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Topics - ecosurfvolunteers

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I'm looking for input...
New Orleans (March 23, 2011) north to St Louis (with a detour to Nashville), then west to Kansas City, then north to Omaha.  From Omaha to Rapid City, South Dakota.  From there west in Wyoming to Yellowstone National Park and on up to Bozeman, Montana.

Curiosities:
Weather and wind (especially with La Nina)?
Road conditions?
Bike pathways?
Camping accommodations?
Suggested stops?
Anything else?

I will be riding a mountain bike (modified for comfort). 
I've got a tent (3 season) and sleeping bag (20 degrees). 
I was given Under Amour Cold Gear (will that be enough?).

I've done Seattle to San Diego, but I was already very familiar with the coast.  This will be entirely new to me.

The plan is to ride north out of New Orleans on March 23.  I'd like to take the MRT as much as possible.  I hear nice things about the Natchez Trace but that takes me away from the Juke Joints along the Northern Mississippi River.  So I was thinking of taking the MRT to Memphis and then head east to the Trace in Alabama and take that to Nashville.  Then head northwest to St Louis and connect with the Missouri River (possibly the Katy Trail?).

I have until May 7.  If time is running short, I was thinking of taking a bus or car from Kansas City to Rapid City.  Again, I don't know anything about this part of the country, but I figured if any part of the journey had to be expedited it should be these corn fields.

Then from Rapid City, South Dakota (Black Hills, Badlands, Mt Rushmore, Deadwood) I was thinking to head west through northern Wyoming into Yellowstone and Grand Teton, and then up to Bozeman.

Is there a more scenic route than what I am planning?
Am I going to be facing a head-wind through any (or all) of my journey?
What is Northern Wyoming like?  Is Montana nicer?  Should I follow the Yellowstone River instead?
Are the Bighorn Mountains passable?  Or am I going to get crushed?  (I heard there's something like a 10% grade!)
So many exciting questions!!!!

Please feel free to add any and all comments, questions, concerns, etc.....

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