The Mighty Trip

RDU > MSY: 11:35 AM > 2:27 PM
Raleigh > New Orleans
May 24, 2022

MSP to RDU: 2:35 pm > 6:10 pm
Minneapolis/St. Paul > Raleigh
Jun 30, 2022

As what feels like always, this trip runs backwards, up the Mississippi. Due to other schedule considerations, to cycle south I’d either have to start in Minnesota in early April (too cold!) or end in New Orleans in July (too hot!). So be it.

I don’t specifically know why the Mississippi. Still not a fan of cycling in the US, yet not quite willing to return to Europe (at least, under current circumstances, the time frame I normally plan a trip). I want a trip longer than last year’s. In 2015 I cycled most of the Danube in reverse, eventually redirecting myself to the headwaters of the Danube after following it for over 2,000 km. There’s a certain appeal to cycling the length of the Mississippi the same way. While there’s a cycle route, there’s not a cycle trail. Or, at least, nothing like the mostly dedicated cycle trail along the Danube.

The cycle trail along the Danube (aka a short part of Eurovelo 6) is the Easy button of cycling: paved or tight-packed stone; camping every 10 miles or so, bike shops adjacent to the trail; a plethora of castles; and cycling through Budapest and Vienna. I don’t believe there’s an easier long-distance route in the world. Instead I’ll get US highways, New Orleans, Memphis, Kansas City, and Minneapolis. Yeay.

One of my considerations for last year’s trip was the option of continuing from Buffalo to Cleveland, then heading west towards Chicago before turning south down the Mississippi. This is, I suppose, a variation of that.

The route along the Mississippi is 1500 miles (2400 km), which translates to about 65 km / day, roughly my European historical average. Last year’s US trip of 22 days and 2200 km began at 90 km/day, but eventually I rode 100 miles a day (160 km) twice, only the first (and second) time I’d done that since 1989! I cycle much farther in a day when it’s mostly flat, and fewer interesting things to prompt wandering off my path. Warmer weather than Europe also brings more tolerance of rain. At 37 days, I should have time for this trip, even taking into account finding a bike box at the end instead of last year’s cycling home to avoid dealing with transport.

Guess we’ll see!


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