Tennessee, Alabama and Mississippi: Almost there!

After four and a half days of travel on some pretty dubious back roads navigated by myself and a frequently frustrated GPS service who commanded me more than once to turn into a field bordered by a substantial fence, I arrived to a warm welcome in New Roads, Louisiana.

Before I get too deep into the happenings thus far in Louisiana allow me to take a little time to finish out the travel. At least a synopsis.

Leaving Bristol, VA/TN the next stop was planned for Winchester, TN just before crossing into Alabama. Despite the slower secondary roads and a few winding pathways that seemed to have been abandoned long ago, it was still early when I reached Winchester. If I could make a bit more headway, it would mean a less hectic day to follow. I pushed on to Huntsville, AL.

With the exception of the 4th night, I chose to take my chances on finding reasonable lodging upon arrival at the days final destination, rather than making advanced reservations. It worked well for two out three nights and the one that was a disappointment was tolerable. I was ticked off that I spent as much on that one as I did on the very nice one the night before. Oh, well. I said my piece politely to the manager and moved on.

The third day began with a seventy five mile head start and enabled me to explore a spot on the 1825 map called Brown’s Ferry.

I had a delightful brunch at Camillia’s in Tanner, Al.,

 

 

 

 

made a few new friends and picked up some great local information.

 

I could see on the current-day map that a nuclear power plant had been constructed at the site of the former ferry and taken its name. Nonetheless, I was hopeful of getting a view of what once was on the Tennessee River.

I was steered to one spot where I chatted with a well-informed resident. He reminded me that prior to 1933 and the establishment of the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) which coincided with the closing of the ferry, the Tennessee River was not nearly as wide as it is today.

Believe me, if you saw it today, you, too, would be confounded as to how anyone could have crossed ferry or not, particularly with livestock. This same conveyor of local history sent me off to another spot a short distance up river called Cowford. He explained that it was here, again prior to when the TVA flooded the area causing a supreme widening of the river, that livestock were herded to the other side. Tough to visualize now.

 

There is a boat ramp today at Cowford and a magnificent view of current-day Tennessee River.

 

 

 

Armed with my newest history lesson, I headed west toward Russellville, AL -another town on the 1825 route. I spotted a Pitchlyns Cemetery and with great anticipation and time to spare headed off in that direction. Alas, there was no cemetery to be seen, lots of “No Trespassing” however, I did catch a glimpse of a different life style than what was experienced by many who walked this trail.

 

Perhaps the former owners of this grand home were associated with the mysterious Pitchlyns as the supposed cemetery was a stone’s throw from here.  Too much for me to pursue; I will leave that one to someone else !

 

 

I landed for the night in Starkville, MS just outside of Columbus and near the elusive but now non-existent Pitchlyns, MS. A lovely little historic hotel called the Chester more than made up for the less than satisfactory one the night before.

The trip was going well and the next and fourth night I would sleep in Natchez, MS. The drive for the most part would be along the Natchez Trace Parkway. Let’s save that story and the one in Natchez for the next column.

Until then, be well.

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