Natchez, MS is a cozy town of less than 20,000 people. Tourism is its main draw. Historic preservation has been a top priority and the atmosphere is inviting. Natchez is a city like many in this region that was inhabited by people from several different countries. First came the French, then the English. Spain was the last foreign country to lay claim to the city before relinquishing control to the U.S. in 1798.
I stated late on Friday afternoon. My first line of business was to get to the Natchez Visitor’s Center and get a map of the Nathez Trace. After that, the rest of the afteroon was mine to play, to see and to enjoy.
The visitors center is down on Canal Street overlooking the river. I got everything I needed there and headed into town. I was planning to ride a portion of the Natchez Trace for the next few days. I was planning to do so at night. I had heard nothing but good things about the Natchez Trace ever since I got into Alabama.
A night time ride was exactly what I had in mind. Due to the heat, it was a necessity. I would later find out that this was all in the cards.
A Walk in the Park with Hobbs
After I left the visitors center, I ended up at a little park across from the Natchez Grand Hotel. As soon as I pulled off the sidewalk and into the shade of a small tree, I noticed that someone had lost his interest in riding any further for at least the next 30 minutes. Either that or my bike was in need of some extra attention.
This time, the flat was on the front tire, which made it a little easier to change, but still a nuisance. At 2pm it was actually a good thing, as I was in the shade and more or less relaxing. Changing a bike tire is not hard work. I took my time and enjoyed the time in the shade.
After the tire was taken care of, I decided to take a walk up to some of the restaurants and talk to the staff. I could possibly knock out an interview for BigTippers and get the skinny on the bet places to eat in the town.
I stopped by three different restaurants in town: Breaud’s, Bowies Tavern, and Fat Mama’s Tamales.
Breaud’s is a popular seafood and steak restaurant in the downtown area. Their current special was prime rib. I had a chance to talk to the waitresses in the bar and got some good stories from them for an interview I will put together for BigTippers. Breaud’s is a typical pub-type restaurants with dark wood siding and low lights.
The massive sandwich that one of the girls got as I was leaving made me think twice about doing the same. I had hit up the dollar menu at MCD’s before I went into town, so I was full.
Fat Mama’s Tamales
The last place I stopped is called Fat Mama’s Tamales. This region is famous for tamales and Fat Mama’s is the best place in Natchez to get ‘em. Fat Mama’s is also home to the “Knock You Naked Margarita”. Unfortunately, there weren’t any single women drinking these while I was there. Better luck next time.
Fat Mama’s is a popular place for locals and tourists. I ended up spending almost 2 hours here. I got to talking to Wayne Holland (“spelled like the country”) for a good two hours. Wayne filled my notepad with a ton of ideas for the outdoorsman coming to the Natchez area.
Wayne is a native of the area and grew up working the farm with his father. His story was quite inspiring.
Wayne was still in the process of recovering from a car accident that sidelined him for most of the past 3 years. Wayne is a paramedic and uses his back in his daily run-ins with patients.
“The job is a lot more difficult today. The average person weighs 200 pounds. That used to be some of the heaviest we saw. Now it’s almost every person.”
Aside from giving him a new appreciation for life, he told me the accident also helps him identify more with what the patient is going through.
After sorting out his back troubles and getting back in the game, Wayne has had more energy to focus on his family and the things that they enjoy doing together. Hunting is one of his biggest passions and getting in the fields, streams and lakes of Mississippi brings the family together.
According to Wayne, Larto Lake, which just over the Louisiana border is one of the top spots for Bass and catfish. “It’s the best spot in the area for white perch.”
Another area in Louisiana, close to Natchez with a good hunting club is Concordia, LA. Deer, Duck and stellar turkey hunting are all good game in their respective seasons.
Stocking the Bags
Wayne and shared some good stories and then I had to get back on the road. I wanted to hit up Wal-Mart for a few supplies and then ride the Natchez Trace at night. I grabbed some mosquito repellent and some extra goodies to snack on for the next couple of days because I wasn’t sure how accessible stores would be off of the Trace.
I headed onto the Trace around 8:30pm. This turned out to be one of the most spiritually powerful rides I have ever taken. I think I rolled in a boy and out a man. I am still working putting this in words. I hope to have something done by the end of the week.
to be continued…….