Day 9 - Kosciusko, MS (Super 8) to Mathiston, MS (Mathiston Motel) - Seeking A Bicycle Warrior's Death, Part II: The Great Rivers South - CycleBlaze

September 30, 2022

Day 9 - Kosciusko, MS (Super 8) to Mathiston, MS (Mathiston Motel)

Coyotes and Elephants, Passenger Pigeons and What Not

NOTE; You can comment on this article at the bottom of the page by clicking on the comment icon.  Likewise, you can comment on any photo by clicking on the comment icon below it. You can also "like" this entry or any photo by clicking on the heart icon.

Heart 0 Comment 0

Statistics, Useful & Otherwise;

Elevation Gained Today;  1,427 ft              Cumulative; 13,031 ft

Roadkill Seen Today;    Raccoon(1)                                                                               Cumulative; Hawk (2),  Raccoon(2),  Possum (6),  mouse (1) , unknown (2) 

Found Money Today;           $0.01                Cumulative; $0.29

Lodging Cost Today;  $55 (cash only)   Cumulative;  $727.50

Bad Drivers Today;                                          Cumulative; 3

Dog Chases Today;           0                             Cumulative; 2

Confederate Flags Today;      0                    Cumulative; 1

Average Speed Today; 10.0mph                   Cumulative: 10.5mph    

Summary of Today's Ride;  Another great ride on the Trace.

What can I say?  It was easy leaving Kosciusko (BTW, I've seen this spelled 2 different ways on maps), it was a great day of riding with very little traffic, I enjoyed a coffee shop stop at French Camp immediately adjacent to the Trace, and it was easy exiting the Trace to reach a diner for lunch and then my motel.  I had several interesting conversations with the Indian immigrant who runs and owns the motel, and he allowed me to use the motel laundry.  It probably won't get any better than this.   But the details matter, and so they follow.

Leaving Walmart yesterday I was surprised when I encountered a line at the exit; an employee was checking everyone's receipts vs. what they were leaving with.  I guess they've had a lot of theft - I've seen other stores do occasional checks but not like this in a Walmart.  Breakfast this morning was a Jimmy Dean breakfast bowl microwaved in the room. It was okay.  

The portable CPAP machine I brought along works alright I suppose - not as good as the regular ones with a water tank to keep the air moisturized, so the air is a bit dry.  I mostly only sleep for a couple of hours at a time using it, and sometimes I quit using it after getting up a couple of times.  But once on this trip it enabled me to sleep for 5 hours in a row, so maybe after I become more accustomed to it I will sleep better.  

As I have done so far, I stop at every roadside display and historical sign.  I mean, hey, when you're moving at only 10 mph it isn't that hard to stop.  I found this sign to be of interest,  not because of what it says but because of the place name.

There's A Hurricane Creek in Arkansas - This Brought Back Some Memories
Heart 1 Comment 0

Back in my college days, I used to camp in what is now known as the Hurricane Creek Wilderness Area in Arkansas.  A very dear friend of mine, who accompanied me on some of those camping trips, has passed on and was cremated and had his ashes scattered in that area. So that sign brought back many childhood memories. 

Today was a gorgeous day and I was rolling through Mississippi without a care in the world, other than, you know, all the cares not worth talking about.  It was a cool morning, the trees provided shade from the sun, I saw another coyote today - wow, what a day!  Once again I thought to myself "I'm the luckiest guy alive!"  And I am.

Another Tree-Shaded Day On The Trace
Heart 2 Comment 0

Occasionally there are signs pointing to the side and saying "Old Trace."  Many of these are located along the road and there is no place to park a car.  Much of the Trace is built on an elevated dirt berm and it would not be practical for a car to try and pull off into the grass - and that isn't allowed anyway - so car occupants can only glance in the direction of the "Old Trace" signs.  But cyclists can easily pull off and walk down to see what the Old Trace looks like up close.  And so I did, several times.

The Old Trace, Near MP 174, Hard to Access In An Automobile
Heart 1 Comment 1
Mark BinghamI saw a couple of different people hiking The Old Trace with loaded backpacks.
Reply to this comment
1 year ago

I came upon another cypress swamp and wandered down the trail a bit in the hopes of maybe photographing that 'gator I've been looking for.  No such luck, but the cypress swamps have their own special beauty.

