|4/21 Happy Birthday Kasey 4/22 Happy Birthday Trinity 4/23 Happy Birthday Fran
Wound our way over to the Natchez Trace. It’s a beautiful parkway that follows the old Indian trail running from Natchez to the northeast The preserved part only goes from Natchez to just south of Nashville, but the original Trace went all the way to Pittsburg.. In the 1700’s the farmers from the Ohio River Valley (known as “Kaintucks”) started floating their crops and products down the rivers to Natchez and New Orleans. They then sold their flatboats for lumber, and had to walk home. By 1810 the trace was the most heavily traveled road in the Old Southwest. Eventually inns (locally called stands) were put up to provide basic food and shelter. Mount Locust was a more substantial inn, and I think the only one still left standing. It is 15 miles outside Natchez, but took the Kaintucks a day to walk there. Then another month or two to finish the walk home. We visited it today, but for some reason the battery was dead in the camcorder, so I won’t be able to put pictures on here until I get my little camera film developed. Five generations lived in the home-turned-inn, and are buried in the family cemetery. There is also a separate cemetery for the slaves.
We’re staying at a free campground along the Trace (with no services at all except restrooms – we don’t even have phone service in here but do get TV reception so I can watch Biggest Loser!). The parkway is a 2-lane, tree lined road that runs through beautiful timber (reminding us of the north woods). Occasionally there are open fields, some with corn growing, and a lot of crimson clover along the sides of the road. There are very few vehicles, but we do see quite a few bicycles (maybe because it’s a 50 mph speed limit, and we don’t go much faster than that anyway!). You can only enter the trace every 20-30 miles. While we were out exploring today we did get off the Trace and go into Port Gibson for gas (it was 1 mile off parkway). We’ll explore more tomorrow, before moving on up the trace to the next campground.
Drove up to Clinton/Jackson Ms. area today as we had to pick up some groceries and “num-nums” for Weebles. There are a lot of historic markers along the parkway, but really nothing there except the marker, saying something happened “near here”. We are kind of disappointed – thought we would see a lot more exhibits and left-over buildings, etc. We did take a trail here in the campground that led to the remains of Rocky Springs (which had a population of 2600 back in the 1800’s but was totally abandoned by the 1930’s due to yellow fever, the boll weevil and the Civil War. General Grant’s army of 40,000 troops occupied the area for more than a week and was terrifying for the locals because the army drew the greater part of its food supply from an area less than 24 sq miles where a population of only 2500 lived. Today only the church and cemetery, 2 rusting safes, some abandoned cisterns and a short section of the Old Trace mark the “town” site. Of course we forgot to take the cameras ….. There were tombstones in the old cemetery for people who had been born in the late 1700’s and early 1800’s. Quite a few were young children who died at 1-7 years of age, but there were a few for men who lived to be in their 70’s. A snake slithered in front of us, but Bob protected me…
We’re debating whether to just head home from Jackson on the Interstate, rather than go up the Trace another 400 miles (which would add 200 miles to the trip) since we’re not really seeing much except markers, and it is out of our way. We’ll decide when we get 40 miles up the road at Jackson, Ms. Well, we decided to drive up the Trace to Tupelo (only a 70-miles difference). Then we took I-78 up to Memphis and caught I-55 (which we’ll take to Peoria and then I-74 to Highway 61 and home. It was a pretty windy day, but luckily most of the time it was behind us. We left at 7:45 this morning and drove until almost 4:30 (we usually only drive for 4 hours). Got pretty windy toward the end of the day so we found a little RV park for the night.
We had our first tomato off our tomato plant today. It wasn’t very big, but it sure was good !!!
Should be home by sometime Saturday and then will start cleaning up the mess at home. Called tonight to have the phone service reconnected – that doesn’t mean we’ll have phone service, because living at the “end of the line” means the phone line has probably been plowed up while we were gone and we’ll then have to put in a repair order, but we can’t do that until we get home and find out for sure.