the Mississippi'. There are 15-foot levees surrounding it, so you either drive through the Delta (which is great, if you do that, get Steve Cheseborough's book "Blues Traveling"), or you use water to travel on the big river.

I'd go through Texas to N.O. which is convenient driving and forces you to stop for Cajun food and music, then head up through Mississippi to Memphis and Tennessee. Which would require blowing off Arkansas. So decide if what is wanted is a taste of the blues and jazz or that hillbilly Arkie stuff which you can probably get done better in Tinsee. Not to start a range war or anything....


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Subject: RE: Fly-drive Southern USA Sept 2009?
From: katlaughing
Date: 04 Jan 09 - 01:50 PM

Here's what my friend suggests:

With only 15 days I would dump some of the stops so you could do better justice to the ones you do. Otherwise all they will be doing is traveling, and not seeing shit. I have driven enough of this to know that to be true. Right off the bat I would drop spending any time in Dallas and New Orleans. Too big, too messy unless you have some real time. I think Nashville would be next on the drop list. A great town, but not for what they want in a limited time frame. There is better music in Austin anyway. Keep in mind the great ones who live there aren't playing there. They are on the road. The rest are doing sessions.

From Austin you can take a nice drive to Hot Springs, from there go to Memphis, then go to Tupelo and take the Natchez Trace south to Jackson, then south, and if time permitted drive across Lake Pontchartrain to New Orleans, but not stop there, and swing back to Houston. Otherwise they could drive to Baton Rouge and swing west to get back to Houston. I include the Natchez Trace and Lake Pontchartrain for pure scenery. The Trace is a gorgeous drive in the fall. The Lake is big, and you drive across the middle of it. I wouldn't recommend doing it the way I did. At night in a storm. The road isn't all the far above the lake. This is far more doable, and leaves time for those happy little stops along the way.


His email is on the way in a PM.


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Subject: RE: Fly-drive Southern USA Sept 2009?
From: artbrooks
Date: 04 Jan 09 - 02:19 PM

"The double-nickel limit"? They will find that speed limits are 70-75 in Texas, with some areas of 65 further east. These are the limits, which are normally exceeded by at least 5-10 mph. In many cases, think Autobahn. They will likely run into some heavy rain in September.


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Subject: RE: Fly-drive Southern USA Sept 2009?
From: Melissa
Date: 04 Jan 09 - 02:48 PM

Each state will have a tourism site with listings and suggestions. Sending an email to places that seem interesting, including the question of what else there is to see/do in the area, might get you some good information.

When I went to Nashville (with a non-adventurous family) the only music we ran across was a guy with a karaoke set-up. The places for finding Real music didn't have shiny little flyers sitting around and I did have my eye/ear open in hopes of finding something. Hall of Fame was neat, but the family was bored.
The plantation tour was well worth doing.

There's a place where you can ride a train up a mountain and see other states from the peak (Chatanooga, maybe?) Along the route, there may be riverboat rides and cave tours.

If your road takes you by St Louis, MO, I think the arch is open for people to go up in..and there's a museum in the bottom.


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Subject: RE: Fly-drive Southern USA Sept 2009?
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 04 Jan 09 - 05:09 PM

September is not a good time to go. As others have said, it will be hot and humid.

The following backs up the common belief that September is a bad time for hurricanes:

hile the Atlantic hurricane season is "officially" from 1 June to
30 November, the Atlantic basin shows a very peaked season with 78% of the tropical storm days, 87% of the minor hurricane days, and 96% of the intense hurricane days occuring in August through
October (Landsea 1993). Peak activity is in early to mid September. Once in a few years there may be a tropical cyclone occurring "out of season" - primarily in May or December.

===

Did you catch that 'Peak activity is in early to mid September.'?

Hurricanes can affect an area hundreds of miles in extent, with heavy rains, flooding and even tornados.   

I live 700 miles from the Gulf of Mexico, yet when a big hurricane strikes, we get rain.

I believe your kids need to do some more research before dedicating time and money to this trip.


