Day trip to Merriweather Lewis Gravesite

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Kilometers2
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Day trip to Merriweather Lewis Gravesite

Post by Kilometers2 » Wed May 24, 2023 8:03 am

Last Sunday I rode over to the Merriweather Lewis gravesite & monument located on the Natchez Trace Parkway by Hohenwald, Tennessee.
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The monument selected at the time used a broken column to symbolize a life cut short. This was common in the 1800s but I was not aware of this practice till my first visit here years ago.


The National Park Service has a very clean primitive campground there as well with several paved pull thru RV spots for those that boondock as there are no hookups. The campground has water avaliable at centralized spots for filling containers and there is a real bathroom with flush toilets.
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There is a small cabin used as a visitors center and tiny museum. This was the first of several trips there that it was open.
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Merriweather Lewis died at the inn in existence at this site in 1809. Only stone foundation buried in the ground remain. He is buried about 200 yards from where the inn stood. Merriweather was shot twice in his room at the inn; there were no witnesses. It was rumored that he committed suicide but others felt he was murdered. He was under a great deal of financial stress three years after the completion of the Lewis and Clark expedition and was traveling to Washington D.C when he died. He had tried to commit suicide earlier on this trip but was stopped. You can read more here:

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meriwether_Lewis

I used my newish Garmin Zumo XT on the cuvy road settings and should have compared it to the Google Maps route as I so often caution my kids. Its a relatively easy 100 miles from my home to the gravesite taking rural roads the whole way. For some reason, the Zumo took me through the middle of Lawrenceburg, TN rather than around it. This added additional travel time but it was a perfect day for riding. I maintained 55-65 mph for most of the trip and averaged just under 36 mpg over rural and gently rolling hills over 225 miles. I had been to the gravesite before and previously driven 95% of the Natchez Trace Parkway and was only out for the day. I did drive about 10 miles of the Parkway, going south, before exiting to head home.
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Robert Whitten
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Re: Day trip to Merriweather Lewis Gravesite

Post by Robert Whitten » Wed May 24, 2023 9:52 am

I ride up there occasionally. Camped there several times. I live 8mi off the Trace. 40 mile down from Merriweather.
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Snakeoil
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Re: Day trip to Merriweather Lewis Gravesite

Post by Snakeoil » Wed May 24, 2023 11:13 am

Hard to imagine shooting yourself TWICE in a suicide attempt. But then again, folks were a lot tougher back then.
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Re: Day trip to Merriweather Lewis Gravesite

Post by robp » Wed May 24, 2023 11:32 am

Zumo Tip:

I always check the Zumo route vs Google maps, and if necessary, use the Zumo Trip Planner feature to plot the same waypoints as Google in order to duplicate the route. For longer, more detailed routes where I want a very specific route I use the online rever.co app to plot a route, then it's a simple matter to generate and transfer the GPX file to the Zumo.

That being said, I just completed a round trip between TX >> TN on a two-wheel bike and found the Zumo to be invaluable.

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Kilometers2
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Re: Day trip to Merriweather Lewis Gravesite

Post by Kilometers2 » Fri May 26, 2023 7:21 am

Robert, it is a beautiful area. I am going to dobabither ride from home, up to the northern end and then south, stopping by to camp there for a night

Rob (Snakeoil)....that's always been my thought too....I mean to shoot yourself twice, with a flintlock! I guess it could happen but ime would have to be awfully determined. Some of the reports of his death are quite sensationalized.....from having half of his head shot away, yet living for several hours, not dying fast enough so allegedly taking his razor, presumably a straight razor, and cutting himself from head to toe in an attempt to die faster. That would put Merriweather Lewis right in the middle of Ripley's Believe it Or Not.

Robp, thanks for the Zumo tip!! I am going to have to try that. I want to get a second mount for my 2 wheeler and plan to taje a few more trips on both bikes. I bought the Zumo XT after a 4 day trip last year on the Ural, with a cheap phone holder, cracked my phone, destroyed the back of it actually from vibrations.
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Re: Day trip to Merriweather Lewis Gravesite

Post by stagewex » Fri May 26, 2023 7:47 am

Nice report and certainly a pretty area. Thanks for taking us along.
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Re: Day trip to Merriweather Lewis Gravesite

Post by Robert Whitten » Fri May 26, 2023 8:13 am

Kilometers2, a good place for a lunch stop is French Camp a ways below Tupelo. Huge sandwiches sold by 1/2 or whole. It's a home for troubled teen girls.
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Re: Day trip to Merriweather Lewis Gravesite

Post by sagerat » Sun May 28, 2023 9:44 am

As a Corps of Discovery buff, I really appreciated your report and pics. Thanks.

Reminds I need to ride the Ural to Fort Clatsop this summer.
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Re: Day trip to Merriweather Lewis Gravesite

Post by mtrdrms » Mon Jun 19, 2023 1:57 pm

Just read about Merriweather Lewis. I had no idea. Thanks!
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