Natchez Trace is on the calendar!


Reports and stories from trips, planning of gatherings, questions about how to get there!
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C-dub
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Natchez Trace is on the calendar!

Post by C-dub »



It looks like our first big trip (biggest so far) is going to be The Trace and then back through Arkansas around the Ouachita National Forrest a bit again. We've a lot of stuff going in both of our laboratories over the next 5+ weeks, so we've planned some PTO and are going to head that way early in the second week of November. Hopefully, there will still be some decent coloring in the leaves and they haven't all fallen off yet as we go further north. We will start in Natchez and ride north.

I just saw a weather forecast this morning that the entire south and southwest are projected to be warmer than historical averages and also drier. When I checked their maps it looks like that whole area will be warmer, but only by maybe 10 degrees Fahrenheit at the most. That's fine, I'll take it. That means we might be in the 60's somewhere and at least not the 30's in the morning. Maybe!

I'm planning for up to three days on The Trace and no more. I read there is a lot to see, but my wife is not a big walker. I'm sure we will investigate as much as we can before the trip and plan on some definite stops to check out. I'm drawing a blank at the moment, but IIRC there is a really nice baseball museum somewhere along there and that might be in Jackson, MS? Anyone know the one I'm talking about? Is it not in Jackson?

One of my other big concerns is safety. Especially when stopped overnight. Crazy stuff going on in the world right now. I don't plan on staying in any big cities, Natchez might be the biggest on the whole trip. However, are there any areas along the trace that should be avoided with regards to overnight stays? Is Natchez a no-no or should we stay somewhere else and just ride through to get to the start of The Trace?

Right now, our trip looks to be around 1,600 miles, so well short of the Grand Canyon 3k mile trip we had to cancel. This will also be over 7 days, only 6 days riding, with probably no riding on the 6th day. We'll see how that goes. The first day is close to 400 miles and the three days on The Trace are less than 200 to allow for sightseeing. Just over 300 to get to our destination in Arkansas and then about 325 to get home after a day of rest in Arkansas. I think it will be a great ride and a great first "big" trip for us. If I can get her to take some pictures while we're riding instead of stopping at every turn I'll post some when we get back. The one caveat, or course, is that if the weather takes a turn a day or two ahead of the trip we will just skip the trace and go to our destination in Arkansas on the scheduled day and reschedule The Trace for another trip. I'm really hoping that won't happen again. I ride nearly every day, but I'm getting a little stir crazy for a trip.

Crime? The wife is expressing how displeased she would be to wake up and find an empty parking space where we left the bike. The day time stuff she's not so much worried about. I do have a Xena disc alarm, so no one is going to break the steering lock and hotwire it, so they'll have to pick it up somehow. Doable with the right equipment I know, but what are the odds really? Again, certain areas to avoid?


I am not and have never been a LEO. My avatar is in honor of my friend, Dallas Police Sargeant Michael Smith, who was murdered along with four other officers in Dallas on 7.7.2016.
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Re: Natchez Trace is on the calendar!

Post by tamathumper »

I wouldn't worry too much about Antifa stealing your motorcycle, most of them don't know how to ride, let alone use a manual shifter. :lol:
'03 GL1800A - Warning: fopen() [function.fopen]: failed to open stream: Sense of humor not found on line 2
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C-dub
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Re: Natchez Trace is on the calendar!

Post by C-dub »

tamathumper wrote: Mon Sep 28, 2020 4:43 am I wouldn't worry too much about Antifa stealing your motorcycle, most of them don't know how to ride, let alone use a manual shifter. :lol:
LMAO, true that!
I am not and have never been a LEO. My avatar is in honor of my friend, Dallas Police Sargeant Michael Smith, who was murdered along with four other officers in Dallas on 7.7.2016.
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C-dub
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1979 Suzuki GS850G
1983 Suzuki GS1100E
1981 Honda XL250
1975 Suzuki GT185M
1970 Suzuki TC90 dirtbike

Re: Natchez Trace is on the calendar!

Post by C-dub »

As we are getting closer it looks like we are both going to actually get our time off and we will actually make this trip.

I've been going over maps and things to do along the Trace and there's a lot. Even more not too far off of it either. Certainly more than we'll be able to see in the three days I've allotted to spend on it from bottom to top.

For those that have been there, what are a few of your top choices for must see locations? Some of the nature stuff (trails and things) appear closed due to hurricane damage even before the one in the last couple of days. I'm hoping that more are not and the entire roadway will at least be open.
I am not and have never been a LEO. My avatar is in honor of my friend, Dallas Police Sargeant Michael Smith, who was murdered along with four other officers in Dallas on 7.7.2016.
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1979 Suzuki GS850G
1983 Suzuki GS1100E
1981 Honda XL250
1975 Suzuki GT185M
1970 Suzuki TC90 dirtbike

Re: Natchez Trace is on the calendar!

Post by C-dub »

One week from now we should be on our way to Natchez.

The weather & temps look favorable. Hopefully, there will still be some leaves on the trees. Small chances of rain in a couple of spots, but we're still a week plus out. Work wise, we're still okay and our daughter and others scheduled to take care of our cats.

We are excited. After cancelling our Grand Canyon trip and all this covid crud messing with both of our hospital schedules we need some time off.
I am not and have never been a LEO. My avatar is in honor of my friend, Dallas Police Sargeant Michael Smith, who was murdered along with four other officers in Dallas on 7.7.2016.
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Re: Natchez Trace is on the calendar!

