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    Natchez Arts Day

    July 8, 2016

    (Note:  Misplaced blog post from July 7th.) 

     

    I awoke this morning just after 6 a.m. to watch the sunrise over the Mississippi.  No alarm clock required thanks to the camping phenomena.

    (Your body just naturally rises early in the morning when you're outside.)  

     

    I used baby wipes to clean myself up before heading out and back down Silver Street.  It offers some of the best views of the river.  I took even more photos of the Mississippi.

     

    I never tire of looking at the Great River:  never.  

     

     

    I sat on that bench up there and scribbled away in my journal.  

    Close to 7;30 a.m. I googled breakfast places in the area, trying to see what was open.  I found one on Franklin called the Natchez Coffee Company.  

     

    I went in and ordered a big breakfast:  eggs, bacon, grits, and a delicious yeast toast.  I asked the waitress why the road along the river was called Broadway Street while the road adjacent to Broadway was called Canal Street.  

     

    If you look at a map, Canal does lead to the bridge connecting Vidalia (Louisiana) to Natchez.  Perhaps that's why?    

     

    A mystery waiting to be solved?

     

    Following my meal, I walked over to the library to blog.  

     

    I love how everything downtown is so close and walkable.  

     

    On my way, I took a different path and ended up in a town square with a canon (from Santiago, Cuba), a quaint fountain, and a melancholy Confederate Monument.  

     

    The library had just opened, so I had no trouble reserving time on the computer.  I submitted another blog post and researched places to stay in Vicksburg.  I found a place for $60 a night, and booked it for two nights. Looking forward to a real shower.  Baby wipes are fine, but they are not exactly what I would call a deep clean.  

     

    I should probably show you a picture of the tent where I stayed before moving on to how I spent my last day in Natchez.  

     

    Here's what that looked like: 

     

     

    Following the library, I walked around downtown a bit because I could not take the bike to get serviced until 1:30 p.m. when the parts would be in at the shop.  

     

    I ran into a not-for-profit local art gallery and purchased some cards to mail to friends and family.  I ended up speaking with one of the artists there for quite some time.  He originally hailed from Bay St. Louis.  Although he loved Natchez, he missed his hometown.  We talked local art in the area.                          

                                                  My favorite work was by Joseph Johnson.  His primary style is pointillism.  

     

    He was a former high school art teacher.  I absolutely admired and ultimately became enamored with his work.  

     

    I took one of his cards, so I can later find him and purchase some of his work.  

     

    Rather than take pictures of his art, I took a photo of his exhibition

    poster.   

     

    He's being

    featured as part of the city's 

    tricentennial next month.  

    When I left the Arts Natchez Gallery on Main Street, it was about the time to take the motorcycle back to the shop.  

     

    I arrived right on time.  

     

    Unfortunately, mechanic man, Kenny, had a family emergency, and I had to wait a bit longer than I had anticipated,  Honestly, it didn't really matter. It was so hot outside that it was nice to sit in air-conditioning.  

     

    I ended up talking to Woody for quite some time and was able to try his wife's seasoned peanut recipe (brought by her from the Philippines).  I suggested marketing them to the local brewery and/or at the local farmer's market.  

     

    Later, I filled out those cards that I had purchased earlier that morning. 

     

    The bike was ready to go, and I spoke to Kenny for a little bit about what should be done next to the bike, how to properly lube the chain, and how often to air the tires.  Riding-wise he encouraged me to consider the Tail of the Dragon through the Great Smoky Mountains.  

     

    There's a strong chance, I am going to take him up on that suggestion on my journey back around. 

    Good as new, I rode my bike back downtown to eat a late lunch.  I ended up at a placed called Biscuits and Blues and ran into a photographer who was their with a local historian.  

     

    The photographer, Roy Lewis, had his work featured at the Natchez Museum of African American History and Culture.  

     

     

    You may not believe this, but not only did I get a personal tour from the photographer of his exhibit Everywhere, the local historian, David Dreyer, also gave me a personal tour of the museum -- despite it being closed!

     

    Talk about a fortuitous situation!

     

    The two happened to be eating lunch at the same place.  They were on their way out, and I overheard a conversation they were having.  I was basically trying to figure out if the artist was Mr. Lewis or Mr. Johnson. Hence, the impromptu tour.  

     

    Lewis had images spanning several decades -- images featuring Malcolm X, Muhammad Ali, Dr. King, Jr., Reverend Jackson, Gwendolyn Brooks, and the list goes on and on... 

     

    Later, Mr. Lewis departed, and Mr. Dreyer gave me a tour of the museum.

     

    Afterwards, he and I returned to the restaurant.  (I had ordered the meal, but never finished it -- I wanted to take the tour instead!)  

     

    Dreyer offered more ideas of places to visit along my Mississippi run.  

     

    He headed back home while I stopped at the Cotton Alley Cafe for dessert. 

    While there, I had an orange cake with a cup of tea.

     

    It was nearly 7 p.m. 

    I took the last few hours of daylight to take more pictures of the Mississippi sunset and the city.  

     

     

     

    The picture on the left details the huge barrier wall which helps protect Natchez from floods.  The wall is much larger than pictured obviously.  

     

    If you look in the background on the left, you will see homes.  Those homes stretch alongside the wall. Folks who live there have an amazing view of the river.  

     

    You may even see a tiny black fence in this photo.  

     

    It serves as further protection for residents and tourists.  No one wants to plummet to their death -- I'm sure --- down the wall.  

     

    Right next to the fence is a sidewalk where anyone can take a leisurely stroll to see views of the massive wall, the Great River, and the architecturally beautiful homes.  

    Following my final tour of Natchez, I walked back to my tent to prepare for some much needed rest.  

     

    Tomorrow:  Vicksburg

    Until we meet again, my friend.  

     

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