Saturday, April 17th. The drive to Natchez from Bells, TN was long, but a nice drive down Highway 61 (the Blues Highway). Definitely one of my longer driving days, a little more than 9 hours to complete the entire drive, including a stop for lunch.
Surprise 1 – The churches! And I don’t mean just a church, but it felt like at least a dozen. I would be driving down the highway and all of a sudden there would be a church on the side of the road. No parking lot in sight, no sign of a pull-off, just a church sitting there. Well-maintained and not looking abandoned. So does everyone just park along the highway on Sundays? Very curious.
Surprise 2 – The sheer number and amount of abandoned buildings, equipment and vehicles along the route. It was just so sad. From grand houses to not so grand trailer homes, to farms to homes. Just such a sad statement about life and poverty in Mississippi.
Surprise 3 – This one I didn’t notice until I was almost at Natchez. All of sudden I saw a field full of beef cattle. It made me realize I had been seeing miles and acres of just seeded farm fields, but no livestock of any kind. Seeing some made me realize how little I was seeing before then. It is strange what you notice when you are driving along a quiet road.
Lunch was one of my planned stops in Clarksdale, Mississippi at the Ground Zero Blues Club. This was an interesting place, not what I anticipated at all! At the end of a quite street is this blues club. I think every square inch of the place had graffiti or signatures on it! Including the ceiling. I had a pulled pork sandwich with fries. Thankfully the fries were not cooked through (calories be-gone), but the sandwich was really, really good. Plus I met a gentleman who was planning on playing the harmonica that night, Jock Webb. He was very polite and I had a nice talk with him before hitting the road again. I wish I could have stayed to listen!
Natchez was a beautiful place to visit before going further south. I will have to talk more about it tomorrow.