The Natchez Trace is a road steeped in history. Before it became a modern national park roadway, it was first a trail. In the beginning it was used by Native Americans, Western settlers followed their path. The combined centuries of travel created a depressed road. Preserved are deeply eroded sections of the old Trace. Here in their footsteps you can feel some of the hardships they endured on their journey west. These included heat, mosquitoes (and gnats), bad food, disease, swollen rivers and sucking swamps. (Watch out for those swamps. They suck.) The Trace commemorates their travels and travails. We stopped at as many of the informational stops along the Trace as we could and eventually made it to Tupelo, Mississippi, hometown of Elvis Presley.
We drove 12 hours today. Epic! Nearly lost it all at the halfway point, just south of Memphis. It was a combination of traffic, caused by an accident, police shooing everyone into the left lane and a moment’s inattention and I almost lost it. I screeched my brakes, didn’t rear-end the car in front of me, avoided getting rear-ended myself and was rewarded with a dirty look by the cop.
“Other than that Mrs. Lincoln, how was the play?” The rest of the drive was uneventful, except for all of the ways to escape the Lou, this is a path less taken, at least by us. We’ve driven to Memphis before, bit it’s been years and we’ve never taken I-55 any further south. So, it was all new road to us. 700+ miles though is too much of a good thing and by the time we hit Louisiana, we were ready to get off the road. Our final stretch was over the pictured Atchafalaya Causeway on I-10. In 1982 we rode a similar causeway across this swamp. We were F-ing crazy. I-10 has wide shoulders, our’s had almost none.
Anyway, we arrived safely Tuesday in Lafayette. The festival for Cycle Zydeco starts tomorrow. We’ll register and take dancing lessons, listen to music, dance, eat and talk. On Thursday, we ride. The only problem is that rain is forecasted for Thursday. My plan is to hold up in our hotel room and launch late and hopefully avoid all of the bad weather..That’s the plan anyway.
We biked a respectable 35 miles on Saturday. It was a beautiful day, with crystal blue skies. Our sense of respectability comes with our goal, riding Cycle Zydeco in Louisiana. This four-day tour comes with a nominal 40 miles of biking each day. I feel that we’ve trained hard enough now to do it.
We each wore matchy-matchy bike jerseys and jackets. We certainly turned some heads with our fashion, which is easy to do with our ‘rapid’ closing speed. Anne’s coordinated orange helmet worked way better than my contrasting red one, but then she is the diva after all.
We’ll up our game for Zydeco and festoon ourselves with some of our ample supply of Mardi Gras beads and artificial flower leis. Other cyclists will have way more in decorations. Cycle Zydeco does bill itself as the best party on a bike. I’m confident with our biking abilities, but I’m now worried about our dancing. The ride’s bill reads biking by day and dancing at night, every night. There is a class offered in Zydeco dancing, which we plan on attending. I hope that our stamina holds out, because it sounds like a whole lot of fun.