Wonder what will pass by us next?

Published 12:02 am Wednesday, August 17, 2011

If I ever decide to travel the length of the Natchez Trace for the adventure of it, I think I’ll do so on a Segway.

And if I ever want to see the entire Mississippi River from Minnesota down, well, I’ll try a Jet Ski.

Both trips would be alongside a fully equipped, air conditioned, RV or steamboat, respectively, since I’m frankly not much of an adventurer.

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I certainly wouldn’t undertake either trip without a motor of some kind powering my way and a hot shower nearby.

Why not just ride in the RV or the steamboat, you ask? Well, that wouldn’t attract the attention of the local residents or newspaper.

These days, cross-country travel had better be either unique or physically draining to matter.

Just take a peek into the archives of The Democrat and you’ll see what I mean.

The last 10 years in Natchez have seen visitors come down the Trace or down the river by everything from Tom Sawyer’s raft to recumbent bicycle.

Just last week, our community welcomed four more short-term visitors.

Jackie Kelley, 72, arrived via the Natchez Trace on foot.

Bowman Hitchens, Max Zoghbi and Rob Treppendahl paddled into town in a trio of kayaks.

Kelley sought only to prove she could do it and promote a healthy lifestyle among older women.

The young men in kayaks were fundraising for non-profit organizations in Oxford and New Orleans.

Each cause was equally worthy, but neither would have convinced me to join them.

It’s common for someone from somewhere else to be passing by Natchez at almost anytime of year on almost any means of transportation.

Horses, a bicycle built for four, Harleys, a U-Haul, homemade boats and more have led dozens of adventurers right by our door.

Their causes run the gamut from silly to sublime.

Natchez is ideally placed for the thrill-seeker. We sit on the country’s biggest river and at the terminus of a scenic highway that crosses three states.

We also nearly bisect the El Camino Corridor, or U.S. 84, that extends from Georgia to Texas. And we have one of only a handful of bridges that cross the southern portion of the Mississippi River.

Despite the lack of a major interstate, Natchez certainly has its fair share of passersby.

And each time, someone in Natchez notices.

The more peculiar the mode of transportation, the more local residents will take note and jump in ready to provide food, lodging or money to the cause.

It’s a trend I doubt will ever cease, no matter how preoccupied we all become with our own lives.

Perhaps word that Natchez cares spread, years ago, through the adventurer community, explaining why so many folks come our way now.

Maybe it’s just our geography.

Either way, the next person headed our way better be creative about it.

We’ve just about seen it all now — except the Segway and Jet Ski.

Julie Cooper is the managing editor of The Natchez Democrat. She can be reached at 601-445-3551 or julie.cooper@natchezdemocrat.com.