Author Topic: Nashville ---> New Orleans Ride Report  (Read 906 times)

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Offline Ty0604

Nashville ---> New Orleans Ride Report
« on: September 28, 2021, 06:06:42 pm »
Recently finished up a ride from Nashville to New Orleans on the Natchez Trace Parkway and the ACA's Great Rivers South route and thought I'd share a bit about my ride.

Day 1: Nashville --> Meriweather Lewis (76.46 miles) Getting from Nashville to the Northern Terminus of the NTP was kind of sketchy. It's about 16 miles from downtown to the NTP. I rode Highway 100, a busy four lane highway void of any shoulder. Once you get on the NTP it's smooth sailing to Meriweather Lewis. The Loveless Cafe before the NTP is your last option for anything until the next day. It's hilly leaving the city and it'll be a nice workout. There is a bicycle camp at MP408 (23 miles before Meriweather Lewis) but if you like history, the camp at Meriweather Lewis is near the spot where the famed expedition leader committed suicide at in 1809. His grave is a short walk from the camp. Potable water available. Free.

Day 2: Meriweather Lewis --> Colbert Ferry, Alabama (66.15 miles) More hills as you head south. Collinwood is a short ride off the trace. Has a visitors center and restaurants. Free bicycle camp at Colberts Ferry. Potable water and electric.

Day 3: Colberts Ferry ---> Tupelo, Mississippi (65.94 miles) The only "gas station" on the official map is long ago closed. I did notify park officials so it could be removed. Otherwise a long stretch of nothing. NTP Headquarters are located at Parkway, just north of Tupelo. They have a free bicycle camp there but unsure of the amenities. I opted for a hotel in Tupelo. The city isn't very pedestrian friendly as it lacks sidewalks and crosswalks. Birth place of Elvis, the house he was born in is a short ride from the NTP.

Day 4: Tupelo ---> French Camp (95.45 miles) There is a free campground 13 miles north of French Camp called Jeff Busby but opted for the Bed & Breakfast in French Camp, a town centered around an academy for at risk youth. Had the B&B to myself that night. $115. Restaurant and Dollar General in town.

Day 5: French Camp ---> Madison (92.64 miles) The Cypress Swamp outside of Jackson was great as was the reservoir you'll be riding along for a bit. At the Reservoir Overlook a paved MUP gives you the first off road cycling since the route begin. Drops you off south of Jackson. Stayed with a friends parents in Madison, NW of Jackson.

Day 6: Day off in Madison: Avoid Jackson.... It's a complete disaster. One of the most disgusting cities I've ever been in IMO.

Day 7: Madison ---> Rocky Springs (55.05 miles) Be sure to stop in Historic Clinton on the way out of Jackson. Cute town. Visitors center and all amenities. Rocky Springs is a long ago abandoned outpost on the NTP that hasn't been manned since the 1980's. I was the only one in the camp that night. Bathrooms were locked and only porta potties available. Water shut off. Cockroach infested. I ended up setting up my tent in the long ago abandoned building near the entrance to the "camp." You don't really have any other options besides here though. Other camps exist but pretty far off route.

Day 8: Rocky Springs ---> Natchez (59.59 miles) Not a lot of services on this stretch. Be sure to stop by the Locust Inn, the only remaining Inn left on the NTP. Natchez State Park is just off route but opted for a hotel in Natchez even though I had reservations at the park. The NTP ends randomly without any signs on the outskirts of Natchez. Cool town. Spent the better part of the next day sightseeing around the town.

Day 9: Natchez ---> St. Francisville, Louisiana (69.68 miles) I decided to ditch the ACA route and take the direct route into Louisiana. It's 26 miles shorter I think. Highway 61 is a busy four lane highway without any shoulder but cars were all great and didn't have any issues. Once you cross the state line into Louisiana the shoulder opens up and it's smooth riding from there. 2,400' elevation gain today! Stayed at Shelby J's RV Park a few miles outside of town on Highway 10, a narrow two lane road with terrible traffic. The RV park was a mess. Cold shower and the "tent" area was under some trees behind an abandoned mobile home. $20. Electric. St. Francisville has a cool downtown area. 

Day 10: St. Francisville ---> Baton Rouge (38.22 miles) Nice ride but not a lot to see. Factories and heavy truck traffic. Stayed with a WarmShowers host and spent the day on the campus of LSU.

Day 11: Baton Rouge ---> LaPlace (75.14 miles) Was suppose to ride all the way to New Orleans today but ran out of daylight and still had 40 miles to go so caught a ride to my hotel in the city. 90*F with a 90% humidity. Mississippi River Levee Path leaves Baton Rouge and picks back up in Carville, gravel for sometime but still great riding. If not into gravel you can pick it back up in Reserve. Due to Hurricane Ida, anything south of LaPlace was badly damaged and mostly closed.

Day 12: New Orleans ---> LaPlace ---> Kenner (44.39 miles) Rode backwards along the MRLT to where I'd gotten picked up at in LaPlace and then back to Kenner where I shipped my bike home. Riding in downtown NOLA is alright but delivery trucks park in the bike lanes everywhere. Not a lot to see on the trail, just industrial.

All in all it was about 750 miles. Good short ride for anyone looking to do a mini tour :)
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