Port Gibson Mississippi to Natchez Mississippi . 38 warm and sunny miles.
I keep thinking that we will be soon out of these hills. But they just keep coming one after another. They are gentle but long. My legs and butt are feeling the fatigued of seven days of pedaling.
After seven wonderful days, and 414 miles we pull into Natchez Mississippi.. We take showers at Russ and Cindy ‘s hotel and then meet at the waterfront for a delicious celebration meal.
The group in Sunken Trace of yesteryear
The finish line – L to R Mike, Dan, Maja, Brad, Russ, and Cindy.
Overlooking the Mississippi in Natchez from our celebration restaurant .
It was a great trip with a wonderful bunch of friends. I got thinking we should do it South to north next year, and then my mind returned to just enjoy them moment of feeling relief and accomplishment. Put this Natchez Trace Parkway on your list of things to see. THE END
Russ Barnett reservoir near Jackson MS to Grand Gulf Military Camp near Port Gibson MS, 63 miles.
This is one of the prettiest parts of this beautiful ride. We wind along the reservoir for miles and then travel through the center of Jackson on a paved off road biking path that Parallels the Trace. It’s a safe and enjoyable way to get through this big city. We meet Cindy and Russ on there tandem and stop for a delicious lunch in Clinton MS. The rest of the day goes well as we are blessed with sunshine and a nice tail wind. We pull into camp and just catch the ranger before he leaves for the day. He Turns out to be quite a character that could fill another page with silliness. The campsite is not too far from a nuclear power plant on the Mississippi River. Its low tone hums can be heard for miles. I put in my earplugs and curl up in camp happy for the last night of the journey down the Natchez Trace.
Riding the Trace Parkway video
Russ Barnett reservoir and the Natchez Trace Parkway Road.
The original Natchez Trace – before roads were invited.
A snack stop along the Trace
Jeff Bugsby Park MS to Russ Barnett Reservoir camp (just north of Jackson MS) 61 miles of warm Mississippi sunshine.
We get an early start because we don’t have to pack up camp. It’s Sunday morning and there is very little traffic just like always on the Natchez Trace. Riding into the little historic town of French Camp we notice a church parking lot full of Sunday worshipers and ask about breakfast places. We are told that everything is closed on Sundays. We ride on and munch on energy bars and leftovers from our food bags. Our day is spent enjoying the sunshine and the beautiful scenery as we pedal along the Trace. The hike around Cypress Swamp goes without a gator sighting, yet there is something magical about these monstrous trees growing out of the water. We pull into a private campground and pay the $5.00 camp fee. It is our first paid site and comes with a shower – well kind of a shower . Let’s just say it was warm and wet:). Camp happy is set up on a flat area just above the water. My friends joke about me becoming gator bait as night falls in the Mississippi Bayou. The only real predators turns out to be the mosquitoes. I crawl into my little tent (camp happy) close my eyes and listen to the wild songs from the birds and animals of the Bayou. Two owls hoot from a tree above lull me to sleep.
Camp Happy in the morning light
Tupelo Mississippi camp to nearby Jeff Bugsby Park (hotel in Eupora MS. ) 62 miles.
Today was my drive day. It was spent finding and delivering lunch to the other riders and a hotel and laundry services for the evening. The hotel is nothing to write home about but it had running water, hot showers and was close to a laundromat. We showered, washed clothes, and ate Mexican food. An exciting Saturday night for sure:)
Watching clothes drying – just don’t get more exciting than that!
5 people, 5 people’s gear, and 5 bikes on a Subaru. Proving once again that you can fit ten pounds of poop in a five pound bag.
Meriwether Lewis camp Tennessee to Colbert Ferry, Alabama – 65 sunny miles.
I awake in camp happy with the sun shining into my tent. First thing I notice is that I can see my breath. Brrr it’s cold but the sunshine is good news. We load ourselves into Brad’s car and head to the little town of Hohenwald for a southern breakfast. It is nice to have a SAG wagon on mornings like this. We get a later start then planned but that gives the sun some time to warm up a bit. We climb and descend through the Tennessee ridge country. The road is smooth, the traffic is light and we have a slight tail wind. After the first couple climbs we stop and remove our warm riding gear. The forest canopy connects the trees on either side if the road. For many miles we ride in this tunnel of nature with leaves crackling under our tires. The stop in Collinwood for lunch takes a couple hours of our precious daylight and we have to burn a lot of energy to reach our campsite before sunset. Lucky we cross the Tennessee River and into Alabama just as the sun hits the horizon. Brad finds up a beautiful stealth campsite on the river. We set up camp and head to Muscle Shores to meet Cindy and Russ for dinner. We return to the campsite with full bellies and find a local armadillo searching for his supper. We chase him off and crawl in our tents and I am feeling grateful for another day on Mother Earth.
Mija resting safely from the fire ants 🐜
Nashville TN to Merriwether Lewis National Monument, 60 cold misty miles on the beautiful Natchez Trace. We unload the bikes and gear at the Loveless Cafe which is the northern terminus of the Trace. My friends Dan, Brad, Seth, and Maja are here. Also Russ and Cindy from Iowa on a tandem. Within the first mile we cross over a high valley bridge. It’s an Architectural wonder and the view from the top is breathtaking partly because of the climb but also for the view of the valley below (see photos). We climb and descend all morning. We are blessed with a north wind that helps our spirits but not our cold fingers and toes. We stop for lunch and eat our sandwiches at the beautiful Jackson Falls. Recent rains have it flowing fast and loud. We pass clear little streams in every valley. The afternoon climbs are gentle but very long. They have names like “nine mile ridge “ and “Baker Bluff lookout “. It’s a test for both my legs and lungs. We pull into the campsite just as the sun sets behind the Tennessee ridge. The cold air settles in the valley and I smile as I crawl inside my sleeping bag and call it a day knowing that horse and I are back on the road to adventure. Thanks for coming along. Only 414 miles to go 😎🚴🏻.