Advertise on Bikeforums.net



User Tag List

Results 1 to 10 of 10
  1. #1
    Senior Member shipwreck's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Posts
    941
    Mentioned
    6 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Mississippi River trail this summer.

    Been wanting to do this trip for several years now, and it looks like I can finaly make time this summer. Talked to some of the people involved in the routes development(very nice people they were)and have researched it as much as possible on the web, which is not as much as one would think. I got the guide book that was written a few years ago, and while it is a couple years old it is really well written and the author has current updates on his website. I was informed that an updated version of the book is planned.
    I was told that about twenty people a year get a certificate of completion from the MRT organization. Not a lot, really. And thats one of the things that makes this route seem neat to me. I lived in Pittsburg KS on the transam and saw that many in a week at times. So this route is still sort of unsung, though the few travelouges that I found seemed to think favorably of it. Did some of the trail thru Illinois and Missouri myself a few years ago, and it was pretty nice, despite being late winter, rainy and windy. I managed to keep on it with only the most basic que card for three hundred miles of that trip, so with the guide it should be a bit easyer. It has some recomended stops that I was not aware of on that trip as well, so that will add some interest to the whole thing.

    There are some potential negatives, in that it seems to end at a pretty grotty petro industrial area in the southermost part of LA. No place for a beer nor a scenic wonderland, just a sign telling people that if they wish to continue south, swimming is the only option.(even the guidebook admits its sort of a disapointment) Its akward to get to the start at lake itasca, and then having finished, a long slog back to New Orleans and the airport/train/car rental. It is generaly assumed that one starts at the headwaters of the river and rides south, and as I learned on my portion of the trail that should give you lots of headwinds.

    But in all, it seems a fairly adventurous trip, with some ground broken but not over used. It passes through some citys, using the bike infrastucture there wherever possible. I am planning on doing it in June and some of July, those being the only months that I can spare from my small business. There will be lots of bugs, and no doubt record amounts of rain, probably stupidly high heat. But as I have already drawn lines on the guidbook to cut it down on the bandsaw, and am fiddling about with tents, hammocks, and bug sprays, deciding what bike to take and listing what needs to be done to the one that is selected before riding it 2500 miles, Buying a new cookset(Brunton IB, have done some testing and am pretty happy), debating what sleeping bag to take, tossing around panniers, and looking into train or bus tickets, as far as I am concerned the trip has begun.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Cyclebum's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    NE Tx
    My Bikes
    Tour Easy, Linear USS, Lightening Thunderbolt, custom DF, Raleigh hybrid, Felt time trial
    Posts
    2,664
    Mentioned
    2 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Sure hope you'll journal this adventure, hopefully on www.crazyguyonabike.com. Maybe you've already got this book.
    The bicycle is one of the great inventions of mankind. Delights children, challenges young men to feats of daring, and turns old men into boys again.--Me

  3. #3
    Senior Member shipwreck's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Posts
    941
    Mentioned
    6 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Thanks Cyclbum, I do have that book, but the reviews on Amazon are helpfull as well. Seems there are a couple left/right errors that I need to pencil in, and also need to take other maps to suplement the limited ones in the book. THey only show the actual route, and misses some towns just a tiny bit off the route.

    There are some who say that there are roads on the route that are not really biker friendly, and they may be right, but since almost all of my touring has been on self planned directions, I have ridden some pretty unfriendly pavement...

    Really looking forward to Hannibal MO. On my last trip that ran thru there(not the whole MRT, just part of it worked into a different trip), stopped at a Bordeaux pizza parlor and did the all you can eat. After three weeks on the road, that was a lot. Sort of came to surrounded by plates while the locals watched with some concern. Left in a haze and then pulled a nice little hill sloshing over with pizza to the Mark Twain cave campground where I terrified a lot of RV campers with my homeless look while repairing my old cannondale panniers. And was starving just five hours later. This is the stuff that makes touring fun...

    Not a great journaler. For one thing, librarys seemed far and few, with spotty hours when they were available. I may write one as a locater for anyone who wanted to join me for a day or so, fleshing it out later. And I feel bad doing a journal on crazyguy, cause as a broke artist I don't have much to kick in to the webmaster there.

  4. #4
    On a Mission from God FunkyStickman's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Thibodaux, LA
    My Bikes
    Custom chopper, Surly LHT
    Posts
    1,990
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Since I live in south Louisiana, I can vouch for there not being much at the end of the river. I think you'd be better served finding some nice places to visit nearby, like bayou Lafourche, and maybe Grand Isle. Once you get south of New Orleans, roads and drivers get pretty bad. Let us know if we can help in any way!

  5. #5
    Senior Member shipwreck's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Posts
    941
    Mentioned
    6 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by FunkyStickman View Post
    Since I live in south Louisiana, I can vouch for there not being much at the end of the river. I think you'd be better served finding some nice places to visit nearby, like bayou Lafourche, and maybe Grand Isle. Once you get south of New Orleans, roads and drivers get pretty bad. Let us know if we can help in any way!
    After New orleans the road given is ST bernard, through the state park, then down 39. The end of the trail is past boothville and venice. There may be camping at one of those towns, looking into that. I will not stealth camp in LA. The Book recomends not taking 23 all the way back to NO as it gets hairy on that road.

