The next morning, I headed north on Old Tennessee 63, aka Royal Blue Road. Several miles up the road, it merges with Rt 63, the Howard Baker Highway. This was marked as another scenic route on my Rand McNally map so I knew the ride would be fun.
I took this to Elgin where I got onto Rt 52 and I continued northwest.
Rt 52 passes through Allardt, TN which has an annual great pumpkin festival and weigh-off.
In Jamestown I picked up Rt 127 North and rode that back into Kentucky, then southwest on Rt 111 to Livingston where I once again got on Rt 52 to the Dale Hollow Dam.
From there it was Rt 53 to Gainsboro, Rt 56 to Smithville, Rt 96 to Murfreesboro where I stopped for gas and a snack. I felt a bit of a letdown at this point. I was now out of the mountains with their cooler temperatures, twisty roads and scenic views. My last days of this trip would take me through the flat, hot and humid deep South. I continued on Rt 96 past Franklin on my way to Route 100. One of my goals for this trip was to ride the Natchez Trace Parkway its entire 444 mile length. Near the end of my ride on Rt 96, I passed under the Natchez Trace Parkway Bridge in Williamson County, Tennessee.
But instead of getting on the parkway here, I continued on Rt 96 to Route 100, jogged north on Rt 100 for about a mile or so, and I was at the entrance to the Natchez Trace Parkway. Natchez Trace is the famous “Natchez to Nashville” highway, an important wilderness road during the early 18th century. The parkway is a two-lane road with limited access. Construction was begun in the 1930s and the two final segments were completed in 2005.
There are numerous historical markers along the road and plenty of rest stops and parking areas. There are even two sections of the original trace, located at mile markers 375.8 and 401.4, that travelers may still drive over.
Meriwether Lewis, of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, was governor of the Upper Louisiana Territory when he mysteriously died on the Natchez Trace in 1809, at Grinder’s Stand in Tennessee. A monument was erected in his honor in 1848 and can be seen along the Natchez Trace Parkway today.
At the end of a great day of riding, I got off the Trace at Rt 64 and headed east to find a motel for the night in Lawrenceburg, TN.