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Cycling vacation, SE destination?

Old 05-12-16, 08:56 AM
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Juan Foote
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Cycling vacation, SE destination?

The wife surprised me with an announcement that she would like to do a small bicycle oriented vacation in early June. I have been looking around for a good place to go, WITH other things to do along the way.

She prefers to be on MUP or separated bikeway when and if possible. If not, light and slow traffic will be a must.

I have considered doing the Silver Comet trail, but there really isn't anything to DO just off the trail unless you just really like half dead country towns and meth ridden motels.
We considered Callaway Gardens, but they only have 10 miles of trail there, so we will be finished riding the whole garden the first day...
We are trying our best to avoid doing Florida (again) both due to heat, and the fact that we have been there several times on our last getaways.

Can any of you suggest some places to go with paved (rail to) trail or the like that is up to or over 40-50 miles and has things to do on or short distance from the trail?
Decent accommodations and dining nearby would be a plus. No camping for this one, as I am not outfitted for carrying that gear yet.
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Old 05-12-16, 08:22 PM
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Is this a credit card tour, where you carry clothes and stay in motels or B&Bs?
Or stay in a base location and do day ride loops from there?

Google Map's Bicycle option shows trails once you are zoomed in to the '10 mile' legend size. See the green or brown trails begin to show on the map. If you zoom way in, to about the "500 foot" legend, the name of the trail is repeated down the trail, so you can google it for more info.

Long, paved, and local attractions will be sort of difficult to combine. You can find any two of these a lot easier.

It "usually" shows unpaved trails in brown, but that's fairly recent, and some trails I know are crushed stone are in green.
For example: North Florida google bike map.

Last edited by rm -rf; 05-12-16 at 08:35 PM.
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Old 05-12-16, 09:50 PM
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This one will be a "CC" tour requiring stay at hotel/motel or (as you mention) a central location.

Thing is that I don't know anything about such a place. I found railtotrail and trailink, but the volume of info to look through topped with simply not knowing the area led me to ask and hopefully glean some details about the what to do aspect along the way.
I would say that the entertainment along the way aspect will likely be less important given how tired I expect the wife to be, but a good place to stay and/or eat without having to deal with some state road main street area will be critical.

My mention of the Comet was from experience. We used to live a couple of miles from the Mavell trailhead and I rode there a lot out to Coots Lake. Some of those areas are pretty sketchy just off the trail looking for food and such.

I would really like to do this type of thing in the glades, just not this time of year.
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Old 05-13-16, 08:08 AM
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Bike the Kentucky Bourbon Trail - Kentucky Bourbon Trail

Okay, it's only kind of in the SE. It's more roads (with hills) than MUP. But it sounds pretty awesome to me. I might know somebody working on making a 3 day tour out of it and they said the KY bourbon people were awesome and the roads had very little traffic.
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Old 05-13-16, 08:29 AM
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It's not exactly the Southeast, but the GAP trail in Pennsylvania would be a great option. Lots of towns along the way where you can stop for meals, lodging or bike shops. It runs through a fantastic state park, Ohiopyle. It connects with the C&O Canal trail in Cumberland, MD, which runs all the way to Washington DC. The C&O is another option, but there are several stretches where there are basically no services for 40-50 miles. I've ridden the entire GAP-C&O trail twice, staying at hotels, inns or B&Bs along the way. We averaged about 60 miles/day but you could easily ride the GAP averaging 30-40 miles/day.

Another option is the Natchez Trail Parkway in TN, AL and MS. The entire route is more than 400 miles but you could ride shorter segments. I haven't ridden the Natchez but have heard good reports about it. It's comparable to the Blue Ridge Parkway except much flatter terrain.

The Blue Ridge Parkway and Skyline Drive are worth considering if you are strong riders. However, there are stretches where you would need to ride considerable distances over challenging terrain to find lodging.

I would encourage you to research other routes at the Rails-to-Trails organization's website. They have descriptions and maps of bike trails all over the country, and you can search for routes by state.

Bike Trails, Walking Trails & Trail Maps | TrailLink
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Old 05-13-16, 12:37 PM
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Originally Posted by Podagrower View Post
Bike the Kentucky Bourbon Trail - Kentucky Bourbon Trail

Okay, it's only kind of in the SE. It's more roads (with hills) than MUP. But it sounds pretty awesome to me. I might know somebody working on making a 3 day tour out of it and they said the KY bourbon people were awesome and the roads had very little traffic.

