Natchez Trace Parkway

Discussion in 'Southeast, The Lair of the Dragon - The Blue Ridge' started by Knobbie, Dec 14, 2009.

  1. Knobbie

    Knobbie Ex Teams

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    I'm doing a "Gap" ride with my friends. Not the Deals Gap,...Been there done that many times. This is the gap between Christmas and New Years. Leave from San Antonio to Memphis to do Beale Street.

    I'm thinking of doing the NTP on the way back to SA. I looked for trip reports and didn't find anything specific.

    Is the NTP worth the 45mph speed limit? Where to get on and where to get off? Best camping? Best food? All advice is appreciated,.............:freaky
    #1
  2. LewisNClark

    LewisNClark Long timer Supporter

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    Been there done that (the Natchez) twice....I have a ride report 2 yrs ago under Ride Reports with bunch of pictures.

    http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=242401&highlight=Natchez

    Pretty ride but I felt that once you've seen 20 miles of the NTPkway you pretty much seen it all. Mile after mile looks pretty much the same but it is pretty country....two lane road must be 300 to 400 miles (can't remember). It is a federal road so you want to avoid a ticket.

    Museum at the Mississippi River is worth a stop...and can't remember the name but went to a restaurant in Natchez that was built in something like 1792...pretty amazing old stone building. If not far out of your way the Vicksburg Civil War site is pretty amazing also. For me a must stop was up below Nashville near Holtwalz, Tennessee is the site of Meriwether Lewis's grave and site he committed suicide....pretty interesting. Also well worth the side trip is Elvis's birthplace in Tupelo...pretty amazing house where he was born.

    LnC
    #2
  3. geno_rocket

    geno_rocket Been here awhile

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    I drove the length in an RX-8 two years ago with the better half as co-pilot... Not a bike, but close. I had previously ridden portions and wanted to go the distance.

    Net net... the first 100 or so miles out of Nashville are pretty good. Curvey, nice hills and vistas but you MUST obey the speed limit or risk a $$$ ticket. I had to see the Meriweather Lewis grave site, being a Lewis and Clark buff.

    We stayed in Muscle Shoals, Ala and it was a pleasant town with loads of generic AppleRubyFriday resteraunts. Do the Elvis thing if you go to Tupelo.

    Middle couple of hundred miles are BORING, flat two lane parkway. We stopped at many of the roadside attractions and historical markers just to break up the trip. South of Jackson, the last 100 miles or so, are pretty with the live oaks and moss hanging from the trees. Natchez is a nice town with several historic attractions.

    Bottom line... pick your targets on the Trace and enjoy those points.

    Another suggestion may be do a Memphis to Tupelo in the footsteps of Elvis tour and then swing through Nashville via the Trace.
    #3
  4. Gizmo

    Gizmo Hermes

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    I did it a few years ago from Nashville, to just over the Alabama border. As mentioned the first part is pretty, scenic and nice curves but it does become monotonous. I guess I was fortunate, as I did not behave myself and between a radar and keeping a sharp eye I made it to and from without a ticket. I would say it is worth doing. I also stopped at the Merriweather Lewis site which is worthwhile if you are at all into history.
    #4
  5. dartfrog

    dartfrog SFC USAR (R)

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    • The speed is worthy due to the forest rats everywhere. Stay alert!
    • Scenery will be kinda gray now in TN being winter and all.
    • Know where to get off and get fuel as the exits don't point you in the direction of gas or food, etc. like an interstate.
    • Be prepared for snow and ice in TN.
    • Eat at the Loveless Cafe
    [​IMG]
    #5
  6. Knobbie

    Knobbie Ex Teams

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    Thanks to all you guys. I'll look up the ride report, and hopefully find it with your sig.

    I really appreciate the advice. There are 5 of us going. We lost a brother of about 20 years on a recent trip to Big Bend 3 weeks ago, and while this is not some kind of sob trip, I'm sure we'll all have him on our minds. This is the kind of trip he'd have enjoyed.

    K
    #6
  7. Jamie Z

    Jamie Z I'm serious. Supporter

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    As already mentioned by several others, the Natchez Trace as a road can be somewhat monotonous. I think too many people see it simply as a ribbon of asphalt.

    What is really great about the Natchez Trace is history. It used to be animal trails, then Native American routes, a footpath for Kaintucks, and then the federal government commissioned it as a road sometime in the 19th century, I think. It only became a scenic highway fairly recently and wasn't completed until just a couple years ago.

    Because the nature of its history, it's naturally inclined to be flat and straight.

    If you're like most people, you'll putter along the Natchez Trace in a day or a bit more. You'll stop at the first few wayside stops, and then you'll quickly tire of them and hold the speed limit for the remainder of the way.

    I strongly encourage you to find a book on the Natchez Trace. Follow along the historical route to understand its past. There are some fascinating things to experience along the route, but almost none of them can be seen from the road.

