- How far is it? Just over 1,800 miles.
- Are you following the river all the way? Most of the way, but at Cape Girardeau, Missouri, we will cross the river and head to the Natchez Trace, which we follow from Tennessee and southwest across Mississippi to rejoin the river at Natchez. Then we cross the river again and ride through Louisiana to Baton Rouge and New Orleans.
- What kind of bikes are you riding? Dan is on a Trek 520, a classic steel touring cycle. Lisa is riding an REI Coop cycle with very interesting “mustache” handlebars.
- Is anyone supporting you? No, we are carrying all of our own gear in two Thule panniers on each bike (back wheels.) We may be meeting friends along the way, but no one is following us in a Winnebago.
- So you’re camping? Yes, most of the time – we’ll be sleeping in a Big Agnes 3 Copper Spur mtnGLO. The other nights (hopefully about every 3 or 4 days) we’ll find a motel. You know, showers…beds.
- How long will it take? About four weeks. 25 cycling days, 2 days off and a few days in New Orleans. That is the plan, anyway.
- How many miles will you ride each day? We’ll average 70 miles per day. We have one 100 mile day and a few in the high 80’s.
- Do you know where you will end up every day? Yes, we have a spreadsheet showing where we will be at the end of every day. Having said that, the spreadsheet doesn’t know about hills, wind, heat, rain, road construction, getting lost…so we’ll need to be flexible.
- Have you done this before? We rode and camped RAGBRAI last summer (7 days across Iowa) and did a two night trip to Duluth last fall. In the last year, we’ve done long rides in Wisconsin, Texas, Manhattan, and all over Minnesota. We are both athletes and long time campers, but bike touring is kind of new (and exciting) for us.
- It’s downhill all the way, right? Yes, it is net downhill, but we all know what it is like along the river. There will be lots of hills, especially on the first half.
- It’s going to be hot! Yes, June in Mississippi and Louisiana is hot…nights will be in the 70’s and we expect 80 – 90 degrees in the day. And some humidity… We are carrying three bottles of water each and we will refill them constantly.
- Bugs, snakes, alligators, fire ants? Uh, yes, maybe, possibly.
- How are you getting home? We’ll be riding to a bike shop in New Orleans, shipping the bikes home and then flying back after a couple days of celebrating in NOLA.
I got out for my first ride of the year and it was chilly and messy
Planning an 1800 mile bike trip requires lots of maps, and coffee.
“The river becomes a way of thinking, ingrained, a way of looking at the world.”
— Ann Zwinger