Sixty miles walked. Four days. Two of them on the tail end of Winter Storm Titan. Other than a nagging blister on my sore left pinky toe, I’m trudging through the abuse.

I owe huge thanks to two tough Southern ladies.

Miss Ethel, owner of Hope Farm in Natchez, got our trip off to a roaring start. She and Dad dueled for best storyteller, and she roundly defeated Dad. Her best story?

“Every year, I put Hope Farm on the Pilgrimage. I don’t know HOW many people traipse through this house, but I’m out there. On the front porch. Greeting everyone in my hoop skirt. My Yankee children stopped coming during the Pilgrimage, because I made them all dress up like Southerners. Imagine. Me out there on the porch, and up came a thunder storm. You know those hoops are made of metal? One of my Yankee children told me I needed to come inside to keep from being struck by lightning. And, I said WHAT A WAY TO GO!”

hope farm, natchez mississippi

Miss Ethel took great care of us at Hope Farm. She didn’t ask me to plug her place, but if you’re ever in Natchez, don’t stay anywhere else. It’s wonderful, and Miss Ethel is, too.

Alice Guess leaves me tomorrow. I couldn’t have asked for a better wingman for my first week. She’s listened to Roy talk-and-talk-and-talk. She has gotten me all manner of medicine. And food. She has tirelessly shared my book with the masses. Somehow, she even found time to tour some of the architectural wonders of Southern Mississippi. But most importantly, she never left me stranded on the side of the road.

(And I’m really worried about that. Thursday and Friday, it will be Roy’s job to drop me off and pick me up. Should I be worried that he’s more concerned about dropping cards off at the gas station than he is about picking me up on time?)

I am lucky to know such awesome women. Thanks to both of you for making my first week tolerable. No, not tolerable.


Click here to see the best photos from Day Four of my Natchez Trace 444-mile walk: Andra Watkins Tumblr

Come to Charleston, all on me. Enter the To Live Forever Journey to Charleston Contest. Tweet, Facebook, type and review your way to Charleston, South Carolina. Click here to find out more: Support My Aching Feet.

Read the book that sent me treading the Road to Nowhere. To Live Forever: An Afterlife Journey of Meriwether Lewis is available in paperback and e-book formats at these great places: Click to Purchase To Live Forever.

Today’s reader question is an award to someone for stopping to talk to me along a very cold section of the Trace.


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