Last summer, my big biking adventure was RAGBRAI.Â It was remarkable, but I resolved then that I wasn’t going to do RAGBRAI again unless I went with someone else.Â Not that I don’t like doing things alone; I always have.Â But it’s a bit uncomfortable being alone in a huge crowd of people.Â I’d rather be alone alone.Â Â So, this year, I’ve decided to ride solo from here to New Orleans, around 600 miles.
Yes, this means that I’m not going to make the ride across Nevada, at least this year, despite SomewhereBean‘s kind invitation.Â I’m a little financially tight this summer, and the airfare to NV was going to be something of a problem.Â Besides, I just can’t seem to find the right way to phrase that one to Robin.Â “Honey, I’m going to ride my bike across Nevada with a woman I met on the Internet” just doesn’t sound quite right.Â Even when you append “Her boyfriend will be going too.”
Besides, I want to visit my sister Gerry, and this is a way to combine that visit with a bike trip.
So I’ve ordered a Bob Yak Plus from my Local Bike Shop, and I’m planning how to get from here to New Orleans.Â Conveniently enough, Tennessee and Mississippi both provide PDFs of traffic volume maps by county on the web.Â I’ve made them into overlays for Google Earth, and I’m using them to draw my route.Â I spent a fair amount of time on it this weekend, and at present I’ve made it as far as Jackson, MS, the end ofÂ the 5th day.
The plan is to head south fromÂ here into the Bootheel of Missouri, cross the Mississippi at the Dorena-Hickman Ferry, then wind up at Reelfoot Lake for the first night (a long haul this first day, but mostly dead flat).Â Â From there, through Dyersburg to Brownsville TN for a night in a motel (no parks handy).Â Then to Holly Springs, MS and a night at Chewalla Lake.Â The fourth night is at Chickasaw State Park near Houston, MS, where I join the Natchez Trace.Â I think that night five is another motel night near Jackson, MS; that’s another 100+ mile day, but it’s all straight down the Trace and should be pretty easy.Â Â Â From there it’s about three more days to Pearl River, LA, where my sister lives.Â A direct route doesn’t encounter much in the way of camping spots; if I want to hit parks and National Forest, it goes more to the east.Â I’m still working on it.