Weekend Wheeling: Jackson, Mississippi

Southern Comfort
  |  Gorp.com
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I remember it clearly. I had been up half the night packing for a weekend of—what else?—mountain biking and camping. I walked into my office Friday morning, sat at my desk, and sipped coffee, trying to stay awake.

I was in the middle of a daydream when the phone rang. "Jones," my boss barked, "there's a problem in Jackson with the conflagration sorter and you're gonna have to leave right away."

Jackson, Mississippi. Great. That's got to be about as far away from a mountain biker's idea of an ideal weekend as you can get, I thought. My boss is a nice enough guy, so he said, "Sorry about screwing up your weekend plans like this, but it can't be helped. You're the man."

"Okay," I said. "I can be down there by early afternoon."

On the drive down to Jackson, I watched the mountains of East Tennessee give way to the rolling hills east of the Mississippi River. I took the scenic route (US 64) west and picked up the Natchez Trace Parkway just north of Alabama and sliced my way southwest into Mississippi. By the time I arrived in the Magnolia State's capital, I had seen several groups of bikers on tour—complete with BOB trailers and panniers—making their way northeast on what is essentially a 400-mile-long linear national park.

As I got off the Trace, which I had to do, and headed for the address where the malfunctioning machine was located, I happened to see a bike shop called the Bike Rack and pulled into the parking lot. I saw a guy behind the counter tuning up a mountain bike and asked, "Where do people ride their mountain bikes around here?"

"There are two places nearby where you can squeeze a quick ride in during the week: Forest Hill Park and Little Colorado. But if you don't mind driving a little, there's a really fine trail called Clear Springs."

I got directions to the trails and thanked him. I arrived where I needed to fix the machine and was able to get it back on line pretty quick, but I knew I was going to have to stick around to make sure the problem was repaired. I left word at the front desk that I would be back later.

Published: 29 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 15 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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