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Subject: RE: Fly-drive Southern USA Sept 2009?
From: Barry Finn
Date: 04 Jan 09 - 06:23 PM

What my in-laws did when they came to visit the states they got in touch with a drive deliver company & drove from the east coast to the west coast, I believe they had a 30 day limit to deliver the car.
It's an idea that does't cost you anything but the gas.

Good luck

Barry


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Subject: RE: Fly-drive Southern USA Sept 2009?
From: retrancer
Date: 04 Jan 09 - 06:27 PM

Three of the top 5 bbq's in texas are in Lockhart as rated by Texas monthly magazine. It's between Houston and Austin. Smittys and Kreuz Market are the best ones to hit. Check them online - Krez is clised Sundays both close at 6 (smittys) and 8 Kreuz's). It will be a few miles off your most direct Houston to Austin, but not much.

I'd add Branson MO if you could as a sub for nashville if you have to and consider cutting Hot Springs - nothing there that I ever liked


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Subject: RE: Fly-drive Southern USA Sept 2009?
From: wysiwyg
Date: 04 Jan 09 - 06:44 PM

i AGREE ON CUTTING BACK. sorry capslock.

It's very hard for people to know, before they cross the pond, how BIG it is here. A day-trip for us, with two drivers, we consider to be 3-6 hours max driving, and that allows not much more than hitting the hay after din-din if the driving also includes stops for meals, potty breaks, leg stretching, getting lost, etc. THEN you have to add in time for stopping to see things you WANT to see, and the time to park, get from car to attraction, potentially stand in lines, etc.

Best plan I can think of is take advice from Catters in the designated stop-areas to advise on how long to allot to get to the next, what route to take to avoid crap, how to organize it for max emjoyment and minimum exhaustion.

~Susan


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Subject: RE: Fly-drive Southern USA Sept 2009?
From: GUEST,pattyClink
Date: 04 Jan 09 - 06:45 PM

September and October can be our driest and often quite pleasant months in Mississippi. September, yes, is usually still hot, but not always. Most consider the Delta to be at its mellowest best in early October when the cotton is in and the weather is 70ish and dry.


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Subject: RE: Fly-drive Southern USA Sept 2009?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 05 Jan 09 - 12:22 AM

Thank you all again.


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Subject: RE: Fly-drive Southern USA Sept 2009?
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 05 Jan 09 - 02:30 AM

The distances involved in the original route are long compared to European or densely settled eastern/northeastern US notions, but are pretty much just a trip down to the grocery store for many in Texas.

The eastern part of the trip may not allow quite the long-legged jumps, although the last time I was through that part of the country it looked pretty much the same to me. (My last trip was some years ago, from Philadelphia to Dallas and on to Wichita KS, which I did in one day. - - But it was about a 39 hour day as I recall, in a VW beetle that couldn't quite hit all the legal speed limits.)

Distances are long enough that each jump from town to town, with loading up, unloading, settling in and unwinding from the drive will be about a day. You might, if your endurance is really good, work in a light entertainment the evening of arrival in a new town at some of the stops; but I'd say the emphasis would be on "light."

Travel will take most of 8 of your 15 days, leaving 7 days for visiting at the stops.

Nashville is probably the stop to drop out if it really is necessary to cut the distance/time (if driving time is the only consideration), since it's at the "far end" from the starting/ending point and the only convenient route requires retracing the Memphis - Nashville - back thru Memphis to get to the road to Jackson Mississippi. The Nashville to Jackson also looks like about the longest single-jump drive, but I didn't print out the whole trip ticket. Memphis to Nashville is 212 miles, about 3:45 driving time, which you would retrace back to Memphis on the way down to Jackson. The drive for that day - Nashville TN to Jackson MS - would be about 420 miles, and close to 8 hours total driving time.

If you went only from Houston to Nashville and back to Houston, by almost any reasonable route your driving distance/time would be about the same as for the original plan if you allow for rest and potty stops at places where you'll find good stopover facilities. Dropping any of the other stops wouldn't save much in driving time, since the rest are pretty much on the routes you'd take anyway, between Houston and Nashville and back to Houston.