Cypress Swamps Have A Unique Beauty
Heart 4 Comment 0

Some of the Cypress trees have these stalagmite-like things known as "knees."  They form above the roots of the Cypress tree and their exact function is unknown, but some researchers believe they help aerate the plant.  Here's more details from Wikipedia; Cypress Knees

Cypress "Knees" Function Is A Mystery
Heart 5 Comment 0

It's really pretty deserted at most every stop I make for a roadside exhibit.  Almost always I'm the only person there.  The summer tourist season is long gone, so methinks that Fall may be the very best time to tour the Natchez Trace if you like to see things without a crowd.   I'm not at all concerned to leave my bike and go for a 15 minute hike in the woods - I wouldn't leave the bike unlocked in a city of course, but out here on the Trace it's just pretty unpopulated at the moment.

Harvey Awaits Patiently While I Hunt For Alligators
Heart 3 Comment 0

The National Park Service has done a great job with their informational placards placed in pullouts spaced out along the Trace.  You can garner a lot of history just from these signs.

Christian Mission Built By Slave Labor
Heart 1 Comment 0

I was planning to stop at French Camp for a respite, as had been recommended by Doc and Sis.  Here's a bit of history about the site.

Heart 2 Comment 0

As I later learned after photographing this sign, the French Camp Academy is the central component holding this little village together.

The French Camp Academy is Intricately Connected to the Whole Town of French Camp
Heart 2 Comment 0

The restaurant didn't open until 11:00 and I couldn't wait, but I spotted this coffee house and went in for a coffee and pastry.

Coffee House With A Bicycle Decoration - I Got To Stop Here!
Heart 3 Comment 0

The lady who operates the coffee house was there and as I was eating she answered my questions about the academy.  It's really a pretty amazing operation, once again I think that our friend Wikipedia can do the best job at explaining it;  French Camp Academy.  Pretty much the entire little village is connected to the academy.  Most of the employees of the stores and restaurant and B&B operation are graduates of the academy who wanted to stick around.  My coffee house host and her husband once worked as house parents and had 10 boys living with them at a time - hard to imagine!  Now they work in administrative positions and construction operations.  The academy actually operates an astronomical observatory, and has a clear view because it is so far away from city light pollution. 

I rolled on down the road and thought about the wildlife I have seen so far on this trip.  The list includes Great Egrets, Great Blue Herons, Geese, ducks, deer, and coyotes.  And today I added turkey vultures to that list.

Turkey Vulture
Heart 2 Comment 0

A bit of the history and politics involving the lands around the Trace in the old days.  Way before the Civil War there was concern that this part of the country might secede and form their own nation.

Heart 0 Comment 0

We Sapiens are a murderous lot.  We've killed pretty much every other animal we have encountered, including other human species.  And we wiped out the passenger pigeon as well.   Wikipedia provides the details (Passenger Pigeons) and the park service mentions it below.

We Sapiens Seem To Kill Most Everything
Heart 1 Comment 0

I'm in the Mathiston Motel tonight.  It's the kind of place you would never even consider staying in, but it is strategically located for me on this journey.

The Mathiston Motel
Heart 1 Comment 0

The motel proprietor is an Indian fellow who has lived in the U.S. for 40 years now.  He's a really nice guy and we talked quite a bit.  The village he's from in India has adopted a wild elephant - apparently this is pretty common and they adopted elephants when he was a young man in India.  He used to ride on the wild elephants.  He showed me 3 cell phone videos that had been sent to him from his village; they were feeding the elephant, occasionally petting it (carefully), and had painted some markings on it's trunk.  This was a big animal, a wild animal, and they must of course be careful around it.  But it comes in from the forest when it wants to and they feed it grasses and fruits, then it wanders off and does elephant stuff for days until it is ready to come back and visit.   Pretty cool - I hope we Sapiens don't kill off all the elephants too.

Though the place doesn't look too appealing from the outside, I'm inside for the night, my room is clean, I have air conditioning, the proprietor allowed me to use the motel laundry for my dirty clothes, and even though they don't officially have wifi he gave me the password for his own satellite connection.  He likes bicyclists, he says it reminds him of India where lots of people travel by bicycle.  And hey, for $50 I suppose it's a pretty fair deal.  That's $50 cash, he doesn't take credit cards - good thing I brought some cash along on this journey.

I found a penny on the microwave in my room, so the found money fund just grew a wee bit - it's looking pretty scarce this trip.  Okay, enough already, surely you are bored by now and I need to get ready for tomorrow.  I've been down in Mississippi, but I'm not up to no good; unless you consider my bicycle ramblings to be an example of a "no good" activity.  G'night folks, they still like country music down heah (you got to pronounce it like that).

Today's ride: 46 miles (74 km)
Total: 480 miles (772 km)

Rate this entry's writing Heart 8
Comment on this entry Comment 0