Hiram from Knoxville on 6/8/2010 4:59:39 PM:
We rode last summer from newport to Neligh in two days. We found the trail to be very soft almost the whole way. We easily ride 10-12 mph on the katy, but struggled to go much above 6-8 mph on the Cowboy. With two panniers my mountain bike sunk into the ground about an inch on average. The locals we tlaked to said that most riders they saw wee using the highway shoulder rather than riding the trail itself. It seemed to us that the contractor that the state was using for trail construction had not done any compaction work after laying down the trail bed.
I'd get the trail guide to pick your route, its pretty clear about which sections are next to the highway and which are away from it.
The section jut east of newport was the prettiest we rode thru. We stayed at the Golden Hotel and loved it.