Thoughts About an Easterly Crossing of the Mississippi River

I have to confess to being a bit stressed about the next 1,000 miles of travel that will take me to my destination in Virginia. The reason has been foreshadowed since I hit Missouri and will get worse across the Mississippi, when I am firmly back in the East: the lack of overnight parking opportunities for RVers. I was hoping to get to Virginia in two nights, but the section through the Blue Ridge Mountains of West Virginia could seriously slow me down. I need a solid list of overnighting options every 300 miles or so.

My usual resources failed me, so last night I finally subscribed to the Overnight RV Parking. Most of the results for Kentucky and West Virginia are too old to be useful, but there are some reasonably recent suggestions that could still be viable. For example, tomorrow morning, I will call the Cracker Barrels in Louisville and see if they still allow overnight RV parking.

(Question: why is it St Loo-iss and Lou-ee-vil (and, yes, I know that’s not how Louisville is pronounced by locals, but you get my meaning!)

Ironically, the rarer the the overnighting options, the more expensive the campgrounds. I can afford a few nights in a campground, but I am going to be very angry about spending $50 plus to stay in one. So I would welcome suggestions from any readers who have traveled I-70 to to I-64 into Virginia.

I remember crossing the Mississippi on my first trip west, back in 2005. Even then, I could feel a very tangible difference on the other side of the riverbank. I suspect that this difference will be even more pronounced tomorrow.

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  • Here’s what my map shows along I-64 between St Louis & Louisville:

    Mt Vernon, IL = Cracker Barrel, SuperWalmart, Pilot truck stop, my step-sister 🙂
    Evansville, IN = Flying J, Pilot
    Leavenworth, IN = Pilot
    Corydon, IN = a Passport America discount park
    Louisville, KY = Cracker Barrels, Pilot, some of the WalMarts, K-Marts, BassPro, and a casino back across the river in Indiana

    If you want details or for me to check I-70 let me know.

  • Thanks, Linda! I’m thinking of the Walmart in Clarksville, IN since it’s right on Google’s itinerary from St Louis to my destination in VA. The casino is too big of a detour on my route. The Cracker Barrels are another possibility. According to very recent Overnight Parking reports, forget all of the Walmarts in Louisville. The other stops you list are probably going to be too soon, but I am not discounting anything!

    The next stop after Louisvilleish will probably be the Walmart in Crossland, WV, and then the Walmart in Waynesboro, VA, but I am looking for other options as backups as I am having a hard time believing that those two Walmarts allow RV parking.

    How did you come up with your map?

  • My relatives from SW KY call it something like Low-vull, only when you say it fast it is a unique sounding name. There is the French influence around St. Louis, but I don’t know if it made it’s way east to Louie-ville.

  • Yes, that’s a good way to replicate the pronunciation. But my point was, why ‘St Lewis’ but ‘Louis-ville’? Louis is usually pronounced Loo-wee, like the French name. So the pronunciation for Louisville is much closer to what one would expect. If St Louis wasn’t mentioned so often in western movies and TV shows, I would have called it St Loo-wee until someone corrected me.

  • We have stayed at many Cracker Barrels, the managers have told us you can stay at any all across the country anytime. They also have a map in the stroke listing where all the Cracker Barrels are, listed by state.

  • Hi Rae
    Haven’t talked to you for quite a while.
    We have been east of the Mississippi many times in our RV. Most recently was last September, in fact we’ve been east of the Mississippi three times in the past four years.
    We hardly ever stay at RV parks. We frequent Flying J.s mainly and other truck stops or any big shopping centres. Wallmart is not the only shopping centre to allow overnight parking.
    Enjoy your journey, you’ll do just fine, we have never planned ahead and always find a place to overnight.
    Elaine in Saltair BC.

  • Elaine, good to hear from you!

    I’ve done a truck stop once; it was a bit busy for my taste. Other shopping malls can be tricky because finding who to ask for permission isn’t always obvious.

    I used to not plan ahead, but now I like having an idea of where I will stop that night. It sure reduces the stress levels!

  • Rose, this is my first time staying at a CB. Not all the stores have RV parking, but I am definitely going to put them at the top of my list of overnight spots while out east.

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