I'm new to bike touring, and am planning to ride with a friend from New Orleans to Donaldsonville and hanging out for a couple of days before riding back to home. Has anyone ridden on this leg of the Mississippi River Trail? If so can you recommend places to sight see, eat, and sleep (hotels,airbnb)? Also since this is my first out of town bike jaunt, please chime in with what sort of gear and tools we'll need? What should we wear and pack etc. Since this is a girls trip I'd love to hear from fellow lady cyclist as well. Thanks!
Last edited by deadletterchoir; 05-23-15 at 08:01 PM.
I rode the reverse direction 3 years ago. You mention the MRT so I expect you'll ride up the levee trail then take the ferry across the river from Reserve to Edgard. After you pass the airport you'll come upon Destrahan Plantation - the oldest along the river. Then you'll go through the Bonnie Carrie spillway - I was just in N.O. and stopped there for some great bird watching including some roseate spoonbills. Crossing to the West Bank you follow La 18 which passes quite a few plantations including Evergreen, Whitney Plantation, Laura Plantation, Oak Alley, St Joseph Plantation, and Houmas House. Once you get to Donaldsonville you can take a short trip down Bayou Lafourche and see yet another plantation - Palo Alto which is not open to the public but owned by some of my distant relatives - be sure to wave for me
As I recall it was about 70 miles from the Orleans/Jefferson Parish line to Donaldsonville. And of course as you heading upriver, it will be all uphill with a net elevation gain of about 26 feet. Hope you have a great trip.
(Posting again after my phone kept submitting before I finished!)
Are you riding on the Westbank or Eastbank? I rode the Westbank levee trail to Hahnville and back one Sunday morning, ended up being a nice 70-mile roundtrip (in spite of the torrential downpour we hit.) All the way to Donaldsonville looks like about 84 miles one-way if you follow the river. @mveloman that Eastbank route sounds grand. I've long wanted to ride up to Carville, visit the leprosarium and camp out there.
The Westbank levee trail is unpaved at points so you might have to divert down to the River Road for those sections; weekday traffic can be heavy with lots of large trucks due to the many industrial sites along the river and there's not a lot of shoulder in places so watch out for that. If memory serves there were a number of convenience stores along the route so topping off water bottles/snacks was never a huge issue. Of course keep an eye on the weather, if a big storm blows in quickly you'll want to get off of the levee if you see any lightning at all! Of course I can't speak to the section of the route past Hahnville.
Gear and tools, basic stuff I imagine - patch kit, pump, multitool. I like to take a first-aid kit along. Might be helpful to line up someone to be on deck to make a pickup run if you have an unfixable breakdown since you'll be within driving distance of New Orleans.
Awesome advice @rcschafer! We're starting the journey on the Eastbank because, well that's the side we live on and we can park our cars at friends house who lives right off the trail. Good call on the first aid kit. Will we need bike shorts? Sneakers ok for the journey?
Will we need bike shorts? Sneakers ok for the journey?
Regular shorts and sneakers would be ok I guess, depends on how comfortable your bike is, how much you're hauling and how far you're riding each day. I'd do a trip like that on my touring bike with a few panniers for gear; I typically wear non-cotton quick-dry shorts and Keen sandals in that mode.
You might want to review some of the many bike touring guides out there for ideas on what to pack, how to pack it, how to plan your trip, etc.