Most of the time, when people think about taking a cross-country road trips, they are talking about east to west. Why not buck the trend and take a north-south journey? The Great River Road follows the Mississippi from Northern Minnesota all the way down to the Gulf of Mexico. Your surroundings will shift from forests to prairies to swamps and your culinary options will go from the hearty meats and cheeses in the North to Missouri and Tennessee bar-b-que to Cajun cooking in the deep south. While most cross-country routes were designed for transport traffic, this road was engineered with an eye toward emphasizing the river and the state's Big Muddy passes through, so you'll get pleasant meandering rather than the barrelling traffic most interstates offer.