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jakbrand

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Reply with quote  #1 
   Natchez Trace Parkway, recently completed in 2005, commemorates an ancient game trail that connected southern portions of the Mississippi River, across rolling hills of Alabama to the fertile Cumberland Basin in middle Tennessee. The heaviest use of Old Trace was from 1785 to 1825 by men, known as "Kaintucks," who floated raw materials down the Ohio and Mississippi rivers to gulf port markets.  Kaintucks laden with pecuniary rewards returned north on foot via Old Trace.  Three months was considered a quick trip to complete the circuit.  In October 2006 dad and I clicked off 900 miles in five days on a XT 225 and KLR 650.
   We mainly stayed on NTP, but often detoured to gravel roads then congratulated ourselves rather than castigate each other for getting lost.  In fact, adroit navigation became a pleasurable challenge, and in this fashion located interesting archaeological sites that dotted the countryside.  Some historical sites were on private property accessed only by dirt road or path.  Two noteworthy detours were the twisty dirt tracks of Tombigbee National Forest and the culinary delights of French Camp.  Our bikes were ideal for scouting these back road historical exhibits as well as intermittent cruising on Natchez Trace Parkway. 
 
900 miles to go!
 
Rolling Southwest in the afternoon sun on NTP.

 
Peak autumn color was spectacular.

 
"October is the perfect time of year to ride. The weather is always cool and dry."

 
"Like I was saying....October is cold and rainy."
Pulled into Collinwood, TN to eat lunch and duck out of the rain. This BMW rider from Evansville, Indiana in route to Birmingham had similar ideas.


 
"Paper maps make good wind blocker and fire starter now that I navigate with a GPS."

 
Garmin 376c GPS replaces paper maps. This handy unit also has satellite weather radar and 240 radio channels.

 
Persimmons were ripe and ready to eat.


Tobacco Barn.

 
Hooligan rides through the tobacco barn.


Fully loaded KLR 650.

 
Pastoral homesteads flanked the NTP throughout Tennessee and Alabama.


Well managed pastures at the Duck River overlook.


A view from below Jackson Falls.  Long before Andrew Jackson travelled through the Duck River basin, Native Americans herded large game into this dead end canyon from which there was no escape.


Meriwether Lewis State Park
 

The life of explorer Meriwether Lewis (Lewis & Clark) is celebrated throughout America. However, his tragic death is shrouded in mystery. Here at the Grinder House it is belived that Lewis was murdered by thieves who preyed on Old Trace travelers. This monument marks Lewis' place of interment.


Lakeshore drive at Laurel Hill Lake


Indian Mound at Owl Creek. 
The ubiquity of Chickasaw in Mississippi is undeniable.  Prior to the 1800's Chickasaw were known as fierce warriors and consider themselves as "unconquered and unconquerable". They had yet to encounter Chief Sharp Knife. 


It didn't smell too bad.


Pap is 70 years young. He saddled a Yamaha XT 225.

 
Log house at French Camp
 
The fine ladies at French Camp Cafe prepared the best BLT ever tasted. No less than ten strips of bacon on home baked bread. Did I mention the delicious hot cabbage soup and sweet tea?

 
French Camp had a molasses processing demonstration including cane press and evaporator pan.  Notice the ultra sanitary conditions in which molasses is cooked.


Mule powered cane press.


Split rail fence


Split rail fences are for show. Barbed wire fences secure the perimeter.

 
Domestic animals have replaced wild herds of buffalo. Choctaw rarely starved in these fertile lands. In fact the word vegetarian originates from the Choctaw word "vegetee" which means "lousy hunter."


Tupelo and Cypress thrive in standing swamp water.


Tupelo is distingushed from Cypress by its broad leaf. Cypress has a feathery fern like leaf.


Massive lock on the Tenn-Tom Canal


Sunken entry to Cave Spring


Looking out of Cave Spring


Old Trace Drive parallels NTP.


Scenic falls along NTP


The weather turned cold on the last day. I'm wearing five layers of shirts and jackets. We stopped only to thaw our numbed hands on the motorcycle's warm engine case.


Trusty Steeds performed flawlessly.


Dual Sport Riders Touring Dixie!



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EbarDP48

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Reply with quote  #2 

I'd love to get your Garmin routes. I've wanted to do the NTP but didn't know where I'd like to start. Looks like any of your roads would be great. Really like the old NTP routes.

Bert


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Bert   09 KTM 530 07 Triumph Tiger 1050  06 Kawasaki KLR650 07 Yamaha YZ 250 1976 Husky WR250 1978 Suzuki RM250 1981 Honda CM 400 W/Velorex Sidecar Because the ride shouldn't end just because the pavement does! May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view. May your mountains rise into and above the clouds. -Edward Abbey Do not follow where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail. Harold McAlindon
swampy

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Reply with quote  #3 
My vote for best ride report so far!
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Reply with quote  #4 

Great report !, Thanks for sharing.....and hats off to your dad, who shows you're never too old for an adventure ride ....


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MiamiMike

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Reply with quote  #5 

Wow Great pics ,,nice ride,,,I want a dad like yours,,very special.

Better yet ,,,Swampy would U be my DAD,,maybe we could join them next time


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jakbrand

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Reply with quote  #6 

Thanks for reading.  

We’ve talked about riding NTP since we bought our first dual sport bikes from Fats McCullough Yamaha on Church Street in Nashville.  (1976 DT 125 and DT 175 “enduro bikes”)   Before we finished, we were already planning the next dual sport trip.


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Reply with quote  #7 
What better way to spend some time with your pop. Excellent ride report.

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swampy

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Reply with quote  #8 

This is just a cool thread....


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martinsd21

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Reply with quote  #9 
Great photos and report!
looking forward to seeing similar in Maggie Valley this Oct 07
wife hopes it doesnt rain! (I guaranteed her it would)
she rides an XT225 also
your dad is inspiring, hope we will be riding at 70!

Steven and Cindi


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Reply with quote  #10 

I check out this thread almost every week, just to look at the pics....


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jakbrand

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Reply with quote  #11 
Kliff,

Natchez Trace Parkway would be a ideal for the ural.  October and November are the best months to ride NTP.



One year ago on Old Trace Drive.

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swampy

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Reply with quote  #12 
Just a great Epic Ride we all should take. I never get tired of these photos....

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mr_guns

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Reply with quote  #13 
Decided I can't just quit my Michigan trip heading to Natchez Trace Parkway tomorrow...

I could get use to this.....

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moulin6801

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Reply with quote  #14 
Great trip report!  I have done it from Natchez to Nashville on my former Harley 5ys ago. Now that I have a GS, and live in Nashville, I would like to it it again from here South...   Could you make available your GPS route??  I never new that was an offroad part of it that one can take!!
Thanks
 David
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Reply with quote  #15 
May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view. May your mountains rise into and above the clouds. 
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