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LA or Bust - 2009 Trip - Day 9

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Start Location: New Orleans, LA
Ending Location: Kosciusko, MS
Miles Today: 367
Trip Miles: 3237
States Visited: 11
National Parks Visited: 2
Low Temp: 79.1° F
High Temp: 109.5° F
Min Elevation: -8'
Max Elevation: 523'

Route Map:



graph

Today began much better than Saturday.  The weather was clear and warm (although quite humid) and we had no problems getting the bike out of the parking garage and loaded up with our gear.  I have to admit to having some anxiety about this part of the trip.  I worried about finding a decent place to stay near the French Quarter.  I worried about parking.  I worried about getting around once we had a place.  All of the worry turned out to be for nothing.  The Quality Inn was one block from Canal Street and the French Quarter.  The rooms were great - the best we have had on the trip.  The staff was incredibly helpful and friendly and always made you feel at home.  The parking worked out very well and there was plenty of room directly in front of the hotel to load and unload the bike.  We would come back here in an instant and not hesitate to recommend it to anyone.

Back to the trip.  We started out the morning driving past the New Orleans Superdome that was made famous (or infamous) during Hurricane Katrina in 2005.  From there we drove across Lake Pontchartrain on the Pontchartrain Causeway which, at 24 miles, is the longest bridge in the world.  It was shown on the map as a toll bridge but apparently they only charge  a toll going south and we were going north - obviously good planning on our part.

After passing through Baton Rouge, we took US 61 north to Natchez, MS.  The first 20 miles or so through Louisiana were no fun due to heavy construction but, once we passed into Mississippi, the construction ended and the road was great.

Outside of Natchez we got on the Natchez Trace Parkway.  We took a short section of the Parkway 4 years ago on our Four Corners Tour and decided then that we would like to do the full length some day.  The Parkway is 444 miles and runs from Natchez, MS to Nashville, TN.  That's 444 miles of no stop signs, no traffic lights, and best of all no traffic.  Although the speed limit is 50 mph, it is a beautiful ride.  For the most part, the road is in excellent condition.  We had forgotten how beautiful it is.  There are beautiful grass margins along both sides of the entire road.  We can't imagine what an effort it must be to keep it all so well groomed.

If there is a negative to the Parkway, it's that it runs near very few towns so you have to plan gas, food, and motel stops somewhat carefully.

We stopped for the evening in Kosciusko, MS where we met three other Goldwing riders from Fort Wayne, IN who were doing the Parkway in the opposite direction.  They couldn't believe we didn't have any rain today since they had drenching rains most of the morning.

The graph today is a little erratic again.  Today the problem is that we were under a tree covered canopy over the road most of the afternoon.  With that kind of cover, the GPS receiver has trouble locking onto more than 3 to 5 satellites at any time which is really not enough for a good altitude fix.  Also the high temperatures each day are a little deceptive.  They always occur when we are stopped for lunch.  The problem is that, although the temperature sensor is located in the front of the bike and under the fairing, it still picks up the temperature of the bike itself when it is just sitting for any period of time.

Tomorrow we head for Nashville - another 300 or so miles of great roads.  It doesn't get any better than this.

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