Houston to Nashville via Dallas isn't much different in distance than Nashville to Houston via New Orleans, and the roads should be pretty much comparable as to speed and comfort on either route. Memphis to Nashville and back through Memphis is the only "retraced" part of the original route.

John


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Subject: RE: Fly-drive Southern USA Sept 2009?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 05 Jan 09 - 05:24 AM

Thank you very much John.


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Subject: RE: Fly-drive Southern USA Sept 2009?
From: Tootler
Date: 05 Jan 09 - 05:02 PM

When I went to the States, I found driving very much less tiring than at home. Apart from round the big cities the roads are much quieter than here in the UK as well as being much wider which and straighter. We tended to do a long days drive then stay for a few days and look round. We had a medium sized Chevvy - I am not sure what model, but it was about the size of a Vectra and comfortable and easy to drive. Automatic transmission and cruise control helped. I know not everyone likes the latter, but it does allow you to move your legs from time to time which also helps reduce fatigue.

I will echo the comments about the sheer size of the USA and the scale of distances. We went to my nephews wedding in Detroit then basically did a circuit of Lake Erie visiting the Amish Country in Ohio and Niagara falls. When I looked where we had been on a map I was staggered just how little of the USA we had seen. Had a great time, though. Wonderful friendly people. We were made welcome everywhere we went.

Enjoy your holiday.

Geoff


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Subject: RE: Fly-drive Southern USA Sept 2009?
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 05 Jan 09 - 05:45 PM

Assuming a rental car, it is unlikely that any of the major rental agencies will offer anything without air conditioning and automatic transmissions. You have some choice as to vehicle size, but those two features are pretty much fixed. (And most rentals haven't had an ashtray or a lighter for several years here, in the remote chance that it's something you need to plan for.)

I don't know if recent model autos elsewhere have the same "bias," but it is worth noting that a "strange" (to you) vehicle may not show fuel levels on the gage on a linear scale. Since the stages between stops are fairly long, and fuel pits are likely to be relatively far apart at least on some parts of the trip1, I would suggest on the first day:

1. Have a full tank at the start.

2. Note the miles you've travelled when the gage says 3/4 full.

3. Note again the miles travelled when the gage gets to 1/2 full.

4. If the distance for the day is long enough, note mileage again at 1/4 full.

5. WRITE THE NUMBERS DOWN, so that while you're resting at the end of the day you can do the higher mathematics to get a good idea of how many miles to expect for a given reading on the gage in the thing you're driving.

(Most rental-recent vehicles will have a "trip odometer" that you can reset to zero each time you fill up, that's a better reference for figuring whether you'll make it to the next station than doing mental gymnastics over the total miles on the odometer.)

Recent vehicles I've had typically showed about 150 miles at 3/4, 250 at 1/2, around 350 at 1/4, and are indicating empty at about 410. The only one I checked (by accident) still had more than 70 miles to go (a big vehicle getting about 15 mph, a while back) after the gage was pegged on the big E (i.e. we did find a station before it died); but it's not something to rely on in a vehicle you don't know anything about, especially if you're on a schedule.

Lin's little toy truck, however, with the gage just barely down to E when she let me "borrow it," didn't make it to the end of the block before the first misfire, and I had to keep "shaking the tank" to make it a mile and a half to the nearest station. (At least twice within very recent memory.)

1 "Next Fuel 70 miles" is a fairly common Interstate Highway sign, and that station could be closed, esp. very early in the morning or really late at night. The only place I've run into three in a row that were closed was at 2:00 - 4:00 am in North Dakota a few years back (when I found out what empty on that truck meant), and traffic is probably heavy enough to keep "all-nighters" open in the area where you'll be.

