Monthly Archives: April 2011

New Orleans to Memphis: the actual route

In the interest of recordkeeping, here’s the route we actually took, as opposed to the planned itinerary .  I’m working off of memory, but they should be more or less correct.  Actual mileage also varies because we’re not going perfectly straight on the road.

Day 1: the Intercontinental New Orleans, LA to Carlos’s Campground near Plaquemine, LA

Day 2: Carlos’s Campground near Plaquemine, LA to Maria Greer’s doublewide trailer in Deer Park, LA

Day 3: Maria Greer’s doublewide trailer in Deer Park, LA to Rocky Springs Park, MS

Day 4: Rocky Springs Park, MS to Chotard Landing, MS

Day 5: Chotard Landing, MS to Great River Road State Park, MS

Day 6: Great River Road State Park, MS to Pilgrim House Hostel in Memphis, TN


Posted by on April 26, 2011 in nola, routing


Foods I’ve Eaten: New Orleans to Memphis

On tour, you need to eat constantly to sustain.  Many experienced bike tourists have told me that they don’t lose weight on tour, even if they’re biking 8 to 12 hours a day, because their primary concern is to keep up the calories for their bodies to burn.  We stop every 2 to 3 hours to at least grab a gatorade and a snack bar.  Meals – especially dinners – can be a little more varied.

In the major cities, we tend to eat well.  In New Orleans, I got some recommendations through Heidi, a long-time New Orleans resident.  Both restaurants we went to for dinner, on her suggestion, were excellent.  At Franky & Johnny’s in New Orleans, I treated myself to crawfish and alligator soup to start:

After that, I moved onto a soft shell crab sammich

I finished off the night with bread pudding.  Mmm.

By contrast, on the road, we eat whatever is convenient to stuff calories and salt into our bodies.  The vast majority of our meals have been from gas stations, including poboys, fried chicken (I’ve not eaten so much friend chicken in my life!), snack/granola bars, candy bars, corn dogs – basically anything that we’d usually consider to be “bad” for us – full of fat, protein, carbs, salts and calories.

Some days, we ended up at campsites before sunset, and I would make dinner for myself – I offered to share with Chris, but he has (so far) always declined.  Here are one representative dinner I’ve “cooked” – freeze-dried bibimbap, individually plastic-wrapped pickle (nearly inedible, even as hungry as I was), and a can of vienna sausages:

Of course, once in a while, we would luck out and be fed by the kind people we encountered.  In Deer Park, LA, we stayed with Maria Greer, a grandmother living in a doublewide who, like her dad, had a policy of welcoming bike tourists to camp in her lawn.  She fed us a hearty dinner of re-heated chicken alfredo pasta and venison burger.  In the morning, she baked us fresh biscuits, served with butter and locally harvested honey.  In Chotard Lake, MS, the bar at the campsite we were staying at was having a potluck Easter dinner.  The folks there were kind enough to let us partake:

Ugh all these food pictures made me hungry again.


Posted by on April 25, 2011 in food, nola, planning


Pre-Tour Preparations

Everything to the last minute!  I had slowly been accumulating gear that I would need for the tour, but the process crescendoed in the last two or three days.  9:30pm the night before my departure, I’m finally done packing (I think!).  I took everything out of the panniers, took pictures, and took inventory.  Kimberly thought this was quite strange, but I think it was worth about 30 minutes of work, for posterity.  Excuse the mess in the pictures.

Here’s the list:


– Camelbak (2L) in backpack
– lock

Axiom Monsoon pannier 1
– Pearl Izumi reflective rain jacket
– Cutter merino wool zipup jersey
– Endura biking pants (with padded liner)
– “normal” pants (polyester)
– 2 can cozies
– pot/pan set (2 pots, 1 pan)
– titanium spork
– Esbit stove + fuel cubes
– Trangia stove
– toiletries kit
– emergency poncho
– Eton solar/crank powered radio/flashlight/USBcharger
– Sham-Wow

Axiom Monsoon pannier 2
– Acer AO522 netbook + mouse + power cord
– STM sleeve
– 20L Sea to Summit dry bag
– first aid kit
– rag
– spare tubes
– snacks
– pannier bag repair kit
– patches
– 8oz flask
– Katadyn water purifier
– Loksak waterproof bags
– metal cup
– bungee cords
– Topeak Road Morph pump
– spare front light
– 2 Schwalbe Marathon Supreme tires

Axiom Typhoon pannier 1
– 2 polyester bike jerseys (Pearl Izumi, generic)
– Smartwool long sleeved shirt
– 2 underwear
– Smartwool socks
– Icebreaker socks
– swimsuit
– Kelty sleeping bag
– repair tape (for tent, bags, jackets, etc)
– zip ties
– wet wipes
– handkerchief

Axiom Typhoon pannier 2
– Big Agnes Copper Spur UL1 tent
– REI silk jersey liner
– Thermarest inflatable pad
– emergency poncho
– MSR travel towel
– Park Tools multitool
– chain tool
– adjustable wrench
– pliers
– Backpacker’s Pantry red beans & rice
– 4 instant bibimbap
– Descente shoe cover
– Teva sandals
– Showers Pass rain pants
– pannier repair kit

Banjo Brothers seat bag:
– spare tube
– tire levers
– patch kit

Not pictured:

Topeak handlebar bag:
– sunglasses (+ case)
– CKRT knife
– spare disc brake pads
– EMT Sport multitool
– small notepad
– mp3 player and portable speakers
– Canon S95 camera
– Motorola Droid
– Pedros lip schit

