Author Topic: routes, hotels, campgrounds from Encinitas, CA to New Orleans, LA  (Read 3582 times)

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Offline Surfer John

We are planing a ride from Encinitas, CA to New Orleans, LA in October and would like information and suggestions on safe and viable routes. We are endeavoring to ride about 50 to 100 miles a day and would like information on hotels, resorts and campgrounds along the way where we can stay. We're a group of fit senior men and are doing this for fun and adventure. Please share any suggestions, thoughts, opinions, etc.

Offline aggie

Re: routes, hotels, campgrounds from Encinitas, CA to New Orleans, LA
« Reply #1 on: June 25, 2010, 10:48:23 am »
The best way maybe to take the Southern Tier from San Diego to Baton Rouge.  The ACA maps have a large number of hotels and campgrounds listed.  From Baton Rouge to NO you may want to take hwy 61.  Haven't taken that road so I can't tell you what it's like.  You may want to get a LA road map and route yourself on some of the back roads.  I found hwy 190 to be just like a freeway as it parallels I10.  It may be that way with the 61 as well.

I had to spend the night camping in Langtry, Tx as the next town was too far away due to strong headwinds the time I rode it.  If you get there after 5 everything in town is closed.  There isn't much anyway.  The small store (converted gas station) sells a very limited supply of food and is on the corner where you turn to go into Langtry.  You can camp at the community center but the only facilities is a water spigot on the side of the building.  It is the large white building surrounded by a large dirt "parking lot".  Restroom facilities are in the State Park building (Judge Roy Bean) and its open from 8 to 5. 

In LA you might be tempted to use hwy 190 as a more direct route into Baton Rouge.  It's just like a freeway.  Where it crosses the Atchafalaya there is a 5 mile or so section that is just like a bridge with no shoulder and the traffic is high speed.  Definitely not fun.

Offline drmweaver2

Re: routes, hotels, campgrounds from Encinitas, CA to New Orleans, LA
« Reply #2 on: June 27, 2010, 11:00:58 am »
I'm a local New Orleanian and lived in Baton Rouge for 8 years. Went back and forth often.

My advice is to stay off Hwy 190 east of Baton Rouge at all costs. It's narrow, has a relatively high traffic load and. unfortunately my experience - even as a motorcycler on that road - is that people in cars/trucks simply do not honor your right to the highway. There's no shoulder and little to no escape area on either side of the road.

Hwy 61 ("Airline Highway") was the primary route between Baton Rouge and New Orleans prior to I-10. Since then, 18-wheelers and locals use the road - as such, you get mixed experiences. The road itself is about a Grade B - patchy but driveable in a car. There are 3 foot shoulders so it's rideable on bikes, HOWEVER, there is little to no cleanup of the shoulders so you often have to avoid the remnants of blown truck tires. There's little glass or other detritus most of the time.

I'd advise taking a look at or google maps to identify the area/spot about 1 mile west of the Louis Armstrong Airport (on Airline Hwy outside New Orleans) where you should cut towards the river. Don't ride on River Road itself. Instead, get up on the levee - it's a prepared/protected bikepath. That can be ridden for roughly 10 miles (or more, I forget). From there, you can head anywhere into the city itself - depending on your accomodations.
« Last Edit: June 27, 2010, 11:03:24 am by drmweaver2 »

Offline aggie

Re: routes, hotels, campgrounds from Encinitas, CA to New Orleans, LA
« Reply #3 on: June 27, 2010, 12:33:50 pm »
On Google Maps it looks like you can turn south of Hwy 61 on Prospect Ave in Norco.  The levee has a service road that turns into the Mississippi River Trail.  

You may want to check out this web site:  It is on the Mississippi River Trail.  You might be able to get some maps that will take you along the river and avoid the major highways.

« Last Edit: June 27, 2010, 12:56:16 pm by aggie »

Offline drmweaver2

Re: routes, hotels, campgrounds from Encinitas, CA to New Orleans, LA
« Reply #4 on: June 29, 2010, 03:42:43 am »
You do NOT want to ride the MRT/levee all the way from Baton Rouge to New Orleans - nor the River Road either. Because of the meandering route the river takes, you add 30-60 miles needlessly and gain nothing (I-10 mileage 64, Hwy 61 mileage - 66, River Road - 90-120 depending on shortcuts). Dropping onto/riding River Road for any distance is taking your life in your hands due to traffic, road condition (extremely poorly maintained and seashell strewn), and the fact that speed limits are not honored. The MRT/levee bikepath near Baton Rouge is incomplete, short and doesn't end up getting you out of the BR metropolitan area.

As far as riding the MRT from Norco to New Orleans goes, I wouldn't do it. The bikepath between Norco and Kenner is not well-maintained - you are riding on grass for significant stretches rather than pavement. There are too few convenience stores that could be used as bailout points/refreshment points for water. Heat/humidity being major concerns in Louisiana EVERY summer, this is/should be a major survival consideration (this morning it was 80F/80% humidity at 7am... the temp rose to 91 by 11am). Also, the Norco area is an industrial/oil refinery wasteland - it literally stinks. You can get through the stench fastest on Hwy 61. This is something that Google Maps will never tell you.

Approaching New Orleans, the MRT/levee bikepath from the airport going East is recommended due to its lack of traffic, condition and patroling by the Levee Board Police (in case of medical emergency/accident). They are nothing but supportive of cyclists. The only real drawback to the levee bikepath is a total lack of shade.
« Last Edit: June 29, 2010, 03:56:24 am by drmweaver2 »