Natchez Trace - Stromtrooper Forum : Suzuki V-Strom Motorcycle Forums
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post #1 of 8 Old 06-17-2011, 07:13 PM Thread Starter
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Location: Malvern, Arkansas
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Natchez Trace

My brother and I are planning on riding the Natchez Trace at the end of this month. We live in the Hot Springs Arkansas area and my brother thinks it's doable in 2 days. I calculated it is possible with 11 to 12 hour days. I think he's biting off more than he can deal with. I've been doing a lot of long days over the last few years, but he's only been on a few 5 or 6 hour rides. With the temperatures as high as they are, I think 2 1/2 days would be much more enjoyable. We'll be starting at the South end. Once we get to Nashville, we'll still be over 6 hours from Hot Springs. Those of you that have ridden the Trace, what are your thoughts or suggestions?

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post #2 of 8 Old 06-17-2011, 07:44 PM
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It's doable. The speed limit, at least on the northern part, is 50mph, and rangers patrol it regularly. They have nowhere else to go, so they ride up and down all day long. From Natchez, MS to the north end in Nashville is 442 miles so that's right at 9 hours of riding with no stops. Two days would do it easily.

If you are into history there are a lot of stops along the way. I've only been as far south as Tupelo, MS but the main visitor center for the entire parkway is there. There is also Tupelo National Battlefield, and tons of little historic stops every few miles. Colbret's Ferry (just south of the MS / TN border) is a pretty place as is Metal Ford (about mile marker 382 or so).

Keep in mind that there are NO commercial establishments anywhere on the parkway. You will have to get off to find gas, food, whatever. If you are camping there is a campground at the Meriwether Lewis Monument at mile 386, otherwise you'll have to get off the parkway to find a motel.

The northern end at Highway 100 in Nashville is at mile marker 442. As you said, it IS hot. Most of the stops along the way do not have restrooms although there is usually one about every 20 miles or so. Those are going to be the only places right on the parkway to get water so take some with you and stay hydrated. The temperature here has been unseasonably hot with temperatures in the mid 90's and heat indexes a bit over 100.

Scott Craig - Nashville, TN
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Last edited by SCraig; 06-17-2011 at 08:10 PM.
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post #3 of 8 Old 06-18-2011, 09:39 AM
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Alabama
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You can do it but the trace has so much history along the way it is a shame not to visit as you go. The road itself is not that demanding in fact boring in many places from a riders point of view and the speed limit is 35-50. You do have to leave the trace to find places to stay and fuel but a good trade off not to have the commercial traffic to deal with. We did our trip in 6 days stopping along to see the sites in depth. If you like history especially civil war and previous, it is a great trip.
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post #4 of 8 Old 06-18-2011, 12:50 PM
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I have been down the Trace twice now (from Nashville heading south). I have tried riding it without stopping to see all the historic markers once, really boring. If you stop and rubberneck and read about all the stuff, it can be a nice ride. Just remember, don't speed on this road. Too many bored cops on it and they will give you a ticket (I didn't get one but saw a lot of people pulled over during one of my rides).

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post #5 of 8 Old 06-18-2011, 01:08 PM
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Bayou Country
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What they said...

...Plus, the road gets EXTREMELY BORING in the middle between Kosciusko, Miss. and the Tennessee border.

From Natchez to Jackson, great. From Tupelo to Nashville, not too bad. Between Jackson and Tupelo, it's a snooze fest.

Along the route, it is worth seeing the Vicksburg Civil War Battlefield, north of the Trace, Natchez, Elvis's boyhood home in Tupelo, Merriwether Lewis's suicide monument in Tennessee, the awesome concrete arch bridge just south of Nashville, and you MUST eat at the Loveless Cafe at the end of the Trace in Nashville.

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post #6 of 8 Old 06-18-2011, 01:13 PM
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Bayou Country
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Here's the bridge....

...This is at the start of the Trace in Nashville.
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post #7 of 8 Old 06-28-2011, 11:36 AM Thread Starter
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Completed the ride, no problems. Not one I'd care to do again.(yawn) After riding the Ozarks a lot over the last 2 years, didn't really see all that much impressive scenery. I did enjoy seeing roads and cities I haven't visited before. The best section was from Tupelo to Nashville. The history part of it is more interesting just reading on line about it. Maybe in an RV, no schedules to keep, it could be a relaxing drive. If the speed limit had been 65 mph with a separate bicycle trail built next to it, could have been fun. We put in 550 miles the first day (spent the night in Tupelo) and 670 the second. (that's from the Hot Springs AR area) My brother was riding his '82 Suzuki GS1100 and averaged 52.8 mpg for the trip. I averaged 58.7 on my DL650. The most memorable site on the Trace was this blond in a black bikini traveling by bicycle. :mrgreen:

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2002 DR-Z400K
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post #8 of 8 Old 07-28-2011, 07:09 PM
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Bad ride?

Sound like a few days well spent with you brother and your Strom!

I need a little gravel in my travel!
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