Natchez Trace 2013

  • Countdown to the Natchez Trace! (10/17/2013) - Trails sure do get in your blood. I finished the 1,000-kilometer Vía de la Plata Camino a few years ago — it's an ancient pilgrimage trail in Spain — and am halfway through running/hiking it a second time (I hope to do the second half in spring 2014).
  • Day 1: Natchez to Port Gibson (10/25/2013) - Ed and I drove from my conference in Biloxi to Natchez this morning. The trip took about 3.5 hours. We stopped at the Natchez Visitors' Center. Natchez, by the way, is known for its wealth of antebellum homes turned into B&Bs.
  • Day 2: Port Gibson to Clinton (10/26/2013) - Another sunny, beautiful day. The first few hours were pretty cold; when we first started, it was 40. The Trace was also very shady, which didn't help. But we warmed up quickly.
  • Day 3: Clinton to Kosciusko (10/27/2013) - We'd heard from other cyclists that biking around Jackson on the Trace was "white-knuckle biking" because so many locals use the Trace to get to and from work quickly. There's one section where a recreational path roughly parallels the Trace, and materials tell you to use that when the traffic is bad. Luckily we were heading out of town at 7:30 on a Sunday morning, so the traffic wasn't that bad. We could have used the recreational trail, but stayed on the Trace for authenticity's sake.
  • Day 4: Kosciusko to Eupora (10/28/2013) - When a woman back in Clinton heard we were doing the Trace south to north, she kept exclaiming, "You're going uphill all the way! You're going uphill all the way!" I didn't think too much about it. None of the materials talk about a huge elevation change. Well, this morning we were eating breakfast with a local woman who said, "Now the hills will be starting! Well, really once you're past Tupelo." Hmm ...
  • Day 5: Eupora to Tupelo (10/29/2013) - We decided to skip the Hwy. 82 ride this morning, and instead took a lesser-traveled road that required repeating 2.5 miles of the Trace. No big deal, though. The day started out cloudy, but the sun came out around noon and overall it was a very pleasant, warm day.
  • Day 6: Tupelo to Collinwood (10/30/2013) - Today Ed and I set another record: we biked 90 miles, farther than either of us has ever biked before. It wasn’t as difficult as we’d thought. Maybe we’re becoming conditioned. But back to the start. We had taxis pick up the two of us and our bikes and drive us to the Trace, since the only routes there were all along really busy roads. It was a wise idea. No stress, safe, saved a few miles’ biking.
  • Day 7: Collinwood to Hohenwald (10/31/2013) - We’d been hearing for almost a week about a big storm coming Thursday. Normally, weather forecasts are wrong, but this one was right. We woke up to light rain, which was predicted to intensify during the day.
  • Day 8: Hohenwald to … Nashville! (11/1/2013) - Our last day. Hard to believe our adventure was almost over. It was very foggy when Bill served us breakfast this morning: bacon, eggs and pancakes. Yum! But shortly after we got on the road, it burned off and we had a beautiful, sunny day. Last night the storm really kicked in, with rain and high winds. This part of the Trace was certain pretty, but the best colors were behind us. Lots of leaves were on the ground.


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