John


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Subject: RE: Fly-drive Southern USA Sept 2009?
From: DannyC
Date: 05 Jan 09 - 06:17 PM

You might want to drive a double-nickel segment on the historic Natchez Parkway


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Subject: RE: Fly-drive Southern USA Sept 2009?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 05 Jan 09 - 07:04 PM

Thank you again all. The sprogs do smoke, but not heavily.

This is all very useful, but can anyone come up with likely places for indigenous music - some amplified, some unamplified, maybe some on the less commercial side?


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Subject: RE: Fly-drive Southern USA Sept 2009?
From: DannyC
Date: 05 Jan 09 - 09:07 PM

Doyle Jeter's "Enoch's Pub" in Monroe Louisiana (eclectic and regional music offerings all year long - there oughta be a website of some sort.)

Don't know if the scene is still intact but --- Just about every place on every corner in the French Quarter (NOLA) just about every night of the week.

Old-style R&B bands (great musicians leading off for a dynamic front man) @ BB King's on Beall St. in Memphis.   

There'll likely be lists of Festivals, etc. published well in advance on the main sites of news orgs internet sites in each City. If she gets a chance to hear long tall Marcia Ball (usually near TX or LA) --- don't miss her fer nuthin'.


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Subject: RE: Fly-drive Southern USA Sept 2009?
From: number 6
Date: 05 Jan 09 - 10:48 PM

I suggest they drive highway 61 through the state of Mississippi from New Orleans to Memphis ... drive right through the heart of the delta ... my wife and I did that trip back in 1989 .... it was unforgettable.

biLL


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Subject: RE: Fly-drive Southern USA Sept 2009?
From: GUEST,iancarterb
Date: 05 Jan 09 - 11:50 PM

Start at Thredgill's in Austin and you may get southern tempura AND some unpredictable music at the same time!


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Subject: RE: Fly-drive Southern USA Sept 2009?
From: M.Ted
Date: 06 Jan 09 - 12:29 AM

Best to divide your time between two places that have a lot of opportunities to hear the music you like, eat the food you like, and do the things you like. You can stop somewhere on the way, and make day trips from each, if you like--too. Lots of cities means lots of packing and unpacking, in addition to all the travel days. It gets old fast.


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Subject: RE: Fly-drive Southern USA Sept 2009?
From: GUEST,pattyClink
Date: 06 Jan 09 - 09:36 AM

There is a very large blues festival in a field south of Greenville in September, I don't have the name with me right now, that might be an ideal target. AGAIN, they REALLY need to get Steve Cheseborough's book "Blues Traveling", it is the ONLY place they are going to get a clue about music in the Delta, it can be very difficult to find between festivals.

In fact, the slick thing to do might be to get festival listings for all the states (use the state tourism websites) and plot your course from festival to festival.

A lot of 'indigenous' music in the south is gospel and church music so they may want to inquire about 'gospel singings' which are intense gospel concerts, either search online, or go by word of mouth when they hit the ground. Many are still advertised only the old timey way, with cards in store windows.

In Jackson, you want to get listings for whoever Hal & Mal's and Fenian's is presenting, and also consult the Jackson Free Press online, I think it's called the Lounge List, because blues venues have been shifting around lately. If they were coming in May they would not want to miss the Jubilee Jam festival. In September they can catch CelticFest which is quite good but not terribly 'indigenous', and the Farish Street Festival which I have not attended, have no idea how much music is presented.

And a final note, I've been bugged about the above dire warnings about hurricane season and imaginary monsoon seasons. You can't skip coming somewhere for 6 months of the year because there are hurricanes some years in some spots.   If one should happen to approach one part of the Texas Coast which will affect this trip (doubtful from their itinerary), they will have plenty of warning and they simply reroute to avoid the storm, it's no big deal.


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Subject: RE: Fly-drive Southern USA Sept 2009?
From: GUEST,pattyClink
Date: 06 Jan 09 - 09:40 AM

p.s. I'll second catching a Marcia Ball show, but also catch Eden Brent, killer blues piano, wherever she might be appearing.


