Friday, November 9, 2012

11/7-8 Natchez Trace - Part I

On Wednesday, I started driving the southern end of the Natchez Trace from Mile 20 where I had left off the day before, which was very close to Natchez State Park, where I had spent the night.  Wednesday, I made it to Jeff Busby Campground at Mile 193.1.  Unfortunately, it was getting late (4:15 pm) and almost dark, and I had trouble finding a place to park because leaves covered most of the asphalt pads, plus they were strangely arranged, with some sites on loops off of other loops. 

I was way too tired to drive on, so after circling twice, I pulled in on the outer look where there was a big Class A bus parked.  I asked if it was OK here, and he said it was fine.  I don't like encroaching on anyone's space, but it had its own picnic table and trash can so I figured it was legitimate. 

There are no hookups or power on any of these free parkway campgrounds, so I had planned ahead and made sure my fresh water tank was full.  I had been having problems with my water pump and had even called the factory for help, but a miracle happened and somehow when I opened the kitchen faucet, I got a dribble, then a small stream, and finally a full flow of water.  Whew!  Water to flush and even take a hot shower!!  Yea!

It was bitterly cold all night and I left in the morning without taking any photos of the campground, but I am sure it would have been nice had I gotten then early enough to enjoy it.  I was worried about battery power, but they seem to do amazingly well even with all the lights I had burning and needing to power the front and back furnaces all night!

The Trace was a major pathway in the 1700s and early pre-steamboat 1800s because after floating cargo down the Mississippi, people had to walk or ride back to Nashville to start again.  It was also at one point a post road developed by the federal government to move the mail.  In some places, the Trace has been worn deep into the earth from thousands of feet and wagons.  In the second photo here, you can see how a second roadway developed next to the first one, probably because the first one had become muddy or deeply rutted.

Here are a couple photos later along the Trace where the road is not worn so deeply.  There are historical markers all along the parkway pointing out old sections of the road and ruins of buildings that were there then:

Here are some photos of the Trace parkway itself.  Lots of picnic areas and hiking trails along here.  Notice how many leaves are still on the trees.  (By the next day at the end of the parkway, almost all the leaves had gone.)

And interesting cave that had once held a spring:

Finally, I made it to Mile 185.9 to the Meriwether Lewis Campground.  This time i made it by 3:00 pm so had time to find a good spot and get comfortable for the night without hurrying.  Pretty place and highly recommending as a stopping point.  Most of the people traveling at this time of year in RVs are older couples who are retired.  A lot are going from their summer locations to warmer places for the winter or home to visit family.


  1. Looks like a nice pull-off. I can see how thin the leaves are getting. Good to know your batteries will keep two furnaces going at night.

    1. Not only that, but in the morning, after running the two heaters all night, and powering lights, they barely show that they have lost any charge at all. I keep wondering if the sensor is broken because it has never shown less than 100% still remaining on the secondary battery and 75% remaining on the primary battery! Hope they keep up the good performance.