Touring - Natchez Trace late in October
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09-13-11, 11:44 PM
A friend and I are planning to ride the Natchez Trace from Nashville to Natchez late in October. Our plan is to camp in the bicycle campsites mostly. I am riding a LHT and my friend is riding a Surly cross that is converted to a touring bike.
I rode an out and back century a couple years ago just North of Jackson, MS. That is the only time I have been on this road. I am looking for any tips. We plan some fairly high mileage so we can complete the ride in a week or less. Working for a living is a real pain.
Anything to avoid or other problems to watch for would be welcome knowledge.
09-14-11, 08:19 AM
My wife and I did the Trace last year in early October and found it surprisingly pleasant. I would suggest you get Glen Wanner's book, Bicycling the Natchez Trace (http://www.amazon.com/Bicycling-Natchez-Trace-Parkway-Nearby/dp/0963779834). Be sure to read the alternative routes in the back of the book. The Trace is nice riding but it can be a bit boring. Going off Trace is nice once in a while.
Some must see places: "The Wall". Tom Hendrix (http://www.natcheztracetravel.com/natchez-trace-alabama/florence-tennessee-river/456-wichahpi-stone-wall.html) has built a tribute to his great great grandmother that is astounding. The guy will talk your ear off but it's worth the time.
Stop by Fall Hollow Campground (http://www.fallhollow.com/). Bill Roper prepared us an impromptu lunch and wonderful conversation to go with it.
Plan a stop at Tishomingo State Park (http://mississippistateparks.reserveamerica.com/ms/Tishomingo/Campground/r/campgroundDetails.do?contractCode=MS&parkId=151816). Lovely area, cool suspension bridge and wonderful rustic cabins.
We diverted over to Vicksburg and had a great time riding around the battlefield. If you go off the beaten path, you can find all kinds of old trench works and forgotten monuments back in the woods.
09-14-11, 05:21 PM
I would suggest carrying a good map of MS. You will have to leave the Trace for food and often it is several miles to a town. It is more hilly on the TN section than around Jackson. There is a marginally adequate bike shop near the Northern terminus, next door to the Loveless Cafe. The Eola Hotel in Natchez seems interesting.
09-15-11, 12:17 PM
Keep your head (and ears) up when in the vicinities of Tupelo and Jackson. The Trace is used as a major thoroughfare in both of those areas, so there is quite a bit of traffic ignoring the posted speed limit. Other than that, it should be a fairly enjoyable ride.
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