As Paul Simon reminds us: You got to make the morning last.
I left off my latest travel story with Ed and me dropping our girls at the New Orleans airport, after a fun weekend in the Big Easy. From there, we drove north to Natchez, MS, our beginning point for taking the Natchez Trace Parkway home.
We opted to take the two-lane parkway, with a speed limit of 50, that follows the historic trace from Natchez north to Nashville. Commercial traffic is prohibited. There are no billboards, no McDonald's or Starbucks. Just 444 miles of scenic highway that closely follows the original foot passage used by Native Americans, "Kaintucks," and settlers – and even before that, the bison and other game that moved between grazing the pastures of central and western Mississippi and the salt and other mineral surface deposits of the Cumberland Plateau.
The route generally traverses the tops of low hills and ridges of the watershed divide. We figured it would take us an extra three hours of so of driving time. We didn't figure in the time we spent stopping and exploring along the way.
We spent the night in Natchez and toured the historic town on the Mississippi River the next morning, before finding the entrance ramp to the Natchez Trace Parkway. The trees were not yet leafed out and a soft rain fell for most of the day. That didn't stop us from enjoying the drive. For the first two hours, we did not pass a single car coming from the north. And we saw only a handful of cars the entire day. We had a map that noted places of interest and so every few miles we'd find ourselves pulling off to explore.
|Sunken Trace, part of the original trace.|
|Bynum (ceremonial) Mounds, built between 2050 and 1800 years ago.|
|We made a stop in Tupelo, MS and headed to the Tupelo Hardware Store |
where Elvis' mom bought him his first guitar.
No guitar for me – a whisk broom and twine instead.
It was perfect. We were happy to slow down and not move too fast. After all, we were looking for fun and feeling groovy.