We started our second day on the Trace by hiking back up the embankment to the overpass on the Trace. We used ALL of our muscles on this trip!
There are historic markers and nature trails all along the Natchez Trace Parkway with NPS restrooms/water at fairly regular intervals. After stopping at several nature trails to read the signs, we decided that we would not necessarily stop at those since sometimes all they tell you is something like, “Plants need water.” But, we would enjoy the experience by stopping to check out historic signs and sights. Sometimes those were just about as silly, since many of the signs tell you “somewhere near here, sometime, something happened,” but we decided those were worth the risk. We made a quick stop at the shaded Cowles Mead Cemetery. Cowles Mead was an acting territorial governor at the beginning of the 1800’s.
As we approached Ridgeland/Jackson, MS, the NPS recommends that cyclists use a multi-use path rather than the parkway due to heavy commuter traffic. We found traffic to be very heavy and chose to use the multi-use path for about six miles. There were lots of families, runners, and other cyclists using the paths. While we were in the Ridgeland area, we figured it would be a good time to find a lunch spot and stopped to ask a young couple for their recommendation. They suggested Pelican Cove Grill on an adjoining multi-use path next to the Ross Barnett Reservoir. A band was playing, the food was good, and it was relaxing to watch the boats and people come and go from the marina.
After lunch the multi-use path ended and we got back on the Trace. The Trace follows the western side of the reservoir for over fifteen miles. The water was beautiful; it reminded me of the drive along the Gulf near Apalachicola, FL. During the day, we saw wild turkey, deer, and lots of turtles.
That night, there were no available nearby bed and breakfasts, so we chose to stay in a hotel in Canton, MS. The hotels were near I-55, about eleven miles away from the Trace. As it turned out, that was probably not a bad thing. Oscar had developed an uncomfortable first-aid issue and we were able to walk to a nearby Walmart for some first-aid supplies. We also checked our cue-sheet and noticed that lunch stops were going to be difficult the next day. We purchased Subway sandwiches to put in the room refridgerator for our picnic lunch the next day. Our total cycling mileage for the day was 64 miles.