"Of all the paths you take in life make sure a few of them are dirt" US Forest Sevice

Monday, April 17, 2017

Tupelo Honey

Van Morrison would have cringed if he heard us singing.
Cypress Swamp
Our final leg on the Natchez Trace with us riding 100 miles of the 440 miles. I don't think I will ever ride the entire park but so glad we took the time to enjoy and see it.

We stopped at Cypress Swamp even though we had seen Cypress swamps in Texas and
to take the 20 minute walk. It lasted 10 minutes once I saw the huge black swamp snake slithering
 nearby, I was done.

This has been quite an activity packed trip so far. Before heading much further we stopped to stock up at Walmart.

A couple of items that Walmart carries. We passed this time.

Tupelo, Mississippi
The temperatures are running 12 degrees above normal at 85 degrees so we decided to find a campground with full hookups. There are campgrounds on the Trace but are dry camping and we needed air conditioning. Our solar power just won't cut it. We found a place a Trace State Park overlooking the lake.
Trace State Park was 10 miles off the Trace but the closest campground where we wanted to stop. We keep seeing many of the same people at the different campgrounds each day as we travel north.
 A man camping nearby told us to take all of the firewood that we wanted. He was not going to load it and haul it around anymore. It was some great hardwood and we helped ourselves. We were then obligated to build a fire once it cooled down even though it was 87 degrees in the afternoon. 
 While sitting by the fire, a man from New Brunswick came marching over sat down and visited for an hour. He was a hoot. Then he got up and marched off when he saw his wife looking out the motorhome window. His stories were hilarious. Who needs TV or internet? The next day they invited us over after dinner to sit and visit by their fire. We are meeting some fun people along the way.

On our last day of riding our bikes, we stopped at the 13 unknown Confederate soldiers' graves along the trace that the soldiers, Indians and trappers would walk. The headstones face away from the graves so people walking the Trace could read and remember them. It is not known if the died of wounds, lingering hunger, poverty or sickness in the army camps.

We stopped at a rest area and met three ladies that were returning to Jackson on
their bikes. They had ridden a section north, camped and vowed to return and ride the
entire Trace both ways in May. They are from Alabama and Louisiana and must be
used to the heat and humidity. Actually, by getting out in the morning and done
before noon makes the riding much more pleasant.

Who could be in Tupelo and not check out Elvis's birthplace? It is actually not a very large town.

His dad built this 2 bedroom home.
Statue of Elvis at 13 years old.

A replica of the car driven by Elvis's family as they left Tupelo to make a life in Memphis.

The Assembly of God church that Elvis learned to play the guitar was moved to the Birthplace Park.

The circle of life exhibit around the house was very nice with a bit of his history while living in Tupelo.
I asked the visitor's center where we should have lunch. She recommended Johnnie's Drive Inn that Elvis frequented as a boy.

A dough burger is a combination of flour and hamburger meat that creates a patty.  Back in the day, individuals would make these patties in order for the meat to last longer.
Not much has changed at Johnnie’s.  The same booths that were there nearly 70 years ago are still there today. Johnnie’s Drive-In takes claim as being one of Elvis’s old hangout spots.  Today, customers can enjoy their meal in the exact booth as Elvis used to enjoy his.

You would think the tourists are what keeps Johnnie’s going, but actually the tourists are only 10 percent of their customers.  Johnnie’s has the same group of men that come and drink coffee every morning.  It’s the locals that keep it going.
We sat down in the tight quarters. I asked the lady next to me what she was eating. She liked the Johnny burger. Then spent the time visiting with them about Elvis and Tupelo.

The Elvis booth after a sweaty bike ride but a mandatory picture anyway.

We were there so we had to do it. We ended the day singing "Trying to get to you"  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EEzSuFShgYc


  1. I notice your bikes are 'road' bikes, how did they do on the unpaved surface of the Trace? Tupelo looks like an interesting stop for any Elvis fan.

    1. We rode the paved National Park road but would walk the Old Trace that runs long it at places. We were surprised how well packed and preserved the Old Trace was.

  2. You're inspiring me to do some riding on the Trace! We stopped in Tupelo after we were in Memphis—it was interesting to see Elvis's birthplace and to visit the chapel there. I don't believe I've ever seen pickled pigs lips! :-)

    1. It is long and beautiful with small towns just off the Trace.