While the planning for our tour continues, I think the itinerary and the basic route are set. Of course, we’ll modify the route according to what we want to do or conditions on the ground, but I don’t know that we can do any better from the armchair. FWIW, I’m very familiar with the route between Navarre Beach, FL and Fort Morgan, AL having ridden these roads either on vacation or in the AMBA ride last year. I’ve also asked for feedback on BikeForums.net and haven’t received any suggestions to change the routes. What we’ve discussed doing next is researching good locations for rest stops and noting bike shops, grocery stores, etc.
From: Madison, AL
To: Panama City Beach, FL
Overnight: Saint Andrews State Park
Description: A coworker will be driving us down in exchange for stay in a PCB hotel we rented for him using airline miles. We’ll load up at his hotel and stretch our legs with a 2 mile ride to Saint Andrews State Park.
Description: From PCB to Destin, we’ll hug the coast closely through many beachside communities: Laguna, Grayton, Miramar, Sandestin. Notice how many State Parks there are along this route.
Description: This is another days hugging the coast tightly through Fort Walton, Santa Rosa, Navarre, Gulf Breeze and then across Pensacola Bay into Pensacola. And, yes. I have cycled across that bridge and into downtown Pensacola; summer of 2011, I believe. This is our longest (planned) day of riding.
Description: Hugging the coast nicely again, this route follows portions of the two back-to-back century rides from AMBA last year. Orange Beach, Gulf Shores, Fort Morgan, and then ferry across Mobile Bay to Dauphin Island. This is the only commercial (non-State Park) campground of the trip.
Description: We have to leave the coast on this leg. Up the causeway from Dauphin Island back to the mainland then through Bayou la Batre, Grand Bay, and Pascagoula on the way to Shepard State Park.
Description: We’re back on the coast this day riding through Biloxi, Gulf Port, and Bay St. Louis on the way to Waveland. I don’t know anything about this portion of the coast so this will be a new experience. I think there are casinos down there so maybe we’ll stop in an throw a quarter into a slot machine.
From: Waveland, MS
To: New Orleans, LA
Overnight: Chateau Le Moyne, French Quarter
Description: I think this leg is going to be mostly swampland along this Chef Menteur Highway until we get into east New Orleans. That looks like a lot of miles of nothing so we’ll need to pack plenty of water and snacks on that one. We’re overnighting at a hotel in the French Quarter that I was able to get with airline miles. We discussed camping in Bayou Segnette State Park, but since it is 14 miles from FQ, that means a 28 mile ride for a Po Boy, cold beer and a rock band.
From: New Orleans, LA
To: Madison, AL
Description: Once again, a coworker will be driving us in exchange for a night in a hotel rented with hotel points. End adventure. Boo.