Monday, May 15, 2017

A Great River Needs A Great Road

Bayou Segnette State Park
7777 Westbank Expressway
Westwego, LA 70094
GPS: 29.88990o, -090.16239o

The Great River

The Mississippi River is truly our Great River. It bisects the nation from north to south. The headwaters are nestled deep in the woods of northern Minnesota and it empties into the Gulf of Mexico among the oil rigs and shrimp boats of extreme southern Louisiana. Each end is contained within a single state, but throughout its length, it serves as the border between states – eight in all; three on the western shore, five on the eastern shore. The Mississippi River looms large in the affairs of ten states.

Every drop of rain that falls between the Appalachians and the Rockies eventually flows in this river. Along its length, it is fed by five major tributaries: the Arkansas, Illinois, Missouri, Ohio and Red rivers. Given their flow volumes, major Ohio River tributaries like the Allegheny, Tennessee, and Wabash rivers are considered important tributaries to the Mississippi system. While the depth and width of the river varies along its course, a steady flow of 600,000 cubic feet per second (16 billion gallons per hour) of water passes by New Orleans at a speed of three miles per hour.

The Great River Road

Much more than I know and way too much to tell in a single blog post. So here is an introductory quote from Wikipedia and a link to more.

The Great River Road is a collection of state and local roads that follow the course of the Mississippi River through ten states of the United States. They are Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Illinois, Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas, Mississippi, and Louisiana.

The term "Great River Road" refers both to a series of roadways and to a larger region inside the US and in each state, used for tourism and historic purposes. Some states have designated or identified regions of state interest along the road and use the roads to encompass those regions.

It is divided into two main sections: the Great River Road and the National Scenic Byway Route. The eponymous segment runs on both sides of the river from Louisiana through the state borders of Kentucky/Illinois and Missouri/Iowa, excepting the full length of the road in Arkansas. A five-state section of the road has been designated a National Scenic Byway, running through Arkansas, Illinois, Iowa, Wisconsin, and Minnesota. Read more at Wikipedia

When I first learned of the Great River Road, it screamed "ROAD TRIP!". The Great River Road is for the RVer what the Appalachian Trail and John Muir Trail are for the hiker. How could I not do this trip?

"North to south" or "south to north"? A question quickly answered by another question. "Where do I want to be in the heat of late August/early September?" I chose the cool forest of Minnesota over the steamy swamps of Louisiana. So "south to north" it is.

Now we are here in New Orleans to begin our trip at the end of the river.


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