Big River Crossing

The weather cooled a bit, we were able to turn off the AC overnight and open the windows. We were up early and started our ride at 6:45!

Destination: a place we have been unable to access in several days because crossing the I-55 bridge in a vehicle could take a couple of hours. BUT on a bicycle, it was just a 10-mile bike ride, and crossing the Mississippi River on a bridge that spans 4973 feet is rather spectacular.

We rode 3 miles from our campsite on S Loop Rd to the start of the trail:

We crossed under I-55 a couple of times as it climbed toward the river.

At the top of our short climb there was a park between I-55 and the train tracks:

The bridge we took is farthest to the left of the 3 bridges:

A look back at the bridge we’d just crossed:

On the east side of the river, we rode a trail through a series of parks called Memphis River Parks until we found Beale Street. Neither of us would consider going to Beale Street in the evening when things are “hopping.” We were quite satisfied to ride down the middle of the street with no cars on a deserted Wednesday morning.

Our destination was Starbucks – you probably already knew that. We loaded up for the ride back. Double orders, empty containers to transfer our drinks.

Time to ride back before it gets any hotter. Back up Beale Street:

Riding the opposite direction allows you to see new things on the other side of the road …

and to appreciate traveling by bicycle instead of this:

Because I managed to get us lost a couple of times, today we rode 22 miles! Yay – felt good, and we were back by 10 am!

Swamp Rabbit Trail

We rode 7.5 miles of the trail before our Down the Rabbit Hole tour – 13 miles roundtrip. Today we rode almost all of it. We started early in the morning because it was going to be hot and humid later on. It was actually quite humid even at 8 am but cool when pedaling through the air. Stopping and not moving was when the humidity had more of an impact – at least for me. Our starting point, a bowling alley called Bowlero:

The Swamp Rabbit is a beautiful trail – 13 miles long – it goes through downtown Greenville and past Falls Park on the Reedy, continues to Swamp Rabbit Cafe and Grocery, Furman University, and ends in Traveler’s Rest. I took so many great pictures of this trail, you will see just a few highlights.

A few goose families walked their young ones around some little rapids.

One adult leads the younger ones while five “sweeps” follow up.

The black area alongside the asphalt trail is a rubberized surface for runners and walkers:

After turning around in

we stopped at Swamp Rabbit Cafe and Grocery for breakfast. Yum one more time!

27 fantastic miles.

Doodle Trail

We arrived in Greenville SC yesterday. Today we drove to Easley to ride out and back on the Doodle Trail.

This trail got its name because the train that left from Easley could not turn around in Pickens so it had to go backwards on the return trip. Like a doodlebug.

There are mile markers every tenth of a mile that look like this:

Our turn-around point:

Excellent ride! 16 miles.

Thermal Belt Rail Trail

A perfect day for a bike ride – great weather for sure – so we started mid-morning at a trailhead parking lot in front of a local school entrance.

At less busy road crossings:

We started in Forest City and rode through several small towns: Spindale, Rutherfordton, Ruth, Broad River to the end at Gilvey.

Exercise station:

Time to slow down for unpredictable summer camp trail users:

When we arrived in Gilkey at MM 0, we stopped to talk with Tim Will and RJ, local residents who are active in their community. They are also the kind of person who takes the time to have a conversation with trail users who are not locals – that’s a good thing in my book!

MM 0 – time to turn around.

On the way back I stopped at Bechtler Mint Site Historic Park. From 1831-1840, Christopher Bechtler operated the nation’s most successful private mint, turning raw gold into $3 million worth of coins and ingots.

View from the top of the hill at the park:

27 miles. Great trail, flawless asphalt and 12ft wide. Road crossings sometimes required extra attention and caution. Fantastic ride.

Tanglefoot Trail MM 43.6-29

Today we drove to the northern trailhead in New Albany MS. We parked just off Main Street on the other side of the tracks from this engine. The Tanglefoot was named after one of the engines that ran up and down this track when it was in use in the late 1800s.

The beginning of the trail at Mile Marker 43.6 was beautiful. At the end of the ride, we got (our first) coffee at Brew Albany at the end of the ride:

At first, I wondered if this was going to be another “tunnel of trees” ride, i.e. not much to see beyond trees …

but the trail opened up to views of the countryside.

Every time I see a tractor, I think of Justin who has a few tractors and always seems to be restoring one of them. This one could use some of his TLC:

One of the small towns we rode through, Ecru. The mural depicting its history:

Mile Marker 29, our turn-around point:

And then it began to mist … rain as I got back to the starting point. 30 miles and a little bit wet. Load the bikes, lock up everything and walk back to:

A delicious ending to a great ride.

Tanglefoot Trail MM 0-15

Yesterday we relocated to an RV park on the Natchez Trace SW of Tupelo. This morning we drove to Houston to ride the Tanglefoot Trail. Mile Marker 0:

The worst riding surface – tar and gravel over wood:

MM 9.9 at New Houlka:

Turn around at MM 15:

30 miles – it felt so good to be pedaling again.

Longleaf Trace MM 3-18

Hurray, we got to ride today! We parked at a trailhead on the campus of the University of Southern Mississippi.

You never know what you’ll see on a bike trail, today a band playing great music. There was a big event today, a Farm to Fork run/walk plus 52- and 36-mile bike rides.

There were a couple of very large groups of paceline riders – high speed and all clustered together for drafting.

Piney woods on both sides of the trail for the most part:

We had lunch in Sumrall, instead of “fine dining” at Lau-tori’s (closed with a still-active website) we had to compromise with an ok hamburger from a local fast food place … it really didn’t matter, we were hungry. On the way back, the bike/ped bridge over Hwy 59:

Beautiful weather and a great 32-mile ride.

Neuse River Trail

We drove to the northern end of the trail in Wake Forest and rode from MM 0-15 and back. The Falls of Neuse:

A covered bridge trail-style, protecting pedestrians and cyclists from debris that might fall from the train tracks above.

Chairs for sale, every one was different:

Perfectly situated near MM 15 was a bench where we had lunch before turning around.

A beautiful day and trail. 30 miles roundtrip.