OMG!!!! As much as I like bourbon I would be the one having to be drug out of all the stops and gift shops for a change.....
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Old 05-13-16, 12:41 PM
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Originally Posted by tarwheel View Post
It's not exactly the Southeast, but the GAP trail in Pennsylvania would be a great option. Lots of towns along the way where you can stop for meals, lodging or bike shops. It runs through a fantastic state park, Ohiopyle. It connects with the C&O Canal trail in Cumberland, MD, which runs all the way to Washington DC. The C&O is another option, but there are several stretches where there are basically no services for 40-50 miles. I've ridden the entire GAP-C&O trail twice, staying at hotels, inns or B&Bs along the way. We averaged about 60 miles/day but you could easily ride the GAP averaging 30-40 miles/day.

Another option is the Natchez Trail Parkway in TN, AL and MS. The entire route is more than 400 miles but you could ride shorter segments. I haven't ridden the Natchez but have heard good reports about it. It's comparable to the Blue Ridge Parkway except much flatter terrain.

The Blue Ridge Parkway and Skyline Drive are worth considering if you are strong riders. However, there are stretches where you would need to ride considerable distances over challenging terrain to find lodging.

I would encourage you to research other routes at the Rails-to-Trails organization's website. They have descriptions and maps of bike trails all over the country, and you can search for routes by state.

Bike Trails, Walking Trails & Trail Maps | TrailLink
I am not sure either of us are up to the BRP, but it sure is pretty up there. I will look at the Natchez, thx.

Traillink is awesome, but a LOT of info to dig through (as I currently am).

I am giving strong consideration to heading down to Columbus (GA) to check out the Riverwalk and Fall Line Trace. All said there are nearly 40 miles there, which would be great for two days and lots of stops at the attractions.
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Old 06-04-16, 10:56 PM
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I'm not sure about "half dead country towns and meth ridden motels" in reference to the Silver Comet Trail, but I have lived in the west Atlanta area all my life and ride parts of the SCT several times a week and know not of what you speak.

The Eastern end is a thriving suburb with connecting trails around a major mall and the new Braves stadium. As you ride West there are towns that have developed cycle-friendly amenities.

Admitted, the SCT isn't the most scenic ride in America (horse farms, rivers and a very challenging hill,) but neither is it a run for your life through urban ghettos.

BTW, plans are underway to connect the SCT to the Atlanta Beltline.
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Old 06-05-16, 05:25 AM
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Originally Posted by Photodoug View Post
I'm not sure about "half dead country towns and meth ridden motels" in reference to the Silver Comet Trail, but I have lived in the west Atlanta area all my life and ride parts of the SCT several times a week and know not of what you speak.

I used to live near Mavell Rd and have put quite a few miles out there. The comment is in reference to the hotel reviews I was reading, as well as personal experience. Yes, there is a lot of quaint. Also, there is a lot of sketchy out there, and people have died from it.

Where a good deal of Georgia's larger cities are embracing cycling and adding more infrastructure every day, the rural areas of Georgia are, much of the time, best avoided unless you live there. This is backed up in the lack of touring blogs you see outside the quick jaunt up the coast for AC....I would be willing to bet that a good number of the citizens living right off the SCT don't even realize it's there OR what it's for.

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Old 06-05-16, 05:31 AM
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In reference back to the purpose of the thread...we are likely looking at staying in Chattanooga and enjoying the Tenn Riverwalk along with all the touristy stuff that city has to offer, or to go to Columbus to do the same thing.
I think the thing that really chaps my ass about this is that I can FLY to Vegas and stay in a true four/five star hotel or casino at about HALF the cost of a decent room alone in Chatt.
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Old 06-05-16, 09:40 AM
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"Used to live" is the key phrase here. A lot has changed along the SCT in respect to crime, infrastructure and community involvement. The trail is now a key part of a rapidly growing trail system in the metro area.

That being said, I ride the SCT primarily because it is convenient. 'nuff said...

Chattanooga is a great destination. River Walk, the aquarium, riverboat trips, decent restaurants. A lot has changed since I was a kid.

It's only a short drive from where I live plus we have friends who live there, so I don't have to use the hotels. I'm not surprised they are overpriced.The town is a real attraction and they know it.
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