Natchez Christmas Locator map

Day 1
Down to the Crossroads

Day 2
Beside the Mississippi

Day 3
Merry Christmas

Day 4
Starting the Trace

Day 5
Vicksburg & More

Day 6
To Tupelo

Day 7
Elvis Has Left the City

Day 8
Parkway's End

Day 9
Year's End

December 31, 2006
Little of note happened on the last day of the trip and of the year but I've included a page for day nine just for the sake of completeness. After breakfast at the Loveless Cafe and a stroll through Bicentennial Park, I found the interstate and set the cruise control.

This was one of those rare trips where I got to feed all of my addictions a little. There were scenic roads, lots of history, some blues, some rock & roll, a car museum, cool accommodations, worthy diners, and interesting taverns. What else is there? OK, I could have done with about another 20 degrees on the thermometer but that's about it.

December 30, 2006
Before reaching the northern end of the Parkway, I drove a bit of the old Trace, looked over the history concentrated where Grinder's Stand once stood, and admired the Parkway's biggest waterfall.

December 29, 2006
Lots of Elvis, lots of cars, a little Parkway, and a marvelous night for a moondance.

December 28, 2006
I took a peek at the capital then got in about a hundred miles of the Parkway.

December 27, 2006
In Vicksburg I looked over the battlefield and the recovered ironclad Cairo. I did get in a few more miles on the Trace after visits to the Windsor ruins and the town of Port Gibson.

December 26, 2006
Mammy wasn't cooking and Jerry Lee's brother-in-law was soloing at the drive-through so I missed out on two of my big goals for the day. But I did get inside a 146 year old construction project and get started on the Trace.

December 25, 2006
Natchez, like just about every other city in the hemisphere, is pretty much shut down on Christmas Day but that's where staying over a bar pays off.

December 24, 2006
On down Sixty-One to Natchez and a room with a view. On the way, I stopped by B.B.'s and Kermit's birthplaces and the spot where "the Southern crosses the Dog".

December 23, 2006
I spent Friday afternoon getting to within about a hundred miles of this trip's official starting point in Memphis. Rain was falling almost to Bowling Green. Even there it wasn't exactly dry but it had stopped raining when I stopped at the National Corvette Museum to check out the Lost Highway exhibit. Saturday started with more expressway and a brief stop in Memphis to pay my respects to Furry Lewis. Then it was US-61 to Clarksdale and way too much of that was divided four lane. I'm now at the Shack Up Inn after stopping in at the Delta Blues Museum and the Ground Zero Blues Club.

Prelude 2 (December 2, 2006)
The Kaintucks had no Broadway honky tonks, Beale Street nightclubs, or Mississippi Delta juke joints to distract them as they hurried south. Things have changed. When I looked at the all expressway route to Natchez and realized that it skirted tantalizingly close to both Nashville and Memphis I knew it would be painful but I resigned myself to just waving. I've been there and done that and, even though I fully intend to do it again, I figured I could tolerate skipping these two music meccas just this once in the interest of time. But it was a different story when I saw my proposed path actually veered away from the Mississippi River and missed Clarksdale, MS, by an insulting forty miles. How could any blues loving two lane driving juke joint junkie even consider traveling from Memphis to Natchez on anything other than US-61. I felt ashamed. I did a little calculating, promised myself I'd leave earlier and/or drive later, and made plans to pick up the "Blues Highway" in Memphis. I'm now looking forward to both the going and the coming with equal anticipation.

Prelude 1 (November 20, 2006)
Like any sensible mid-winter trip, a Christmas break drive should occur only in regions to the south of home. Range is limited by time which is just a bit more than a week. I considered several candidates before settling on the Natchez Trace Parkway. I know that late December is not the ideal time to cruise the Trace but, even though temperatures can get pretty low, trip killers like sleet and snow can almost be completely ruled out.

Just like the Kaintucks of the early nineteenth century, I'll take the fast way to Natchez and a slower way home. The Kaintucks' "fast way" was on the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers which might carry them from Cincinnati to Natchez in a matter of days. Mine is over wide paved expressways that will require about fourteen hours of driving. My return route will be similar to theirs but, while most of the Kaintucks would have walked the Trace and waded or swam the streams, I'll be propelled by an internal combustion engine over paved roads that bridge those streams with barely a bump. But the most important difference of all may be that I'll have a heater.

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