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Road Trip to New Orleans Part 1: Roadtrip

Our route for the first portion of our trip, Detroit, MI to Fort Smith, AR!

As you know if you keep up with my YouTube videos, I totaled my car when someone cut me off to dodge a plastic trashcan (I would’ve rather bought the empty trash can owner 100 new trash cans than wreck my cute lil car!). This meant I was in desperate need of a new vehicle. I had been SO busy with finishing up my last semester at Michigan, finding a new job, preparing to move, helping my family move, welcome a new baby cousin in to the world, attending weddings and grad parties, etc. that I had exactly zero time to do much of anything else, and even less time to find a car. Thankfully, a family member down south said they’d give us their like-new manual Acura, we just had to drive down to northern Texas to pick it up! This wasn’t an opportunity we were going to pass up, so we decided to cram a trip to pick up the car AND a trip to New Orleans in one extended weekend trip. How hard could it be to drive from the tip of Michigan to the tip of Louisiana and back in 96 hours?

We headed out Thursday afternoon with a cooler full of snacks, a trunk full of camping supplies and luggage, and our youthful optimism that this would be no biggie. Our plan was to drive to the Detroit airport, pick up a one-way rental car, drive to Southern Illinois, camp, wake up early, pick up the car near Northern Texas Friday afternoon, drive until we reached Mississippi, camp there, wake up early Saturday, head to NOLA and spend the day enjoying New Orleans. We planned to head back early Sunday and drive straight back to Michigan, without stopping because we brought snacks & sandwiches, woo!!

The first sign that our trip wasn’t going to be as smooth as we’d hoped came when we arrived at the car rental place and saw that the line for cars was not only out the door, but wrapped around the building. I started to get worried, but Robin told me he had reserved our car and paid in advance, so we were all set. We pranced up to the front of the line and asked where to check out our vehicle, since we’d already paid and booked online.

“You’ll have to wait in line like everyone else, nice try.” was the curt reply we received from the obviously frustrated clerk. While we certainly weren’t “trying” anything, we didn’t understand the point of paying/booking in advance if we had to wait in a massive line. We were told by the manager that that was just their policy, and there wasn’t anything we could do. This was definitely going to put  a dent in our carefully orchestrated plans.

Nearly 2 hours later, we finally got our car, and were heading out, when we realized we couldn’t leave our car at the airport, it would be super expensive! Since I’m not old enough to drive a rental car in the state of Michigan, I drove it back to our home in Ann Arbor and waited for Robin to come pick me up. FINALLY, we were on our way! Around 1:30 am we arrived at our camp ground at the SangChris State Park in Illinois, much later than we’d anticipated, but we were still excited and set up our tent illuminated by the headlights of the rental car. Sleep came to us as soon as our heads hit the pillow, the sound of thunder in the distance and hundreds of crickets much more peaceful than the regular traffic of Ann Arbor we had become accustomed to.

Check out part 2, New Orleans Adventures! 

More Travel Posts:
Tucson, Arizona Travel Guide: What to See, Eat and Do
Venice, Italy Travel Guide: What to See, Eat and Do
Ruins of Rome & How to Stay Safe Abroad
Living in a German Castle
Colmar, France
Exploring Castle in Schwarzwald (Black Forest), Germany

 

Sunrise at Sangchris Lake State Park, Southern Illinois

 

Sangchris Lake State Park, Southern Illinois

We awoke early the next morning as the sun came up, getting roughly 4& 1/2 hours of sleep. We wondered around the lovely park before embarking on the second leg of our journey and I saw some very lovely and interesting animals (and a reptile!) I wasn’t able to get a photo of the snake I saw slithering into the trees as we passed by, but I did manage to capture the following images of a grey heron, a rabbit and what appear to be pelicans!
Bun-bun!
Grey Heron!

I’m fairly certain these are pelicans! If you know what they are for sure, please let me know in the comments! They were massive, and so beautiful!

This guy was sitting on the passenger side right under the door handle. A horse fly maybe? Definitely icky, regardless of what it was!

As we were getting ready to leave, this guy (pictured above) was blocking my path (so to speak). He was larger than my thumb, and his eyes were huge and incredibly gorgeous! After I waved my arm over him (a safe distance away!) to create a shadow in order to scare him, he flew off and we left without further ado. We continued onward, passing through the rest of Illinois, Missouri and into Arkansas.
The St. Lewis Arch (Photo taken from a moving vehicle on the highway hehe)
The hours passed by with very little incident, although while I was sleeping somewhere in Arkansas, a rock was kicked up and cracked the rental car’s windshield. Thankfully we had paid the extra for insurance, because that would’ve been rather pricey to repair! 

ALWAYS pay the extra $15 or so to get insurance on your rentals! SO thankful we didn’t have to pay for this haha.

Around 4pm that day (day two of our trip) we arrived in Fort Smith Arkansas at the Fort Smith Regional Airport to drop off the rental and meet our family member at the airport from whom we were retrieving our new vehicle. While there, I found the strangest thing I’d ever seen in a bathroom before! Evidently it was supposed to be sanitary, but it was a bit too weird for me, so I just made a video for your entertainment haha.

After we dropped off the rental and picked up our new car (went for a test drive, took the title to be notarized, picked up the extra keys from his house in Oaklahoma), we ate dinner, stretched our legs for a bit, and then began the final leg of our journey from Arkansas to New Orleans, LA.

Bricktown Brewery in OK. These Sea Salt and Caramel fries were INCREDIBLE! 10/10 would drive back just for these!

Giant flags were everywhere, this one was made of license plates inside the brewery we ate in.

We planned to arrive by around 1:30 am at our camp ground in LaFleur’s Bluff State Park in Jackson, Mississippi, but due to traffic, exhaustion and stopping for food (what food we had brought with us had gotten too warm and had since gone bad 🙁 ), we didn’t arrive until nearly 4:30 am, 3 hours later than we’d planned. I slept most of the way there, but my incredible husband just kept on trucking, relying upon caffeine and sheer will power to get us there safely. We decided to forgo our tent and decided to sleep in our new Acura, which was outstandingly comfortable, and it took us less than 30 seconds to be out cold.

We awoke the next morning around 7, after less than 3 hours of sleep (for my husband at least) to a foggy, peaceful bayou. I was really hoping to see some alligators (from the safety of our vehicle of course!), but it was not meant to be. We rolled out of our camp ground (which was really just a parking space, since we hadn’t bothered to set up camp the night before), and headed out for the last few hours of our journey to New Orleans!
LaFleur’s Buff State Park – Jackson, Mississippi

Roadtrip video!

To Be Continued!

Safe travels!

xAnnie Fairfax
Follow Me for More: @AnnieFairfax

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2 Comments

  1. Kerry Prodorutti says:

    One of these days DH and I will get to New Orleans!!!