Driving: Day 17

We awoke to the first real cloudy day of the trip, and spent much of the day under the clouds.  But that didn’t keep the temperatures any cooler!

2015-07-02 12.35.55We set out from Vicksburg Military Park and drove east to find the Natchez Trace.  What’s a Trace, you ask?  I had no clue, either.  But it’s Mississippi’s response to a trail.  The Trace began as a trail used by the Native Americans who called these lands home.  Then hunters, trappers and traders began to use the Trace.  Specifically, those who used it only went north along the Trace.  This was largely because they could go south on the Mississippi River using any kind of boat.  But before steam or even paddle wheels, no one could boat UP the Mississippi.  So, anyone who had come down the river and needed to get home after a lucrative trip of trapping and trading, had to walk home along the Trace.  The Trace is a National Park today and runs along the original trail going from New Orleans to Memphis.   Because we didn’t have a boat, we went down the Trace backwards for just a short part of the entire trail, from Vicksburg to Natchez.

2015-07-02 13.16.53Once in Natchez we parked and walked to the river overlook to admire the Mighty Mississippi at this point in its geography.  Then we found ourselves lured into “The Pig Out Inn” for lunch.  The smell of BBQ smoke coming out of the place and the multiple cars parked in front told us we could not go wrong. And both were right.

2015-07-02 12.59.36We stopped at Melrose Plantation and walked the grounds of an 1840’s cotton plantation.  The massive houses and immense grounds always look so picturesque, but I can never see these stately places without thinking about who had to clean the houses and care for all the grounds, not to mention who did all the farm work.

The hours along the Trace were accompanied by an audio book by Robert Ludlum.  Nothing like Ludlum to keep a person awake!

_DSC2325We arrived in New Orleans at rush hour and made out way to our hotel on the outskirts of the city – actually, we came to find out – right on the shores of Lake Pontchartrain.  We had a salad in the cafe at the hotel and then took a moonless night walk out to the lake shore.  It was beautiful, and after the sun went down, only about 88 degrees.  I almost needed a sweater!

Target for tomorrow: New Orleans.