Map of Our Natchez Trace Bike Trip

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Geri and Dennis at Black Belt Overlook
video

Twenty-mile Bottom Overlook
 
Our campsite at Tishomingo State Park
 Day 28 - It seems to be a lot easier to get up early when you're camping, so before sunrise we were already out of bed, but as usual we didn't get on the road until nearly 9:00 AM.  We made a quick stop at Black Belt Overlook before pedaling into Tupelo, MS. for a McDonald's Big Breakfast.  I imagine that Becky Brandt, who works at the USDA office where I work part time, will pay special attention to our travels today since Elvis was born in this town!  I did not realize that all McDonald's now have WiFi, so we were able to download photos to our blog from yesterday. There were a lot of things to see today along the Natchez Trace. We visited the Chickasaw village site and took a short cut on an unpaved bike trail to get back on the Parkway. We saw several sites where the old Natchez Trace was clearly visible and one place had 13 unknown Confederate soldiers' graves along the original Trace. There was a nice overlook called Twenty-mile Bottom which provided a view that showed we are having to climb some hills now. Our elevation seems to fluctuate between 300 and 500 feet, but we feel like we do more climbing than coasting. One of the most interesting roadside attractions was Pharr Mounds with 8 Indian mounds spread out over a wide area, two of which are 18 feet high. We saw another copperhead today, but he had met with an untimely death and had become a part of the road. We had to battle a north wind today which seems to get stronger each day, but at least, the temperature remains pleasant for bicycle travel and there is not even a hint of any rain. Toward the end of the day we passed the 300 mile marker and we traveled off the Parkway a few miles later to get to a campsite in Tishomingo State Park. We arrived at the entrance to the Park at sunset, but there was a convenience store at that intersection and we could not resist getting a pizza for dinner so we would not have to cook in the dark. As a result, however, after eating we did have to pedal in the moonless, dark night to the campground about 2 miles away. It was a little eerie riding through the dense forest on a narrow road in the darkness with just our bicycle lights, but there was no traffic. That was a big change from most of our day traveling on the Parkway. It has been moderately heavy with traffic ever since we left Tupelo, MS. It seems in this part of Mississippi that the Natchez Trace is used more for transportation than for recreation. The traffic volume here is very different than in the southern portion of the Parkway. We found a campsite right next to the showerhouse, which wasn't difficult because we were the only campers we saw in the entire Park. It was a busy high mileage day. We nearly broke 60 miles today, but we enjoyed the many roadside exhibits and attractions. We averaged an even 11 mi/hr today, which isn't too bad with the return of the hills and the wind.

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