Airstream Time

Exploring North America in an Airstream

Posts from the ‘Drives’ category

Natchez Trace From Meriwether Lewis Campground

Seven Points Campground was added to my list of favorite campgrounds

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Leaving Charlottesville, I drove i64 to i81 to i40 and some back roads to Seven Points Campground on Percy Priest Dam and Lake southeast of Nashville. This is a great campground with lots of room, great staff and site-preparation, on a beautiful lake. I had two goals: visit my cousin and his wife in Somerville, Alabama and to explore the Natchez Trace

Driving from Seven Points to Meriwether Lewis Campground took longer than I thought it would. Traffic was heavy around Nashville, so I didn’t want to go into the city to get to the end of the Trace. It runs from Natchez to Nashville, so I was going to drive it “backwards”. I got on at Pasquo, south of I40. I was sorry to have missed the Loveless Cafe, just north of this, but it was mid-morning by then.

The Natchez Trace Parkway is a 444-mile recreational road and scenic drive through three states. It roughly follows the “Old Natchez Trace” a historic travel corridor used by American Indians, “Kaintucks,” European settlers, slave traders, soldiers, and future presidents. Today, people can enjoy not only a scenic drive but also hiking, biking, horseback riding, and camping along the parkway. https://www.nps.gov/natr/index.htm

That’s the extent of what I knew about the Trace, but there is a lot more. It is a 444 mile National Park that you can drive, hike, bike or ride a horse. It is beautiful, changing subtly through different landscapes, soils, hills and bayous. The trees are magnificent, huge and seemingly untouched for generations. There is a lot of history. The trail was originally made by migrating game (buffalo and others) along the west side of the Appalachian Mountains. Native Americans followed these trails for thousands of years before the arrival of the Kaintucks. By the 1600’s, three tribes inhabited these regions – the Chickasaw in the north, Choctaw in the middle and Natchez in the south. 2,000 years ago, they were the Missippians, skillful farmers and great mound-builders, similar to the natives of Mexico. Approximately 10 million natives inhabited North American before Columbus. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Population_history_of_indigenous_peoples_of_the_Americas

For travelers throughout time, it was difficult. With frequent storms, trees fell, streams changed course and there was flooding, so the trail was seldom in one place. Rather there might be many trails. Yet, there are many beautiful campsites alongside creeks, streams and rivers. Today you can drive the Trace, walk it, ride a bike or ride a horse. A casual drive through the park might seem boring to some, but the more you explore, the more complex it gets. There is no charge to travel this national park, and there are three free campgrounds along the way. The Trace itself has many forms. Sometimes it is a dirt road, at times a narrow trail, sometimes deep or sunken.

Tunnel of Trees

Friday, October 5, 2018

We spent the morning driving the Tunnel of Trees that runs between Cross Village to Harbor Springs, just north of Petoskey along M119. It follows a bluff over Lake Michigan. Cabins, cottages and houses dot both sides of the road, and add to the scenery. We stopped in the shops of Good Hart. There are so many cabins and cottages in this land of lakes, it is fun to go in some of the cabin stores. Michigan is bordered by four of the Great Lakes and there are lots of interior lakes, all of which are dotted with cabins.

It was lunch time when we got to Harbor Springs, a darling little town on Little Traverse Bay. Seeing several local ladies going into Colin’s Cafe, we parked and went in. It is a cute, little shop that makes great sandwiches, scones and cakes, coffees and teas. 

IMG_2840

We walked the downtown shops a bit and bought a few little things, including scones and pastries, before heading out. Now I can’t decide where I want to live – Petoskey or Harbor Springs. We drove back to camp and took a short hike around a lake in Wilderness State Park, then made a fire, having a steak meat pie for dinner from the farmer’s market in Holland. I was surprised by a phone call from Traverse City. It was Joe from Nature & Me RV, wanting to know if everything was working all right. Are you kidding me?! “Do you call everyone?” I asked. “Yes we just want to know if you are having any trouble”. Geez!