Posted by: noadventure | August 28, 2009

Biking the Tammany Trace

Editor’s note: new guest poster Kevin writes about beautiful road biking on the northshore.

First, call your friends and ask them “You wanna ride on the NORTHSHORE?”

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Second, rack ‘em and drive across Lake Pontchartrain on the Causeway, the world’s longest two lane bridge… or some fact like that… careful of the Causeway Police (popo) because they ticket speeders in order to fund the maintenance of the coolest car ride in south Louisiana. They’ll get you comin’ and going. Pay attention to the posted 35mph on the entrance and exit. Accelerate to 65mph only when you’re far away past the popo station. Set your cruise control to 65mph and stay in the right lane. You’re cruisin’ along across the lake with excellent 360 views.

Third, park at the Abita Springs Brewery and Pub.

Your headed for the Tammany Trace Rails to Trails bike path.

The BrewPub is a good starting place….with a fruit stand close by as well as a  Mystery house with cool novelties. There is also an old school grocery store for water and supplies. Plenty of small town to explore.  The Trace has 40 miles of paved trail, From Mandeville all the way to Slidell.

Head east on the well-paved bike path to your destination… Fontainebleau State Park (hyperlink …facts) Its 12.5 miles to the Northshore of Lake Pontchartrain…a fairly flat and enjoyable ride.  One can only imagine the train steaming through this wonderland of pine forest.

emptypines

You’re gonna smile when you get out away from the crazy New Orleans city and into the country. You’ll sweat out your hangover. Riders can easily pedal a one speed cruiser, but road bikes with multiple gears are suggested.  Use caution when you have to cross the highway, some drivers don’t always expect to give you right-of-way.  Use your bell to announce your arrival at the intersections.

tammanytracemap

Look for Nutria (rat like beaver) and other wild critters. Coons and armadillos will also sometimes cross the path.  See the mud towers made by the tasty crawfish.

You’ll come to a bridge where turtles and even small gators will greet you.  Good photo-op and hydration point. Look for turtles… they’re in there…somewhere.

turtlescoutbarrybridge

Well patrolled and friendly atmosphere here. On Saturdays, local merchants sell arts and crafts, tamales, soft-shelled crab and some outrageously delicious Almond Paste Macaroons. You’ll also find Spicy Pickled Mirletons or meerlatones or whatever, the pickled ones are worth the money. Try a selection of pepper jams and Middle Eastern cuisine as well as tamales that sell out quick.  A great stop to get some good southern hospitality from locals who are genuinely friendly.  Back on the bikes….

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You’ve turned into the Fountain Blue National Park and paid a dollar per person to enter. Head straight to the beach where swimming and general beaching are occurring. Water temp: a brackish 85f.(Editor’s note: It was probably warmer than that.)

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Take your timer photo…send it in for cash and prizes.

Get hydrated cuz now you’ve got 12.5 miles back to the brew pub for beers and chow.

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You earned it. 26 miles…your butt is sore and you’ve worked up a thirst….time to go into the Brew Pub and enjoy.

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Abita pours their specialties – Amber, Turbo Dog, Restoration Ale, Purple Haze, and this year’s seasonal beer called Satsuma, a beer with local citrus flavor (different than you’d expect). It’s perfect with any of the menu items at the brew pub where a shrimp and avocado salad might tantalize. Of course they may run out of towels in the restroom, but they have a sign in there.

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Great way to spend a Saturday.

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Responses

  1. […] brews. If you wanna get some food in you before your trek across the Causeway, head on over to the Abita Brewpub. This is the original site of the brewery before they moved it to a larger facility. Here you can […]

  2. […] the northshore, there is the Tammany Trace, where you might want to pedal through the woods on this reclaimed “rails to trails” […]

  3. […] to really pedal. The VA Creeper Trail is a “rails to trails” project(kinda like the Tammany Trace) where they took an old railway and converted it into a bike trail. It’s covered with […]

  4. Very nice write-up. I certainly appreciate this site.

    Thanks!


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