Waking up from a going away party is never easy, and leaving a place you feel has become your home with friends you love so much is even harder. But we weren't done with our journey yet, the Frolic had more miles to travel and we had more of the country to see. It was Monday morning at the end of February so it was dreary and luckily we had already hitched up the night before so getting on the road was easy. We made our way to Hwy 20 towards Jackson, Mississippi and honked at everyone as we waved goodbye to Birmingham.
Now if you have been following us you know we rarely take interstates and opt for two-lane highways but today we just needed to get there. There wasn't much we wanted to see and we were on a bit of a time crunch. Jerimiah and Felice, our Texas friend we would be staying with, had birthdays coming up and we had tickets for the great Willie Nelson. A couple of weeks is all we could spare as we headed North to Austin.
Off of Highway 20 just south of Jackson is the Natchez Trace parkway is a scenic two-lane historical drive spanning 444 miles from Tennessee to Mississippi. We caught it late afternoon that Monday and found a Free campground called Rocky Springs just before dusk. That is right my friends FREE (click through here for the link and GPS on where to find this gem.
We decided to stay hooked up which we do most stops where we plan on leaving in the morning. This spot provides no hook ups so just know you have no water or electricity. There are clean bathrooms and from what I can recall a nice hot shower.
When we picked our nice level spot we saw a beautiful Ford ecocline camper van in the distance. As I strolled Hank around to stretch his furry lil legs I strike up a conversation with them, hoping they would invite me over to take a gander at their amazing van. The owners of my dream van were an adorable French Canadiana couple in there early 50's. They granted my wish and gave me a tour of their rig. It was perfect! I had a bit of envy for a self-contained travel mobile. We traded travel stories and invited them to the Folic for a tour. I gifted them a book of New England for their future travels and they later brought us a bottle of delicious wine as a thank you.
We decided to take a hike around the Trace and see what this place was about. There was a small trail off in the distance, or at least we thought it was small. We hiked along the river watching Hank play in the stream. We later found out hikers leave, as an offering to all, cold beer to chill in the river. There was none when we came down but just as a warning to all if you see some chilling it is meant to be there for all.
We followed the signs to a ghost town but as dusk fell we got deeper in the trail and had the little hint of and out leaving the woods. We tried the modern thing and got the phone out to look at the map but reception was bad so we listened to the gut and trekked on to where we thought the camp was.
We finally made it back to the Frolic laughing so hard about being lost forever in that Mississippi woods. I made a little dinner by lantern light since there was no power. We enjoyed our bottle of wine we had been gifted by the Canadians and settled into the utter darkness of the Mississippi woods.
This was the first night we camped with Hank and her earned his keep as a great watch dog. One low growl warning was for our first sighting of Armadillo then the second low growl warning was a little bigger. We think it was a deer but who knows, our flashlight scared it away into the night before we could get a good look.
The next morning we headed back to the Trace to make our way to Baton Rouge. Before we left though we wanted to check out this little Ghost Town Rocky Springs supposedly had. Deep in the woods about a couple from camp we came to an old church and what was left of Rocky Springs. It was a chilly and eerie morning. Perfect for a walk through an old cemetery with beautiful graves and amazing trees. As we walked it was impressive to see what artifacts were left of the town, two safes had rusted a bit but they marked a place where people not only lived by thrived. We hopped back in the van and headed South on the Trace. We had done a little research and knew there was an amazing fried chicken place just off the trace a little. Not far milepost off of Hwy 552 exit we found Mr. D's Chicken. When we walked in we were saw we were the first customers they had that day. A warm greeting from the staff they told us to get a place and load up, Its all you can eat from 10-4 every day and man oh man did we dive in. Friend Chicken and all the fixings. Don't you think for once second I didn't get me some dessert, the cobbler was calling my name. This for sure is highly recommended. After we ate we walked around, almost a museum for the millions who have dinned and the years they have been lucky enough to be in business. We thanked our new friends for a great meal and got some tips on what to see off of the Trace.
We headed to the Emerald Mound and did some hiking on some historic trails before entering the great state of Louisiana.