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Route advice - (Greater) New Orleans to Kansas City (MO)

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Darkchylde:
I'm going to be moving in about a week, driving from where I'm at now to KC.

Due to limited funds, I'm going to be looking to take the shortest and quickest route, as to avoid any motel stops and try to burn the least gas. As it stands right now, the major part of my routing will be such:

I-12 West to I-55
I-55 North through Mississippi and Tennessee to US 63 in Arkansas (bypassing some of Memphis on I-240 along the way)
US 63 North to US 60
US 60 West to US 65
US 65 North to I-44
I-44 West to MO 13
MO 13 North to MO 7
MO 7 North to I-49/US 71
I-49/US 71 pretty much the rest of the way

Deviating either on I-40 to I-540 in AR (connecting via US 71 to I-49 in MO) or staying on I-55 and cutting through St. Louis would keep me on Interstates longer, obviously, but may require too much gas. (I'm using the Explorer, which I'm lucky to get 14 miles a gallon in empty, and it will be loaded down with stuff for the move.) Gas is also why I ruled out taking I-10 to Lafayette or US 190 to Opelousas and then taking 49 and 71 the whole way up from there, cutting through Shreveport, Texarkana and Fort Smith in the process. (Being able to clinch I-220 in Shreveport and therefore clinch all open current Interstate mileage in Louisiana may not be worth the extra gas.)

In the case of going along 49, I'm also worried about elevation changes.

Still, is it worth taking all those surface routings in Missouri once I make I-44, or should I just bite the bullet and head straight for 49/71 once on 44? Any little speed trap towns on that routing I should be worried about? Should I just eat the extra gas costs and just take 49 and 71 the whole way anyways? I'm asking y'all because I've never driven the part of the routing between where I-55 and US 84 interchange in Mississippi and Kansas City (and even there, I didn't get off of 70 and 670 while passing through,) nor any parts of 71 and future 49 north of Shreveport. (Either way, this would be my first time going through Arkansas.)

tl;dr - Should I stick with the shortest route (described?) Should I follow the short route, but cut over to I-49 directly once I hit I-44? Should I just cut over to I-49 in Louisiana and follow that and US 71 up the whole way (clinching I-220 in Shreveport along the way?) Or do you guys have any other ideas that I'm not seeing?

bugo:
You could take MO 96 west to US 71 north.  MO 96 is a nice little shortcut.

usends:
I will begin by admitting I have never driven this route.  But if I were to do it, under the circumstances you described, I would probably use the "shortest route" that you detailed.  Even though the segment between Memphis and Springfield is not interstate, it is 4-lane for the most part.  There are only about 80 miles of 2-lane.  Heading north from Springfield, I would use MO 13 (as opposed to US 71), since it is 4-lane and a more direct route.

There are various ways to go through Little Rock that would shave off 15-30 miles.  But these options would probably take longer, because there's more 2-lane on those routes, and the terrain north of Little Rock would probably offset any savings on fuel.

djsinco:
I-55 N to US 63 N in AR (near Turrell, AR) to US 60 W (near Cabool, MO) to US 65 N (East of Springfield, MO) to I-44W about 7 miles to MO 13N  (to Clinton, MO) then MO 7 N to KC.

This is an easy 12-13 hour drive at the speed limit, mostly all 4 lane road.

Road Hog:
Shortest route is easily US 61 to Natchez, US 65 through Arkansas to Springfield, MO 13/7 to KC.

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