Post by julimike54 »

Y'all enjoy the trip and watch the speed limits. There are a lot of things to see along the way and hopefully the storms won't have messed it up. If your an Elvis fan you're going through his birth place and an interesting town. Good luck!
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1979 Suzuki GS850G
1983 Suzuki GS1100E
1981 Honda XL250
1975 Suzuki GT185M
1970 Suzuki TC90 dirtbike

Re: Natchez Trace is DONE!!!

Post by C-dub »

Decompressing tonight.

Full report tomorrow with pictures if I can remember how to load them to my hosting site.
I am not and have never been a LEO. My avatar is in honor of my friend, Dallas Police Sargeant Michael Smith, who was murdered along with four other officers in Dallas on 7.7.2016.
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C-dub
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Joined: Thu Aug 24, 2017 8:29 pm
Location: DFW, Texas
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Previous bikes:
2005 Hayabusa
1999 Suzuki Bandit 1200S
1979 Suzuki GS850G
1983 Suzuki GS1100E
1981 Honda XL250
1975 Suzuki GT185M
1970 Suzuki TC90 dirtbike

Re: Natchez Trace is on the calendar!

Post by C-dub »

Here we go!

Day 1, getting to Natchez:
It started out just fine and we only departed an hour later than planned around 0930. No issues at all temperature wise. We did get rained on for about 100 miles, but even that stopped before we reached Vidalia, LA. The most excitement this day was when we think were passed by Cheech & Chong's van in Vidalia. OMG the stench coming off that thing! I had to lay back to keep from getting a residual high.

We checked into the Natchez Grand Hotel without a reservation. I was trying out this new thing where I don't plan every little detail and just Wing it. Pun not intended, but not bad either. The best thing about this place was the view. We didn't have any trouble getting a room and I didn't think we would this time of year. This is actually a shot from our room the next morning.



There was no fresh clean cups in the room when we arrived and a used one was still on the window sill. All of the unoccupied rooms were still open as we walked to ours, which was also open when we arrived. It was humid, so we tried to turn the A/C on. It did not want to, so we left it hoping it would eventually come on and went for a walk outside. When we returned it had completely shut off. We had to have a maintenance person come check on it and he did something to get it working.

While we walked around downtown Natchez in the morning before checking out and getting on our way we found St. Mary's Cathedral. It's amazing! IIRC, it was started in 1846 and completed in 1852 and is the only church built in MS as a Cathedral.




Day 2, Trace Day 1:
No rain today and temps in the low-mid 60's.



This is spliced together so we can both be in the shot. It's not the best, but will do for now. We did not see one like this at the Northern Terminus to get a shot there, but we did stop for a bite at The Loveless Cafe before gassing up and heading westward.

There was a lot of storm damaged areas where many many trees had been snapped off about halfway and others completely uprooted.




The Sunken Trace:
I was amazed at just how sunken it is. It must be 12-15 feet.




Day 3, Trace Day 2:
Light drizzle all day with temps remaining in the low-mid 60's, so not too bad.
We visited Elvis' birthplace, but did not go in any of the buildings except to buy a couple souvenirs for my mom and daughter. Don't worry, no pictures of this. Just the Tennessee River, which I had no idea how big it was. Obviously not as famous or long as the Mighty Mississippi, but still impressive.




A minor break in the drizzle. There was still a serene beauty even with everything wet.




Day 4, Trace Day 3:
Still wet, but not much drizzle today. An obvious lack of leaves in Tennessee closer towards the northern terminus.




It does dry out a bit and we did find some trees that still had some leaves.




Day 5:
We stayed at our favorite place, Mountain Thyme B&B near the Ouachita National Forrest just a bit north of Jessieville. We had a heck of a time getting here because of a horrible mistake on my part. As we came down Highway 9 I turned right on Lake Winona Rd.. When I viewed this on google maps planning the route I only looked at the first 100 feet or so and noted that it was paved That ended after about 1/4 of a mile. Then my GPS said turn on something in 0.9 miles and I thought that would be paved. Sadly, no and now the road is too narrow for me to turnaround without going into a ditch or off the road completely or down the side of a mountain. So, 25ish miles later and in the dark we made it back to pavement on Highway 7 only 0.2 miles from our destination.

Day 6:
The only riding we did this day was 5 miles into town for dinner and back. The rest of the day was napping, bird, & chipmunk watching.

Day 7:
The ride home was supposed to be more incredible scenery coming across the western half of the Ouachita National Forrest and across Highway 88/Skyline Dr.. It began a light rain as we were packing the Wing in the morning, but only continued for about 20-30 miles and was beautiful after that. As we ascended the mountain on Highway 88 we drove into a cloud/fog that limited our vision to between 50-100 feet. We couldn't see a thing beyond the road in front of my front tire until descending quite a bit. Here's my shot at the Wilhelmina Lodge. It's not in the same spot as In2it's bike was for two reasons. The first being that there were already a bunch of people parked down there and the second is that even as close as we are here the lodge is still barely visible behind my wife.




That's all folks. We are already planning our next trip(s). We want to go back to Highway 88 in clear weather and my wife now wants to do Blue Ridge Parkway, The Skyline Drive, and the Tail of the Dragon.

Side note, cruising at 50 mph all day is it's own sort of challenge. We broke that up with many stops to read many of the historical markers and things. The entire trip was good and my MIL and daughter both said we looked very refreshed today when they first saw us. So, it sounds like, despite the off-roading incident, the reason for the trip was achieved.


I am not and have never been a LEO. My avatar is in honor of my friend, Dallas Police Sargeant Michael Smith, who was murdered along with four other officers in Dallas on 7.7.2016.
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