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Old 12-03-2010, 07:05 PM   #1
rodr OP
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Bay Area to Nashville and Back

UPDATED: The route is mostly figured out. Nashville and the Natchez Trace will no longer be part of this trip, as my family wants to meet me in New Orleans instead. So if a mod wants to change this thread title to "Bay Area to New Orleans and Back" that would be fine with me!

Tentative start date is May 31, the day after Memorial Day. Current approximate route plan is as follows:



Each destination point represents a nightly stop. Some stops, especially New Orleans, will be more than one night and so the trip will extend to about 20 days. I'm planning about 7 nights of camping and expect to sign up for Verizon Mobile Broadband to keep up with clients and other stuff while on the road.

Routing over the mountains in California may change, depending on which passes are open. I'd really like to take Sonora Pass or Tioga Pass.

Here's a tentative summary of the schedule:

Tue May 31 Beatty, NV or maybe Texas Springs campground in Death Valley
Wed Jun 1 Prescott, AZ (camping)
Fri Jun 3 Silver City, NM
Sat Jun 4 Ft. Davis, TX (camping)
Sun Jun 5 Kerrville, TX
Mon Jun 6 Houston, TX (visiting family)
Tue Jun 7 Covington, LA (visiting a friend)
Tue Jun 9 New Orleans, LA (family gathering in the French Quarter!)
Sun Jun 12 Greenville, MS (more family)
Mon Jun 13 Sardis Cove campground, OK (camping)
Tue Jun 14 Lubbock, TX (visiting a cemetery)
Wed Jun 15 Hyde Memorial State Park near Santa Fe, NM (camping)
Thu Jun 16 Monument Valley, UT (camping)
Fri Jun 17 Bryce Canyon National Park, UT (camping)
Sat Jun 18 Bob Scott campground near Austin, NV (nothing special here, just a place to camp)
Mon Jun 19 Home (Fairfield, CA)

rodr screwed with this post 05-09-2011 at 10:25 AM Reason: Route updates
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Old 12-05-2010, 09:07 AM   #2
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I did the same ride earlier this year, you can check my route by using from page 2 onwards.

You might get some ideas from it :).
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Old 12-08-2010, 04:05 PM   #3
Jamie Z
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On your ride up the Natchez Trace, a couple of suggestions.

Rodney, MS
Windsor Ruins

I can get you coordinates if you need them, but a Google search should bring up whatever information you need. Neither site is on the Trace, but they're nearby.

Quite a few people simply ride up the Natchez Trace in one day. Sure, it's possible, but you don't get to experience the Trace as it should be. As a road, I find it kind of boring. It's mostly flat. Not too curvy except for the northern section. Low speed limit.

Unlike the similar but different Blue Ridge Parkway, which was created for the sole purpose of putting the driver in scenic locations, the Natchez Trace, almost by very definition, goes through the flattest and sometimes least interesting areas. It started as a hiking path, so necessarily the travelers took the route of least resistance.

That's not a bad thing. The gem of the Natchez Trace is its history. Though you'll quickly get tired of stopping at every wayside attraction (there's a stop every couple miles or so, on average) you should do a bit of research and find those places in which you think you might be interested. Though probably almost nobody takes this long, I recommend a couple of days to fully appreciate the length of the Trace.

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Old 12-08-2010, 04:20 PM   #4
Disco Stu
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Consider this route through the eastern side of Arizona and part of NM when heading to Houston. I did the same part this summer when I was heading westward.

1) From Eagar, AZ, take highway 191 all the way down to Clifton. You'll go through Morenci, a massive open pit mine. great switchbacks. glorious road.

2) a little south of Morenci, take Hwy 78 eastward, then hwy 180 southeast to Tyrone. Then Hwy 152 to Caballo State Park. Riding through the Gila National Forest was one of the few times I would have willingly rode bitch to admire the scenery.

Once in Texas, Highway 90 from Alpine to Comstock is pretty scenic (for west texas scenery) and you can make great time too.
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Old 12-08-2010, 08:16 PM   #5
rodr OP
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Thanks gents - it's really nice to get this excellent input from you seasoned travelers! I have updated the route in my original posting, and have split it into two maps to make it more manageable.
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Old 12-10-2010, 08:50 AM   #6
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Keep going east!

If you have the time I highly recommended taking 4 or 5 days to ride the roads between Chattanooga, TN and Asheville, NC. If you want some suggested routes I'd be happy to make a quick googlemap of favorites. The road riding is excellent and the jeep trails are good as well.

To get an idea google Tail of the Dragon, Cherohala Skyway, and Blue Ridge Parkway.


PS - As you get within 50 miles of Nashville watch out for lower speed limits and cops on the Natchez Trace Pkwy. Even on Tuesdays mornings I've found them out and about.
Every man dies but not every man lives.
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Old 02-16-2011, 09:23 PM   #7
rodr OP
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Just a note that I've updated the first two maps in my original posting. The first map now has a tentative rough destination for each evening's stopping point, and the second is changed to do less of the Natchez Trace, visiting some old stomping grounds in the MS Delta instead.

I've yet to give any more serious attention to the return route.
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Old 02-26-2011, 12:24 PM   #8
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I've updated the route again (first post) and figured out my first 6 likely stopping points:

B: Beatty, NV, the Atomic Inn. Rated #1 of 6 in that town by TripAdvisor. This town has some interesting history and is a good staging area for excursions into Death Valley.

C: Camping at one of the campgrounds in the Prescott National Forest. This site looks really nice, especially given that hotels in Prescott are expensive.

D: Motel 6 in Silver City, NM. There is nearby camping in the mountains to the East that looks good, but I don't want to camp 3 nights in a row. Every once in a while I've gotta have a shower, a comfy bug-free place for computer work and to wash some clothes.

E: Davis Mountains State Park near Ft. Davis, TX. Looks like great camping.

F: The Big Texas Inn in Kerrville, TX. Looks colorful and cheap and is in a good spot to continue my romp through Texas Hill Country.

G: Houston. With any luck my sister there will put me up. :)
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Old 05-09-2011, 10:31 AM   #9
rodr OP
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My original posting has been updated again with more routing changes. The Westbound route is mostly figured out now.

Mods, please feel free to change the thread title to "Bay Area to New Orleans and Back".
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Old 05-30-2011, 05:40 PM   #10
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OK we can call this thread done. The ride report starts here.
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