Well, actually I already posted on Day 9 with pics.Â So I won’t repeat it, except to point out that I’ve just put up a whole bunch of pics of MO2NO Day 9 on my flickr account.Â Check ‘em out.
Archive for the ‘MO2NO’ Category
It wasn’t that far from Columbia, MS to the Louisiana border.Â The road I was on did have a lot of pulpwood trucks, which made it seem longer.Â Here I am at the Louisiana line.
Soon I could see I was really in Louisiana — check out the live oak with Spanish moss.
From there, on to a very welcome sight — my sister’s house in Pearl River, LA.
And then a celebratory dinner.
This was the day I left the Natchez Trace and headed south along the Pearl River.Â Â First I had to get through Jackson, which I achieved by getting on the road at 5 AM.Â This means I got to see the state capitol, but it was pretty dark.
I had my second breakfast in the town of Terry, MS, a few miles south of Jackson.Â The restaurant, shown here, was called Scoops.Â Not only was I the only white person in the restaurant, I think I was the only white person in town.Â I walked in the restaurant and there was a young woman behind the counter.Â Looking at the menu, I asked for the full breakfast.Â This didn’t involve a lot of choices.Â You get scrambled eggs, grits, bacon, and biscuits.Â And if you don’t know enough to tell them not to, they then squirt some liquid fake butter stuff all over the top of everything.Â Not what I would have chosen, but I’m sure it provided lots of calories.Â As I was getting my plate, a man came in, pretty obviously the owner.Â “Hey, we’ve got a long-distance cyclist in here! Is that you?”Â I allowed as how it was.Â What the hell, I was the only person in the place wearing spandex.Â He asked about the trip, etc., and I told him all about it.Â “So, you doing this to raise money for a charity or something?”Â No, I’m just on vacation.Â A pause.Â “You’re a doctor or something, aren’t you.”
I had to admit to being a college professor.Â I guess it makes sense.Â Nobody who does manual work for a living would do this for a vacation, I guess, and you’d have to make enough money to afford a fancy bike, etc.Â Doctor is a good guess.
Some distance further south I passed this place, where it appears a person with a seriously warped mind got hold of some sign-making equipment.Â You should click on the photo to see a larger version so you can read all this wacko stuff.
Near as I can figure, this guy’s schtick is that, contrary to standard evangelical doctrine, we have NOT all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.Â Rather, some of us are sinners and are going to burn in hell, and others, like wacko sign guy, are not sinners and are going to have a good laugh later on watching the rest of us.
This was the day that I found that the “water park” in Monticello, MS was a huge disappointment, and a girl at a convenience store directed me to ride on River Road to Columbia.Â Here’s a shot of River Road showing the lovely cooling shade (and total absence of traffic, so I could just park in the middle of the road and take pictures).
Near Columbia I crossed Holiday Creek, where I was able to walk down and wade a bit.
Here’s the view from the creek.Â My bike’s parked up there at the end of the bridge, if you look closely.
I got to Columbia and spent the night in a motel. Â Also ate Mexican food.Â Lovely town.Â Here’s the courthouse.
Day 6 was the second full day on the Natchez Trace.Â It was originally planned to be a long ride, but since I went 30 miles further on day 5 than I’d planned, it was a fairly short ride.
The ride south through Mississippi runs the story of the Choctaw and Chickasaw backward.Â Over a period of a little over 40 years, they were pressured to sign a series of nine treaties, each one pushing them further north, until in 1830 they gave up the last of their land and were forced to go to Oklahoma on the Trail of Tears.Â Here’s a marker commemorating one of the early treaties.
Shortly after this, I had my first sighting of the Pearl River on the trip.Â My sister lives in Pearl River, Louisiana, and the next several days I would be riding parallel to the course of the river itself.Â It’s dammed in central Mississippi, forming the Ross Barnett Reservoir*.Â Here is my first view of the Pearl River, at the head of the reservoir.
A beautiful place, despite who it’s named after.Â Not far from here the Trace reaches Ridgeland, a suburb of the capital, Jackson.Â I’d ridden this stretch a couple of times before in the Natchez Trace Century.Â Flat and nicely paved.Â The next day I would leave the trace and head south toward Louisiana.
*Ross Barnett was governor of Mississippi during the civil rights era.Â A quote: “The Negro is different because God made him different to punish him.”
This was my first full day on the Natchez Trace.Â On the way back to the Natchez Trace from the campground were the Owl Creek Mounds, an archaeological site.Â Here’s a view of one of them from the top of the largest one.
A lot of small roads cross the Trace without intersections — here’s a red clay county road that was especially picturesque.
Along the Trace, every 5 miles on average there’s a historical site, or a nature marker, or something.Â Here’s the stupidest one I saw in about 150 miles of Trace.
Some portions of the old Trace have been preserved and maintained in something like their original state.Â This was once the equivalent of an interstate highway into the West, when Mississippi was the West.
Here I am parked at French Camp.Â You can see the thunderstorm in the background getting ready to drench me in the last few miles before Kosciusko.
Fine, fine.Â It’s always something with you people.Â Here is the plastic lawn squirrel:
And here, just as lagniappe, the MO2NO squirrel with Finch.
Also known as the Day of Mississippians Being Really Nice to Me. I got up in the morning, struck camp, and pulled the trailer up the long climb from the lake back to the main (ish) road. Soon I crossed the Tippah River, and a nice river pic is a good way to start the day.
