'Poor Man's' Watch Forum'
Road Trip! - day 3
Posted By: Ricky Lee McBroom
Date: Friday, 7 July 2006, at 11:11 a.m.
We started off day 3 with a visit to Melrose House, a restored 19th-century plantation. Here's the front view:
And it's pretty impressive from the back, too:
They've done a super job on on the park! Indeed, Natchez as a whole really impressed us. There seems to be a element of civic pride there that's sadly lacking in many municipalities.
We skipped the mansion tour, but walked the grounds, took in the Slavery Exhibit, and dropped a 20 in the gift shop.
On to the Main Event for the day:
Cruisin' the trace!
That's the entrance at Mile Zero. While I've ridden the upper reaches of the trace (between Nashville, TN and Jackson, MS) quite extensively, I'd never turned a wheel on the lower portion. we instantly felt right at home, though:
We spent the requisite 5 minutes walking that portion of the Sunken Trace, as the sign suggests. We've come a long way in 200 years..
Our next stop was Mount Locust:
This structure, the main house, dates back to 1780.
The park service had a ranger stationed here, a most personable gentlemen who gave us a tour of the site.. and generally talked our ears off. Also met up with several other riders here, and spent a pleasant few minutes talkin' bikes.
At the Lower Choctaw Boundary, at mile 61, met up with a cyclist of a different sort:
Quite a special moment for this fellow, too, as his arrival at the waypoint meant that he'd ridden the entire Natchez Trace. His wife drove chase in a pickup, and had a margarita and some hot tamales waiting for him at the finish.
I confess that I'd been feeling a little proud, as our completion of the Natchez - Jackson section meant that we, too, had ridden the entire trace. But considering this ol' boy did it without an engine, I quickly abandoned my false pride. They were great folks, and 'twas a true pleasure meeting them.
It was no pleasure meeting this little caravan, though:
This trucker was apparently illiterate, for every entrance to the Trace has a sign which specifically states "No Commercial Traffic". We followed them for about 5 miles, as the rangers escorted him to the next exit.
And that's about it. We picked up I55 in Jackson, and headed for home. Made one more stop of significance, in Vaughan. This is the site of Casey Jones' infamous train wreck and, while there's an excellent museum / park, we've seen it before, so we just streched our legs and rehydrated.
In retrospect we should, perhaps, have put a little planning in on the front side, for the "just-ride-and-see-what-happens" nature of the trip resulted in missing several points of interest that I'd really have enjoyed seeing. Chief among them being Robert Johnson's grave in Quito (I only knew it was in Quito, but figured there'd be a sign. There wasn't. ). Then, too, we ate lunch in Port Gibson, at a Sonic a mere mile short of this eatery. Arrrgh!
But there's something to be said for "just riding" and, all in all, 'twas a most excellent ride! If nothing else it was a great warmup for our Deal's Gap ride coming up later this month. I can hardly wait!
If you go
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