The Natchez Trace, Texas Hill Country, Border Crisis Ride

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by PittsDriver, Mar 16, 2021.

  1. NorthernTraveler

    NorthernTraveler Long time Adventurer

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    I've been down in the hill country for most of the past month.
    Been coming down almost every year for the past 20+.

    Went down to McAllen to see for myself, rode as close as I could to the border from Mission up to Buda during the day a couple of weeks ago.
    In that 50 mile stretch I saw over 50 Texas Highway Patrol cars, several Border Patrol vehicles manned by Texas National Guards and around a dozen Border Patrol vehicles manned by Border Patrol.

    Made a point of talking to a number of them. Days were quiet, nights were busy.
    Did see the Texas HP had a vehicle pulled over with several people sitting on the ground awaiting transport in the middle of the afternoon.

    Mission had a long stretch of new 30' wall, then a mix of levee's with wall. The upper end - Buda - had nothing.
    A British TV crew spent the night on the river near Buda a couple of days later. Filmed coyotes ferrying across 5 boat loads of people at that one spot.

    So, it appeared a mix of secure areas and not secured areas.

    Planning on riding some sections along the border in west Texas, New Mexico and Arizona in the next few weeks.
    Some of those areas I'm familiar with what was there before, interested to see what is there now.
    #21
  2. b4thenite

    b4thenite Long timer

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    So called Illegal immigrants come here to escape the misery. Why most of Latin America is in state of misery? You will be surprised if you look into deeper.
    I never been to Texas. Your RR encourages to go.
    Thank you.
    #22
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  3. freeway crash

    freeway crash Been here awhile Supporter

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    Great RR! I left Houston 8 years ago for Idaho. I miss the Tex-Mex and the most awesome BBQ. Nice description of the Natchez Trace.
    #23
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  4. PittsDriver

    PittsDriver Fuse lit.... Supporter

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    I did some research on here and elsewhere on the Natchez Trace and it seemed like the prevailing opinion of it was - meh, ok but kinda boring. I could see how someone could think that if they were looking for an energetic romp on a long twisty road. It's not exactly the Cherohala or the Blue Ridge Parkway and you're not going to be scraping hard parts riding it. What it is is a nice flowing and rolling bucolic ride with no traffic. In 440 miles of riding it on a Thursday/Friday we saw exactly one park ranger. When the camping opens up on it there are some lovely places to pitch a tent. There's also frequent opportunities to jump off/back on for gas, food, and lodging.

    One thing I noticed that was curious is it seemed that there was occasionally a parallel unpaved road available. We didn't partake of it on this ride but I'm wondering if some off-pavement time could be integrated in to a trip down the parkway?
    #24
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  5. freeway crash

    freeway crash Been here awhile Supporter

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    I did the Trace on a bicycle and I think the unpaved parts are the “old Trace”. I could be wrong...,.all the pedaling made me a bit delirious.
    #25
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  6. PittsDriver

    PittsDriver Fuse lit.... Supporter

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    Other than the length of it, I'd say it would be a fun and moderately easy thing to tackle on human power - way easier than, say, the BRP. It's relatively flat though in all honesty I may have felt differently about that if I'd done it on a bicycle :-)

    When you did it on a bicycle, were you camping?
    #26
  7. freeway crash

    freeway crash Been here awhile Supporter

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    Novara touring bike-steel frame with Ortlieb panniers. We camped along the route. It was a great trip
    #27
  8. yamalama

    yamalama wet coaster

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    third world country? Oklahoma?
    #28
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  9. PittsDriver

    PittsDriver Fuse lit.... Supporter

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    I assume you know I meant Mexico. I'm afraid I don't think much of how a country with so much promise could let themselves go so wrong. I think there are some really lovely places in Mexico with some amazingly friendly people but it should tell you something that if you ride the PanAmerica highway from top to bottom the most dangerous place you'll ride is northern Mexico. It sure seems like the drug cartels own the place.

