Fort Smith AR to Tupelo MS

We planned to take the scenic drive through the Oachita mountains in Arkansas, then mosey on through Hot Springs, etc. over to Mississippi. But the morning’s rain dampened our enthusiasm for foggy mountain switchbacks. So we circled north around Little Rock and wound up in rice-growing country. Who knew. I’ve only seen rice paddies in Asia, where the fluorescent green is dotted by men, women and water buffalo doing whatever it is rice paddy workers do. Here is Arkansas, the fields were apparently self-sustaining — I guess some big equipment comes through and delivers the rice to the gigantic Riceland Rice processing plant we saw.

On to Mississippi, where the first business I saw was the Such-and-Such Gin. I thought we’d stumbled upon a gin distillery till I realized we were now in cotton country.

So why the heck are we in Mississippi on the way home from Arizona? Last night I saw a thick green line on the map called the Natchez Trace Parkway — a 19th century trade route turned historical road, run by the National Park Service. It runs through Tupelo on up to Nashville. Sounded cool.

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