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Friday, April 12, 2013

Natchez Trace Bike Trip: Dogwood Mudhole to Colbert Ferry

45 miles

As we adapted our plan to a line of severe weather, we drove from Pittsburgh beyond Nashville and overnighted at the Natchez Hills Vineyard which also hosts a small Bed and Breakfast operation. They're very bicycle-friendly and have the best bike trail-to-B&B shuttle car setup I've ever heard of. Although we were uncertain of our surroundings when we arrived in the dark, sunrise presented gardens and fields and some very pretty buildings. The proprietor was excellent, they're a retired military couple, the breakfast was awesome and we probably overstayed our timeframe in conversation but it was very interesting. I would stay there again in a heartbeat.

This is what the Natchez Trace Parkway looked like when we first got on it, and as far as road surface, width, shoulders etc it never really varied much:

We stopped in Collingwood TN at MP355 for a snack at Miss Hazelbea's Sweets and Treats, very biker friendly, right next to the visitor center, and lest you think Miss Hazelbea was a pushover they'll have you know she was a WAC in WW2.

We continued south into the prevailing winds, which would turn out to be a theme. Perhaps there was a reason that all the other cyclists were riding northboung? Hmmm.

Approached the Tennessee River crossing to Colbert Ferry, the map really didn't provide much advice in terms of what to expect, but it was really very nice:

We camped that night at Tishomingo State Park at MP305 and paid $13 for the priviledge. There's a curious overlay of all sorts of government; the feds and the NPS run the Trace Parkway, the rest stops and shelters and several of the free campgrounds; the state parks run other facilities; counties provide yet another layer.

S. stayed at the Belmont Hotel which was very nice, an old school hotel but still kept up, staff was extremely hospitable. We took advantage of S's lodging to glomm some hot showers before heading to the campground.

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