    The only crisis I know about in Oklahoma is what they're going to do about the fact that the Supreme Court ruled that Native American tribes own half the state.
    #29
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  10. Grynch

    Grynch Long timer

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    Sometimes we stop in Bandera, on our annual car trip from San Francisco to Acapulco. once I stopped in Pico Convenience store for gas, not impressed.
    #30
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  11. Grynch

    Grynch Long timer

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    Agreed
    #31
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  12. Grynch

    Grynch Long timer

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    I made some beef ribs on Saturday here in Acapulco, Mexico. 20210403_134218.jpg
    It is amazing what you can do with mesquite, indirect, low heat and a little salt. My wife made an amazing salsa to go with this delicacy.
    Here is my neighbor who drove down from Mexico City enjoying the BBQ. 20210403_134156_HDR.jpg
    Good BBQ knows no borders!
    Sorry for the hijack.
    #32
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  13. jdub

    jdub Dawg bytes reel gud Supporter

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    My thoughts exactly. I lived in the DFW area for about seven years, and for decent motorcycling traveled 300 miles to the Ozark Mountains in NW Arkansas on numerous occasions. Went 300 miles in the other direction a couple of times to the TX hill country, but no comparison between the two as riding destinations.

    Was very glad moving back to the Appalachians 24 years ago, but I also appreciate the TX BBQ when visiting my son and his family in Ft. Worth a few times a year.

    Thanks for sharing your ride report, and especially the tip about the 450 mile Biloxi to Conyers, GA route. I look forward to trying that out.
    #33
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  14. Nosotros Racing

    Nosotros Racing Long timer Supporter

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    Rode the northern part of The Trace last fall; Nashville to just south of the Mississippi border. The northernmost part has the only real twisties and the rest seemed like a cruise in the park, which it is. No billboards, no strip malls and light traffic, so that part was wonderful.

    Did Hill Country after the MotoGP a few years ago. Lots of familiar spots in the pics, including that BBQ joint. Deja Vu!

    Great pics!
    #34
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  15. HPPants

    HPPants Been here awhile

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    I enjoyed your ride report. I've been just about everywhere you highlighted, and I'm quite sure it was a good trip.

    You passed within 5-7 miles of my house. Would have enjoyed escorting you a bit east from Lafayette on the less beaten path through the heart of Cajun land. We probably would have found something decent to eat too. There is always a next time.
    #35
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  16. PittsDriver

    PittsDriver Fuse lit.... Supporter

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    @HPPants my daughter lived in Youngsville for several years so I'm familiar with various places to get Boudin Balls, Meche's Bakery, and the local Crawfish places. You're right, there are some good eats around there.

    It would have been fun to have met you - maybe the next time I'm passing through on my way west.
    #36
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  17. Al-Rider

    Al-Rider Adventurer

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    Enjoyed your rr. I'm about 20 mi from the trace in Colbert co al. There's some good riding off the trace in the area. I was in the tx hill country last enjoyed the riding and bbq, but your right the riding isn't close to to the Appalachian mtns.
    #37
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  18. jspringator

    jspringator Long timer

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    Enjoyed your RR. I do most of my touring in a motorhome trailering a motorcycle. I did the Trace a few years ago and on the way home stopped in Memphis for a little BBQ.

    [​IMG]Untitled by jspringator, on Flickr
    #38
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  19. PittsDriver

    PittsDriver Fuse lit.... Supporter

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    Dude! Central BBQ is the best! I've been there a few times passing through on my way across the country. The last time I was there was on the way home from Port Orford after completing the TAT.
    #39
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  20. mrbreeze

    mrbreeze I keep blowing down the road Supporter

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    thanks for the great RR. Too bad you didn't go to Memphis. There is some great BBQ there at The Pig on Beale Street, and at the Rendevous. In fact there is a lot of great BBQ in Tennessee. Schaeffars in Summertown always has a line of an hour or more on the weekends during the summer. Also there is a place called Rochelle's at exit 143 on I-40. Cash only, no cards.

    I live near the NTP and I ride the north end of it often. A few years ago I rode the entire length both ways on a trip to Alexandria, LA. I went to 7th - 9th grade there. Everything was much smaller than I remembered. NTP was beautiful all the way. It's a nice ride if you aren't in a hurry. I am thinking of doing it again this year.
    #40
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