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Options for travel from WI to SE MO

Travel Forums North America Options for travel from WI to SE MO

1. Posted by chitchatty (Budding Member 3 posts) 9y

Hello all,

I"m brand new to your forum today. I'm wondering if you have some travel method ideas that I might not have thought about already. And - if you have some opinions on certain Amtrak lines.

I've travelled twice from SE Wisconsin to SE Missouri.

First, I travelled by Amtrak. The route was their Texas Eagle. I caught their connection in Milwaukee to Chicago - and then the same train all the way from Chicago to Poplar Bluff, Missouri. I had never gone Amtrak before and was so very disappointed. The staff, if you could find one of them, were really surly and mean. No one would help me at ANY time with my bags. This may sound wimpy, but I'm very small and carrying all my bags does hurt my physically because I'm not completely healthy - although I'm not disabled. The return trip was the worst, the engine had broken down in Texas and I waited 6-8 hours during the wee hours of the morning for it to arrive. When it arrived and my boyfriend was loading my bags and I turned around to quickly kiss him goodbye, the porter started yelling at us to hurry up. My boyfriend, having been in a bad temper from sitting at a cold bus stop all night when we could have slept instead really gave the guy a piece of his mind. (the large assistant laughed his head off at his tiny surly boss getting taken apart verbally). On the way down, we were stuck over a huge metal bridge in St. Louis for about 2 hours - which was disconcerting during the dark hours .. and we also went backwards on this bridge for a while. Frightening. On the way home, we lost all power under an overpass in Chicago and were stuck in the dark and the doors wouldn't work to go from car to car. It was sickening feeling claustrophobic like this.

So - having had this experience, I felt I would NEVER travel Amtrak again. But, I have heard rumors that each line is like its own company. And I heard that there is a line that runs from Chicago to Memphis called the City of New Orleans. It runs at better times of day than the other one for sure - no wee hours drop offs in Missouri. So - does anyone travel the City of New Orleans line? Is it better than what I experienced? Or am I a glutton for punishment thinking of trying this again.

Also - if I take Amtrak down to Memphis - I will be 201 miles from my destination in Missouri. I could have my boyfriend pick me up - but is there some other method of transportation from Memphis to SE Missouri? I hate to make him drive all that way.

My second trip was a drive through all alone. I didn't enjoy the Interstates or Tollways through Chicago and upper Illinois at all. Not one little bit. I get sorta panicked in their traffic and I would prefer to drive small highways the whole way even if it would take me an extra 5 hours to do so. Has anyone driven small highways from southern Wisconsin to Missouri before? If I can get past St. Louis this way, I have loads of options to get to my destination that are not congested.

I toyed with the idea of Greyhound - but I don't think it would suit me after I read some comments about it here. I've only been on one bus before, and it was a trip half way across the state of Wisconsin - and it was like being a sardine trapped with unhappy travellers.

Thanks for any ideas and thoughts. I'm a small woman and I'm more suited to the quiet and the country than hustle bustle and city if that helps in making your suggestions.

2. Posted by beerman (Respected Member 1631 posts) 9y

Well, it sounds like you got one of the bad trains. Amtrak is kind of a hit-and-miss proposition...sometimes its great, other times it's as you described. The City of New Orleans is supposed to be one of the better ones, but I've never been on it, so I can't judge from personal experience.

As for driving, you could swing over toward Beloit on I43 and miss Chicago altogether....it might be worth the effort. From Beloit, head South through Rockford and down I39....here is a link for the Mapquest map I checked.
Milwaukee to St Louis

Ok, not overly scenic, but it will get you there. And if St Louis isn't the final stop, you can always veer off this map a bit.

ou can pick up a good quality Illinois map showing all the county and State highways at virtually any truck stop in S. WI or N. IL.

Greyhound? Probably more punishment there, but everyone is different. I've heard that their drivers are quite friendly, but it would be 7 hours on a bus in a not-too-comfortable seat.

Lastly, if you have more time, try driving the Mississippi River road. It will take you 2-3 times longer, but it is beautiful and there are very few big cities along the way.

Good luck with the next trip.

3. Posted by chitchatty (Budding Member 3 posts) 9y

Hi Beerman,

Thanks for the helpful thoughts.

Since you've also heard that the Amtrak City of New Orleans line is supposed to be better, it sounds like a gamble I'd be willing to try. I'll try that on one of my trips back and forth.

The Beloit drive is workable too - but you really got my interest when you mentioned the Mississippi River road. I have to research that - thanks for the tip!

For a reference, my destination is about 50 miles west of Cape Girardeau in Missouri - Cape is right on the river.

I just did a little playing with Google Maps and came up with something that looks pretty good. It is only 1-1/2 hours longer to drive than their suggested interstate route - but it is 16 miles shorter in distance. It would take me through plenty of towns in case of car trouble etc - but I'd get to avoid the headaches of the frantic interstates. Looks good huh?

http://tinyurl.com/y8bwhv < Google map of smaller highways

Thanks for your help!:)

4. Posted by chitchatty (Budding Member 3 posts) 9y

Ohhh, I found another alternative through Google Maps. This one takes 30 minutes less than my other idea - and it is 25 miles less than my other idea.

http://tinyurl.com/y6d853 << another Google Map

5. Posted by rbyslipahs (Respected Member 349 posts) 9y

If you don't mind my asking, where are you going in SE MO? Surely not all that way just for Lamberts, Home of the Throwed Rolls? Although certainly worth the visit... :)

Follow Beerman's advice to St. Louis, and I can help you from there. :)

ETA: Oops! I thought my profile said that I live in St. Louis. Well, I do. Hope that helps!

[ Edit: Edited on Jan 3, 2007, at 9:02 PM by rbyslipahs ]