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Subject: RE: Fly-drive Southern USA Sept 2009?
From: PoppaGator
Date: 06 Jan 09 - 11:49 AM

Well, my feelings were a little bit hurt by whoever advised "skip New Orleans," but I'll get over it.

If you/they DO come here, there's a lot more music available than in the French Quarter, most of it better. The new happnin "strip" is along Frenchman Street just outside the Quarter, and many of the best clubs with the hippest local music are scattered all around town. There are several weekly "must-see" events on different nights, and of course the schedules are different every night, so you really just need to check what's up as the date approaches.

Shoot me a PM and I'll provide my e-address and cellphone number. I can't offer a place to stay, and might not even be able to meet in person at all, but I'd be more than happy to advise/consult about how to best enjoy a visit here. As the date approaches, I'll be able to check out exactly who's playing where on the nights in question and help you make choices based on your preferences/tastes.

If you have internet access and speakers on your laptop, you can listen to our great local radio station WWOZ-FM at www.wwoz.org ~ there's a complete "Music Calendar" read on the air at the top of every odd hour (Central Time). There are probably nightly music schedules in text form at that website, too, as well as at Offbest Magazine's website.

*****************

I would have thought that driving on the opposite side of the road would present greater difficulty than any difference between the suspensions, or whatever, of UK vs US vehicles. It's not a problem on the open road, but when you're in city traffic, making quick decisions while negotiating various zigzagging turns, a person could get disoriented. I know I'd be real nervous about driving in, say, London, without a lot of prior practice on the left side of back roads and the streets of smaller, slower, towns.

I'd advise renting a midsize sedan, not an SUV, for two people plus however much luggage they can bring across the ocean for such a trip. You'll spend much less on gas, be safer thanks to a lower center of gravity, sit in comfort, and probably have a better sound system and less road noise. Plus, the rental charge will probaly be significantly less. What doesn't fit in the truck can easily fit in the back seat; in fact, you'll probably want to keep some things handy in the back seat, where the passenger can easily reach ~ get a cheap styrofoam ice chest at your first convenience-store/gas-station stop and fill it with ice, drinks, snacks, etc.

You can figure on driving 70-80 mph on the interstates between cities ~ just keep up with the faster traffic without being the very fastest vehicle on the road, and you should be safe from getting busted.

On the other hand, where the interestate highways pass though cities, be prepared for delays, stop-and-go traffic, etc., if you arrive at the wrong time of day. I-10 through Houston is particularly difficult.

Lafayette & Beaux Bridge, etc., lie on the road between N.O. and Houston and are definitely worth exploring. (However, I'm no expert to advise you about what to see and where to go in that area.)


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Subject: RE: Fly-drive Southern USA Sept 2009?
From: artbrooks
Date: 06 Jan 09 - 12:06 PM

PoppaGator, is there a right time of day to drive I-10 through Houston? The 610 bypass is slightly better, sometime.


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Subject: RE: Fly-drive Southern USA Sept 2009?
From: PoppaGator
Date: 06 Jan 09 - 12:19 PM

I've made quite a few trips back and forth from New Orleans to Austin and back over the past couple of years, which means going through Houston. On weekends, and well after dark on weeknights, it's tolerable. For some reason, traffic is always worse west of the center of town (all the way out to Katy and sometimes beyond) than east.

Best gas prices are just east of Houston, in Baytown, specifically at I-10 exit 789. There are four gas stations there in a perpetual price war; the fact that theyr'e located within walking distance of the continent's largest oil refineries must have something to do with it.

For my purposes, taking the 610 bypass would add so many extra miles that I just go straight through on the I-10 and hope for the best.


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Subject: RE: Fly-drive Southern USA Sept 2009?
From: PoppaGator
Date: 06 Jan 09 - 12:42 PM

I just looked back at the opening post and saw this as the last leg of the trip: "Coastal Road to Houston" (from New Orleans).

There is no such road, nor even any such coast, really. Louisiana sort of gradually falls off into the Gulf in a system of swamps or "wetlands." The wetlands themselves are disappearing, too, but that's a whole other topic. (See www.levees.org.) But the main point is that the only practical route is the I-10 intersate highway, which is pretty well inland.

