2017 Western Spring Fling travel blog

Windshield shots of the Natchez Trace in Tennessee

Detour off the trace and scenes along the back roads

Crossing into Alabama

Winnie at the Trace RV Park on Thursday night

Mississippi section of the Natchez Trace

More of Mississippi

Some of the animals along the Trace, missed the coyote we saw

A few cyclists enjoying the warm weather

Winnie at the Cypress Swamp

Bald cypress trunks

Redbuds beginning to bloom

Boardwalk into the Cypress Swamp

The Sunken Trace

Ringo

Winnie at River View RV Park

Sue going into the Pig Out Inn in Natchez

Inside the Pig Out Inn

Pigging out with a 3 meat platter, slaw, Curly Q's and a...

Confederate War Memorial Park in Natchez

Fountain in the Confederate War Memorial Park


Before leaving Nashville on Thursday I sent Sue to Camping World right next to Two Rivers RV Campground where we stayed. She was supposed to pickup a small rug and a new microwave egg cooker. She got them, but also bought a new bike (we left the Pee Wee Herman cruiser at home this trip). She surprised me when she didn’t tell me she bought it and I found it when I got the car ready to tow. It was in the back seat still in the box. It’s a smaller (20”) bike more appropriate to her size. I guess that I will be putting it together later on the trip. If she likes it, I guess I’ll be getting one this trip so we can ride together.

After the Camping World trip we left Nashville and made our way to the northern terminus of the Natchez Trace Parkway about 40 miles south of the city. This is our third trip along the Natchez trace either in part or the entire length. It’s a 444-mile drive through 3 states - Tennessee, the northwest corner of Alabama, and Mississippi. It ends in Natchez, MS on the Mississippi. The route has been used over the last 10,000 years by American Indians, "Kaintucks”, settlers, and future presidents. The Old Trace played an important role in American history. Andrew Jackson and Meriwether Lewis are two famous Americans associated with the Trace. After the Battle of New Orleans, Jackson was given orders to disband his regiment of Tennessee volunteers and send them home. He refused to cast his volunteers adrift to find their own way home, and pledged his own money to finance the supplies needed for the trip back along the Natchez Trace to Tennessee. He gave up his horses for the sick, and walked along side of his men, encouraging and disciplining them when necessary. His determination, combined with his willingness to suffer alongside his men, led his men to give him the nickname "Old Hickory."

Meriwether Lewis led the famous Lewis and Clark Expedition that on an exploration of the Louisiana Territory after it was purchased by President Thomas Jefferson. After the expedition returned home, Jefferson rewarded Lewis with the governorship of the Upper Louisiana Territory. As the presidency changed, so did politics. Several of the bills that Lewis submitted to the Department of War for payment were questioned, leaving Lewis personally liable for those bills. Lewis set out from St. Louis (the capital of the Upper Louisiana Territory) toward Washington to defend them.

Part of Lewis's route took him along a portion of the Natchez Trace. During the early morning of October 11th, while staying in Grinder's Stand, Lewis died of gunshot wounds. The evidence that exists leads most historians to conclude that Lewis' wounds were self-inflicted, and many who knew Lewis believed he had committed suicide. Some later accounts suggest that Lewis may have been murdered. He is buried near Grinder’s Stand and a monument was constructed by the state of Tennessee in 1848.

This trip is a transit with few stops (Cypress Swamp and the Sunken Trace). It was an enjoyable drive through the rural countryside with little or no traffic except when you get close to Tupelo, Jackson, or Natchez. The trees are just starting to bud and I imagine in another week or so they will be leafed out in spring colors. It took us 2 days to cover the length of the Trace this trip with an overnight stop at the Trace RV Park, just south of Tupelo. We made an overnight stop here before (2015 Tennessee the Long Way). It’s a no frills mom and pop park good for short stays.

We arrived in the Natchez and crossed the river to Vidalia, LA for a stop along the Mississippi River at River View RV Park. Another park we’ve used on trips through this part of the country. We were lucky to get a pot as there are 2 RV clubs here for the weekend.

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