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

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Vicksburg, MS

We have attempted to plan a bike ride on the Natchez Trace several times in the past. We are finally getting that chance to ride the Trace . The weather has been pretty volatile on this trip and rain in the forecast for next week. We decided to skip Natchez and the beautiful antebellum mansions and head north to Vicksburg before starting our ride on the Natchez Trace. As we entered Mississippi, (yes, I did just go M I S S I S S I P P I while typing) we crossed the mighty and muddy Mississippi River.
Looks like I am having some shutter problems with my camera.
We had changed our plans several times on our way here. After getting settled in, we had to spend some time figuring out how we wanted to handle the next few weeks.  First, we had to see Vicksburg and learn more of the history during the Civil War.

As we were preparing to start our ride, a couple of cyclist called out to us that they were doing the county loop if we would like to join them. We said thanks but we wanted to see the Park. Half way through our tour, those two flew by as they finished their ride. They were moving at a pretty good clip. Glad we passed on that ride.
We rode our bikes on the 16 mile hilly loop through Vicksburg's Military Park. The hills were beautiful and no traffic since it was a Sunday morning. 

Our ride was slow as we stopped to read about the War and look at the many statues and monuments throughout the park.

Most of the road was one way and we started on the Union side.

Vicksburg is  best known for the role that it played in the Civil War. President Abraham Lincoln told his civilian and military leaders, “See what a lot of land these fellows hold, of which Vicksburg is the key! “ On July 4, 1863, the key was placed in Lincoln’s pocket with the surrender of Vicksburg ending a 47-day siege that was intended to starve the city into submission. The surrender of Vicksburg, together with the defeat of General Robert E. Lee at Gettysburg the day before, marked the turning point in America’s defining war.
You could go to each battle area and imagine the soldiers on the hills down in front of us.

As we traveled along the road the signs would tell about the roles of the different states and their divisions.

Mike is very small in this picture on the right hand side with his bike checking out the hills ahead. A local bike rider rode along with us for a while asking about where we were from and giving us tips about the Natchez Trace. He is using the Military Park to train for the Ride the Rockies in Colorado.

During the Civil War, soldiers that succumbed to wounds or disease were typically buried close to where they died. If their name was known, their grave could be marked with whatever materials were at hand — most commonly the etching of the name into a wooden board.

Vicksburg National Cemetery has 116 acres, and holds the remains of 17,000 Civil War Union soldiers, a number unmatched by any other national cemetery. 13,000 names are unknown. As a mom, I think of all of the broken hearts.

This goes on over and over through the fields and hills.

The Confederate side was on the down hill ride of those 16 miles.

The hilltop they were fighting for overlooks where the Mississippi River used to run but was diverted. This is the Yazoo Diversion that was left.

After riding the loop, we left the park and headed into historic Vicksburg to see the waterfront murals and what they had to offer.

 The Yazoo Mississippi River Station
We found Monsour's at Biscuit Company that used to ship its biscuits down the river but is now just a restaurant and bar. We stuck our heads to see what they had for a snack before we ended our ride and headed home. A couple was sitting at a table and told us we had to stop and have brunch. We only had two miles back to our truck and decided to take their advice since they have Sunday Brunch there every Sunday. We had a pleasant visit while savoring some excellent food.
The waitress of 20 years insisted in showing us around the establishment. I took pictures of everything she told me that I should.
Another man came in and sat near us and asked if we rode the Military Park in less than an hour. Yeah, right. There is something disarming about a bike or maybe it's just southern hospitality.

Our adventure is turning out to be mighty fine.


  1. We loved the Vicksburg's Military Park and Vicksburg. We walked a ton of it. Biking would be a great way to that historical park.
    Biscuit Company sounds like a place Paul and I would enjoy.

    1. There were some pretty good hills to climb but a good way to get around.

  2. That looks like a great ride and a wonderful way to explore the area. It's always fun to chat with the locals, too. Did you have grits for brunch at the Biscuit Company? ;-)