Just as there's no real "down the river" drive to N.O. from points north, there's no "along the coast" scenic route west to Texas. (Now, going east out of New Orleans towards Jacksonville, there are stretches of beachfront driving for those with the time to abandon the interstate for local roads.)

There is a "River Road" on either bank of Mississippi for much of its length, but except for very short local trips, it's not a practical choice. As already noted, the levees are so high that there's absolutely no river view, and the river is so extremely serpentine that you'd have to drive three or four miles (or more!) for every "as-the-crow-flies" mile of your trip.


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Subject: RE: Fly-drive Southern USA Sept 2009?
From: katlaughing
Date: 06 Jan 09 - 12:56 PM

...the schedules are different every night, so you really just need to check what's up as the date approaches.

As the date approaches, I'll be able to check out exactly who's playing where on the nights in question and help you make choices based on your preferences/tastes.


That's pretty much what my friend said about what's going on in Austin, too.


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Subject: RE: Fly-drive Southern USA Sept 2009?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 06 Jan 09 - 02:22 PM

Thank you all very much, particularly Poppagator.

I'll PM you myself and pass your email on to my daughter if you don't mind.


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Subject: RE: Fly-drive Southern USA Sept 2009?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 06 Jan 09 - 05:49 PM

By the way, who is the big pig (or 800 pound gorilla if you prefer) in terms of 'catters in Texas?


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Subject: RE: Fly-drive Southern USA Sept 2009?
From: GUEST,jeff
Date: 06 Jan 09 - 08:00 PM

There's much with which I agree. I LIVE near Nashville and would recommend taking a pass. Every 'hallowed' music venue is SO self-important they all call themselves 'World Famous Station Inn' or 'World Famous Tootsie's Lounge", etc. There's a 'decent' club scene going on down on the Broadway/2nd Ave. area, but it's pricey, crowded and dangerous...purse snatchers, hustlers, etc. Like another mentioned most of the real music is being played in Austin anyway. No disrespect intended to the New Orleans contingent as I'd go to Bourbon and/or Beale streets LONG before I'd venture down to Broadway. If you go to Austin one needs to go to the 'Blaze Foley' gravesite. Check out his videos on youtube.

It may be I've got the jaded perspective of a music industry pro, but Nashville is a nice place to live near, but I wouldn't want to visit. It's kind of a 'tourist trap', much like Dollywood or Disneyworld. The world has a perception of Nashville that simply doesn't exist. Yes, the Ryman, CM HOF, Tootsie's, etc. are all here, but 'Music Row' has moved to the Gaylord Center and all the 'pickers' have moved to Franklin or Leiper's Fork. There's plenty of music going on in Nashville, but it's all in the studios for the most part. The prospect of stumbling upon some 'undiscovered genius' at a club are slim because asa one comes to town they get snapped up by the labels and the labels wont let them play out locally. And traffic is brutal.

If you DO come to Nashville rent a room @/t Best Western/Music Row Motel on Division Street. There's a GREAT club scene on Demonbreun Street nearby and the motel is reasonable in cost and within walking distance of the Ryman, CM HOF, Tootsie's, Music Row and a short cab ride to the Bluebird Cafe...don't try to drive there...you'll get lost. It's also close to 'Hillsboro Village' w/alot of different stores, coffee shops, Belcourt Theatre, Cotten Music(since 1961), etc. Also, Centenial Park w/t 'Parthenon' as it's centerpiece are very nearby.

Oh yeah, there's the 'Traffic Circle' w/one of the more embarassing public sculptures as it's centerpiece. It's what y'all call a 'roundabout' in the UK. The bronze sculpture features several male and female 'nymphs' w/full frontal...one of the males sports what has been derisively dubbed 'Nelson's Willy' by the locals.

The 'Trashville Tour' is HIGHLY recommended.


