Thursday, April 29, 2010

The Ride Home

Time to come home!  Or rather time to post a few highlights of our last trip while still relatively fresh in my mind ! 

In Natchez, we began our 444 mile trek up the modern day parkway that parallels the original Natchez Trace.  Just like the Blue Ridge Parkway, the Natchez Trace Parkway was constructed during the depression by the Civilian Conservation Corps and is part of the National Park System. Worn by hundreds of years of travel by wildlife, native hunters, French explorers and eventually farmers returning home after floating their crops and products down the Mississippi in flatboats, it was an important wilderness road.  The road today makes a peaceful ride, with no trucks and light tourist and local traffic.  The southern sections are smooth, straight and scenic (almost to the point of becoming boring!).  Historic markers and points of interest are many.   There was no way we could stop at them all and still make it home in the time we had.  The National Park Service has a great map that we used to determine where to stop. 

This was one of the areas where a portion of the original trail was (supposedly) left to show what it would have been like for the early travelers. 
We took a couple little side trips from the Trace.  The first was to the Windsor Ruins.  Back in 1861, a wealthy farmer completed a beautiful twenty-three room home for his family, only to die a short time later.  His widow and children continued to live in the home even though they lost the family fortune during the Civil War. Though the house did survive the war it was destroyed by an accidental fire in 1891.  The columns are all that remain. It was kind of sad to see them standing proudly among the trees and  imagine the stately home and grounds that were once here.  You can see how large they were in comparison to our bike parked under the tree.

A close up view of the top of one of the columns.  We wondered how these have stayed standing for so many years. Especially after the bad storms that rolled through this part of Mississippi a few days after our visit.

Another side trip was to Vicksburg and the National Military Park.  We got here a little late in the day so didn't have time to take any of the tours or ride through the entire site of  the Civil War Battle.  We did manage to see the last showing of the film in the Visitor's Center which we found interesting and gave us an appreciation for battles that were fought on these very grounds.

A little ways past Jackson is the Mississippi Crafts Center. I always enjoy browsing these places.  The quality of the original crafts and art is usually pretty amazing.  Colorful Choctaw baskets  and beautiful quilts caught my eye.

Near the end of our journey at mile marker 438 in Tennessee is Birdsong Hollow and this beautiful award winning bridge.  We thought that the last third of the Trace is probably the most scenic. Would we travel the entire Natchez Trace again on the bike?  Probably not.  Though there are many places that we enjoyed and we'd like to go back to Natchez and Vicksburg, the road got a little boring after three days.  But we enjoyed our trip, had great weather and had a nice visit with family.   Thanks for riding along!


Thimbleanna said...

That's a trip I'd love to take some day -- the south is so beautiful. It looks like you saw some really cool things -- those columns are amazing. Thanks for sharing your trip with us!

Anonymous said...

So sad that the house burnt down. Would have loved to see inside, wouldn't you?

The Blue Ridge Gal