Cycling the Natchez Trace: Day 4

Today was our short day; we rode a total of 54 not-quite-so-flat miles. Eight of the miles were through an area that had significant tornado damage in 2011. The trees were clipped off like a huge lawn mower had taken off the tops. During the day we met five cyclists going south. Oscar had a coyote run across the road in front of him and we saw lots of dead snakes in the road. One thing about traveling by bicycle is that you go slow enough to notice things that you miss when riding in a car. Crossing bridges is interesting, particularly when you cross pretty dirt roads, streams, or railroads.

Probably the funniest experience during our trip was getting to meet Brenda. We stopped at a little convenience store, County Line Grocery #2, on MS 46 in Mantee, MS, for lunch. We really were not sure that they would have anything for lunch, but we were hopeful. As it turns out, they serve fried chicken and pizza! We got fried chicken, boudin bites (a kind of sausage ball), and a biscuit and had a seat in one of the two booths. The place was amazing! While we ate, there was brisk traffic in and out of the store. Almost all of the purchases were for beer…at lunch time!….cases of beer! (We found out later that the adjoining county is dry, so we supposed that people were preparing for their evening.) As we ate our lunch, we watched the people come and go,…then came Brenda. Brenda introduced herself and shook our hands.  She had noticed our bicycles outside and wanted to talk about how in the world we were able to ride up and down hills. She told us about riding a bicycle as a child, but said she didn’t think she could do it now. Brenda had come to the store to buy a 40 ounce beer. As she was leaving, she said that she comes to the store at least three of four times a day! We couldn’t figure out why she didn’t just buy what she needed on her first trip!

Shortly after lunch we crossed the midway point of our trip. We stopped and took our picture with Milepost 222!

Half way! Milepost 222, whoohoo!
Half way! Milepost 222, whoohoo!

Late afternoon, we arrived in Houston, MS and found the Bridges-Hall Manor Bed & Breakfast. Carol, the owner, showed us where to put our bicycles on the front porch, then showed us around the bed and breakfast. Throughout the house were fresh flowers, plants, and lots of decorative collections. Carol was so very friendly. We enjoyed talking with her and hearing about how much she enjoys running the bed and breakfast. She is made for the job.

Bridges-Hall B&B, Houston, MS
Bridges-Hall Manor B&B
Our room at Bridges-Hall Manor B&B
Our room at Bridges-Hall Manor B&B

Breakfast the next morning was amazing! (I should have taken a picture this time, I SO should have.) The table was set for royalty–chargers, china, silver, fresh flowers! We started with individual bowls of fresh fruit, coffee, and orange juice. Then she brought out fresh homemade biscuits with three dishes of different jellies, a platter with bacon, sausage, eggs, hash brown casserole, and grits. We were the only guests and we felt mega-pampered in Carol’s B&B! Oh, and before we left, she gave us a zip-lock bag with zucchini bread for the road. Amazing!

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