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Subject: RE: Fly-drive Southern USA Sept 2009?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 07 Jan 09 - 04:17 AM

Thanks jeff


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Subject: RE: Fly-drive Southern USA Sept 2009?
From: PoppaGator
Date: 07 Jan 09 - 09:22 AM

I don't know a whole lot about the late Blaze Foley except that he was a Texas songwriter, apparently underappreciated, and the subject of a song ~ "Drunken Angel" ~ written and recorded by his friend Lucinda Williams.

Thanks for the reminder and reference; I'll be lo9oking up his vids on You TUbe.


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Subject: RE: Fly-drive Southern USA Sept 2009?
From: Uncle Phil
Date: 07 Jan 09 - 09:45 AM

I hope they enjoy their trip as much as I enjoyed reading the thread. If I were going I'd try to spend as much time as possible in Austin, Memphis, Nashville, and New Orleans. With all due respect to Guest Jeff, I can't imagine taking a musical tour and not going to the Grand Ole Opry. Makes a good story when you get home if nothing else.

When I work with Brits over here they are always surprised by travel distances that seem unremarkable to those of us who live in Texas. It would be easy to spend a majority of the trip just driving from one city to another. Most of the states they will visit are about the size of England. They might consider flying between some of the cities or taking a train. For example, you can leave Memphis on the City of New Orleans at night and be in New Orleans in the morning after a good night's sleep instead of spending a whole day driving.

The leg between New Orleans and Houston has a scenic stretch between Baton Rouge and Lafayette where the highway goes over the Atchafalaya Basin. Be sure to do that part in daylight. We always time our trips so we can eat at a place called Landry's in the town of Henderson between the Atchafalaya and Breaux Bridge.

Feel free to PM me when the trip gets closer and I'll see who is playing in the Dallas/Fort Worth area in September.
- Phil


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Subject: RE: Fly-drive Southern USA Sept 2009?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 07 Jan 09 - 01:44 PM

Thank you very much Uncle Phil - I am trying to persuade my daughter to join and get her own cookie so she can do her own PMs, she normally is no shrinking violet.

Soundmen always misjudge her - they assume she is going to sing wafty-wafty songs about dolphins in a sweet breathy quiet voice, which usually results in the midrange speakers embedding themselves in the opposite wall on the opening note (particularly if it's "Whip Jamboree") and a cross daughter saying "Do I LOOK as if I'm going to sing sweetly and quietly?". But the soundmen don't hear that because if they left their headphones on they now have total hearing loss...


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Subject: RE: Fly-drive Southern USA Sept 2009?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 08 Jan 09 - 09:12 AM

Seems to me that a lot of big dogs who live near that potential route are keeping very quiet...


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Subject: RE: Fly-drive Southern USA Sept 2009?
From: GUEST,jeff
Date: 08 Jan 09 - 12:01 PM

Yeah, like I said my perspective may be a little jaded. There's another club scene on Ellington Place/Church Street that's much more 'experimental' and alternative rock. Forgot to mention the Exit Inn which features many touring acts that don't have the credentials/sales to play the larger venues in town. It's, sort of centrally located on Ellington Place.

BTW, the Station Inn is within walking distance of the BW/MR, too. Go on Monday night as there is 'world class' western swing. It's some of the best live music in town and they play for a LONG time...you'll get your money's worth and many celebs show up.

Wednesday night the Wooten Brothers play at a club called '3d and Lindsley'. Get there early. Like 7:00 PM local time. Victor Wooten(plays bass w/Bela Fleck) is a regular when he's not on tour. Cab it...it's not far, but complicated to get there. Probably, if they're in the right mood it'll be the best musical experience you'll have in your life. To say they're phenomenal is to damn them w/faint praise. Again, LOTS of celebs in the audience.

If one goes to Tootsie's, go a few doors down to Robert's Western World, too...like Tootie's the music starts at 10:00 AM local time. And have some Bar-B-Que at Jack's Bar-B-Que...it's in between Tootsie's and Robert's.

