. Larry knew this was what he needed and would be a welcome addition to his riding attire as he didn't want to get shot at either, not to mention it would add to his visibility on the road.
The first half on Route 25 was great because the shoulders were wide and and the traffic on Saturday morning was light. We came upon the Natchez Trace Parkway, a famous road with exceptional scenery that does not allow commercial traffic, also known as the "Old Natchez Trace", an historical path that was used by American Indians that extends 444 miles (710 km) from Natchez, Mississippi to Nashville. This was supposed to be where we turned off of 25 and one of the highlights of our trip, so we rode up to meet it. Our eyes told us it was everything and more that we were told,... Stunning scenery and NO pavement on the right side of the white line with no shoulder, and who knows what's beyond that first curve on a hill! We spent more than a few minutes making the right decision to turn around and head back on 25 South.
Or so we thought we made the right decision. Once we crossed to a new county the road had new pavement and rumble strips grooved into the pavement. That meant we had to ride on the road and no sooner did the traffic increase and so did the hills! But the scenery always makes it worth it.
On a lighter note we saw our first palm tree today at a residence in a little town called Belmont, not much else in that town
. Just before reaching Fulton we pulled over in front of another gas station feeling the exhaustion of a long day and only knowing an approximate arrival time, we needed at least a water break. Devon sat down on the curb out front while Larry went inside to ask the attendant girl how far we had to go, She gave an alternative route that would provide us less traffic to deal with, but it came with all of the hills, and just a few dogs! It turned out we missed our last turn because the street was, you guessed it, unmarked; so we just added an excruciating additional TWO miles to our day! Just when we thought we were never going to get anywhere, we asked someone passing by where Adams Street was and then,... there it was. The Holiday Inn Express was like a diamond in the rough, especially since Fulton has a population of less than 4,000. The hotel is only two years old and one of the nicer places we've stayed, very modern. We walked across the street for dinner at Homers, yes catfish, then a little mapping and off to bed, we are dead tired. Not a swim or even a dip in their very inviting pool!
Today started off with the yummy breakfast stuff that we picked up yesterday in Iuka (at the 'local' grocer of course!); at this point our bodies were craving Greek yogurt with fresh berries. getting to down to business, Larry started changing a flat tire on Devon's bike. Although we filled all of the tires yesterday, a stitch in time saves nine so we checked the pressure this morning, and Devon's rear tire was about 8 psi low. Sure enough there was a small hole in the inner-tube and we found a 1/2" long piece of wire the thickness of a staple stuck in the tire. And although it took Devon the same amount of time to get ready as it did Larry to solve the tire dilemma, we were still able to leave early for a long hard ride to Fulton, MS. By 11am we pulled in for our first pit stop at a gas station where we grabbed an omelet, yes they am,e omelets at this gas station, and some fried chicken. There was a roadside vendor here selling all sorts of stuff but Larry had his eye on a fluorescent orange vest that is presumably intended for hunters so they won't get shot by other hunters