Heading into our last two nights of camping for this trip, we hoped that the campground we chose would be decent. A bit of solitude, a firepit – we don’t ask for much. Meriwether Lewis National Monument in Hohenwald, TN delivered in a big way. This 25-site campground is a gem.Nestled into the rolling hills of Little Swan Creek along the Natchez Trace Parkway, the Park offers camping (rustic, although there are flush toilets), and hiking in a gorgeous setting. Campsites are staggered along the edge of a ridge, so each offers a private view. It couldn’t have been more perfect.After a harrowing day on the road – we must have gone through seven narrow construction zones – we quickly set up, snapped a leash on Jezzy, and headed for a trail to shake off the effects of a tense trip. (A little explanation here – it was my day to drive. Between truck traffic, construction zones, and unexpected craters that bounced us around mercilessly, it was hideous. John was grinding his teeth, and I actually got cramps in my hand, so tight was my grip on the wheel.) After 200 miles or so, I gladly surrendered the driver’s seat, and became a very docile passenger.
The Natchez Trace is an old route, used for hundreds of years by Native Americans, traders, and armies. The Old Trace is still visible, the many feet traveling before us have trampled a permanent path through the forest. The Natchez Trace Parkway follows the general route of the Old Trace, and is a National Park, stretching for 444 miles from Nashville to Natchez.
Our campground is located at the burial site of Meriwether Lewis, part of the famous exploration team Lewis and Clark. I was astonished to learn that he died when he was only 35 years old. Lewis was on his way to Washington DC, when he stopped for the night at Grinder House, one of many spots along the Trace where one could spend the night and get a meal. Sadly, the reason for his journey was that the US Government had refused to reimburse him for many of his expenses on his historic journey, Without these funds, he was bankrupt. So, armed with his receipts and documentation, he was headed to DC to plead his case. He stopped, had dinner, went to sleep, and was dead the next morning. The exact cause was never determined.This is a beautiful spot – one to which we would happily return.One of the reasons we selected this area for our final campsite of our winter trip was that we had arranged to tour the Oliver Travel Trailer factory. From time to time, we entertain ourselves with thoughts of trading up to a slightly larger trailer – one that would offer a few more comforts. We had heard of the Oliver, and thought it might be a good fit for us. We had a great tour. But, while the Oliver is impressive, and has features that we loved, we don’t think it’s The One. We’ve decided to try to boost the comfort level of the Fireball a bit. It’s time to try to enlist the woodworking skills and ingenuity of my brother-in-law Jerry!
Heading home, we always try to stay in Evansville with John’s brother for a few days. Our route took us along the Natchez Trace Parkway for the first 20 miles or so. It’s a gorgeous roadway, although it was one of those overcast days that flatten photographs, and suck the color out of everything. You’ll have to take my word for the beauty. Those little specks on the ground are cows.
Ahhhh, Evansville. Such a wonderful stop for us – we get to spend time with Don and John, and lounge in the luxury of their beautiful home. Best sheets ever! Spring has already sprung there – flowers everywhere, green grass, leaves on trees. Don was ready to plant his tomatoes for the year already. On one of our walks, Jezzy tried to investigate this squirrel more closely. If that squirrel hadn’t blinked, I swear that we would still be there. It must have been two minutes of the Big Staredown.
All good things must end, and we’re home. As I sit here, I can see the Fireball in the driveway, begging me to come out and clean. We’ve got lots of work and some minor repairs to do before we can hit the road again. The house and yard need attention as well. The 2014/2015 Winter Escape has ended.