By JB Clark/NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – Almost 250 miles into a two-week bike ride, 10 Boy Scouts pulled into Tupelo by way of the Natchez Trace Parkway on Friday night.
The members of Boy Scout Troop No. 71 and their support team are taking on all 444 miles of the Trace, from Natchez to Nashville, and knocking out a service project along the way.
The group from Perryville, Ky., a small town outside of Danville, cleaned the scenic trail near the Trace’s Visitors Center in Tupelo on Saturday before hitting the road again.
Rick McQuerry, Chase Murphy’s father, said he got the idea for the trip when visiting his mother-in-law, Carol Gehl in Wren.
“Me and Davey (Underwood) ride back and forth to youth group and were talking about what to do this summer,” McQuerry said. “I told Davey it would be a pretty cool thing and he pushed it from there because I didn’t think it would be a whole troop event since it’s a big undertaking.”
The troop has completed hundred-mile rafting trips and a 90-mile hike in previous summers.
The group started out in Natchez on Monday and plans to be finished at the end of this week, averaging close to 50 miles a day.
Scoutmaster Jim Overstreet, father of Brendan and Galen Overstreet, said they have been impressed with the Trace.
“The Trace is a beautiful park and everyone has been incredibly nice,” he said.
One of the Scouts, Charlie Westerfield, whose father Garry is also on the trip, had a car pass closer than he would have preferred along the way, but McQuerry said for the most part, everyone has been courteous and hospitable.
Stephanie Weber, mother of Brett Weber, and her daughter, Loren, are driving the support van with tents, food and other supplies.
They meet the group for lunch at a predetermined location to bring food and refill water bottles.
At the end of the day they pick up the chaperones and shuttle them to the previous night’s camp to pick up the other vehicles.
Weber said she has almost put 1,900 miles on her van so far.
The trip has gone smoothly, with only three flat tires and one rain delay.
Galen Overstreet said the headwinds before Friday’s rain were the toughest part of the trip, but the rest of the troop argued the heat on the first few days was brutal.
Other Scouts on the trip are Cam Wiliams, Morgan Estil, Tyler Montgomery and Konnor Hill.