The route for the 2013 Hemmings Motor News Great Race presented by Hagerty is shaping up to be a dream rally for competitors. And I know first hand having just returned from a two-week trip from Minnesota to the Gulf Coast, mapping out the route. At first, I was not sure if we were going to promote the Great River Road – the name given to the roads along the Mississippi River through 10 states – as a theme for the 2013 event. But after driving the route with Director of Competition John Classen, I can tell you it is the theme.
Unlike the 2012 Great Race route around the Great Lakes, we will spend a lot of time rallying along the river, having lunch along the river and spending the night along the river. The reason is simple – there are roads on both banks of the Mississippi River and not a lot of large cities.
Now, I don’t want anyone to get the idea that we are going to rally straight down the river. In fact, what makes the 2013 event a dream rally is that we have a large number of nearby roads that are perfect for what we do. Those who have been on past Great Races that have traveled through Minnesota, Wisconsin, Missouri, Iowa and Illinois know what I am talking about. And the surprise state in my opinion has to be Mississippi. We have not rallied much in that state in the past, and even I (having grown up in neighboring Alabama) was pleased at the great roads and the terrific scenery for a rally.
After we leave St. Paul, we will have lunch five times on the banks of the Mississippi or one of its tributaries and we will have six overnight stops in cities on the mighty river. And that does not count the final two stops on the last day – including Mobile, Alabama – on the Gulf of Mexico.
Over the next few weeks I will be releasing the names of the cities we will be making stops in and writing about my travels there setting up the route, hotels and food. It will be an event you will not want to miss!