Saturday dawned mild but not spectacular. We didn’t mind, since we were leaving the sea this day and it made it slightly easier to leave it behind. We loaded the car with the last of our belongings and began plotting our course towards Natchez, Mississippi. We were both very melancholy. I’ve always said that there’s a little gap in my heart and it gets filled in when I’m in Santa Barbara. I now know, after this extended stay on the coasts of Florida, that I really love being by any sea.
Meanwhile, Rebbe was just saying, “What? Another day in the freaking car!?!?!?!”
Although we try to avoid long driving days, we had decided to aim to get all the way to Natchez so that we could maximize our time there and along the Trace. I think we would agree that this was actually one of our least tiring driving days, because, as we went along the weather improved and we mainly had a glorious, sunny day along some really pretty roads.
Our plan was to take a slightly less direct route because it kept us on larger roads for longer. One thing we’ve found on this leg is that Rebbe really hates it when we are on the minor roads where we have to adjust speed all the time as we go through towns. In addition, detouring through Baton Rouge would afford us a stop at a Costco.
We spent an early part of the drive on I-10, which was pretty but a bit repetitive. Before long, we crossed our first state border of the day, from Florida into Alabama, but we didn’t stay in that state long enough for me claim it as a new state I think, especially since we didn’t stop or get out of the car. We did stop when we crossed into Mississippi for the first time. There are usually welcome centers shortly after crossing state borders and some are more interesting than others. We mainly stopped at the Mississippi Welcome Center so we could have a potty break and eat our sandwiches. This particular rest area had some lovely picnic areas, which was the first plus.
The second plus was the lavishly decorated visitor center. There were about four rooms all decorated like parlors. It was quite lovely.
The staff were very welcoming. The giveaway here was coffee, not as yummy as the orange juice at the welcome center in Florida. However, it was a very welcoming welcome center.
After a satisfying lunch, we continued on our way, crossing over for a while into Louisiana, partly because our destination in the northeast part of the state (I think). We detoured to Baton Rouge to make use of the Costco. Once done with that errand (and their good gas prices), we drove on and crossed back into Mississippi and wended our way along U.S. Route 61 toward our destination. The weather was still delightful and we appreciated that it stayed light until we reached our hotel in Natchez. We picked up some tasty Thai food (our first experience of how kind and friendly people are in the food establishments here) and settled in for the night. We were all pretty tired even though we’d had a relatively easy day of driving. Angie and I were looking forward to our scheduled day exploring the town and surrounding areas on Sunday.
Famous last words.