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Old 10-30-2011, 09:07 PM   #1
ejtv OP
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Talking Around and about the Natchez Trace

A thread to post my RR on my short weekend rides in the south west Mississippi-Louisiana border-western Natchez Trace area. Hoping more people who live in the area or are riding though get off the main roads and explore this beautiful area of the south that doesn't get much attention.

Enjoy!

+++++++++++++++

Here are some older RR:

Natchez State Park 3/10
Homochitto 7/10
Baton Rouge to Rocky Springs finding as much dirt as possible 1/11

Here's the first of the new RR starting Fall 2011:

Quick overnighter Baton Rouge to Rocky Springs and back to enjoy the fall weather and leaves, like the ones in this pic,...



and to test the new ultralight tarp set up.



One person tarp set up (made out of cuben fiber), titanium stakes, guy lines, carbon fiber pole and plastic floor weighs 9.3 oz and fits in a 5''x4" sack in my jacket's back pocket. 2 minutes to set up. Temp that night to just below freezing, no wind. Had a 40 degree sleeping bag, $6 mattress. Worked out OK.

Left BR late Sat afternoon, arrived at campground around 10 PM. Camp was way too loud with Halloween and all, so I found better accommodations elsewhere. 6 am at 30 degrees, just before not having fun breaking up camp.





Fall colors were great in the early morning light; not bad for this far south.













On the way back to BR, getting . This is "South of The Border", , well, south of the MA-LA border on 61. Been riding by this place for 4 years. First time stopping.



Good stuff:



And probably one of the best bread puddings I've ever had:

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Old 10-31-2011, 05:21 AM   #2
bobw
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Now I'm hungry

The Trace has some great stretches to enjoy and fantastic adjacent roads to make some fun loops. That camping set up is interesting. I have a 1 man backpacking set up and a larger 2-3 man size I choose depending on my trip. Any more details on this rig, pro/cons?

Cheers
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Old 10-31-2011, 06:07 AM   #3
motoxer
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Do you think the ultralight tarp set up would withstand the south Texas winds?
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Old 10-31-2011, 04:27 PM   #4
jakbrand
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I'm digging the tarp-tent. Could substitute rocks for tent stakes to hold the corners while camping in the desert. Is the center pole adjustable?
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Old 10-31-2011, 06:03 PM   #5
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Cuben tarps and tarp-tent rigs (mine is the Hexamid Solo made by Z-Packs) are used by ultra-light long distance backpackers along with all sorts of other ultra light gear, for example, ultralight solid fuel stoves, dehydrated food, quilts (no sleeping bags), running shoes (no boots), day packs (no backpacks), etc. They generally carry with them adjustable walking poles which they use for the pitch. The substitute carbon pole pictured here is not adjustable, but the pitch of pole and of the tarp can be adjusted depending on how much ventilation you want from the back and side walls. Cuben is 100% waterproof, so you want cross ventilation to avoid condensation. In theory, you can pitch the back wall directly to the ground in case of more severe weather. With a tarp or tarp-tent you have to substitute their shortcomings with brain matter, selection of a protected site and pitching the back wall into the direction of the wind or rain being the two most critical aspects. I have yet to test mine in the rain, but the kid who owns Z-Packs has taken it through its paces in wind, rain and snow. My estimated guess from other tents I have owned, is that this shelter will withstand sustained winds of up to 20 MPH, gusts maybe a bit higher, 25-30 MPH. I assume violent downpours would be a problem, particularly if wind changes direction.

Hope this helps.
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Old 10-31-2011, 06:10 PM   #6
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Thanks for the link.

Safe travels
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Old 11-01-2011, 01:48 PM   #7
AviatorTroy
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My God man, 185$ for a tarp? I'll stick with my 20 year old Eureka.
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Old 11-14-2011, 07:45 PM   #8
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30 hours on and around the Natchez Trace

Maybe there is no compelling reason to make a special motorcycle trip to this area of the country, but it is actually pretty good. Quite a hidden gem.

560 mile weekend ride. I started in Baton Rouge. Here are the tracks of my weekend's meandering around the Natchez area:



Nestled east of the Mississippi River, north of Woodville and South of Natchez is the St. Catherine Creek National Wildlife Refuge. I bumped into it by chance. The roads looked interesting in the topo maps I checked.













Unfortunately the ATV trails like the one above were out and back only. The managers have closed off the possibilities for loops.

These are on the east side of the refuge, trying to find roads that in the maps lead back into it, but again, closed off:





From there I headed north to Natchez via back raods, beautiful hills, picked up a burger at DQ along with what I really wanted, one of those long red plastic spoons for my dinner later on.

These pics below are on the Natchez Trace proper, riding east, waiting for night to fall and then riding up and down so I could find a nice spot to spend the night without a trace.





Testing my new Caldera Keg. Works pretty good if you are obsessive about weight yet want to retain a semblance of convenience. I use JetBoil a lot but wanted a lighter option for single track dirt bike trips where weight and bulk reduction are a must if you want to retain the handling characteristics of the dirt bike. Caldera Keg can boil 2 to 2 1/2 cups of water per solid fuel cracker, depending on temperature, enough for rehydrating a meal plus hot chocolate or coffee.



