Spur of the Moment Road Trips


Sometimes spur of the moment trips can be the best kind. We have been known to decide on a Friday that the weekend is perfect for a quick trip out of town. There was a time before computers when we would take off with no reservations and a hope for the best. Now we usually try to set up our reservation before we leave home.

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My wife had recently accepted a new job which would have her working from Monday through Friday. I am currently working on the weekends. This is going to present a bit of a problem for us when it comes to traveling. So it looks like most of our upcoming trips will have to be spur of the moment decisions based on days off availability.

With the new job looming and the chances of escaping town bleak for the near future, we decided it was time to get away for a couple of days.

Of course it was Spring Break week at all the nearby beaches, so we needed to plan something inland. We had not visited our son and daughter-in-law since they had moved to Ridgeland, Mississippi. Now seemed like the perfect opportunity for a quick family visit.

by Kathryn Greenhill via WikiMedia Commons

We aren’t very good at staying with friends or relatives, so we started looking for an inexpensive hotel or motel with good reviews.

We found a Days Inn with good reviews located near our kids’ home and made a reservation. We crossed our fingers hoping that now with Days Inn being part of the Wyndahm family, our choice would be a good one. Well, check tripadvisor to see how that worked out!

So with reservations made and pet sitting set, we were ready to head west. We did a quick Rand McNally print out and plotted our course. Bags backed, breakfast eaten, car loaded and we were now ready to hit the road by a very early nine-thirty in the morning!

Motorsports Hall of Fame by John Phelan via wikimedia commons

We have headed west on Interstate 20 a few times, mostly with Birmingham as a destination. I had pretty much forgotten that I-20 is a lovely drive for the most part.

Once you pass Birmingham you are driving on a highway without a lot of billboards, off ramps or rest stops. You do get a lot of pretty scenery and a few rough patches of highway.

If you are making a leisurely drive, you will have a number of interesting stops along your way. The Talladega Raceway is on your route and there is the International Motorsports Hall of Fame there you might want to see.  You will be going through Tuscaloosa, so the University of Alabama would make a nice stop. You will want to visit the Paul W. Bryant Museum while in town. If you don’t know about Bear Bryant then you definitely need to stop and learn.

Another interesting museum stop along the way is the Jimmie Rodgers Museum in Meridian, Mississippi. Jimmie Rodgers is considered by many to be the father of country music. This is a good spot to spend some time and relax from driving.

Never having been to the Jackson, Mississippi area we really did not have any ideas about what to do or see when we reached our destination.

Luckily we had a guide to take us on the Natchez Trace, through Mississippi’s capital city of Jackson and to Vicksburg, just up the road. In Vicksburg we viewed the mighty Mississippi River, lost a few dollars in a riverboat casino and toured the neat downtown area. We left Vicksburg in time to return to Ridgeland and get ready for opening night for the Mississippi Braves.

As with most spur of the moment trips, we packed a lot into our short stay. It seemed like we had just gotten there when it was time to turn around and head home. We had the threat of stormy weather on our trip back, so we pretty much took the same route home.

We did take a little side trip down Highway 80 before we reached Tuscaloosa. This was a nice little two lane road with some small towns with lovely homes and nice areas of farm land. These little side trips make the four lanes a bit easier to bear.

We were home again before dark. We picked up the dog, unloaded the car and decided it was well worth the time it took for our little excursion. Now we could face the prospect of being home-bound for a while.

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