Driving to New Orleans on the Natchez Trace Parkway

Since we drove to and from Florida quickly and directly, we decided to take more time driving from Michigan to New Orleans. First we stopped in Fort Wayne, Indiana to see our friends Kate and James, and their kids. It was so nice to see them and meet their new baby. We stayed in their driveway overnight, and left the next morning.

The next day we drove through Indiana, Kentucky, and Tennessee to Nashville. We stopped in Kentucky at Willet, a craft bourbon distillery. We decided to drive from Nashville to Natchez, MS on the Natchez Trace Parkway, and we didn’t want to drive it in the dark and miss the scenic drive. So, when we made it to Nashville, we ate at Loveless Cafe, and slept in a Walmart parking lot.

The Natchez Trace Parkway is a 444 mile road maintained by the National Park Service. It follows the path of a historic bison trail from grazing grounds to salt licks, established as a trail by Native Americans. It was a really nice road to drive, very well maintained with pretty scenery. There were many places to pull off for natural or historic attractions.

There is a monument at the grave of Meriwether Lewis. Lewis was a private secretary to President Thomas Jefferson, led the Lewis and Clark expedition, and was the governor of the Louisiana Territory, all before he died (by suicide or murder) at 35.

We camped overnight at the Jeff Busby campground along the trail. It was a free no reservation campground, with bathrooms but no other amenities. It beat a Walmart parking lot though! I guess the Natchez Trace Parkway isn’t that popular in February because we had no problem getting a spot. We didn’t really see to many other cars on the road actually!

The next day we walked along a trail at a Cypress swamp. It was cool to see the cypress trees coming right out of the water. Even though it was in the high 30s for the first day we were driving the trail, the second day was in the 70s! It felt so good to be outside.

The last stop we made was at Rocky Springs, which is a site where there used to be a town, before it was wiped out by the civil war, yellow fever, and boll weevils. The only things left were a church, a couple post office safes, and a cistern.

At the end of the trail we drove to Natchez, and saw the Mississippi River, then made our way to New Orleans.

Day 135 | Mile 14,180

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