Wednesday, July 1, 2009
4 states and the Natchez Trace
Bryn: 4 states today! We started in Arkansas, crossing the huge Arkansas River in Little Rock. Then east across the mighty Mississippi River to Memphis, TN. We listened to the audio book of Tom Sawyer, very appropriate for the area! We saw a big bronze Elvis, and here is a photo of B.,B.,&BB. Next we dipped into the top of Mississippi, drove across to the top corner of Alabama, and then we hopped on the Natchez Trace Parkway. It's a National Park, so the boys picked up their Junior Ranger booklets. We never saw another ranger, but that is anticipated at this park. The kids are required to send the booklet in, along with a letter to the park superintendent, before they can receive their Junior Ranger badges. Photo of the van along part of the "Old Trace." A trace is an old trail, this one was first an animal trail, then it was used by the Choctaw and Chicksaw for centuries, then it became the main walk way and wagon route between Natchez in So. Mississippi and Nashville. There are old sections called 'sunken traces' which are below the level of the surrounding forests.
The memorial is the grave of Meriwether Lewis, partner of William Clark, who met his untimely death there. We got into Nashville late and made phone calls to our next couple contacts.
Reed: the B.B. King statue has the world's largest electric guitar! I think both Arkansas and Mississippi are maddeningly like Oregon - they were very green and it rained last night.
Bret: I liked seeing the big mosaic egg that said Welcome to Memphis, the Birth Place of Rock and Roll. I liked the big memorial to Lewis, and we saw the house that he died in. It was a good day all in all, don't you think it was?
Randy: 4 states today is a new record for us! Natchez Trace is a great historic highway, I'm glad we did it. The weather is more cooperative too, it was pleasant when we were walking around.
Bryn: My complaint about driving around here, especially in Arkansas: merging traffic. A sign will say "merge right in 1 mile." So ALL traffic in the left lane immediately stops and everyone tries to merge at once. This has happened several times, it's very awkward and time consuming as opposed to an easy merge with one car from each lane taking turns and merging at the merge site. There has been a lot of road construction throughout this trip. In Arizona and New Mexico, large signs credited the construction to Obama's economic stimulus package. We haven't had many delays, and it has made for smooth driving. One compliment about driving around here, ever since northern Texas: restrooms. Even the most questionable looking rest stops and gas stations have had very clean ladies' rooms with soap, paper, and paper towels. Could this be due to famous southern hospitality?