MS Hill Country Loop

Discussion in 'Tejas and the Gulf States' started by san1k, Jan 20, 2020.

  1. san1k

    san1k Been here awhile

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    Jul 15, 2012
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    Location:
    Montgomery TX
    I'm curious if anyone has ridden the Mississippi Hill Country Loop North or South?

    I've found a few videos on youtube and seen where a rider combined both routes with the TAT. Just looking for your experiences, camp sites, and information. I plan to ride it over Memorial Day weekend for four or five days. I'll be coming from Texas.

    Thanks.

    https://www.transamtrail.com/product/mississippi-hill-country-loop-northbound/
    #1
  2. Unclescar

    Unclescar Adventurer

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    Bartlett, TN
    . Wondering the same thing?
    #2
  3. backwoodsKLR

    backwoodsKLR Ride more, Post Less.

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    It’s basically a long 1 day ride each way.
    #3
  4. Lâcher Les

    Lâcher Les n00b

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    I tried it and miscalculated the time it would take. Like mentioned above, it is 1 day north from the jackson area. It's a good mix of asphalt, gravel and dirt.
    #4
  5. san1k

    san1k Been here awhile

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    I appreciate the reply. Are both routes pretty identical? Is there a point in doing both or just make a trip out of one?
    #5
  6. Chaffdb

    Chaffdb n00b

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    Hattiesburg, MS
    My brother, nephew, and I are planning to ride it fairly soon, most likely after Memorial Day though. Guess we are ignoring the warnings to not ride it in the heat and dust of summer! I'd be curious to hear what you find on Memorial Day. I believe on a few miles overlap on the routes, but I don't know which is better or if doing one would be enough.

    We were hoping to get an early start in Gluckstadt, make it to Batesville and stay in a hotel/motel, and then come back the next day after another early start, and are hoping that isn't too ambitious.
    #6
  7. san1k

    san1k Been here awhile

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    Due to current work I am going to have to postpone. I'll probably do it over a quick four day when everything gets back to normal. I do not believe it is ambitious what you are talking about. From the videos and posts I have seen it is not overly challenging.
    #7
  8. MSrider

    MSrider Rebel with a sixfiddy

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    It's not challenging, it's just long, and dusty during summer. Take two days to do it, because yeah, it's worth doing both routes. I've taken the route on the east side of 55 north to Batesville, then the route on the west side of 55 south back to J Town. I like them both, but I was pleasantly surprised how much good riding was on the west side route. I wanted to go last week during those rain showers but never could get anyone to commit to a two day ride. Ended up doing a day on some good gravel in Attala Co. instead.
    #8
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  9. Chaffdb

    Chaffdb n00b

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    Hattiesburg, MS
    We are going in the morning and hoping it isn’t too wet. Will post a ride report when done and hopefully some video too.
    #9
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  10. Chaffdb

    Chaffdb n00b

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    Hattiesburg, MS
    Well, we made some miscalculations and came up short, a little bruised and sore, but we had a good time overall and learned quite a lot. I have quite a bit of video and time lapse to edit and put together, but for now I will post some screen captures and I hope this may be helpful or informative to someone. I think first I should probably preface this post by saying we are inexperienced and knew this would be a learning trip or shake down run for future rides. It served that purpose quite well. We don't mind any constructive criticism, but please go easy on us as we are noobs to this stuff. It ended up being 4 of us:

    -Me: 44, nearly 45 y/o out of shape desk job holder, have ridden dirt bikes (XR75, TM100, RM250, CR250, YZ250F, etc) off and on over the years since I was a kid, but haven't had an off-road bike in 7-8 years and have only owned one street bike ever (XSR900), which was only briefly in that interim period. I'm presently riding a well setup Yamaha WR250R that I picked up from a fellow inmate on the classifieds here in April.
    -My brother: Mid 50's, rode a good bit as a teenager and got me into riding when he was in his 20's, but hasn't owned a bike or ridden since until early this year, on a nearly stock Honda CRF250L.
    -My nephew: newly licensed teenager, just started riding in December, on a nearly stock CRF250L.
    -Nephew's friend: couple years older than nephew, most recent riding experience of all of us, also on a nearly stock CRF250L.

