Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Y'all com back now, Mathiston, Mississippi

Day 28 - Witch Dance to Days Inn, Kosciusko, Mississippi  77.8 miles

The temperature had dropped over night so we woke up to a heavy morning dew.  Everything was damp.  It felt like a west coast kayak trip - the only thing missing - Emma, Adam and Ian!  We packed up our wet gear, bid farewell to Ralph and set out excited to see what the day would hold.

We arrived at a section of the trace that had been damaged by a Tornado in April 2011.  The path of destruction was immense - we literally stopped and stood in silence trying to take in the sight.  Equally fascinating was the way that life seems to find a way back.  You could see substantial new growth and several hardy trees that had somehow managed to survive and now stood tall and proud as the forest began to regenerate.  Once again we felt humbled by the forces of nature and silently paid our respects before moving on.

2011 Tornado Damage - Natchez Trace Parkway

We decided to follow Ralph's advice and leave the trail at Mathiston for a good old home cooked breaky.  We arrived at the Traceway cafe and sat down to enjoy a protein filled ham and cheese omelette.  Throughout our trip we have tried to stay away from chain restaurants and visit as many local eateries as possible.  Our hope was to meet more locals and learn about the towns and their histories.  We have noticed that there is a social dynamic to these little cafes.  There always seems to be a retired gentleman, who we have affectionately come to call the Mayor, who really runs the show.  The Mayor usually has his own table, and often seems to be sipping coffee and holding court.  We have discovered that if we gain acceptance by the Mayor, everyone else will welcome us with open arms!  The Mayor of the Traceway Cafe was wonderful and entertained us with stories of all the tourists he had met along the Trace over the years and a hearty "Y'all Come Back" as we said our goodbyes.

Route planning at the Traceway Cafe - Mathiston, Mississippi

French Camp - Natchez Trace

The afternoon ride was fantastic....beautiful route lined by wildflowers.  It was a stiffling hot and humid day.  At one of our rest stops we noticed a really unusual, overwhelming smell and realized it was us.  We decided that it might be time to leave the Trace, find a laundrymat and maybe a hotel to freshen up.  Motivated by the thought of showers, laundry, clean sheets and COLD BEER we pushed on to Kosciusko for the night.

Giggle of the day:

We arrived in Kosciusko, found a hotel and excitedly set out to purchase cold beer......turns out Kosciusko is a DRY COUNTY.......WHO KNEW?

View Bicycling directions to Kosciusko, MS, United States in a larger map