On bike:
– 2 Camelbak water bottles

Axiom Monsoon pannier 1
– Bag o’ electronic stuff – batteries (AA, AAA, camera, phone), charger/data cable (camera, phone), SD cards
– 2 headphones
– mattress bag (as footprint for tent)

– K2 Gore Tex hooded jacket
– Icebreaker socks
– underwear
– Chrome knickers
– Icebreaker shirt (longsleeve converted to shortsleeve)
– Pantagonia travel belt (modified)

(Cat will be strapped onto the rear rack)

Postscript: I knew I’d forget stuff from the list!  I’m also carrying or wearing some keys, my wallet, a Timex Acqua watch, a mini-lantern, wool armwarmers (made from the sleeves of the Icebreaker shirt), polyester Gordini longjohns turned into armwarmers and underwear, Pearl Izumi gloves, Chrome shoes, a book (All Quiet on the Western Front), and maps.


Posted by on April 16, 2011 in gear, planning


To The Creator

All things go,

All things go.

I was out tonight at a bar with the usual suspects.  Summit Extra Pale Ale – the tap flows freely.

“When do you leave?” “Wait, this Sunday?” “Wow, that’s so exciting!”

We closed out the bar with one of the performers, who told me about the amazing things about Louisiana, a state which he had never visited.

29 hours from now, I board the train to New Orleans.

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Posted by on April 16, 2011 in Uncategorized


The Mississippi River Trip Itinerary

I took a few hours over the course of the last few weeks to complete the itinerary for the Mississippi river trip.  I had initially attempted to log the entire route on gmap-pedometer, only to find after about 1200 miles of work that if you attempt to make a route more than about 263 miles, the site won’t save the route correctly.  I learned from that mistake and redid the maps.  It was all based mostly on , so it wasn’t too difficult, but it was time consuming.

I’ve noted where we’d be staying which nights, subject to change depending on how we fare.  It’s tough to say how the wind, precipitation, and topography may alter our plans – a rainy day with headwind against us where we’re going uphill with no end in sight may mean that we quit after 50 miles, but a slightly overcast day with a nice tailwind and a gentle downhill may allow us to go 120 miles.

I’ve checked the Verizon Wireless coverage maps and it seems like my Droid will get 3G coverage for most of the trip.  Chris has a Garmin GPS device that we can also use – the user interface is not nearly as good as Google Maps, but it’ll do in a pinch.

So, without further ado, here are some of my e-scribblings: [0 to 263]

4/20 Donaldsonville: 81/81 [choice – $93.92] [72 – Operation Bayou RV Park (225)473-9244 ] [72 – Cane Row Casino & RV Park ] [ B & B MObile Home and RV Park ]
4/21 Morganza: 178/97 [Maxicare RV Park 225-694-3929] [263 to 500]

4/22 Natches State Park: 274/96 []
4/23 Sunset View Resort by Vicksburg/Eagle Lake: 375/101 [We went on to the Sunset View Resort and were shown to a shady place near the shower area. On our way to swim in Eagle Lake, we saw a beautiful shaded place on a knoll overlooking the lake and we started whining about why we weren’t getting to camp there. About that time, the owner’s son, Robert, came up and told us we could camp right there.]
4/24 Lake Washington 440/65 [ Roy’S STore cabin & Campground
4/25 Great River Road State Parks 500/60 [ ] [500 to 670]

4/26 Storm Creek Lake Campground at St Francis National Forest 578.5/78.5 [ ]

4/27-28 Memphis 670/91.5 [memphis is a bit tricky with hotels but we might be able to get 3.5 or 4 star hotels for about same price as NOLA hotel] [670 to 942 – almost to Cape Giardeau] [942 to 949]

4/29 Fort Pillow State Historic Park 761/91 [] [a slight detour to get to Fort Pillow State Historic Park – otherwise, tough to get to a campsite. improvised coming out of park – seems doable]
4/30 Reelfoot Lake 846/85 [there’s a warning on state park’s website saying they’re extremely busy april and may. first come first serve, no reservations. ] [there’s cheaper, crappier sites on west side of lake – RV camping mostly but also tent – ]
5/1 Cape Girardeau, MO 949/103 [Cape Camping & RV Park – – mostly rv park but there’s tent camping separate, plus laundry facilities] [949 to 1107] [detour to get to Magnolia Hollow – ~7 miles in/out]

5/2 Magnolia Hollow Conservation Area 1043/94 []
5/3-5/6 St Louis 1107/64 [ 11 Portland Ct, 63108 ] [1107 to 1283 ]

5/6 Calumet Creek Access 1185/78 [
5/7 Hubinger Campground, Keoruk, IA 1283/98 [ 319.524.7122 ] [1283 – 1451]

5/8 Pagel Flaming Prairie Park, muscatine, IA 1371/88 [ ] [ (319)523-8361 ]
5/9 River View Park Campground, Clinton, IA 1451/80 [city park – no good website] – be sure to visit flava flav chicken place! [1451 – 1639]

5/10 Miners creek cabins & campground, guttenberg, IA 1553/100 [ ] [ 563-252-1838 ] [just before Garber Rd]
5/11 Pettibone Resort RV Park and Campground 1639/86 [ ] [ 608-782-5858 ] [1639 – 1789]

5/12 Lake Pepin Campground, Pepin, WI 1714/75 [ ] [ 1010 Locust St, Pepin – one block off of 35 ] [ 715-442-2012 ]
5/13 home! 1789/75

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Posted by on April 13, 2011 in nola, planning