Father, son spending holiday taking trek on Natchez Trace - WSMV Channel 4

Father, son spending holiday taking 650-mile trek on Natchez Trace

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NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -

A local father and son are celebrating the Fourth of July in an unusual way by taking a 650-mile bike ride.

They took off on the Natchez Trace on Thursday to spend the next 11 days retracing the steps of their ancestors.

"Back in 1780, Col. John Donelson, who's one of our ancestors, came to Nashville by riverboat and brought some of the earliest settlers here to a place called the Big Salt Lick, which is now the city of Nashville," Andrew Dunn said.

As the nation celebrates its 238th birthday, the father and son team will be pedaling their way down the Natchez Trace all the way to New Orleans.

It's a trip meant to give them a glimpse of what the state's earliest settlers saw some 230 years ago.

"For us, for my son and I, this is kind of like following in the footsteps of our ancestors. We're trying to retrace some of the history that they experienced when they would travel by the Trace," Andrew Dunn said.

They're hoping to cover between 60 and 70 miles a day. It's no small feat when you factor in the 40 pounds of gear they'll be hauling.

Friends of Andrew's son, Edward, thought he was crazy.

"I told them it was 650 miles and 11 consecutive days on the bike, and they were like, 'What? Are you serious?'" Edward said.

There's even a little scandal mixed in. This is the route Andrew Jackson, the nation's seventh president, took when he proposed to Rachel Donelson.

"She was married to another man in Nashville, a man by the name of Lewis Robards, who was trying to reconcile with her. Because she was trying to hide from her estranged husband, she fled to Natchez, MS," Andrew Dunn said.

Beyond all the history, Andrew Dunn says the trip is also about making new memories.

"This is going to be an opportunity for us to kind of get caught up in our relationship and spend some time really getting plugged in together. My son is 17 years old. He's going to be going off to college next year. This may be one of the last times we have a chance to spend a week together and really talk," he said.

Copyright 2014 WSMV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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