Quote of the Day “Have you ever noticed that anybody driving slower than you is an idiot, and anybody driving faster than you is a maniac?” —George Carlin
Travellinbaen had occasion to cruise north from Ridgeland for about seventy miles on the Natchez Trace last Friday in route to West Point, Mississippi. I love the Trace. There is almost no traffic, there are zero billboards, no litter, no power poles or lines, no big trucks, no political signs, no strip malls, no commerce whatsoever as a matter of fact; consequently, it is one of the few thoroughfares I have traveled upon which I have no desire to speed, and no need to weave. Well, no desire to speed excessively. Fifty is pretty low, and the park rangers seem content to let you get away with about fifty-five to fifty-nine.
Mid-October is a good time on the Trace. I saw at least a dozen does and some spotted fawns out for their morning meal, a few turkeys, a bunch of squirrels and hundreds of cows. I crossed creeks and rivers that curved away, out of view, on their own journeys. There were pastures dotted with haystacks and fields full of wild yellow daisies, the most vivid yellow there can possibly be. Because of the dearth of power lines, the trees are allowed to grow unfettered, and they show their appreciation for that by providing shady tunnels periodically along the route. It’s a road that allows you to think and relax and solve problems you didn’t realize were nagging at the back of your mind. The only thing missing for me on this trip was a bit of company and a rag-top. And perhaps a few days to enjoy them both in the quietude of the old highway.
It occurred to me as I neared my turnoff that a great public works project, a la the old WPA from the depression era, would be to connect the Trace with like minded thoroughfares across the country. I know of a few–the Going to the Sun Road in Glacier National Park, the Pacific Coast Highway, parts of the A1A in the Keys–that should be waypoints. What a way to see the countryside and the small towns we could create, away from the maddening crowds, if such a route from Atlantic to Pacific could be created, winding inefficiently from place to place, with no other purpose except beauty and peace. Here’s a few snap shots from October 10, 2008, on the Natchez Trace.