Crystal Springs to Port Gibson - 50 miles including 25 miles on the Natchez Trace
I started my day with an unpleasant ride on MS 27. My hosts had warned me that it was a popular shortcut for big trucks. It started out pretty well, with smooth pavement and a decent shoulder, but the shoulder went away and the road became hilly and curvy. That, combined with a lot of big trucks going very fast made it an unpleasant ride. I had to 'bail out' twice in order to let trucks pass where they were approaching at high speed with limited visibility. One log truck 'asked', by blowing his horn continuously as he approached. The other truck came on me as I was near the top of a hill with a bind curve. No way he could pass safely, so I got off the road.
Semis on MI 27
After 15.5 miles, 13 of them on 27, I was able to get off onto Morrison Rd. I had been making excellent time - averaging almost 13.5 mph, but I had been pushing too hard - trying to minimize my exposure to those trucks! - and my bad knee was hurting. On Morrison Rd I cut my speed way back and just moseyed along doing 10 mph or so. My knee still hurt, but the riding was much more pleasant. Morrison Rd meanders a bit, but ends up becoming 27 where 27 and 18 intersect just above Utica. Nice riding!
I visited for four hours (from 11 AM to 3PM) in the middle of the day - not a bad idea on these hot Mississippi days - and then rode on through Utica to the Natchez Trace. It is about eight miles from Utica to the Trace. Nice riding through pretty country with interesting terrain and lots of variety. Then it is about 25 miles down the Trace to Port Gibson. Easy riding, but boring and bumpy. I'll ride the Trace tomorrow for the 43 miles to Natchez, but only because US 61, the other alternative, has no shoulders and a lot of truck traffic.
The Trace did have two good things going for it: Rocky Springs campground and the pair of Australian (I think..) tourists I met a mile or two later. Rocky Springs was so nice that I would have camped there if I had been ready to stop. A lovely place with running water and free camping! The tourists, riding Moultons - the first I've seen on the road - had ridden from Houston and were heading for NYC via Canada. We had a nice visit and discussed routes. I have ridden much of where they planned to go, so I could offer experienced suggestions for routing. They rode on to camp at Rocky Springs and I rode on to an expensive B+B in Port Gibson. I have had a nice time visiting with the proprietor. He and I drove ten miles down the road for a good supper at a road house. I do enjoy the food in the south!
Shortly after I arrived here, another bicycle, this one a Santana tandem towing a three year old in a Burley trailer, showed up. They aren't staying here tonight, but are staying here in two nights when they return from Natchez. They are coming back tomorrow morning to leave some stuff they don't want to haul to Natchez. The bad headwind (10 - 15 mph) is supposed to be back tomorrow. I wonder if I could draft them on the way down? That trailer looks like it would make a good windbreak!