Monday, February 8, 2016

Heading down the Natchez Trace (Part 1)

I have been on the Natchez Trace a couple of times.  I lived in Nashville for about 5 years in my early 20s so I would drive a little ways on it or by the big bridge.  Also, the first winter I was out on the road I came back to my parents house in Kentucky from my house sitting gig in New Mexico and road the Natchez trace from Natchez MS to around Jackson... then it decided to snow so I got off.

A friend of mine and I were going to camp along the Natchez Trace after leaving Amazon but my family wanted me to spend some time with them so I was delayed.  I thought about heading to the beach but decided it might be fun to take is slow and camp at the 3 free campsites on the Natchez Trace.  I got completely excited about camping on the Natchez Trace when Renee and I, on one of our day adventures, stopped by the northern free campground at Merriweather Lewis site.  It was extremely nice and I was excited to stay a night there and the other campgrounds.

So, the day I left Renee it was quite cold... a high in the mid 30s.   I've gotten to the point where I don't feel a need to rush, ride in cold and yucky weather.  Not that I'm a fair weather rider, I just don't have any place that important to get to.  I've done the below freezing temps, wind, snow, torrential rain... not anything new for me... I just don't feel the need to prove anything.  As a woman I have ridden thru just as much bad weather, crappy roads as any man so I have no doubts in my abilities as a rider.

Anywhos... I decided I would stay a night at the Merriweather Lewis campground.  This campground is nicely paved, most sites are pull thru and the bathrooms are heated... I was lucky enough to find an outlet for TicTac so I could have heat.  With a high in the 30s and lows dropping into the low 20s it was nice to live it up not really boondocking.

One thing that is frustrating about the Natchez Trace is finding gas.  Renee gave me a little map of the Trace that had supposed gas stations on it but it did not prove to be helpful.  I stopped at a visitor center and they had a list of things at mile markers but that wasn't all that helpful either.  First, I didn't see any mile markers on the trace... second one of the gas stations they said existed closed down.  This of course was a photocopied piece of paper from a word document and easily edited and reprinted... why would I think it would have outdated information???

I pulled into Thomastown MS... a corner of building that all looked abandoned.  There was one store that was open and when I stopped the people came outside to take a look.  I asked them where the gas station was.  They told me there use to be a gas station there but it closed down.  The closest gas station was across the trace after the bridge work, take a left,  take a right a few miles down the road at the stop sign and you would run right into it.  About 5 miles away.  

So, with no other choice... no gas stations anywhere around... I headed to where they directed.

I ended up here.  They also told me about the gas station that closed down and the bridge work.  Nice people asking about Blue and TicTac and quite entertained by the fact I live in there.  Then headed on my way.

This was pretty much my experience with gas.  I would head to where it said on the list and either there was nothing or it was a gas station on a hill of gravel.  Not quite sure what that is all about... not just a slight hill but straight up and straight back down on unmaintained gravel.  I don't know if I could even take an RV to get gas up those kind of hills.  Absolutely crazy.  But we did make it all the way down the Natchez Trace without running out of gas... I think that is quite the accomplishment.

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