Posts Tagged ‘joh-boy’

One of our goals of this motorcycle vacation was to ride the entire length of the Natchez Trace Parkway.  For those that may not be familiar with the Natchez Trace it is a National Parkway similar to the Blue Ridge Parkway or Skyline Drive.  But as it runs 444 miles between Natchez, MS and just south of Nashville, TN there are few mountainous sections or twisties involved. Yet this parkway is a SPECTATULAR substitute for any interstate trip if you are headed in the general direction of those two cities.

What you miss in twists and turns is made up in miles of wonderful cruising with no large trucks (prohibited) or traffic snarls around metro areas.  If you are a history buff there are dozens and dozens of roadside stops to check out.

In our case we started at the southern end of the Trace, knowing we would not Ijustwant2ride.commake the entire length in a single day (hey, we started south of New Orleans).  We checked out the visitors center grabbed a quick bite and hit the trail.  It did not take long to settle in; with next to no traffic we were free to enjoy the views and the ride.  We stopped at the historical sites that were of interest to us and just had a lovely time.

In 2011 a series of tornados ran nearly parallel to the parkway for nearly eight miles. The amount a damage still remaining to the forest on both sides of the road is amazing.

ijustwant2ride.comAs we were passing Tupelo, MS we decided to head off the Trace to have lunch at Johnnies Drive In.  This is the little dinner that Elvis Presley frequented as a child and young adult. The food was excellent and if you have time the Elvis Presley childhood home park is nearby (we did not stop).  Turns out we sat in the “Elvis” booth, the one he nearly always used.  We did not know that until others were turning down seats in order to wait for use to leave. LOL, we did not take our time, but we did not rush either.

Back on the parkway we continued to make good time even though we stopped at multiple historic sites and a visitor’s center.  Near the end of the parkway was the historic site called “She Boss”.  The story behind this stop was that widow who owned a small lodge along the trace remarried a local Indian who spoke little English.  As visitors approached he would point to his wife and say “She boss”!

We rolled of the Trace in the late afternoon and, thanks to friends we made on the HOG Rolling Rally, knew to stop at the Loveless Café for dinner.  Wow, were they right about stopping for a meal at this restaurant. This was some awesome down home cooking.

There are a few things you need to know about the Trace 1) keep an eye on your fuel you have to leave the parkway to top off  and 2) there are a lot of animals out and about (we saw squirrels, rabbits, turkey, deer and a mule).

I also recommended that you take a few minutes before you ride the trace to look at all the possible stops and pick out the ones that gain your interest.  It would take four days of riding to stop and investigate each and every historic stop along the way.

If you can’t tell, I really enjoyed our ride on the Natchez Trace Parkway.  If you are not pressed for time I highly recommend the Trace to the interstate highways.

My wife Debbie is a huge fan of the TV show “The Waltons” so this ride was for her!

The creator/writer of that show, Earl Hamner, based the show loosely on his life growing up in the mountains of Virginia in the Depression era 1930s. Our 301 mile round trip took us from our home to the Walton’s Mountain Museum, across the street to the house that inspired the stories and back home.

The museum (in the former Schuyler High School) and Hamner’s childhood home are located in Schuyler, VA. While they are really out in the middle of the mountains and woods, it is easy to get there….just go until you think you went to far then go another couple miles! 🙂  This area of Virginia also has a lot of motorcycle friendly roads, a quick internet review will show you many.

The museum itself has multiple exhibits including replicas of the sets used in the TV show. It even has a real “confiscated locally” moonshine still to represent the Baldwin sister’s “Recipe Machine”. Earl Hamner’s home is across the street from the Museum and is on the Virginia Historic Registry.

While I knew a little of Mr. Hamner’s life story I was surprised at some of the things he wrote or was connected to. For example he was the creator of the series Falcon Crest, wrote for the Twilight Zone, wrote the tele-play for Hidi, Charlotte’s web and the book that inspired the move Spencer’s Mountain (based on his family, where his dad was played by Henry Fonda).

If you are a fan of the Walton’s, or not,  and are in the area this is a nice little side trip and if you are on a motorcycle it is so much more fun.