Road trip to San Antonio offers economical fun

Tuesday, November 27, 2007 | 6:06 p.m. CST; updated 9:38 a.m. CDT, Tuesday, July 22, 2008
A road trip might be the cheapest option for MU TIger fans following their team to San Antonio for the Big 12 Championship. And fans willing to add 20 miles to the more than 900-mile journey can enjoy a more scenic, less traveled route.

COLUMBIA — MU fans planning to cheer the Tigers on in San Antonio at their first appearance in the Big 12 Championship have several travel options to consider.

Travel packages are sold out, leaving fans the choice of flying, taking the Greyhound or making the traditional road trip. With round-trip flights from Kansas City starting at $561 per person — $537 from St. Louis — motor travel can seem attractive.


The route to San Antonio offers these attractions: — The world’s largest McDonald’s is located on the Will Rogers Turnpike, or I-44, near the Vinita, Okla., exit and is easily accessible. The gigantic McDonald’s spans a four-lane highway and covers 29,135 square feet. Web site: — The World’s Largest Peanut is situated on the front lawn of the City Hall in Durant, Okla., off of U.S. 69/75 just before the Texas border. The peanut was dedicated to the peanut growers in Bryan County in 1973 and holds a time capsule that contains historic and legal documents, which will opened in 2023. The peanut rests on the “World’s Oldest Monument,” a chunk of granite that is approximately 1.2 billion years old, mined from a local quarry, according to Janet Reed, executive director of Durant’s Chamber of Commerce. Web site: — The oldest Dr Pepper bottling plant in the world is located in Dublin, Texas. The Dublin Dr Pepper Museum is located near the junction of U.S. 281 and U.S. 377. Dublin Dr Pepper is the only Dr Pepper bottler that has always used pure cane sugar instead of the less expensive high fructose corn syrup that is used in other sodas. Web site: — The Lyndon B. Johnson National Historic Park is just off Highway 281 in Blanco, Texas. The park tells the story of our nation’s 36th president and showcases Johnson’s boyhood home. Web site:

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You could ride the Greyhound, but that’s neither quick nor cheap. A round-trip bus ticket is running at $319, and it’s a 22-hour ride in each direction.

Driving is more affordable for those willing to log about 14 hours on the road. Using an average of 23 miles per gallon, a round trip would cost less than $250 based on the current U.S. average price of $3.09 per gallon of unleaded.

The shortest drive is going south and picking up Interstate 44 to Springfield and into Oklahoma before leaving the interstate and heading south toward Dallas. In the Dallas area, travelers can continue south on Interstate 35 or take an alternate route that’s more scenic and not much farther.

Rene Jaceldo, a road travel consultant with AAA in Texas, suggests that fans driving to the game leave I-35 at Dallas and head west toward Fort Worth on Interstate 20 to U.S. 281 south to San Antonio.

U.S. 281 is less traveled and only adds about 20 miles to the journey, Jaceldo said, while avoiding construction on I-35 at Waco and general congestion in the Austin area.

The Guide to Texas Outdoor describes U.S. 281 as easy and fun to drive, taking the same amount of time as an interstate. The highway is known for having a small town about every 30 miles. Another bonus: “Heavy” trucks are not allowed on U.S. 281 unless they have a local stop.

U.S. 281 winds through the Hill Country, a 14,000-square-mile region in the heart of Texas.

The scenery is beautiful with rolling hills, streams, cabins — a far more scenic route than I-35, Jaceldo said.

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