Day two on the Natchez Trace Parkway and it was rain, rain, rain. The grey of the morning meant that the colours of the flora and fauna stuck out more than usual so it didn’t dampen our spirits as we continued northwards towards Nashville.
Within just a few minutes of being on the road we saw a dark black shadow lollop its way across the road in front of us. It was definitely a feline animal of some sort and after looking through the list of animals found around here we think it was a bobcat. No photos though – it happened too fast.
It was a good day for nature though as we stopped at a swamp, where strange shaped trees grew out of a still and dark, mud filled brown hole. There were bright red leaves growing on the sides of fallen tree trunks and deep greens floating on top of the swamp itself. There was plenty of life about as well – mainly Mosquitoes who took their chance for a bit of extra breakfast on my legs. One in particular took a little too much time and ended up getting squashed for a photo!
Further on up the road we came across more Turkey vultures and a couple of inquisitive deer who only ran off as we got within a few feet of them. We also stopped at a site where you are supposed to see beavers, but had no such luck there. We also came across a couple of cyclists who were heading south down the road. We had a good chat with them and they told us to look out for a friend of theirs, who was cycling south tomorrow, with a small trailer. We didn’t get the whole story, but we were told to call him a Nun Burner if we saw him, as at some point he had tried to set fire to one! I have no idea what this meant, but we promised to keep an eye open for him tomorrow.
On the drive north there were old Indian burial grounds and villages to stop by and walk around as well as small peaks overlooking lakes and a burial ground of Confederates from the civil war era.
All in all it was a good day and we arrived in the town of Tupelo in time for dinner. Tupelo, in case you didn’t know, is the birthplace of ‘The King’. (Elvis Presley, not Eric Cantona) and so we took a slight detour to have a look around the area where he was brought up as a kid and where there is now a small museum , with some cool quotes from people and friends of Elvis who knew his as a kid.
|Chatting to some cyclists|
|All about Elvis|
|Me and the King (aged 13)|
|Dan ordering his drive in dinner|
Our final stop if the day was a typical piece of America – The Drive In diner. You literally pull up in your car and speak to the ‘carhop’, waitress through a microphone to give your order. She then brings it out to you a few minutes later and you sit at your order point and eat your greasy burger in the car. It’s like being in the 50’s!!
The next day, we continued north on the parkway. It was a much nicer day and we stopped to see waterfalls, bridges, old ferry crossings and lots of other stuff. At one point we even noticed a cyclist heading towards us with a small trailer on the back of his bike, so we slowed down and attempted to call him a Nun Burner, but he had already passed us by and we will never know if he was the person mentioned by our friends yesterday.
We stopped for a short walk up to a viewpoint and came across a couple from Texas. We had a nice chat with them about where we were from and where we were going and were asked who we would vote for in the upcoming US presidential election. Would it be a Communist Muslim (Obama) or a Mormon Christian (Romney)? As these were white, middle class Americans from Texas, we correctly guessed they would vote for the Christian. Nothing to do with race then!? Honest.
|The end of the Parkway|
We also stopped at a cave, where when we entered the dark hole, we heard the sound of something quite big jumping into the water. We never found out what it was, even though we got a torch and scoured the dark water inside the cave. There were a few animal prints in the mud, but whatever it was that we disturbed had disappeared into the dark recesses of the cave, well out of out sight.
We finally ended our excursion up the Natchez Trace Parkway after 444 miles and said our goodbyes to a fantastic road as we drove the last few miles to a camp site just outside Nashville, Tennessee for the evening.
After settling into our cabin we went to the ‘Cock of the walk’, restaurant next door, where we had a fantastic meal – served on old style metal plates and a big jug of beer in an old steel jug. The waitress tossed our traditional Louisiana cornbread before we ate it. It was a brilliant end to a fantastic few days heading north. Tomorrow, we hit Clarksville and stay with our old mate Max. He us the real reason we came this far. We all lived in the same area in Brunssum, Netherlands a few years ago and we always promised Max, we would come over and visit him. So, Max....here we are!!
So, we left the campsite the next morning and the first thing we saw was a sign for ‘Cooters Dukes of Hazard Museum’. Awesome! It was just around the corner and had free entry. It is mainly a shop, but has loads of old Dukes of Hazard related toys and pictures everywhere and is even owned by the bloke who played the mechanic ‘Cooter’, the show. (Bill Jones) It also has a real General Lee outside and Daisy dukes jeep with one of Roscoes Sheriffs cars inside. The weirdest bit was the Daisy dukes, cut off jeans hanging from the ceiling as you enter! A good find though and a great place to visit if you are even near Nashville.
|Dur dur durdur dur dur dur dur dur dur!!|
|Jeep and sheriffs car|
|I had a play with an Iphone 5 - its an Iphone and the same as the last one, but bigger. Whoo!|
|On the piss with a small american bloke named Clinton Maxwell!! Awesome!!|
After a quick look around the city centre we drove the hour or so north to Clarksville and found Max’s place. He was just like he was when we last saw him two years ago and after a couple of beers we headed out into town in a taxi for a few more. It ended up being a long night with us chatting all evening and then getting involved in a drunken game of pool with a couple of pissed up local women. A really good night out ended well after midnight and with us all feeling worse for wear. However, it won’t stop us doing it all again tonight when we head back to Nashville!!