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Continued: Cycling the Natchez Trace Parkway

  • Article by: MELANIE RADZICKI MCMANUS , Special to the Star Tribune
  • Last update: April 4, 2014 - 3:49 PM

During their previous weeks on the road, the McConvilles were often chased by not-so-friendly dogs.

The adventure ends

Hob had promised that we’d encounter fall colors, and indeed the landscape quickly changes with every pedal stroke. The deep-green foliage lightens and burnishes, then bursts into a brilliant orange-red show. Fortunately, the autumnal display is so distracting, we barely notice the hills now swelling ahead of us with rhythmic precision.

We roll across Alabama, then into Tennessee, stopping to admire the view from numerous scenic overlooks. During one stop, we run into a local fellow out hiking. When we tell him we’re biking the Natchez Trace in one trip, he gives a low whistle.

“That’s impressive,” he says, adding after a pause, “And you’re not kids, either.”

Just like that, we’re gliding past mile marker 442. Two miles left. Strangely, the road suddenly splits. Our choices are bustling Hwy. 100 or sleepy McCrory Lane. We choose the latter, disappointed to find no northern terminus marker. And what happened to miles 443 and 444? We need some kind of appropriate victory photo to memorialize our accomplishment.

Or do we? The Trace’s original travelers had a difficult, often unpleasant journey, yet they received no kudos. We’ve had a glorious time and met numerous friendly, interesting people. We know what we’ve accomplished. And that’s good enough for us.

 

Melanie Radzicki McManus is a freelance writer in Sun Prairie, Wis.







 

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  • Photo gallery: Along the Natchez Trace

    Friday April 4, 2014

    Lush scenery, lazy traffic and renowned Southern hospitality make this national scenic byway a pedaler's paradise.

  • Ed McManus glided along the Natchez Trace in October, when resplendent fall foliage augments an already lovely setting. It has run from Natchez, Miss., to Nashville for more than two centuries.

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