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first time poster - ride suggestions in SW KY, SE Mizz, N TN

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first time poster - ride suggestions in SW KY, SE Mizz, N TN

Old 01-03-10, 04:28 PM
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first time poster - ride suggestions in SW KY, SE Mizz, N TN

Hi - the folks in the 50+ forum sent me over...

Looking to do a ride late Mar/early April in SW KY, SE Mizz or N TN. Am living in Chicago and not hardy enough to ride here during the winter - a high of 10F today kept me watching football - but i digress. So this location will hopefully be warm enough in early April.

Wanting to do a ride for 2 couples when it gets warmer. Something over a weekend of about 100mi for the 2 days. Will drive from Chicago and don't want to drive much over 7hrs so will head S on 57 and over to 24. Second couple will join us from Cinci so that location makes it about OK. Want to stay in nicer accommodation and some nice dinners along the way to go with the scenery. Any thoughts or suggestions?

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Old 01-03-10, 05:52 PM
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IDK. Natchez Trace Parkway maybe. Peaceful, scenic, light traffic, 50 mph speed limit on all.

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Old 01-03-10, 06:04 PM
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Land between the lakes is a beautiful area but void of restraunts start to finish. I think its 46 miles from end to end. I'm sure you can find lodging and dinner in Dover.

A few miles further south you have Natchez Trace very scenic and a cyclers paradise. There are no aminities on the trace and no comercial traffic but there is bed & breakfast off the exits and great small towns just a few miles from the trace.

Good luck
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Old 01-03-10, 06:18 PM
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I've ridden in the Purchase area of Western Kentucky - that part of Kentucky that is west of the Land Between the Lakes - quite pleasant. The river towns are especially nice - the county roads are very quiet. Plus there's the Hickman/Dorena ferry over to Missouri - a wonderful way to cross the Mississippi River.

New Madrid, MO is very historic and easy to get to from Hickman. You can make it a loop by riding over the bridges at Cairo, BUT they are narrow and long.

Amtrak's "City of New Orleans is the only train that goes south of Carbondale - but it arrives and departs Fulton and Dyersburg in the middle of the night. Also, neither of those stations has baggage service. (Amtrak no longer stops in North Cairo.) Carbondale and Memphis are the closest stations with baggage service - Carbondale has three trains each day.

You might want to consider a loop out of Carbondale if you plan to Amtrak it. Carbondale is a bike-friendly town - with the TransAm and SIU. Little Egypt has great riding - but there are some hilly sections. The bridge over the Mississippi at Cape G'deau is new and lovely. That would leave just one of the Cairo bridges - over the Ohio to navigate. Or you could ride down to northern Tenn and over to Land between the Lakes - then up to the Ohio ferry crossing at Cave in Rock and follow the TransAm back to Carbondale. Still, you would have the US 79 bridge at Paris Landing (4 lanes with shoulders) and the Smithland bridge on US 60 (2 lane, narrow) over the Cumberland River.

Don't know how long you have and how much experience -
The shorter loop on both sides of the Mississippi from Carbondale could be done in a long weekend (4 days) with 50 miles days. The longer loop via Land Between the Lakes could be an easy week. The river towns all have simple motels and usually a nicer B&B.
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Old 01-03-10, 08:15 PM
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Jamawani has thrown out some very good ideas but if you truly want just two days and 100 miles, I would suggest you drive to Harrisburg, IL, leave your vehicle there and ride about 55 miles down the Tunnel Hill Trail, a rails to trails conversion, take in the nature center and then end up staying at a certain lodge on the Ohio river. They have camping there as well if you're into less expensive and more primitive. And then ride back the next day via the trail or nice available back roads. I've toured in this area countless times and can give you more specific info if you desire. BTW, late March and early April can still find the weather not so terrrific down there but of course generally better than the Windy. If you do consider some of the Ohio and Mississippi River plains, be aware that is prime flooding season and you should have alternative routes in case your original one is under water. I've been flooded out on two occasions in that area creating a lot of back tracking.


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Old 01-05-10, 01:09 PM
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Thanks for all the input! I will take some time later this week to go thru this in more detail - and may come back with more questions.... talk soon!
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