Day 7 - Port Gibson (Isabella B&B) to Ridgeland, MS (Hampton Inn) - Seeking A Bicycle Warrior's Death, Part II: The Great Rivers South - CycleBlaze

September 28, 2022

Day 7 - Port Gibson (Isabella B&B) to Ridgeland, MS (Hampton Inn)

Another Great Riding Day, Traffic Becomes An Issue In The Jackson Suburbs

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Statistics, Useful & Otherwise;

Elevation Gained Today; 2,779 ft              Cumulative;  10,303 ft

Roadkill Seen Today;    Possum(1)                                                                               Cumulative;  Hawk (2),  Raccoon(1),  Possum (5),  mouse (1) , unknown (2) 

Found Money Today;           $0                    Cumulative; $0.28

Lodging Cost Today;     $175.79                Cumulative;  $672.50

Bad Drivers Today;           1                            Cumulative; 3

Dog Chases Today;           0                             Cumulative; 2

Confederate Flags Today;      0                    Cumulative; 1

Average Speed Today; 9.9mph                   Cumulative: 10.6mph

Summary of Today's Ride; Mostly good but Jackson area traffic is an issue. 

As I'm writing this I'm pretty beat.  I was aware that the traffic on the Trace in the Clinton and Ridgeland areas (suburban communities of the Jackson metroplex) was intense during rush hour, so I left early enough to avoid rush hour.  Even so, the traffic starts picking up about 10 miles out and the drivers seem to get more aggressive and more stupid trying to outpace each other.  Drivers were mostly safe and passed me courteously, and there were several signs reminding drivers that cyclists have full use of the lane and that they need to change lanes to pass, but people do idiotic things driving when they are in a rush.  The bad driver statistic increased by 1 today due to a driver that pulled completely into the other lane to pass me (as he should) but he did so with oncoming traffic way too close.  He pulled it off, and never got close to me, but he did get dangerously close to having a head-on with the oncoming car.  Gee whiz, why risk your life just to save a few seconds?

Let's start from the beginning though.  Leaving Port Gibson, I followed Kelly's (owner of last night's B&B) suggestion to ride past Wintergreen Cemetery, the oldest cemetery in Mississippi.

The Gates Are Locked So No One Can Get Out, I Suppose
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The Trace was incredible riding - virtually no traffic at all, just me and the morning.  It was cool and once again I was wearing the wind jacket and fog was rising from the creeks.

I Love Morning Fog
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The original Trace was eroded by all the traffic and is referred to as being "sunken." Here's a description;

The "Sunken" (eroded) Trace
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I really can't begin to imagine how hard it was to travel in those days.  Here's a photo of the sunken Trace;

Part of the Original Natchez Trace Route
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The actual width of the land that the National Park Service owns for the Natchez Trace Parkway is not very wide, sometimes as little as 400 - 1,000 feet.  The park is bordered by private property and sometimes farm fields are adjacent to the roadway.

Farm Fields and Barn Adjacent to the Trace
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I am hoping to spot an alligator and photograph him as I ride over many bayous.  So I traveled with the telephoto lens on today, but no such luck.  Once I was sure I had spotted one, but it was just a log that got caught sideways on top of another.

No, Not an Alligator
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Some of these bayous are quite pretty; here's Bayou Pierre.

Bayou Pierre
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There's a lot of history to be discovered in exhibits all along the Trace.  A "Stand" was the term used for a wayside Inn.  Here's just a couple of examples from today;

Red Bluff Stand
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Dean's Stand
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I'm overloading you with pictures; just a few more and we're done, I promise.  I really am curious how this is supposed to work;

How Does This Work? Do The Deer Push a Button With Their Nose to Cross?
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Bill ShaneyfeltLikely a motion sensor on a deer pathway.
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1 year ago
George HallTo Bill ShaneyfeltSounds reasonable! Hopefully the deer know they are supposed to follow that pathway.
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1 year ago
Bill ShaneyfeltSigns are installed based on paths animals normally follow. Some are hundreds (thousands?) of years old.
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1 year ago

This sign brought back memories from the early 1990's when I almost moved the family to Vicksburg to work at my dream job.  I was offered the job, but when the wife and I visited Vicksburg we were appalled by the condition of the public schools and realized we didn't want our kids enrolled there.  So we considered living in Clinton (30 miles away) and sending the kids to a better public school, but it all just got complicated and messy - and I turned down my dream job.  That's all water under the bridge now, but I very well could have been a citizen of Vicksburg, or Clinton. 

It's a Long Story; The Path Not Taken
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With reference to the first paragraph of this ramble, I was very glad to get off the Trace and onto the parallel bikepath outside of Ridgeland. The riding was nice and easy.

No Traffic Concerns Here
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That's a great advantage of the ACA maps.  You would never realize the bikepath is there unless you knew where to look - and you wouldn't know how to access it without the instructions given on the map.  

I'm in the Hampton Inn tonight, I've done laundry so I now have 3 more days of riding clothes.  I may have trouble finding another laundry within 3 days, the upcoming hotels don't have guest laundries and there doesn't seem to be any commercial laundries near them, so I may be washing clothes in the bathtub again. Lots to do to get prepped for tomorrow, going to get out ASAP after the hotel breakfast so I can hopefully beat some of the traffic and get out of the metroplex area and back to the traffic-free Trace. 

A little something I have learned from nearly 70 years on this planet is that at any particular moment everybody has to be somewhere.  My head (and the rest of me) is currently in Mississippi.  G'night fellow Sapiens.

Today's ride: 69 miles (111 km)
Total: 370 miles (595 km)

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