    Jamie
    #7
  8. phideaux

    phideaux Long timer Super Supporter

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    It got real old real quick for me. However...I rode it in summer...hot, hot, hot.

    Too boring, did not complete.
    #8
  9. Gizmo

    Gizmo Hermes

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    Sorry to hear about your brother, should make this trip more memorable. Enjoy it.
    #9
  10. dragoon

    dragoon I'm the REAL Dingo Joe

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    Ditto.
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  11. BlueLghtning

    BlueLghtning Riding is my passion

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    I did it back an May '07 with 3 other friends. 4 friends, 4 states, 3 park rangers & 1 Natchez Trace Pky

    We found out the hard way they don't play much with the speed limit! :huh The good thing is the ticket was cheap (we did get a huge break on that), and it never showed up on my record! :deal Speaking of that, neither federal ticket I got that year showed up! :uhoh

    We did start right out side Nashville and enjoyed the first part, but it wasn't what we expected and we were so glad to get off of it.

    My wife wants to go ride the entire thing and keeps bugging me about it. I keep threatening that if we do, I'll be on a 50cc scooter or maybe ride her XT225 so I can obey the limit! Maybe I'll just ride the Ninja 250. Something small so I'm not tempted to haul butt. :rofl

    I could see enjoying it a lot more if you took in all the history.
    #11
  12. LadyDraco

    LadyDraco KillerSmileIHazIt !!

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    I too have a little write up in RR as well... But it was our first time on The NTP. And only did 50 miles or so..

    Shiloh And other points
    #12
  13. Jman955i

    Jman955i Falls Down A Lot

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    Trent and I rode it back from the TAT this year for a ways It does seem to be boring for the little bit we rode but if you are a history nut this would be a great ride.
    #13
  14. roco22

    roco22 Ready on the right....

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    Deer, many deer, lots of deer, everywhere, keep your eyes open.[​IMG]
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  15. bmwblake

    bmwblake upside down parker

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    i've done it a couple of times. it can be enjoyable if you are in a rambling mindset and not trying to burn miles.

    enforcement is only heavy at the north end where it's curvy. once you're south of highway 50 the speed limit picks up and you can run 55mph all day long.

    don't follow what your gps says about gas, look for a town. this past year we went by 4 closed stations before finding gas in a "larger" town along the way.
    there used to be a gas station at one of the rest areas along the trace, but it is now closed.
    #15
  16. Yankee Dog

    Yankee Dog Long timer

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    The missus and I did it a while back. If you into history at all it is a great ride. If you are into speed and peg dragging it is not so great. Slow speed limit or not, it is a great way to make time. There are no stop signs or traffic signals for the entire 444 mile length. There is also no comercial traffic.

    http://www.sport-touring.net/forums/index.php/topic,3589.0.html

    Yankee dog
    #16
  17. DWalt

    DWalt **** The Beans....

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    I live just south of Natchez, and the very beginning (or end) of the Trace.

    I'm on it often. I usually use it as a general route, and dive off of it often to explore the many one-horse towns, and dinky county roads adjacent to it. Then jump back on it to make time or to transit to the next interesting road or town (study a good map, have a good GPS with good, detailed maps in it).

    This time of year it will be deserted, which is fun in itself.

    Be nice to the cops, yes sir, no sir kinda stuff may get you out of a coupon.

    It beats the hell out of droning down the slab!!!

    Holler at me if you get close.
    #17
  18. bmwblake

    bmwblake upside down parker

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    from nashville i've timed the ride to vicksburg, ms via the trace and via I40/I55 and the time difference is less than half an hour. i'd rather take the trace anyday.


    #18
  19. Clockwatcher

    Clockwatcher Been here awhile

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    When I rode it , yeah, like they said it is not an adrenalin pumping road. That being said....it is worth the time , set a pace to match the 50 mph limit, nice easy relaxed pace.
    Also if you make it to Natchez, look for The Natchez-Eola Hotel ( www,natchezeola,com. ) might be a little pricey but worth the trip. Might be able to dicker some on the price....
    We did it in 2 days , 444 mi. and enjoyed it .

    Russ
    #19
  20. Motopapillon

    Motopapillon Eppur si muove

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    Almost three years ago now, I did the Natchez Trace in early spring: the
    weather was sweet and the bugs were elsewhere. Also I had already put in
    a lot of seat time bombing along the highways and dinking along the teeny
    roads, so was in the mood for some leisurely rolling along a well-paved
    two-lane in pretty country. All this by way of saying I loved it: I got on a bit
    south of Nashville and it took me three days (Spent two nights in the free
    campsites provided along the way.) to burble my way down to Natchez. I
    stopped for every attraction, display, ghost town, cemetery, and photo-op,
    it seemed to me.

    It's like a Walt Disney fantasy road: no commercial traffic, no commercial
    signage, no power lines, no traffic lights--for something like 400 miles. As long as you're rolling on the main line, you have right of way the entire
    length of it.

    Plus, it oozes history.

    M-P
    #20