Mississippi River Trail Project

Discussion in 'GPS Tracks - Central, Texas & Gulf States' started by Jamie Z, May 18, 2009.

  1. Jamie Z

    Jamie Z Long timer

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    The goal of the Mississippi River Trail Project is to follow as closely as possible the MRT, not necessarily follow as closely as possible to the river. The MRT does indeed follow some portions of the levee through Illinois, but most of those portions are bicycle-only, so an alternate route on nearby roads was made for this route.

    But I did look at your report. Pretty cool! Next time I'm up that way (and it's not all that far for me) I'll have to check out some of those places, though I swear I've seen a few things like the clock and the jail in my previous rides to the area.

    As above, the goal of this project is to follow the MRT bicycle trail. If it's not paved (and legal to be) on the levee, then the MRT wouldn't be routed there. We follow the MRT where possible, and reroute to nearby roads when necessary.

    I do believe part of the Louisiana MRT through New Orleans follows the levee and we made need to find an alternate route, but the MRT to Venice follows the highway as far as I know. I've been down that way numerous times, though not to collect data for the Project.

    Hopefully Gregg and I will finish the Louisiana section this spring.

    Jamie
    #81
  2. camgregus

    camgregus riding gently now

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    The MRT mostly down to New Roads follows the levee. South of there, I think it diverges.

    Jamie, looks like I'm going to have some weekdays off coming up, we should keep a weather watch going and see if there is an opportunity.
    #82
  3. Cultrocker

    Cultrocker Rock. Roll. Repeat.

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    How does your map compare to the route provided by openstreetmap.org or opencyclemap.org? They both use the same data just different tile renders with features important to cyclist like terrain , speed limits, shoulder width and amenities. I know that in my area (Lincoln Co, MO) that the trail follows Hwy79. Here the map is accurate because it follow the highway through the county. MRT signs are in place from the southern border north into Pike Co up to Louisiana, MO.

    Shoulders are a little narrow or non-existent in places so cyclist are taking a big risk to ride some sections.

    Openstreemap is a great tool as the maps can be freely edited to correct errors or add features that are important to a map user. In the US they are incomplete and out of date but if you look at central London or Berlin you can get an idea of the power that publicly edited maps can hold.

    I am only a beginner at editing openstreetmap but my changes are already showing up on Mapquest, Google Maps and smartphones as bigger map providers scrape openstreetmap for changes.
    #83
  4. Jamie Z

    Jamie Z Long timer

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    It's hard to say. I've scanned a few pages on each site, and generally the data looks solid, but if it's the same as the Vertices data, then there will be some problems for a motorcyclist in some places where the bike route follows bike lanes or bike paths. In addition, I've found quite a few places where the online map data on Vertices is not the same as the signage in the field.

    I prefer to use actual street data and optimize it for use by motorcyclists. Thanks for the links. I hadn't seen those maps before, but they might come in handy to double check the route.

    Jamie
    #84
  5. Jamie Z

    Jamie Z Long timer

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    It's taken me quite a while, but with the help of Ragbrian, I've compiled all the Missouri data that I have into a single route. Brian helped route through St. Louis and came up with a fantastic motorcycle alternative to some bike paths.

    I've updated the OP, but you can also go to the post here to download the route: http://www.advrider.com/forums/showpost.php?p=13384864&postcount=31

    Gregg, you still up for Louisiana?

    Jamie
    #85
  6. notarat

    notarat Been here awhile

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    If anyone's up for a day trip on the MRT this weekend or in the near future I'm back in the saddle.

    I picked up a new steed that's a little better suited for roads than single track and would like to put some miles on her soon since I only have 2 on it now.
    #86
  7. Jamie Z

    Jamie Z Long timer

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    After much gnashing of teeth, I think I've fixed up the Tennessee data and infrastructure. Turns out one sign was posted backwards so I went up there with some tools and straightened it out. In another case, the Vertices maps were incorrect, and the signage on the route was inconsistent, so it took riding multiple roads to figure out where it was intended to go. I'm almost positive I've got it all worked out. I've uploaded it to the Tennessee Page as Version 2.

    Jamie
    #87
  8. camgregus

    camgregus riding gently now

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    Just looked back in and saw this. PM me and tell me when you want to ride.
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  9. Jamie Z

    Jamie Z Long timer

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    I'll be riding the northern MN section today and tomorrow. Planning to arrive at Itasca at about 3pm. Start the MRT maybe around 4pm and get as far as I can. Continue tomorrow. Go as far as the Twin Cities.

    If you're in the area and want to join me, call or text, 901-237-1007.

    Jamie
    #89
  10. charliesdaemon

    charliesdaemon Adventurer

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    How did the ride go? I was supposed to ride the MN side from Iowa to the TC this weekend but got hung up.

    Are you collecting all of this data in one place to share? I was thinking of taking all the data posted here so far and creating a public google map with all segments documented, but I don't want to replicate someone elses work.

    Thanks!
    #90
  11. Rusty Jug

    Rusty Jug Been here awhile

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    Well this has been a Great read for the Noob! Between Dothan Al and Tupelo MS. I figured out that I was pretty green and thought the MRT was only for bicycle dudes! Yes I'm a dirt track Guy moving to the other side! I am curious how you load that data down and put it out to usable form in GPS and paper maps? Yes I'm green and stupid in this area but i'm not afraid to look dumb! I do it often!

    Big Dog your last day of work and your trip you took was a outstanding read! Still scratching my head on how you take your klr everywhere and you Inspired me to make my first small trip on my 450.:clap
    #91
  12. Jamie Z

    Jamie Z Long timer

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    Oops! Completely missed this post.

