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Memorial Day means Mid-Missourians hit the highways

Memorial Day means Mid-Missourians hit the highways

Record numbers of trips expected to be made this year nationwide

Harold Harris
Harold Harris tells how he plans to handle traffic over the Memorial Day weekend. RealVideo
Record numbers of travelers are expected to take to the road this Memorial Day weekend. And Mid-Missourians will be among those crowding the highways.

The American Automobile Association predicted that Americans will make a record number of trips this weekend. AAA estimated Americans will take 30.8 million trips in excess of 100 miles from home by way of motor vehicles, trains or planes. Of those, AAA e xpected 26.7 million trips to be made in motor vehicles.

The number of motor-vehicle trips would also be a record, representing about a one-percent increase over last year, said Mike Right, vice president of public affairs for the Missouri office of AAA.

But few Mid-Missourians seemed to be deterred by the potential for heavy highway traffic.

Lamara Warren of Columbia planned to drive to St. Louis Friday night. She has a wedding to attend today and was planning on going to a concert Sunday night.

As a missions representative at the University of Missouri-Columbia, Warren said she travels around the country talking with prospective students and alumni about M.U.

"I'm used to traveling," Warren said. "That's what we do."

But not everyone that is traveling is doing so for fun. Marci Sims of Jackson, for example, is flying to Hawaii tomorrow to move there. Sims was in Columbia Friday visiting friends.

Like Sims, Christopher Johnson's weekend travel plans have more to do with business rather than pleasure. Johnson is heading to Kansas City today to get fitted for a wedding he will be in.

Johnson said he is not deterred by the heavy highway traffic forecast for the weekend.

"It's something I've got to do," he said. "I've got to go."

Joe DeLong
Joe DeLong isn't deterred by all the people headed to Mid-Missouri recreation areas this weekend. RealVideo
Joe DeLong of Jefferson City has no obligations drawing him to the road. Still, he and his friends planned to make several trips this weekend.

"I don't really worry about the traffic," DeLong said.

DeLong, who graduated Friday from Helias High School, planned to head to the Osage River Friday afternoon to party with his friends. He also said he was thinking of going to the Lake of the Ozarks on Monday.

If DeLong does go to the Lake, he will not be alone there by any means. With Memorial Day weekend being the traditional kickoff for the summer season at the lake, at least three of the resort hotels in the area reported they have few if any vacancies for the weekend. The hotels' reservation agents said they were drawing travelers from as far away as Wisconsin and Ohio.

"Everybody gears up for this weekend," said Linda Butler, a reservation agent at the Lake Ozark Holiday Inn.

Despite the draw of the season's kickoff weekend, Butler said the actual number of people making reservations and coming down to the lake will depend on the weather.

"If the weather's great, the phones go nuts," she said. "If it rains, the phones will go nuts with people canceling."

Video courtesy of KOMU-TV. KOMU reporter Betsy Webster contributed to this report.

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Story 2002 Troy Wolverton
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