Day 3 on the Trace

Our first stop on our last day on the Trace was Cyprus Swamp.  It was a quiet and pretty solitary walk since not many others seemed to be on the Trace at this time.  You really got a feel for how narrow the Trace was at this location.  You could see how they left remnants for the people to view but the areas around it were valuable farm land and had been turned to that use.


One of the sites we wanted to visit were the Windsor ruins so we got off at the Port Gibson exit.  However, the way to the ruins was not clearly marked.  We did try to stop for lunch in Port Gibson but could not find a restaurant in the city.  We did find a small grocery store where we got some things to eat so all was not lost.  We did try to get to the Windsor ruins later in the day by another rout but it turns out after almost 15 miles the road was under construction and closed.

We made a stop at Mount Locust where they had a building that had served as a road house when the Trace was active.  In this day of interstate freeways it is hard to imagine that making 20 miles in a day was typical.


Finally arriving in Natchez we had completed our 444 mile journey.  Natchez has preserved a lot of their historic buildings.  Along the Mississippi it has a pretty location.


Our journey home was leisurely – at least until we were 20 miles South of Champaign Illinois.  Then we came into snow and it continued the rest of the way into Chicago.  For almost 2 years now I have had a small SUV with 4-wheel drive.  It does a good job in the snow.  Saw a number of cars that had gone off the road.  For the 23 years before this SUV I had sports cars.  In the snow they were downright dangerous.  That is what made me turn to the SUV.  I could not take the anxiety of driving in the snow in those cars.

Day 2 on the Trace

On our second day on the Trace we set foot into the two states I had yet to visit – Alabama and Mississippi.  This was something I had thought about doing for some time now – especially when I was down to just a handful of states.


Shortly after passing into Alabama we stopped at Rock Spring.  This has a short walk past several beaver mounds on the river.  It was such a peaceful area.


Our first stop in Mississippi was at Bear Creek Mound.  This was the first of several mound sites along the Trace we would stop at.  The pictures do not do justice to the effort that must have gone into their construction.  The piles of dirt were carried by hand – the wheel and beasts of burden were not available in this area at the time they were built.  Imagine the effort to organize the people to work for this abstract goal.

For lunch this day we went to the town of Baldwin.  Again limited choices while on the Trace.  This restaurant had two items on the menu – fried chicken and hamburger steak.  Salad was an item on another day.  As an omnivore it is easy for me but in these small towns if you have any restrictions there could be a problem.

For the evening we stopped in the town of Kosciuska.  Basically they had two motels – it has been a long time since I had a room for the evening that cost less than $70.  Not much choice for food either.

Completing visits to all 50 states

I just accomplished one of the travel goals I have had for a while – visit all 50 states.  Between December 18 and 24 of 2017 I finally visited the last two – Alabama and Mississippi.  We traveled the Natchez Trace Parkway from Nashville Tennessee to Natchez Misssissippi.  This 444 mile route also takes one through the north-west corner of Alabama.  At the time of year we did this trip it was definitely the off season.  The traffic was very light and most often we were the only person at each of the stops.

I think this goal to visit all 50 states was set when I started traveling to other countries.  I read or heard someone criticize travelers for visiting foreign countries without visiting their own country.  When I thought about the states I had visited already at that point it was quite a few.  This was helped by the fact that I had lived in 6 states.  Then I was able to visit a lot of other states by road tripping to one of the professional meetings I attended semi regularly.  They were held at that time on college campuses throughout the country.

One of the things that surprised me on this trip was that my cars GPS points of interest feature was in error at times.  The second day of the trip we were going to stay in Florence Alabama.  The GPS listed a Marriott but there was no hotel at the location.  Fortunately there were other hotels a couple of miles away.  Another time it was getting time for lunch so we looked at the GPS and it said a place was available in Port Gibson Mississippi.  The restaurant was closed and when we looked for other recommendations the second one was nonexistent and even the grocery store we decided to get food at was not there.  Nowadays of course you could choose to look up these things on your phone but in some of the areas we were in cell phone service was nonexistent.