    I was able to ride most of the northern MN portion down to about St. Cloud. I learned that MN doesn't have an MRT signs at all. None that I saw, at least. What I confirmed is that the MRT maps were all good. I didn't get a chance to ride through the Twin Cities where the MRT follows bicycle paths for a distance. My plan had been to route around the bicycle paths, but I never got the chance.

    Am I collecting this data in one place to share? Um, sure. This thread. Look at the first post.

    Jamie
    #92
  13. Jamie Z

    Jamie Z Long timer

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    Between Memphis TN and Helena, AR, the MRT jogs over to the west side of the Mississippi River and goes down through Arkansas, and then back on the east side:

    It's possible to completely skip Arkansas and stay on the east side of the river. See below:

    [​IMG]

    The Arkansas MRT is shown in red. The Mississippi Alternate MRT is shown in green.

    Both routes are roughly the same as far as scenery They're both very rural and agricultural. The Mississippi side is closer to the river both geographically and culturally. The Arkansas side has a few more curves. And by a few I mean it takes two hands to count the curves instead of one. Both routes are very flat and straight most of the way.

    In Mississippi, you'll go through a few very tiny towns and one larger town, Tunica. In Arkansas you'll pass through some small communities, plus West Memphis, Marianna, and Helena, the latter two historic communities of interest.

    The Mississippi side tends to be a little impoverished. The Arkansas side goes through a couple of resort areas with boats and nicer homes. The Mississippi side is the Delta. Home of the Blues.

    If you like casinos, the Mississippi side with take you through Tunica County, home to nine large casinos. If you go through Arkansas, you'll go by Southland Park which is a dog track/casino kinda place. And then down by Helena you'll go past the Isle of Capri as you cross back into Mississippi.

    It's about 35 miles longer to go through Arkansas.

    So, flip a coin.

    Jamie

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    #93
  14. Jamie Z

    Jamie Z Long timer

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    I've added a map to each state page so you can see where the route goes. As usual, the GPX is available for download on each state page too.

    Gregg and I are still planning to ride the Louisiana section sometime, hopefully soon before it gets too hot.

    Jamie
    #94
  15. Jamie Z

    Jamie Z Long timer

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    The route has been slightly altered in Mississippi, and they installed all new signs throughout the state. The GPX for the state of Mississippi has been updated and uploaded. Look for version 3.

    Jamie
    #95
  16. Jamie Z

    Jamie Z Long timer

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    Louisiana is complete!

    Thank god... I've been picking away at Louisiana for several years now, and finally got a chance to map out the whole thing. Much of the route follows bicycle paths along the levee, but there is always a nearby road. MRT signs are sporadic, at best. I saw none once I got to New Orleans and south.

    [​IMG]

    Through New Orleans and Plaquemine, there are some one-way streets, but the route should accommodate for those in both directions. Downtown New Orleans was a little messy, but the appropriate corners should be marked.

    Also, this is the most winding, crazy portion of the MRT (though very few twisty roads). I did my best to place via points along the roads to maintain the curves, though in some places you'll notice that the point-to-point lines go very far from the actual roads... just keep on trucking, all the turns are marked.

    And finally, the Edgard-Reserve Ferry does not run on weekends.

    The Plaquemine Ferry runs every half hour, leaving each shoreline once per hour. Plan ahead.

    http://www.dotd.la.gov/ferry/

    Jamie

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    #96
  17. RAGBrian

    RAGBrian jonesing for a ride

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    :clap

    Yay Jamie! Glad to see this project is progressing very well.

    Update on that section of Missouri Hwy 79 closed for repairs when you and I rode it for the MRT: It is open again. I drove back in the car from the North last May, and I saw the new stretch of pavement the highway department installed. No more detour in the area.

    Phat fingered on my smarty pants fone, now using the new Tapatalk Beta 4.
    #97
  18. Jamie Z

    Jamie Z Long timer

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    Brian, I kinda always wondered about that section. :D

    Unfortunately, the MRT route seems to be prone to this. In southern MS, there's a section of levee that's missing, forcing a several mile detour. According to a short article I found on Google, they're improving the levee. The road atop it will be replaced with gravel.

    And just outside New Orleans, there was a several mile section that was closed (although people seemed to be using the road anyway) and I had to route myself around it.

    And then there's a ferry the MRT crosses that was a single day from being permanently shut down earlier this year. The ferry was "saved" but now runs a limited schedule.

    Anyway, I'm about ready to start the second phase of the project like we talked about. We should discuss the implementation.

    Jamie
    #98
  19. Moggs023

    Moggs023 Adventurer

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    Hi Jamie,

    I am planning to do the route you have been mapping in September and have a few questions:

    What places you and your friends along the route would you recommend me stopping to visit.

    Has the route been completed? I cannot tell by looking at your latest "Complete route" on the first page of the thread. It appears that the GPX files are missing for Iowa and Minnesota?

    Thanks for your help!

    Malcolm
    #99
  20. Jamie Z

    Jamie Z Long timer

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    At this time, I can't recommend any places along the route. In the future, phase two of this project will add points of interest to the GPX files.

    The route is as complete as shown in the first post. I don't have Iowa or Minnesota, as shown on the map.

    I do have a preliminary GPX of Minnesota, part of which I've ridden, but the MRT through MSP follows bicycle paths, so I can't be sure my routing is correct. I'll send you the GPX if you'd like.

    Jamie