An exciting day awaits us today, for a number of reasons. One, our final day on the Natchez Trace Parkway would have us in Natchez by late this afternoon. Second, we will be deviating off the Trace for the first time to visit a National Park, and third, and maybe most exciting, BREAKFAST!
Not just any breakfast, but breakfast in a cafe that we have been waiting to visit since we found it online by accident while planning this trip. If you have been following this blog, and you know of our dogs, you will understand:
YES! The Beagle Bagel Cafe! Everything beagles and everything bagels!
Our affinity for the beagle breed is well known on this site (see the beagles here). So, when we saw this small chain of cafe’s in the Jackson area, we just had to make a breakie run.
The food is great, and they even do lunch. So we got beagle bagel sammiches to go and had a picnic lunch on the Trace.
After breakfast, it was time to venture off the Trace for the first time since leaving Nashville. Our destination is Vicksburg National Military Park in Vicksburg, MS. Having read about the Civil War battle here, and the seige of the city by the Union forces, we just had to detour to visit. A short, but fast, 30 minute ride on I-20 was all it took, and the exit ramp dumped us right into the park.
Vicksburg National Military Park is a small National Park. If you plan to visit, do some research on what transpired here during the Civil War. When you arrive, do watch the 20 minute movie in the visitor center. If you brought your walking shoes, forget them. This is a drive through park only, and that was a disappointment to us. Driving through the park, you really don’t get a sense of what went on here. Actually, the entire park is a monument to the states that had men fighting in this battle. So do see the movie, or you will just feel like you’re taking a drive through a lovely park setting. Visit the park virtually here.
Views of Vicksburg National Military Park.
Roo took these pics from the back of the motorbike.
These structures, and all others in the park, are monuments to states that had men fighting here.
More state monuments.
One fascinating point of interest on the park road where we did stop and spend some time was at the raised wreckage of the Ironclad ship USS Cairo. Ironclads were used throughout the Civil War, and the Cairo was sunk here in the Mississippi River during the battle of Vicksburg.
Being able to see the inner workings of an Ironclad ship was fascinating. This is the bow of the ship……
and this, the stern.
Iron sheeting was restored and replaced on parts of the ship so visitors could see what an Ironclad really looked like…
These are just a few of the immense boilers that provided steam to power this behemoth.
The huge capstans
The enormous size of this ship was astounding, and the fact that it was actually able to float was amazing. But float it did, until it ………… sank.
The National Cemetery at Vicksburg
Having spent a few hours at Vicksburg, it was time to get back on the Trace. Another fast shot eastbound on I-20 got us back to Jackson in no time, then southbound on The Natchez Trace again. The ride down the Trace was a nice relaxing putt-putt. We did stop a few times to stretch out and drink. We also met a few interesting people on many of these stops.
The final miles on the Natchez Trace Parkway felt a bit melancholy. After all, we had been on this beautiful road for three days, seen her beauty and were captivated by the history that she spoke of. It was like leaving an old friend. But ahead lay the city of Natchez, more exploring to do, and a two day off-the-bike adventure.
Next post: Two Up on The Trace: Hoofing It in Natchez on the Mississippi