Wednesday, May 9, 2012

May 9, 2012. Natchez to Vicksburg, MS. 85 miles.

We left the hotel this morning in a light mist... there was a 30% chance of rain predicted, but it never materialized.  In just a few miles we were on the Natchez Trace Parkway, a 444-mile long road built and managed by the National Park System. The actual Natchez Trace, a path that was used for thousands of years, is near the parkway and can be seen in several spots. In more recent history the Natchez Trace was used by Travelers heading west and by the postal service (early 1800s). It was also used as a return path for merchants from the Ohio River Valley who floated their goods down the Mississippi River to Natchez, sold the boats for lumber and walked or rode horses back home via the Natchez Trace.

Our SAG driver today was Bernadette, from the Netherlands. She was right where we expected her to be, at 20, 40, and 62 miles into the ride, with a smile on her face and cold water and snacks. What a great system! A couple of our riders (who shall remain nameless) missed the turn on to the Parkway and rode 20 miles in the wrong direction! Carol took the van back to pick them up and set them down on the Parkway so they would not miss this beautiful ride.

Here is Abby (from CA) coming into the first SAG stop.

At about 44 miles into the ride I went off the Parkway a short distance to see the Natchez Trace. It is now sunken about 15 feet. I was glad I went in to see it. I can so imagine the Native Americans and early settlers traveling this path.
 I stopped again a few miles later and went off the Parkway a short distance to see the Indian Mound.

There were vultures hanging around to see if any of us did not make it... They were disappointed after all. Once we left the Parkway (after riding it a glorious 61 miles on it) we were on a country road. This was the first day of new terrain--until today's ride the only climbing we did was going up the approaches to bridges... today we encountered rolling hills all day. A nice change, but it may take some getting used to. I saw road signs for Fonsylvania Rd. and Jeff Davis Rd (of course), but none yet topped Captain Bourgois Rd. that I saw in Louisiana on the second day...

You know you're in the south when you see Piggly Wiggly stores!

I arrived at the motel about 2:30, checked into my room and found Moira (from Scotland) unloading the trailer  by herself. Of course I went out and helped her; she was placing them in precise order, all facing the same directiion and grouped by color! If you look closely at the photo you can see her at the end. She is quite small.