Natchez Trace Parkway: Drive This Road, part 1

Smooth, scenic, sparsely populated with traffic, tons of history, interesting educational exhibits, bathrooms everywhere you could even hope for, picnic areas, campgrounds, and one heck of a great place to stop for lunch. Oh yeah, and it rains money when you drive the Trace. Well, not money, but sometimes it rains.

This road is one of America’s best backroads, Five stars, four thumbs up (out of four thumbs), and any other accolades that we can give to a road.

We began in Nashville, TN. Music City. Home of the Grand Ol’ Opry. We put AM650 WSM on the radio and headed into the storm that had caused a tornado in Tupelo the night before. We learned that Eddy Arnold had died the previous night, so WSM was playing almost exclusively Eddy Arnold. The rain wasn’t continuously torrential, it was intermittent. We were able to stop along the road to learn about American (and pre-American) history. We spent the night in Tupelo after seeing Elvis’s birthplace.

At a Starbucks in Tupelo, I bought a CD -- Classic American Country. I’ve always been suspicious of cds sold in Starbucks, but the mix is really pretty good. I should have bought the cd in Nashville because it covered exactly the right music to put the scenery through the window into context. As it turned out, that was the day Eddy Arnold died, and Eddy had the first song on the cd -- Cattle Call. Other greats ate George Jones, Ernest Tubb, Johnny Cash, Hank Williams, Conway Twitty. Our only complaints were that Roger Miller’s song wasn’t the best choice of Roger Miller songs, and there was no Dolly Parton. C’mon, no Dolly?

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