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How far is too far?

Queensland Australia
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How far is too far?

Hi,

My wife and l will be in the US for only a few weeks and hope to drive direct from Sulphur Springs TX to just a little east of Memphis TN. We are not paricularliy Elvis fans but would like to detour past Graceland.

We are used to driving long distances in Australia, but are we biting of more than we can chew in the US?

I seek your guidance. Thanks

Johnsonfive

Buderim Queensland Australia

Athens, Alabama
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1. Re: How far is too far?

That's only 5 1/2 hours or so and not what I would consider a long drive. If you are going just to see Graceland- well I would rethink. Otherwise, you can find plenty to do along the way and Memphis has a lot to offer as well.

Queensland Australia
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2. Re: How far is too far?

Thank you for that info.

We are actually landing DFW ex direct Australia, thence to overnight at Sulphur Springs, then near Memphis, then near Nashville, then on to Galtinburg for a few days, thence off to Chatanooga, Montgomery, Mobile, NLO, Baton Rouge, Lafayette, San Antonio thence back to Dallas.

Sadly, we have only three weeks and cannot stop everywhere, and we thought if in Memphis we must at least have a look at Graceland. However the more we look into it Beale St looks great, and may be worth staying there.

Any thoughts?

Boston...
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3. Re: How far is too far?

Sounds like a plan, depending on how much time you're giving it. Keep in mind there's a lot more to the Smokies area than Gatlinburg and that's just one town from which you can explore the wilderness surrounding. Towns like Townsend, Gatlinburg, and Cosby on the Tennessee side of the national park are actually on the edge of the mountain region. Stay on the North Carolina side and you're actually deep into the wilderness. Both sides have their advantages, but you do have options.

Queensland Australia
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4. Re: How far is too far?

Thank you for the assistance.

We are ever changing and would like to spend a night at Chattanooga (I am very interested in the Civil War) after Nashville, then into Gatlinburg. We would cross to the North Carolina side, stay TBA and avoid Atlanta and head to Montgmery.

Any suggestions would be appreciated.

Happy Australia Day (our 4th of July equivalent)

Boston...
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5. Re: How far is too far?

Happy Australia Day!

Chattanooga is a great spot for Civil War history (as well as several other periods). You've got Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park, the largest and oldest in the country, composed of large preserved battlefields in Chickamauga and on Lookout Mountain as well as patches on Missionary Ridge and Signal Mountain at the edge of the Tennessee River Gorge. You can also visit Stones River in Nashville.

Athens, Alabama
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6. Re: How far is too far?

You might consider a trip down to Lynchburg, TN to visit the Jack Daniel's Distillery or over to Tullahoma, TN to visit the George Dickel Distillery. Depending on your route to Chattanooga a trip through Huntsville, AL to see the US Space and Rocket Center could be worthwhile. If you are really into civil war cites I would strongly suggest you try to make it to Shiloh, TN. The Chickamauga battlefield outside of Chattanooga has an amazing display of guns at the visitors center that is well worth seeing. I thought I knew a lot about guns but they have things I had never seen or heard of.

http://www.nps.gov/shil/index.htm

www.jackdaniels.com/age.aspx…

http://www.dickel.com/gateway.aspx

http://www.spacecamp.com/museum/

If you like roadside oddities here's a great link. Use the map to see what is around the roads or areas you will be visiting. We have found and visited some really interesting and odd things in our travels using this web site.

http://www.roadsideamerica.com/

Lakeland, TN
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for Tennessee, Memphis
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7. Re: How far is too far?

G'day JohnsonFive!

Your most efficient use of time in visiting the Memphis area would be to book a hotel in Downtown after your 5 1/2 hour trip from Texas, arriving early enough in the afternoon to check in and stroll to the FedEx Forum arena where the Sun Studio shuttle will pick you up, take you to Sun for a memorable tour (lasts an hour or so), then it will take you free of transportation charge on to Graceland and bring you back Downtown, departing at one hour intervals the rest of the day. This way you are free from driving and can relax while someone else worries about getting there on schedule. Back at the hotel you can rest, choose a dinner spot, head to see the night lights of Beale Street and hear some Blues if you'd like, all within walking distance. There's a great vintage trolley system down there as well as plenty of horse drawn carriages to tour you around Downtown and along Ol' Man River. By the way, Memphis doesn't require a detour, you arrive right in the middle of Downtown as soon as you cross the Mississippi River. You might consider the option of another day or so there as there are many museums, good regional food (This is the Smoked Pork Barbecue capitol of the world.), and the number one zoo in the nation according to Trip Advisor.

The Nashville and Chattanooga areas are worth some time if you have it in addition to your Gatlinburg sojourn. Have a great time in Tennessee!

Queensland Australia
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8. Re: How far is too far?

Thank you all again.

We will take much of what you have said and place it in our plan.

We will spend the time in Memphis as suggested by tnhighroad. Great plan.

Thence to Nashville o/n with a visit to Shiloh Battlefield, thence to Chattanooga overnight with a late arrival at Gatlinburg. Three nights there.

Thence move to the North/South Carolina side of the Smokeys with one night near but hopefully south of Atlanta, one night Montgomery, one at Mobile, 3 at NLO, one at Baton Rouge, one at Lafayette, one at Houston, three at San Antiono, one near Austin and two at Dallas prior to flying direct back to Australia.

That leaves us one spare day somewhere, and we could always drop off a night at Dallas.

We are still planning. We depart Oz on September 30th.

Thanks again to Coastermeister, Bluecuzco, and Tnhighroad.

Boston...
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9. Re: How far is too far?

Well you can also add more time for exploring the wilderness of the Smokies and south of it. But Chattanooga offers other genres of activities you may be interested in.

1. Urban riverfront. This includes the Walnut predestrian bridge, the trendy eateries and shops on Frazier Avenue on North Shore, the art district and museum on the bluffs, and the esteemed Tennessee Aquarium. The Tennessee Riverwalk runs from downtown eleven miles upriver to the Chickamauga Dam, a nice day long bicycle ride for both ways. [Other good Chattanooga bicycling includes Chickamauga Battlefield, the Guild Trail on Lookout Mountain, Enterprise South park, and especially Reflection Riding Arboretum.]

2. Lookout Mountain. Chattanooga is renowned for its nature preserves, but Lookout lands in a slightly different category. Steeped in history of the Indian, the Revolutionary and Civil wars, and early tourism industry (See Rock City). Three famous attractions, sites inside and outside the military park, Reflection Riding and the Nature Center, Covenant College. Enough for a couple days of sightseeing.

3. Then there are the nature preserves. The major ones (worth a half or full day) I will list: Cloudland Canyon State Park, Raccoon Mountain, Lula Lake Land Trust, Tennessee River Gorge, North Chickamauga Creek Gorge, and further out, Fiery Gizzard, and Little River Canyon National Preserve. Smaller spots include Audubon Acres Trail of Tears Site/Elise Chapman Wildlife Sanctuary (the most interesting and poorly interpreted historic site I have visited), Elise Holmes Sanctuary (in the South Chickamauga Creek Gorge), Stringer's Ridge.

Tuscaloosa, Alabama
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10. Re: How far is too far?

Since you are interested in the Civil War, Vicksburg, Mississippi might be another place to stop. I'm not a history buff but it was supposed to be a fairly significant place during the Civil War. I think it would fit into your itinerary between Mobile and New Orleans and not be too far out of the way.