I recently traveled South for work (and a Labor Day weekend of fun!), only to be greeted by the oh so familiar mugginess and stickiness of the South. Oh Mississippi! Though Arkansas can get humid at times, it’s got nothin’ on my home state of Mississippi. Despite my grumbling about the weather for the entire week, I saw some parts of the state I haven’t seen before. I do have to say, leaving one’s home state and then traveling back after sometime of being gone,makes it seem much nicer than while one lives there. I do say, I appreciate the year round greenness of those long leaf pines and live oaks!
Okay, enough with my thoughts on the state, let’s get down to the trip and some pictures! I started in North Mississippi, visiting Starkville and Oxford. I took a little pit stop in Tupelo to ride a few miles on the Natchez Trace (for sometime that has been on my ‘to do’ when I visit Mississippi, so I planned in an evening ride). This wonderful highway made for the perfect (but way to hot) after work bike ride. I headed out to the Trace to check out a bike trail I had read about on msn.com a few weeks back, only to find out when I got there it was gravel, and well, road bikes and gravel don’t mix well. The other thing I must add here is that I recently got a new pair of clips and petals, and this was my first ride with those. Needless to say, heading out on the Natchez Trace Highway wasn’t something I had planned on doing in those new clips (you never know when one’s going to accidentally fall!). But having driven all the way out there and lugged my bike in the back of my Outback, I just had to ride. So, I braved the traffic and headed out on the Trace. I had a great ride, full of Mississippi countryside and mosquito bites!
Midweek I head to the deep south and stayed with my grandmother in Dexter, MS. Dexter consists of a few family farms, a church, and a small school (which I did attend in the first grade), but not much of anything else. Dexter is internet and cell phone reception free, so it was actually a nice relaxing night. I did however wake up to what I thought was rain, but come to find out it was humidity in liquid form (see car picture below).
My week concluded in Hattiesburg, MS. I was happy to get back to my old town and very excited to run and bike some of my old routes. I got in a great long bike on the Longleaf trace, which is a rails to trails trail. I miss the days of riding with no traffic…. Anyway, I also got to do my long run in the neighborhood I lived in when I was in high school. I started before dawn and got to watch the sun rise on the lake as I made 3, yes 3, five-mile loops around it. It was a beautiful day and there was lots of water drinking and Gu eating involved as I just tried to stay a little bit hydrated!
Now comes come fun part of the journey South. I ended the week by picking up Brian from the airport and then heading to Columbia, MS, where we stayed the weekend with my childhood best friend. Lots of laughing. We ended in Columbia to surprise best friend number two on his birthday. The weekend was full of excursions around the area. On Saturday we kayaked (my first time, and I really enjoyed it) the Black River. Though my arms were killing me the next day, I enjoyed every (sunburned legs) minute of it. You would think I would be smart enough to put sunscreen on my legs, but no, I want to get a ‘tan’. Note to self: pale white girls don’t tan. On Sunday we headed out to Goss Lake to do some skiing and jet skiing. I had met my water quota for the week the day before, so I just enjoyed being outside in the piney woods of South Mississippi. The weather and company were great both Saturday and Sunday, which made for really enjoyable time with old and new friends! After spending some time on at the lake, B and I headed to my grandmother’s house again to sneak in one more night with her. Plus, when someone offers to cook us anything we want to eat (and I might add she’s a wonderful southern cook), you don’t turn that down. Along with the great company of Mimi, we enjoyed fried okra, hushpuppies, and homemade pecan pie (B requested those items and Mimi granted his wish!). After we were stuffed to the gills, we sat on the porch for a nice evening chat (just like you see in the movies about the South – only we weren’t sweating profusely), then a game of cards and after that we were off to the land of sweet dreams. The week ended with a grand send off from Mimi which consisted of lots of hugs and kisses, a bag of okra, a bag of bell peppers, the left overs from dinner, a bag of pecans, a jar of figs and mayhaw jelly. I don’t think we had any room for more in the car! But all I can say is Yum.
The South was good to me last week. It was nice to be back for a bit. However, my 55 degree mornings in Fayetteville were calling me back, so I needed to head back north. So we took a ‘short cut’ home on Monday, which actually did end up being a short cut (take highway 65 through the delta of LA and AR instead of I-59 if you’re coming from MS to AR) and made the trip home very nice! Enjoy the little slides how of the humid, but good, trip below!