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Natchez Trace- April 19-22, 2009


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Any suggestions for things to see, eat, sleep on, avoid? I'll be riding down from NY (2 day ride to the Trace), doing the Trace N to S (2 days), then either riding it back N or taking some other three or four day route back home.

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The northern 45 miles or so has more hills and lots more curves. After that, it's flatter and really pretty boring...unless you stop and see the historical sites along the way. Be sure you top off frequently, as gas stations are not as handy.


Up here (it starts in Nashville), there are some interesting places to see. The Loveless Cafe is a good eat. A few miles down, stop and explore a wonderful bridge (several world records). Then about 15 miles further get off and visit Pucketts for great bbq (in Leiper's Fork, TN).


Watch for deer and turkeys and bicycles!

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Get off the Trace at Kinderhook, TN, Highway 7 and take Fly Rd to Papa Boudreaux's in Santa Fe, TN, linky . He's an LA transplant with the real deal food.


Incidentally, I've heard performance awards are down on the Trace. No patrol cruisers noted the last time I "spiritedly tested" it. Of course, YMMV. Oh yeah, mind the bicycles riding 6 abreast on blind curves.


Sounds fun!

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I've wanted to ride the Trace for some time but have been discouraged by other's reports of the ride. From my reading, I understand that the road is not particularly great, the speed limit is restrictive and enforced, and the sights not all that spectacular from a historical or 'great views' perspective.


Still, if you've experience the BRP, Cheohala Skyway, NC, W.VA, TN, and north GA mountain roads and are just looking for something new, then enjoy ... weather should be great.


On the other hand ... if you have the time to spend and haven't done the great roads of the Blue Ridge region, I would reconsider. If you were to post 'I have a few days to explore the southland ... where would you go' ... the Trace might not receive a mention but you'd be flooded with suggestions.

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I've done the Cherahola, the Dragon twice, the entire BRP once and parts other times, as well as a lot of parallel NE/SW roads in VA, NC, WV and TN. I figure that I'll do the Trace N to S, and if that's enough follow the Mississippi N to Memphis, then cross TN W to E, maybe do the Cherahola again and head N for more of WV on the way home. I only have 7 days, 2 to get past Nashville, two to get to Natchez and three to get home. 500 miles a day is my usual pace. Any other suggestions welcome. Thanks for the advice.

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If you have time in your schedule, Hwy 64 might be a better (scenically(?) speaking) choice of route west to east across southern TN from Memphis. I-40 from Memphis to Nashville is the most boring desolate stretch of road in the entire south, suitable only for an Iron Butt SS1K b/c you'll eat up miles trying to hurry through it! That is of course my personal gratuitous assertion. :grin:

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  • 2 months later...

OK, I rode it today, and everyone was right. Only the TN part is fun, albeit not challenging, motorcycling. The rest is just relaxing, pretty and worth doing ONCE. The only cops I saw were in TN, writing tickets for 2 cagers this morning. I stuck within 10MPH of the posted 50 and cruised on through. The one gas station, at mile 192, is closed. MS does not seem to be viewable from satellites, like Cheney's home, so the GPS often showed me off the road. I did get 41 MPG, when I'm used to 34 to 36, Interstates maybe 38..

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OK, I rode it today, and everyone was right. Only the TN part is fun, albeit not challenging, motorcycling. The rest is just relaxing, pretty and worth doing ONCE.


This was exactly the conclusion I came to after doing the same ride exactly a year ago. I would not go out of my way to ride the Trace again, especially through Mississippi.



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Thanks for following up with this summary post.


A few questions:

How long did the Trace run take?


Were you able to take in any of the suggested sights posted here before the trip?


Any further details / comments on the south end?


You didn't clip any turkeys?


I caged the north end this time last year and agree with your comments - relaxing and worth the trip once. I think it's a more appropriate run on bikes (the ones with pedals) and camping gear except I wonder about bugs at the southern end.

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