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Driving Through Two Centuries of Mississippi

Forget what you thought of Mississippi. It's got some really interesting spots in it, and we found two of them today. First stop was the very large, high-tech, and impressive new Nissan assembly plant in Canton. Only opened to tours last month, this place is absolutely monstrous -- and well worth the visit.

Nissan plant 1.jpg

We parked right in front. (The nice thing about visiting auto plants with the trailer is that they always have plenty of parking!) I tried to take a photo of the trailer and the factory, but this place is so huge you need an airplane to see it all at once. You can see the north end of the factory building in the picture above ...

Nissan plant 2.jpg

... and the south end of the building off in the horizon in the second picture. Believe it or not, that is all one giant building.

Of course the Tour trailer got a bit of attention too. While I was on the factory tour, somebody from the plant came out with a notebook and wrote down our URL. (Whoever you are, welcome!)

As with other auto tours, there's no photography allowed inside, so you're going to have to take my word for it that this is one awesome tour for anyone who likes to see stuff built, or who likes cars. Hundreds of industrial robots, sparks flying, giant metal presses five stories tall, and eventually 2,500 individual parts assembled into an American-made Nissan Armada or Titan. I got a nice feeling about our Armada, having seen how carefully it was built, and I got a good look at the innards (chassis, engine, transmission), too. I only wish I could have been there when ours was built!

The price is right: $free. But the tour is booked solid into September, so if you want to check it out, reserve early. And stop in on downtown Canton, just a couple of miles north of the plant on Rt 51. They've got an interesting downtown square with great historic architecture.

After a three-mile tram ride through the factory and two videos, I rejoined Eleanor and Emma back in the trailer where they were doing some homeschooling. I caught up on some work, and then we picked up the Natchez Trace Parkway just south of Canton and spent the afternoon slowly meandering down this very scenic road through 200 years of American history.

The Trace is limited to non-commercial vehicles, and the speed limit is generally 50 MPH, and it doesn't really go anywhere in particular. So for the most part it is quiet and uncrowded, with gentle bends and plenty of historic pull-outs. We stopped about six times, taking one hike, and learning quite a bit about the history of this ancient trail from the interpretive signs. In about four hours we covered only 90 miles but it was some of the most pleasant driving we've done since we were on Route 1 in California. Even Emma liked it.

Our stop tonight is the Natchez Trace State Park, along the southernmost ten miles of the parkway. There's a lot more north of our entry point at Canton, but we won't get to drive it on this trip. We are going to exit at Natchez tomorrow morning. We have some extra time to explore as we head west this week, so our plan is to head into Louisiana and just let things find us.


If you enjoyed the small portion of the Trace that you just covered, then you will enjoy the upper portion also. We just finished touring the entire length of it and really was amazed at the history that one can learn. Also it is a good idea to check out the Civil War sites nearby. We enjoyed touring Vicksburg and other sites along the way too. It is a real history lesson. Took us over two weeks to do the entire Trace.

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