Trip to OKC from Florida in my V8 Astro

[six pages total]

On Tuesday, July 20, 1999, we began what was to become a 2500 mile adventure half way across the US from Florida to Oklahoma City and then back! It was a week full of hot weather, numerous gas stops and feeling of uncertainty that we'd actually make it! The event was the Third Generation F-Body National Gathering in Norman, OK. I decided to drive up to Northwest Arkansas to visit a friend, then drive on to OKC and Norman for the event. Our drive would take us through Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas and then Okalahoma.

The engine in my Astro was running 11's in my 86 Camaro and I made zero changes to it before installing it in the van! This resulted in an average gas mileage of just under 10 mpg (with AC running full blast the whole trip). We cruised at 75-80 mph on most roads with a minimum of 60 mph and a maximum cruise of 90 mph. I did reach 100 mph on one stretch of Mississippi Interstate with some other cars. What a blast!
The drive was pretty smooth for the first eight hours.. We filled up here in Panama City at 4:30 pm, then Spanish Fort Alabama, and again at Hattisburg Mississippi. We arrived in Jackson Mississippi at 11:30 pm and stayed at Holiday Inn. Filled up with gas AGAIN the next morning and headed for Louisiana.

401 miles and 39.85 gallons total

Southern Arkansas! Unfortunately this place is a little heavy on the law enforcement!! It's not unusual to see a car pulled over in AR with several officers tearing it apart in search of drugs/etc. This prisoner transport van is probably carrying the last tourist to come through these parts! This part of the trip was very slow and tedious until we reached Pine Bluff, AR.. Filled up there too!
My girlfriend was in charge of any driving under 70 MPH. I cannot drive at less than 70 if I'm on a trip.. She has the patience required to drive 55-60, but Southern Arkansas actually had her complaining too! The roads are clear, open and four lanes, but the speed limit is rarely over 55.

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