I had eaten before leaving, but by this time I was trying to make a habit of finding a place for a real sit-down breakfast in the midmorning. So for second breakfast I chose this place in Potts Camp, mainly on the basis of the large number of pickup trucks parked around it. Yeah, it’s a gas station, but in back there’s a diner where the waitress calls you “hon” and yells insults at old guys as they come in the door. I went up to a couple of guys at a nearby table and asked the best way to New Albany, and after a long discussion we agreed on MS 178 all the way. My first major departure from the plan, and it worked fine.
Just outside New Albany I passed this nice example of a dogtrot log cabin.
New Albany is where William Faulkner was born, but the Faulkner museum was closed Mondays, so that wasn’t much use. There’s a marker where he was born, but the original house was torn down and replaced with a fairly boring one. I continued south to Pontotoc, which had a nice second-place trophy.
Also in Pontotoc, this beautiful house. I just wanted to go hang out on the porch and sip a mint julep.
Shortly after leaving Pontotoc, I realized I was a bit short on Gatorade, and the road started getting hilly. At the top of a particularly long and steep hill I found the aptly named Hilltop Grocery. This is the place where the guy sent his daughter out to ask if I’d like some ice, which they provided free for all my water bottles. Also the place where I got a really yummy peach fried pie.
After some more hills, I came to a yard with a sign saying “Tomatoes.” This is the guy who wound up giving me some tomatoes, which, due to his failed knee surgery, he’s been taking care of this year from a power chair.
I soon reached the Natchez Trace Parkway. I had a reservation for this primo campsite at Davis Lake, in the Tombigbee National Forest.
This is where my neighbors were Elbert the retired trucker and his extended family, who fed me and had me over to play bingo. Here’s Elbert (although I actually took this photo the next morning)
And here is the bingo game. I won a plastic lawn squirrel.
MO2NO day 3: I left Brownsville and headed south into the Hatchie wildlife refuge.Â Here’s the Hatchie River.
Somerville, TN is the seat of Lafayette County.Â No second place trophy, but this gazebo, and the historical marker that indicates that their first state representative was Davy Crockett.
I went through the town of Moscow, TN, where I came to this historical marker.
I love this marker.Â Part 1 — valiant Rebs unable to stop evil Yankees from sacking town.Â Part 2 — valiant black Union troops commended for successful defense of bridge against traitorous Rebs. Â It’s a segregated history, right there on one sign.
Shortly thereafter, I crossed into Mississippi on Slayden Road.Â I wasn’t entirely sure I had done so, but the change in pavement looked meaningful.Â Actually, it looked a bit ominous, as it was a lot rougher on the Mississippi side, but this turned out to be atypical.
I spent the night at Chewalla Lake campground, outside Holly Springs, MS.Â Here’s the lake, and the swimming area.
Here I am in my campsite (alone, since nobody else was tent camping).
And here is one of the innumerable Amanita mushrooms growing in the campground.Â Lovely, but deadly.
This may actually be evening the first day at Reelfoot Lake, but it could be morning too.Â I forget.
I expected to encounter a lot of cracked, poorly maintained, spoke-breaking nightmares on the country roads that I had chosen for their low traffic.Â In fact, many of them were in amazingly good condition.Â This is Bluff Road, which heads south from Reelfoot Lake in Tennessee, and was a real pleasure to ride on.
I passed a lot of little hole-in-the-wall bars on this trip, but Doug’s Place has to be the most inviting of the bunch.Â Just to top it all off, it’s on Dew Drop Road.Â I was a little nervous stopping to take a picture, but I figure that 7:00 on Saturday morning is about the safest time to be there.
I made a special detour in my route so that I could visit Nutbush, TN, home town of Tina Turner (and also Sleepy John Estes).Â I was hoping at least for postcards to send home, but in fact, there was only this building, with a “closed” sign on the door and a stripped-bare interior.Â Welcome indeed.
I forget where I first encountered the term “second place trophy” for a Confederate war memorial. Â I expected everyplace to have one, and I tried to photograph as many of them as possible.Â Actually, I was surprised by how many county courthouses did not have one.Â Hell, Cape Girardeau, MO has one, and Missouri was in the Union. Â Cape Girardeau itself was Grant’s headquarters at times, and you can bet that all the Germans in the area were fighting for on the Union side.Â Some people just love to be oppressed, I think.Â Anyway, this is the courthouse in Brownsville, TN, seat of Haywood County.
Okay, I promised that I would post with pics of MO2NO afterward, and unexpectedly I find myself with some time on my hands.
Here is the planned route, as shown on Google Earth, no longer making me a target for stalkers:
This plan was surprisingly accurate, although there were some deviations, which I’ll point out later.Â On July 13, I got up at 4 AM so I could be on the road by 5, and here I am leaving my front steps in Pocahontas.
Not the best photo, I know, but you can see how reflective I am.Â Robin was taking it, and it’s really a miracle you get any kind of result when you ask Robin to do something at 5 AM.
Here’s the bike and trailer, with the full load of gear, at Dutchtown, MO.Â The trailer with the gear in it weighed about 55 pounds.Â When I had the 3-liter hydration bag and all four water bottles full, my rider, bike, and gear weight approached 250 pounds total.
I tried to get pics of all the county lines as I crossed them, but found many of them were unmarked.Â I won’t bore you with the full set, but this was the first, and it has a nice display of the traditional bullet-hole decoration.
The first day I rode more or less due south into the “bootheel” of Missouri, to Dorena, a small town just east of New Madrid.Â In Dorena I took the ferry across the Mississippi to Hickman, Kentucky.
From there I rode down to Tiptonville, Tennessee, where I camped on the shore of Reelfoot Lake.Â Here I am in my first night’s campsite.
I’ll try to get the next day up tomorrow.Â If anyone finds this selection of pictures insufficient, you can see all of them at my Flickr site under the “MO2NO_1″ tag.