Saturday, May 17, 2014

Natchez Trace - What Day Is It?

That's right - WiFi is not everywhere, especially not on the Trace.  But tonight we're staying at a motel in Collinwood, Tennessee - a motel with two rooms for rent.  Here's our room.  It's kind of unreal but in a good and welcomed way.

We spent last night in Tishomingo State Park.  We awoke to rain at 5am, but we both pretended it wasn't happening and dozed on and off until about 7am when we had to face reality.  Then we stayed in the tent until about 7:30 before we decided we'd have to suck it up and break down camp in the rain.  Staying at the campground another night would've been just too bleak, plus all we had for food were some peanut butter crackers, four hard boiled eggs, and some granola bars.  We ended up, however, having a good cycling day - cool with surprisingly little rain.

Speaking of food - we seem to be on an epic "How much are you willing to eat from a gas station?" trip.  In fact, I'm logging down every gas station meal.  Yesterday we had breakfast at our host's house in Tupelo so that was an actual meal, but we had lunch at a gas station (shared a slice of double pepperoni pizza and a cheeseburger - yes, I ate a cheeseburger from a gas station.  Oh, how my standards have...changed) and dinner from a gas station (three grilled chicken sandwiches and, believe it or not, two jalapeƱo poppers, plus some Sam Adams - seemingly the one beer you can count on in a sea of Bud Light, Busch Light and various other blue cans).  I think at the end of the trip I will just do a post with a tally of the "meals."  Tonight, thankfully, had a great meal at a real restaurant (although they don't serve beer - some of my standards have not changed): chicken fried steak for me and smothered chicken for Dad.

The day before yesterday, as we were getting off the Trace for lunch (near Tupelo), a woman in a silver Mercedes sports coupe pulled up to my dad, rolled down her window, and asked my father, "Do you know how many people have been killed doing what you're doing?"  My father answered, "No."  She replied, "Well, I'm just letting you know."  Nice.  Real nice.  I kind of wanted to ask her, "Do you know how many people those things (cars) have killed?"  We spoke to a park ranger yesterday who was annoyed by that because, while no cyclist death is acceptable, there have been maybe three deaths in the last five years and that kind of attitude isn't helpful.  I will say, the traffic around Tupelo was the most aggressive we've experienced on the Trace.

We stayed in Tupelo that night with Rufus, a host.   We ate well in Tupelo, at a place called South, and after dinner, Rufus drove us by Elvis's birthplace, which was enough of a tour for us both.

So, here's the trajectory of our travels since I last blogged.  On May 13th we rode from Ridgeland to Kosciusko (Oprah Winfrey's birthplace) where we were allowed to camp on the grounds of the Kosciusko Welcome Center with Julian, another bike tourer, who's blogging his trip from New Orleans to Boston.  We would've ridden together the next day, but he discovered a broken spoke and had to order a part.

On May 14th, it was Kosciusko to Dancy.  Along the way we ate at Council House.  Look!  Vegetables!  (Yes, there's bacon in it, but it's mostly broccoli).

We helped some turtles cross the road along the way.

And then got drenched by a storm front coming through.  Thankfully, the rangers at the Dancy District House let us camp on their grounds.  It also got really cold that night - 42F.

My drying rack
May 15th took us from Dancy to Tupelo, and yesterday it was short day - Tupelo to Tishomingo State Park.  Today, as mentioned, we're in Collinwood.

In order to not make this the longest post ever, I'm posting photos, with limited text, in separate posts, as well as some more grammatical, and other, issues in the park signs.

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