Natchez Trace Ride - June, 2006

After several years of talking about this ride, I finally decided that the weather would hold long enough for me to get going.  All 3 of my sons and I have wanted to do this trip ever since we did the Blue Ridge Parkway.  I went back in 2004 and did that "end to end" also.  Unfortunately none of my sons were able to get loose for 4 or 5 days so I went by myself.  The trip covered a little over 1,500 miles in about 3.5 days.

I went up to Franklin, Tennessee and spent the night so I could start out from the very beginning (or end) early the next morning.  Betsy's grandfather, William Meacham, was from Franklin.  I found out that our daughter in law, Wanda (John's wife) had ancestors there also.  John and Wanda  have been there and actually been in one of the old family homes.

The "Parkway" was really great.  444 miles of slowly winding road with very few straight-aways.  All of the signs looked like they were brand new.  The speed limit was 40 mph at the beginning and end and through the Jackson, Mississippi area and 50 mph everywhere else.

I only had to ride in the rain 3 times and then for only about 5 minutes at a time.  Unfortunately, the first time was where the Trace crossed the Tennessee River.  I saw it coming and suited up in the visitor area just before getting on the bridge and crossed the bridge in the worst thunderstorm I have ever been outside in.  I had planned to stop at the visitors center on the south side of the river for lunch and that is what I did.  After about 30 minutes the storm was gone and with only a few sprinkles and a wet road, I started out again with my "frog togs" on.  Within 30 minutes I had to stop and take the rain suit off it had become so dry and hot.

I wound up in Clinton, Mississippi at the end of the 2nd day.    I could have gone all the way the Natchez in one day even with a lot of sight seeing stops but had thought I might spend the 3rd night in Natchez.  As I later learned, there was a Harley Owner's Group rally going on in Natchez and I got there about 9:00 am in the morning.  I decided to take a few pictures and head East. 

Originally I was going to go across Hwy. 84 and down to Hattiesburg and look around and maybe stop and see a couple of people.  Then I had planned to go down to Mobile and see my friend Paul Brisendine, K4HCM, who has just retired there.   I thought I would take in the Battleship and Submarine while I was there. Then I was going over to Pensacola to see my good college friend, Edgar Head.  But the weather forecast on Saturday changed all of that.  So that trip will have to be saved for another time.

So instead of stopping at Hattiesburg, I went over to Laurel and up to Meridian and spent the night in Tuscaloosa.  I had thought I would be able to stop and see the entire Barber Motorsports Museum in Birmingham on Sunday morning but the weather forecast kept getting worse so I got up early on Sunday and came all the way home.   I beat the bad weather in Atlanta by about 2 hours.

You will get the flavor of what I did and saw from the individual captions on the slide show.  It was a great trip and I would recommend it to anyone.   Had I had more time I would have done a little sight seeing in Nashville before I started and also made a few more stops on the Trace including a visit to the Grand Gulf State Park near Port Gibson, Mississippi.  There are three real nice (and free) campgrounds that are part of the parkway so anyone with camping gear (including RV's) could take advantage of these facilities.

Click on any of the thumbnail pictures to begin the slide show.   Click HERE to return to the main picture index.

 


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