by Jake Lynch
he moment I remember above all others during my ride up and down southern Mississippi's 41-mile Longleaf Trace: sitting in Ward's Restaurant at Bassfield, having a chili burger and a frosty glass of root beer. It was my first time in Mississippi, and I knew not a soul, so I was surprised when a local fellow approached me and said, "I'm guessing you're that gentleman from Rails-to-Trails, right? My name is John Kerley, and I heard you might be looking for somewhere to camp for the night. I've got plenty of room out at my place—you'd be very welcome there."
Turns out the trail manager, Herlon Pierce, had
phoned some of his buddies to keep an eye out for me. And the towns along the trail are small enough that I probably wasn't hard to find. In diners and at rest stops during the next two days, I had similar conversations—warm, welcoming, curious talk that reminded me of the country towns around where I grew up in Australia.
Read Jake Lynch's article, including extended Travel Facts, as it appeared in the print magazine:
Destination: Mississippi (PDF/620KB)