Everything that's anything is located within 3-5 miles of the BW/MR. There're some clubs over in East Nashvillle that are pretty 'alternative'...more like Austin than Nashville. Good songwriters and players. Again, best to take a cab as getting lost is rather easy going over to East Nashville.

BB King's has good musical acts, but is located on 2nd Ave., pricey and a bit of a t-trap.

Anyway, the Best Western Motel/Music Row on Division Street is the most centrally located, best value, etc. In terms of price and accessability to all I've mentioned. The address is: Best Western Music Row, 1407 Division Street, Nashville, TN 37203 Phone #(615)242-1631


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Subject: RE: Fly-drive Southern USA Sept 2009?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 08 Jan 09 - 02:03 PM

Thanks Jeff - that's just the sort of local knowledge (as well as about acoustic music, diners, stopovers that are not the Bates Motel etc) that I am sure will be helpful and appreciated.

There has been some very good stuff above (and thanks again) - but some of the 'Catters who (alas I cannot call the names largely to mind) I would have been expecting to promote local musical/culinary/motelaccommodation virtues seem to be being bashful.

I'm sure I've seen many mudcat names who spoke of matters in those regions.


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Subject: RE: Fly-drive Southern USA Sept 2009?
From: PoppaGator
Date: 08 Jan 09 - 03:22 PM

"but some of the 'Catters who (alas I cannot call the names largely to mind) I would have been expecting to promote local musical/culinary/motelaccommodation virtues seem to be being bashful."

We have a bunch of members living in "The South" who are actually pretty far away from the stated itinerary. Folks from Florida to Virginia might seem as though they'd have something to add, but their absense is actually understandable and valid. As has been stated already, the distances between various US locales can be seriously underestimated by Brits and other Europeans before they arrive here.

Now, I can think of a D-FW-area Texan or two who might have been expected to contribute, but hasn't. But folks in other parts of Texas might be quite far off the proposed route. Texas is pretty dern big...


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Subject: RE: Fly-drive Southern USA Sept 2009?
From: wysiwyg
Date: 08 Jan 09 - 04:40 PM

People you might want to PM (from Member Locator)

# Alabama: Bill in Alabama , sed
# Arizona: Biskit , bydand , DougR , Molly Malone
# Florida: Abby Sale , Banjer , Blackcatter , Sailor Dan , schwarer , Scotus
# Kentucky: JamesJim , Mary in Kentucky
# Louisiana: PoppaGator
# Mississippi: khandu
# North Carolina: Caitrin , Dani , Eluned , lloyd61 , Matt_R , tarheel
# Tennessee: Kim C , lunamaid
# Virginia: CapriUni , Mrrzy
# Washington: emily rain , JenEllen , John P , Liland , Margo , Miken , Mudjack
# West Virginia: CarolC

~S~


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Subject: RE: Fly-drive Southern USA Sept 2009?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 08 Jan 09 - 05:06 PM

Very Very helpful WYSIWYG. I promise never to be sarky about religions again!

PoppaGator, that is probably a fair cop!


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Subject: RE: Fly-drive Southern USA Sept 2009?
From: Arkie
Date: 08 Jan 09 - 05:12 PM

Since the itinerary includes Hot Springs, Arkansas and Memphis, there is a unique spot a little off the route. Mountain View is about two hours north of Little Rock and around three and a half hours from Memphis. The Ozark Folk Center in Mountain View provides displays and music representing the mountain culture of the Ozarks which had survived into the mid-twentieth century in this part of the state. In addition to special events the park is open Wednesday through Saturday with music and craft displays. Downtown Mountain View is also of interest because generally through the week folk gather on the court square to play music. The town has less than 3000 people. September is generally a good time weather wise to visit Mountain View. Also Sonny Burgess who worked with a lot of the icons of country music who recorded for Sun records in Memphis lives in the area and is still carrying the banner of rockabilly quite well. He sometimes performs and we could watch for anything that might fit in with travel dates. The website for the Folk Center is ozarkfolkcenter.com.


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