    Lucky for me one of my friends parents and sister live in NO, along with several decent sorts I went to grad school with, and there are a couple of roadys in those familys which I have met and seemed to get on a bit with me. So, I was thinking about dareing and taunting them to ride down to the end with me, thereby possibly being able to get a ride back to the city with thier sag, or talking them into camping and riding back the next day. I would then no doubt be lionized and carried about on the shoulders of all my slothfull, admiring and drunken friends for a couple days before being trundled into a rental car or whatnot to return home.

    As to any other destinations, the only thing I really want to see is a hot sauce factory. Passed a lot the last time I drove through, but it was a monday, and all were closed? Looking forward to the cooking in your neck of the woods, Couple platters of mudbugs sounds good, and a hotdog from a street vendor is on the menu as well.

    Oh, and I like the pedals on your trucker. Debating whethor or not to take my old sks quills or spd on this trip. as a sandals and socks dork, just not sure.
    Last edited by shipwreck; 02-11-12 at 12:48 PM.

  6. #6
    On a Mission from God FunkyStickman's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Thibodaux, LA
    My Bikes
    Custom chopper, Surly LHT
    Posts
    1,990
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Thanks, sounds like you've got a pretty good plan already in place! Let us know when you're getting close, there's a big bike club in Houma that would love to chat with you. Tons of cyclists around here, though most are fair-weather. Looking forward to hearing about your ride!

  7. #7
    Dirt Bomb sknhgy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Illinois
    Posts
    2,598
    Mentioned
    3 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    So what's better, north to south or south to north? Seems south to north would give more tailwinds. I live a half mile off the trail in Illinois.
    more cops have been killed by donuts than guns in chicago it is a medical fact ask any doctor.

  8. #8
    Senior Member shipwreck's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Posts
    941
    Mentioned
    6 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by sknhgy View Post
    So what's better, north to south or south to north? Seems south to north would give more tailwinds. I live a half mile off the trail in Illinois.

    I asked the person involved with the trail development about this. They told me that to thier knowledge no one really rode it in the south to north direction when attempting the whole trail.

    How are the winds in June and July compared with April? Would really like to know. If they are bad, then I might just rethink the direction. Problem is, I have often thought about offering my services by riding in the opposite direction of other riders(for a fee). As I have never really had a tailwind, they therefore would. Seriously. Once in southern central Arkansas I was stopped at a grocery, and someone who said they rode asked where I was headed. when I told him, he shook his head and said, gee, to bad. The wind never blows this way usualy. So realy, the law of infinite perversity would almost certainly dictate that this would be the freaky summer that the wind blew the wrong way. I actualy have one friend who hates to ride with me because of this...


    When I was riding the section of it I did in Illinois(from about Moline to Hannibal I think), there was so much headwind that I was only making about 50 mile days. It was averaging twenty to thirty with some gusts to forty. This was in April a few years ago. Once I missed a turn, and at five miles an hour it took me forty minutes to get to a marked intersection, determine I was lost, and turn around. My speedo said I was doing 35 or so, with no effort at all, all the way back to the missed turn, it felt like a giant hand pushing me along. At Nauvoo IL after a grinding 65 mile day fighting the wind I simply cast myself down on the ground and slept without a tent, I was to tired to bother with it. At that State Park I saw a group of young cyclists were also staying there. They were going south to north, and had been making 70 mile days as novice cyclists(they were not doing the whole trail).

    I feel I should add, I try not to be bitter about wind. Instead I put my head down and pretend that I am just riding really fast!
    Last edited by shipwreck; 02-11-12 at 10:19 PM.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Cyclebum's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    NE Tx
    My Bikes
    Tour Easy, Linear USS, Lightening Thunderbolt, custom DF, Raleigh hybrid, Felt time trial
    Posts
    2,664
    Mentioned
    2 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    No way to forecast wind with much certainty, as you well know. The weather people do good to get it right for 24 hrs. That being said, I'd feel more confident riding south to north, especially in the Spring. Winter, north to south. OTOH, NO is a one of the best destination cities in the US.

    I joke that when two cyclists meet going opposite directions, each will have a headwind.

    When in NO, stop by K Paul's Kitchen on Chartres Street and give my regards to the chef. He invented blackened red fish, depleting the Gulf of the species.

    chef paul.jpg

    Meeting Chef Paul while on tour.
    Last edited by Cyclebum; 02-11-12 at 10:36 PM.
    The bicycle is one of the great inventions of mankind. Delights children, challenges young men to feats of daring, and turns old men into boys again.--Me

  10. #10
    Dirt Bomb sknhgy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Illinois
    Posts
    2,598
    Mentioned
    3 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    It seems like the prevailing wind is from the south in the warmer months. At least here in the St. Louis area it is. I've talked to tourers going north to south who were really having trouble with the wind.
    more cops have been killed by donuts than guns in chicago it is a medical fact ask any doctor.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •