South of Nashville I turned on to the Natchez Trace Parkway. Like the Blue Ridge Parkway, the Natchez Trace is a “closed” road. There are no traffic lights, no stop signs, no truck traffic, little car traffic, and few intersections. In short the perfect road where the road itself and not the destination is the highlight.
It follows an ancient pathway from Natchez MS up to Nashville, totaling 440 miles. The pathway was used by traders who would sail barges down the Mississippi river to sell their goods in Natchez or New Orleans and then walk the path back up to Tennessee.
Riding the motorbike on this road was glorious. Most the traffic dangers for a bike were not present and while the scenery was less dramatic than the Blue Ridge, it was still beautiful, going from rolling hills in the north to the flat Mississippi plains in the South.
Along the way there were numerous historical attractions so even though it was only 440 miles, it took me 4 days as I ambled along from sight to sight, not really wanting the road to end. As I rode south, the climate gradually changed to the humid, deep south weather system, and the mangrove swamps and Spanish moss trees began to appear.
After years of traveling in the states this road and style of travel was a revelation to me. Most of my previous travels in the states had been for business, where all the cities look the same, seeing nothing but airport terminals and chain hotel rooms. The Natchez Trace however is one of the best travelling experiences America has to offer. Unless you have your own 400 mile private driveway, there is nothing like it anywhere else. Trust me, it’s that good.
I want to travel it again at some point, but I think the next time will be by bicycle. It needs to be taken in slowly, and even though I tried to stay under the 50 mph limit, I think that’s too fast to take in all the road has to offer.
There’s not much else to say about it so I’ll let the photos do the talking.