Matt and I usually take every chance we get to visit each other, which is why in May 2016, I planned to visit him for about a week before he had to leave to work at a Boy Scout camp over the summer. At the time, he was planning on driving to Texas because he had quite a few things to take home with him. I was planning on flying to Dallas.
I don’t know if you’ve ever bought a plane ticket from Pittsburgh to Dallas before, but even buying from Southwest means dropping about $150 on a good day and $300 on a bad one. Flying to Atlanta, on the other hand, costs less than $100 if you buy at the right time.
The choice was clear – I was going to Atlanta and Matt and I would make the 13 hour drive to Texas together.
I think most people can agree that spending an entire day driving from Georgia to Texas doesn’t sound like the most fun. It requires 13 hours of driving time and depending on how often you like to stop, you’ll be adding at least another hour or so for food and gas.
As soon as I knew I’d be going on this trip with Matt, I decided we were going to make it as fun as possible. One of the things I hate about long car rides is jumping in and someone saying “We’ll be there in 13 hours!” Great. That leaves an entire day of waiting to get where you’re going with nothing but sitting in a car to pass the time. There’s only so much reading, sleeping, and playing Bejeweled Blitz you can do. Not fun.
I thought it might be fun to stop and see some roadside attractions along the way. While searching for sites to see along our route, I came across an app called Roadtrippers. The app maps out your route, then lets you choose the types of attractions you’re looking for – nature, parks, food+drink, abandoned places, oddities, photo ops, etc. You can edit how far out of your way you’re willing to go and the app will only show the attractions that are within, say, 5 miles of your route. You can add the attractions you want into your trip and it’ll calculate how long it’ll take to make the entire drive. The app even tells you how much money you’ll spend on gas. Between Roadtrippers and Roadside America, we were set.
The morning we left for Texas, we were up before 6am. Instead of dreading the 13hr drive, we were excited to visit all the places we had planned to see. In addition to McCalla Big Rockers (Alabama), the Duck Dynasty store (Louisiana), a 14-story mural (Lousiana), and the Bonnie and Clyde death site and museum (Louisiana), we also stopped at all of the state lines. The longest continuous time we spent driving was about 3 1/2 hours, and every time we got in the car we thought about the next stop, not the final destination. The drive wasn’t nearly as daunting as some of the 4 and 5 hour trips I’ve been on and it seemed to go by twice as fast.
Get ready for the selfies.
I’m trying to figure out the GoPro. Matt’s praying I don’t break it.
Alabama State Line
Mc Calla Big Rocker
5530 Eastern Valley Rd, Bessemer, AL
Literally nothing but very large rocking chairs. It was worth the stop.
Mississippi State Line
Louisiana State Line
Duck Dynasty Store
117 Kings Ln, West Monroe, LA
Our relationship in a nutshell.
Death Site of Bonnie and Clyde and Ambush Museum
2419 Main St, Gibsland, LA
Unfortunately, this museum was closed. There was another small one in the building next door. Before we left Gibsland, we stopped by the gas station where the death of Bonnie and Clyde was called in to the police.
Cotton St., Shreveport, LA
Shreveport was our last official stop besides the Texas state line – we had a few other places we could have stopped but we just wanted to get to where we were going at that point. Also – seeing the mural up close was cool, but I don’t know how safe this particular area of town is. Something didn’t seem right while we were there and we got plenty of stares, so I took this photo from the car and we continued on our way.
Texas State Line
We did make one exception for a stop on the way to Plano. Whataburger. If you’ve had it, you’ll understand.
How Much Did This Trip Cost?
The only expenses we had to worry about during this trip were gas and food. None of the attractions we picked out required an entrance fee, so we were able to keep the cost really low. Gas was about $100 and food was about $35 (lunch and dinner).
Final Cost ~ $135