    We searched for a safe place to park our transport vehicles and ended up talking to these folks: http://bearcreekstorage.net/ . They were very friendly and helpful, and we agreed on what we thought was a very reasonable rate to park two trucks and trailers for two days. Coded gate access, large gravel lot in "RV-sized" spaces, etc. This worked out great for us. It is just a little north of the southern starting point of the route, but honestly all of the stuff south of here, and in fact a little north, too, is paved and to me is not a big deal if missed. It's 2 hours from my home to the start of the route and a little less for the others. We arrived at 7:45am on Friday, 7/3, and were rolling out of Bear Creek at 8:30am. As noted later, I think this was a little too late and put us already behind at the pace we were able to comfortably ride:
    Leaving Bear Creek.jpg
    After some paved back roads, we finally hit dirt, and it was slick. We had no rain on us, but clearly they had gotten some pretty recently:
    Muddy Road early.jpg
    Unfortunately, during the first bit of this my nephew went down. It was low speed, but he sprained his wrist. It was mild and was not swelling, and he was a soldier and wanted to keep going, so we did. The roads pretty quickly got much better, thankfully, and we really enjoyed the next couple/few hours of riding. I haven't really pulled any good examples, but here is a fairly generic shot that doesn't show anything special:
    Gravel Road riding 2.jpg
    While most of these roads were really great, there were occasional patches of gravel that was like riding on marbles. In hindsight, we think we all should have aired down a bit and that likely would have helped a bit, both on the gravel and in the mud. We took our first break for gas near West, MS, and crossed I-55 near there also, remaining on the northern route. In hindsight, we probably should have been taking more regular breaks off the bikes. While not great for our overall progress, we could have used the time to stretch and re-hydrate. It's hard to believe these are public, county roads:
    fun part of cr52.jpg
    But then we came to this:
    tree down.jpg
    I need to confirm, but I am almost positive this is CR-52 in Carroll County. This is very likely the area that Sam comments on his website, "At mile marker 127.82, the route might be hard to see depending on the time of year. It’s a Jeep road and might have deep ruts. There is an easy short bypass, if you need it, marked on Map #4." Unfortunately I just bought the GPS tracks and did not get the map. There is no bypass included on the GPS track. We made a mistake, in our opinion, of finding a way around this and continuing here. Our bypass around the downed tree was not easy for all of us and, in hindsight, we should have back tracked and found our own longer bypass on better roads. This "road" was not in good shape at all, and despite the ground being reasonably dry everywhere else, save the first bit of dirt a good bit south discussed above, it was very wet on this portion and had deep ruts:
    water on the road.jpg what road.jpg
    We all struggled at times through this part and lost a good bit of time. I got crossed up in some mud and water and tweaked my left hamstring keeping myself from going down. We were all glad when we got out of this portion of the trip.
    what road 5.jpg
    We ended up pulling into Winona, MS, which is supposed to be a decent lunch stop and where we had expected to be around 1:00 - 1:30 or so, at 3:30 pm. At this point pushing on to Batesville did not seem like the wisest option. My nephew at some point had gone down again in another low speed off and landed on the same wrist. He was sore and riding very cautiously. My leg was ok to ride, but dismounting the bike hurt and awkward situations where I had to dab were going to be rough. My brother had some cramping issues over the last hour or so, also. My initial thought was to get a hotel room in Winona, spend the night, and ride back the next morning on the southern route since it can be picked up not too far away from there. However, we discussed that by morning either my nephew or I, or both, may be swollen or just worse in general and unable to continue. With about a 40-50% chance of bad weather the next day also, we decided to chalk it up as a learning experience and head back down Hwy 51 to the trucks and call the rest of the trip off. I think this was probably the right decision for us. Hwy 51 was an easy ride, and both of us older guys still had some cramping issues on the way.
    hwy 51.jpg
    We arrived back at Bear Creek at about 6:30pm, having covered around 222 miles, a little less than half of the 506 miles that make up the entire trip, and with 70 of that being highway on the return. We are already discussing trying it again sometime, possibly just my brother and I first. We will want to go when it is dry, and even then we will bypass the section after where the tree is down unless some maintenance has been done in that area. It is possible we park at Bear Creek and run Hwy 51 to Winona and pick up where we left off. This would put us ahead and maybe we would plan to turn around in Batesville and stay the night either in Grenada or possibly make it back to Winona. Who knows. We will be planning and discussing in the days to come.

    Meanwhile, they have already lowered my nephew's bike and a new front tire will be coming for his bike soon. We all need to ride some more off-road and have plans to do that and work on our experience and comfort level when the going gets rough. I'm sure many/most on here are better riders than us, but I will offer my personal takeaways nonetheless:

    -I wouldn't have wanted to be on a larger/heavier bike on what we did. For most of it, it would have been fine, but for loose gravel, wet/slick spots, and ruts, it would have been a nightmare for me. Your mileage may vary here, just my $.02. If it was completely dry and the rough parts were skipped, this would have been different, of course.
    -Tires are important. My bike had the most aggressive of the 4, slightly used Pirelli MT21 Rallycross front and rear. They were ok. Still wish I had aired down for parts. While the mud played a part, the gravel in places was also an issue and I can't imagine a more street oriented tire, but again, I'm a noob. Some of you guys could have probably ridden circles around us on an Africa Twin on slicks or something, but I'd like to see it!
    -I wouldn't want to ride this by myself. While I definitely could have traveled more quickly without having to wait for others, etc, there are lots of places where an off could be a big problem, not to mention the possibility of breaking down in the middle of nowhere without cell coverage. We carried pretty solid tool kits, but I'm talking about something major. There are times where it was quite a ways between seeing another vehicle or any sort of civilization
    -I would want to get on the road early, preferably closer to 7 - 7:30 am. We expected more of the ride to be like the better parts and thought it would take us 8-10 hours on the way up. However, due to the offs and the portion after the downed tree, it took us 7 hours with about 90-100 miles remaining. Unless the going was significantly easier, we were looking at another 4 hours at least at our rate by early afternoon, and that is if we didn't have any additional problems. The route from north to south is actually a little longer, too, at 261 miles.
    -All that being said, some of the riding was great and I wish I lived a little closer to it. I saw lots of stuff I would like to explore further.

    Sorry for being wordy but hope that helps. I'll post some video after I get it edited down a bit.
    #10
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  11. salty_dog

    salty_dog Day trips around TLH, WMAs and South Ga dirt roads

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    Nice ride report. Well done!
    #11
  12. san1k

    san1k Been here awhile

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    Montgomery TX
    Really appreciate the write up. With New Mexico on heavy COVID lock down, I may have to shift to doing this in September. I was looking at taking my Tiger but you sold me on the KLX.
    #12
  13. BigDogAdventures

    BigDogAdventures Fart Letter Supporter

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    I don't think I was the first to ride this--------but maybe the second----------years ago.
    Actually Sam Correro rode with me for a bit.
    Since it was so new-----one rollchart he had out was hand written-----fresh off the press :lol3
    I was solo on a WR250R-------pretty interesting story.
    Here is the link.
    http://www.bigdogadventures.com/MississippiHillCountry.htm


    Me and him at his house-------we are great friends now and have spent quite a bit of time together and riding together. Our first meeting.
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    #13