Thursday, March 18, 2021
It was 10:00 before we got onto the Natchez Trace. We said our goodbyes to Bev and Willow, exchanged contact information and gave her a big hug. I hope we cross paths again.
We left a lot undone in Natchez, but maybe that just leaves more to do when we return. I’m a day behind on my posts, so that makes it a bit difficult. Ed Brownfield called me today to give us tips on things to do and see in Natchez. He has some great tips that I wish he could post on the blog, but somehow he can’t get it to work. I also have a problem with my phone. I carry it in my back pocket, so i’m sure that makes the silent mode switch cut on, because his call never rang. As Ed said, there is so much history in Natchez. When cotton was king, it was the richest city in America, he said.
I love driving the Trace. Another oasis in a sea of development, it takes you back 100 years…or more. I have driven it before, but this is Martha’s first trip. There is so much history, but today, for me, it was just a peaceful, beautiful drive with little distraction. Surrounded by beautiful countryside, trees, swamps, creeks and fields, it settles the soul. For thousands of years, people have traveled the Trace. The Mississipians, the Natchez, the Choctaw and the Chickasaw traveled this trail before the Europeans did.
There are only three park campgrounds on the 440-mile National Parkway. We were headed for Jeff Busby Campground at mile 190. It starts at 0 at Natchez, because in the early 1800’s people would take their goods on rafts down the Mississippi to Natchez or New Orleans, sell the goods and the raft and walk back to Nashville, or ride a horse. Later, with the steamboat, they could ride back up.
By the time we pulled into the campground, it was 4:00 and all the campsites appeared to be taken except a handicap spot. At the end of the loop a fellow stopped me. It was the guy from Massachusetts, who was at River View Campground during the storm. We had followed him onto the Trace. He said we could pull in behind him. We said we would take the handicap spot, or take him up on his offer.
We pulled into the handicap spot, prepared to leave if a handicap person showed up. As I leveled up and put the stabilizers down, I realized the spot behind us with one car in it, was actually three spots, and the spot in front of us with one car in it, was actually two spots.
As a trailer pulled up, I jumped out, like Massachusetts did, and showed him the spot behind. He drove around the loop while I stood in the spot to hold it. Soon a big rig came in, and I jumped out to show him the place in front of us. Then another giant trailer came around the second time, and I showed him where to go. That was all that came. Thankfully none were handicapped, but we were still hooked up with the stabilizers down, and could easily have moved, probably behind Massachusetts. I went up to thank him for his help, knocking on the door. His wife came to the door, saying she had watched a video on this campground, and she knew we would have to double up.
There are no hookups, and the bathroom was closed due to Covid, but the one below was open. Once we saw how things worked, we realized it was an ingenious design, utilizing the space very well, but to the newcomer, it would look full when it wasn’t. Oddly, because of that, there was a certain comraderie amongst the whole campground.
I spoke to one guy in a Toyota FJ Cruiser with stickers from all the many places he had visited. He had a tent on top of the vehicle with a ladder leading to it. On the front of the tent were bars to which storage cases attached. It was a cool, blustery evening, but he sat out, eating his dinner overlooking the wooded valley below. He smiled as I commented on his many travels and his cool vehicle.
On the other extreme was a very large RV across from us with three slideouts, pulling a jeep behind. A young guy, maybe in his late 30’s, with a big beard, was on the roof cleaning his 8 solar panels. there was a big, serious antenna and two air conditioners. Martha and I agreed he was probably a full-timer who worked on the road.
Then there was a girl, camped in a car. She had put out four gallons of water on the picnic table. I don’t know where she slept, but I didn’t see a tent. She had been there the night before when the big storm came through. A ranger had come up and advised her to go below, beside the bathrooms. He was afraid one of the big trees would come down on her. The next morning, she came back up, but there were no trees down, just a few limbs.