Thursday, August 28, 2008

Exploring the Mississippi/Alabama Area

For those of you who don't know exactly where Red Bay is located, it is on the Mississippi state line, in the north west corner of Alabama. Not far from here is the Natchez Trace Parkway. I've heard about this road many times, and have it on my "must do" list. So, today we decided to take a drive and do some exploring.

We checked with the repair scheduler and found that it will most likely be Tuesday before we get in for our repairs, so no reason for us to hang around all the time. I checked out with the campground office so they'd know where we were, just in case the work crews got really lively and opened a spot for us. When I mentioned to Nancy, the campground hostess, that we were going to drive some of the Natchez Trace Parkway, she gave me a brochure.

From the brochure, I learned that the modern parkway parallels the old Trace, which runs from the Mississippi River in Natchez, Louisiana, to Nashville, Tennessee. The original path was used by Indians, then farmers who floated their crops and goods down the rivers to Natchez or New Orleans. They sold their boats for lumber, then had to walk back home, using the Natchez Trail. Inns, or stands which were overnight stops, were built for them to get a good meal and rest along their journey.

At the Tennessee River, a Chickasaw/Scotsman named George Colbert ran an inn and ferry crossing from 1800 to 1819. He charged Andrew Jackson $75,000 to ferry his army across the river. Tough job, but somebody had to do it.

Once steamboats began operating on the rivers, the Natchez Trace fell into disuse. In 1930, the modern parkway was started. In 1995 it was designated an All-American Road.

At the beginning of the section we drove, we took a side trip through Tishomingo State Park. I got a picture of a bird next to a large pond in the park, but have no idea what it is. I'm not sure if it's a good enough image for some of my bird-expert friends to identify. Any clues?

This is a walking trail in the state park:

A neat looking bridge:
Another cool bridge:
And, on the trace, an Indian Mound, a ceremonial structure estimated to have been developed between 1200 and 1400.

We didn't drive very much of the parkway today, so I'm hoping that we can take another section and go south on it at least to Tupelo. This area has some interesting history, besides Tupelo being the birthplace of Elvis. Helen Keller was born in Tuscumbia, which is about 45 miles from here.

We got off the parkway and came back through Florence and Muscle Shoals, although we only stopped to have a quick lunch. We had the dogs with us, so we stopped at a Wendy's so we could stay in the car and keep the a/c running. Hot day!

Thank you for all your wishes for us to get in quickly and get our work done. We knew we could be in for a wait here, since we didn't have a scheduled appointment, and our repairs are not anything that could be considered emergency. We're really content to stay here and wait, getting to know a few other owners and hear their stories. It's an interesting place, and we don't mind being here at all, it's kind of fun! Now, if the hurricanes and tropical storms will be kind to us, life will stay great!


FD5 said...

Having fun yet, I live in Mississippi and I don't think I have ever seen a bird like that, don't know what it is.

BTW, Natchez is on east side of the Mississippi River, making it in Mississippi. Vidalia is just across the bridge in Louisiana.

Stay Safe
John and Bridget

Sandra said...

Love the Natchez Trace Parkway. We probably stood on those exact same Indian mounds 3 yrs ago.

LakeConroePenny,TX said...

Hi, I did cross the bridge and set foot in MISSISSIPPI at Natchez, the only time I was east of the river, except on a plane.
It is great that you are enjoying your stay there while you are waiting. Happy Trails, Penny, TX

Summit said...

Hi Ellie, we are Karon's friends, Bill and Janice. Janice was born and raised in Natchez and yes it is Mississippi. Natchez is where we were married and both our kis were born. The Trace is a beautiful drive with lots of history all along the way. Tishomingo is a pretty park, but if they havin't cut limbs hanging over the road I would never go back. I lost a refriderater vent the one and only time I been there.
Have fun and good luck on your repairs.

Mark and Dortha said...

We drove the Trace when we went to Red Bay last time. It is so pretty, just a slow go in the motor home. We did pull off in a couple of turnouts.

Keep the storms away, I have a motor home to pick up!


Netters said...

Great photos Ellie. I used to live in Mississippi. It has some great places to see. Netters

Karon said...

Ellie and Jim,
I'm enjoying your stay in Red Bay. It restores my faith in repair facilities to know they are treating you right.
I just read the comments and it's so neat to see the comment from Bill and Janice. I hope you get to meet each other someday.
Have fun! Miss you, love you!

Kathy said...

Hi Ellie,
We finally got some wifi up here in Alaska and checked out your blog! That looks like a Green Heron, great pic! I believe you are seeing more birds than us. Fall is coming in real quick up here and most of the birds have already flown south.
We are currently in Wasilla, 40 miles north of Anchorage, preparing for our southerly migration which will begin after the holiday.
I hope you and Jim don't get caught in any of those nasty looking storms! Enjoying your photos and hope your home is all put back together real soon!
Kathy and Grant