On Wednesday evening, a motley SATW (Society of American Travel Writers) crew of 6 left New Orleans Harley-Davidson with their Harley motorcycle rentals, pointing our fenders north to Natchez, Mississippi where our two-wheeled adventure began. Our mission: ride 300 of the 444-mile Natchez Trace Parkway, a National Scenic Byway and All-American Road, scooting along the Mississippi landmarks on the Trace.
By day, our bikes rolled amongst 10,000 years of history, where the buffalo once roamed, and rode the Natchez Trace, once used by the Native American Indians, settlers and future presidents. Maple, hickory, oak and other hardwood trees lined the parkway, and during our visit, deer and wild turkeys wandered the edge of the greenway. We took advantage of many pullouts on the Parkway, including the Emerald Mound, the second largest temple mound in the U.S.
At the end of each day, we parked our bikes and explored the charm of the towns nearby: the mighty Mississippi River, sprawling plantations and historic Eola Hotel in Natchez; a stay at the former YWCA, now the Old Capitol Inn in downtown Jackson; and a visit to Elvis Presley’s birthplace, Tupelo, where we were “all shook up” by the southern hospitality of the King’s hometown.
Everything we needed we’d packed on our bikes, using every crook and cranny of saddlebags, and even bungee-cording bags onto the bikes. The first night we took out our rain gear, hunkering down for a wet ride to Natchez in the dark. We safely racked up more than 850 miles each on 5 Harleys in 4 days, earning ourselves the unofficial title: the Wild Hogs of SATW.