Author Topic: Shortest route, Natchez to Asheville to Vermont  (Read 415 times)

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Offline BikeFree7

Shortest route, Natchez to Asheville to Vermont
« on: April 17, 2014, 12:17:30 pm »
Hi all,

I am currently in El Paso, Texas, on my way from San Francisco to Vermont via parts of the Southern Tier, Natchez Trace and Blue Ridge Parkway. I need to get home (Hyde Park VT) by June 10th to graduate from high school, so my route can't be too winding. I will be following the Southern Tier until Deridder, LA, then heading North on US 171 North to Leesville and SR 28 and US 84 East to Natchez, MS where I will join the Natchez Trace Parkway (a connecting route I found on the forum). I want to take the Natchez Trace until Jackson, or maybe Tupelo, but if it is possible to bike through Tuscaloosa and Birmingham AL on a more direct route to Asheville NC, I would prefer to do that, as I don't have much time. From Asheville, I will take the Blue Ridge and Skyline Drive all the way to Fort Royal.

From there, I would like to get to New Haven Connecticut to take the Farmington Canal Trail to Northampton. Does anyone know this trail? It seems like a pretty direct route, though it doesn't sound like it is all paved and that could be problematic. I am on a surly disc trucker with medium sized tires, and biking on dirt or gravel would not work because I need to move quickly. None of the ACA routes go where I want to for this section, and I don't have the luxury of time, so I really need to take the fastest route that is still bicycle friendly. I can deal with heavy traffic as long as there is a shoulder, though I prefer secondary paved roads even if they don't have a shoulder. It is hard to tell which roads are safe to ride from AAA and Google maps which are my main resources. Bike routes are great, but they are often out of the way.

 The one thing is, I really want to bike the whole length of Vermont, as it is my home and I love it, so I will have to further East which means more congestion. It seems like going through Philadelphia and New York would be totally crazy, am I right? So far, I have been stealth camping and staying with Warm Showers the whole way, I can't afford to stay at motels or campgrounds, and I am worried that it will be difficult to find places to camp as I go further east because it is so populated. Can anyone speak to this?

I am comfortable biking 60-90 mile days, though I will need to take some rest days along the way and there's no saying what kind of injuries I will run into. So it's a bit of a long shot to try to get all the way home by June 10th, but I think it is possible if I can figure out a safe, relatively direct route. What do you think?

Offline mdxix

Re: Shortest route, Natchez to Asheville to Vermont
« Reply #1 on: April 17, 2014, 01:00:53 pm »
From there, I would like to get to New Haven Connecticut to take the Farmington Canal Trail to Northampton. Does anyone know this trail? It seems like a pretty direct route, though it doesn't sound like it is all paved and that could be problematic.
Yes, this is all paved. This includes both the sections from New Haven to Cheshire and the one from Farmington to Westfield. There may be a few short sections of the Farmington Canal Trail on hard packed dirt that I am forgetting. I only remember that the entire route was very pleasant (made a short video of it).

Offline BikeFree7

Re: Shortest route, Natchez to Asheville to Vermont
« Reply #2 on: April 17, 2014, 01:02:34 pm »
Thanks so much! Sounds like a great route.

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Offline John Nettles

Re: Shortest route, Natchez to Asheville to Vermont
« Reply #3 on: April 17, 2014, 05:36:11 pm »
If you decide to go to Tishomingo, MS, on the Natchez Trace, I can get you to Asheville on lower-traffic roads.

I can also get you to Tuscaloosa from Kosciusko (also on Natchez Trace).

If you can get from Tuscaloosa to Weaver, AL, you can take the Chief Ladiga Trail (a paved rail trail) to Smyrna, GA (NW of Atlanta) where you can connect to other trails to get you to Coventry, GA.  If you can get from Coventry to anywhere between Seneca, SC and Highlands, NC, I can get you to Asheville on lower-traffic roads.

From Front Royal, you can take the W&OD paved trail to Washington, DC (trail starts in Purcellville, VA) where you can connect with Atlantic Coast Route which would bisect the Canal Trail.  Another option is to ride along the coast in NJ and come thru NYC that way (via ferry on the rough parts) and take the various trails north of NYC to Poughkeepsie and connect with the AC route there.

If any of these sound good, contact me privately and I will see about getting you the route.

John
Happy trails and may the wind be at your back!
John

Offline BikeFree7

Re: Shortest route, Natchez to Asheville to Vermont
« Reply #4 on: April 20, 2014, 03:57:10 pm »
If you decide to go to Tishomingo, MS, on the Natchez Trace, I can get you to Asheville on lower-traffic roads.

I can also get you to Tuscaloosa from Kosciusko (also on Natchez Trace).

If you can get from Tuscaloosa to Weaver, AL, you can take the Chief Ladiga Trail (a paved rail trail) to Smyrna, GA (NW of Atlanta) where you can connect to other trails to get you to Coventry, GA.  If you can get from Coventry to anywhere between Seneca, SC and Highlands, NC, I can get you to Asheville on lower-traffic roads.

From Front Royal, you can take the W&OD paved trail to Washington, DC (trail starts in Purcellville, VA) where you can connect with Atlantic Coast Route which would bisect the Canal Trail.  Another option is to ride along the coast in NJ and come thru NYC that way (via ferry on the rough parts) and take the various trails north of NYC to Poughkeepsie and connect with the AC route there.

If any of these sound good, contact me privately and I will see about getting you the route.

John


Hi John,

How do I contact you privately? I don't know how to do that on the app which is all I have access to. I tried to send you a message but I'm not sure if it worked.

I would love to hear about the route from Tishomingo to Asheville. As for the section from Front Royal to Brattleboro VT, the Atlantic coast route is so meandering and I need to be moving quickly, so I would like to try to find a more direct route to the canal trail. Maybe I'm just being unrealistic trying to find a direct, bike friendly route though, what do you think?

Thank you so much for your help!
Sonya

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Offline John Nettles

Re: Shortest route, Natchez to Asheville to Vermont
« Reply #5 on: April 21, 2014, 09:12:12 pm »
I replied to your message.  You can also contact me directly at J0hn at nettles family com (no space between nettles and family).
Happy trails and may the wind be at your back!
John