Done that route, born in Hattiesburg.
As an historical aside, did you know that Hwy49 was designated to be an interstate route, but state govt said no? With limited access, farmers in the area objected.
Our family traveled to the Jackson, MS area and the coast dozens of times over the years. We started before interstates and then couldn’t decide on the best route:
(1) I-65 to Nashville, I-40 to Memphis, I-55 to Jackson
(2) I-65 to Birmingham, then I-20 to Jackson
(3) I-70 to Illinois, down I-57, Arkansas, Memphis, I-55.
(4) I-65 to Mobile.
It turns out that these 4 routes are almost identical in distance, even the one to Mobile since it’s pretty much a straight shot.
After 60 years of this, I found that (3) is the fastest, presumably due to missing all major cities (I live on west side of Indy), except for about 10 minutes thru the corner of Memphis. I include this aside since you’re a fellow Hoosier.
Looking forward to more pics!
I’ve traveled route 3 before. Not a favourite of ours. I definitely prefer going the Nashville route. Waze suggested that this go around, but we ignored it and went the Nashville/Louisville/Indy route.
I do remember that 49 was supposed to an interstate. I remember, as a kid traveling from Gulfport to my hometown of Meridian all the time and Hattiesburg was always under construction. Had to detour by and through the college all the time. I remember having to take Hwy 11 to Hattiesburg, before 59 was completed. Man, that dates me.