Long DQ spoon needed to eat out of the Mountain House dehydrated food. I left my titanium spoon at home...



Hot oatmeal and coffee. You can see the white fuel cracker under the aluminum cone:



The system consists of a large Foster's beer can, the caldera cone/windscreen, a lid, solid fuel cracker, titanium holder, drip pan and plastic container, stuff sack, insulating sleeve and two thick rubber bands for lip protection and handling of the hot pot. The entire system fits inside the beer can, weighs about 4.5 oz with fuel to heat up about 6 to 7 cups of water. Each additional fuel cracker weighs about .5 oz. Made by Trail Designs.

Sleeping arrangements worked well again. This time temps were in the low 50's. Still a little apprehensive about sleeping under a tarp rather than in a tent/screen...with critters, night sounds and all, but I'm getting used to it. No rain testing yet...I'm sure It'll come in due time...





Next morning, hiking around a sunken portion of the Old Trace:





The thought of walking where tens, maybe hundreds of thousands of men walked, natives and Europeans, connecting the Natchez area to the Nashville area for over 2,000 years, and along with them for maybe longer bison, deer and large game, gives me the chills everytime I visit....

Around 9 am I got off the Trace just south of Pierre Bayou and headed north east exploring several back roads until hitting Interstate 20 between Vicksburg and Jackson:







From I-20 I tried to find a way to cross the Big Black River without luck, so I got back on I 20 for a couple of miles to cross the river. Plan was to hit Oak Ridge Road, which looked interesting on the topo maps. Oakridge did not disappoint:









Then headed back south via pavement on the flats, west side of the hills and looped back to the paved portion of Oakridge heading toward Vicksburg...



...for real southern cooking: pork chops, fried chicken, mash potatoes, gravy, corn pudding, steamed veggies, rolls and sweet tea...hard to get up for the rest of the day.



Plan was then to head back toward the Trace via other back roads...





...then hook back up to the Trace at Bayou Pierre...here I am after crossing it on the way south...



still had time to explore one last side road leaving the Trace...this was a gem, obviuosly hand't been ridden in a while:





Parting shot:



The S10 performed nicely on the dirt roads and easy ATV trails. Not as easy to handle as a dirt bike because of the weight, tricky on sand, but better than my F650GS. And riding on the pavement connecting the dirt roads was a joy, very smooth, lots and lots of power, plenty of speed (for me), great on the twisties, no vibration (compared to thumpers), ABS worked surprisingly well on the dirt, I was really surprised, you can slam your breaks and come to a controlled stop, even while turning, and the traction control also worked well, except on sand, where I simply turned off.

If you are ever on this part of the country, SW MS and LA north of Baton Rouge, don't write it off. Bring your motorcycle!
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Old 11-15-2011, 08:07 AM   #9
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I'm liking the S10 set up. Would you feel confident exploring more rugged routes with knobby tires?

That sandbar looks like a great place to camp.

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Old 11-15-2011, 11:25 AM   #10
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Great report. I like the light weight and simple set up.

I have just started exploring the side roads off of the Natchez Trace in SW TN.

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Old 11-15-2011, 12:35 PM   #11
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lightweight setup

edgardo, you're way ahead of me, i was in big bend some days ago on my KLR and the most experimenting i did was try out a air mattress in the hotel room for the first time, it seemed like a great idea for my 4 yr old whenever we go on vacation but a tarp with no floor, you do rough it. The pixs are great, really enjoyed them.
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Old 11-15-2011, 01:51 PM   #12
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Awesome post! This Thanksgiving, I'm planning on heading down to visit my family in Mobile and then riding to Baton Rouge and up the Natchez, then across central MS back home. Your report gives me an idea of what to expect.

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Old 11-15-2011, 06:24 PM   #13
MacG
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Nice report and pics. Liked the info on the camping set-up. I lived in Vicksburg as a kid.Would like to go back for a ride sometime and hit the backroads. Thanks
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Old 11-15-2011, 07:47 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jakbrand View Post
I'm liking the S10 set up. Would you feel confident exploring more rugged routes with knobby tires?
Yep, knobbies would take the S10 to the next level dirt-wise. I feel confident on experienced hands the S10 can go to most double track...suspension is very good, but it is heavy....and it is not a dirt bike. Let me put it this way, I think it is better than both the F650GS and the BMW1200 on both dirt and pavement...but not as good as my WR250R or a KTM530 on dirt. Other bigger bikes to check out, the KTM 950, the BMW800, and the Triumph 1050.
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Old 11-16-2011, 08:55 AM   #15
backwoodsKLR
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Nice report, ejtv!!! SW MS is one of my favorite places to ride around here! That low water bridge looks familiar. We had an ADV rally in the area in late October. (The guys in our group with S10's didn't want to follow me through here!)



Can't imagine why!
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