July 24, 2016
Today we went to Arkansas Post National Memorial. This fort’s history was quite long in comparison to several others we have seen (180 years). It was first established by the French in 1686 and remained under their jurisdiction for over 70 years. In 1763, France turned over the fort and most of what is central United States, to the Spanish, after the French and Indian War).
The actual fort was moved up and down the river several times during its history. It was purchased from Spain in 1800. Then it became part of the Confederate states for two years, until captured by Union forces in 1863. The town never recovered from the Civil War damage, plus, once railroads came to the area, river traffic declined.
We found a great campground right on the Arkansas River and could not believe there was one waterfront site available. We had such a great view. One of my most enjoyable sites was the abundance of pale yellow lotus blossoms emerging from the lily pads in the quiet waters adjacent to the river.
July 25, 2016
After Roger transmitted again this morning, we drove south to Louisiana. Along the way I noticed yet another form of irrigation. Instead of PVC pipes, the farmers use flexible plastic tubing along the edges of the fields. Wholes in the plastic allow water to exit into the ridges plowed between the rows of crops in the fields. This must be effective, as the crops are all green and healthy. I just wonder how long the soft plastic will survive before it cracks and has to be replaced,
Next we drove to Poverty Point, a state historic site that also has a Federal designation. It is the oldest city in North America, meaning that it was occupied continuously for 700 years. The park brochure states that a “rich culture flourished 12 centuries before Christ”. It was a major trade center where people came to buy and sell their goods.
The city, itself, was designed in a “C” shape with six rows of concentric raised ridges. It is believed that the ditches in between the ridges were filled with water to form a protection from “bad spirits”. Artifacts found at the site, dates the people to 1700 BC. The site was named in the 1700s by a man who owned the property at that time. He had two plantations, one near the river, which was very productive and this site, which was not. As a result, he dubbed it “Poverty Point”.
We drove on to Vicksburg, Mississippi, where Roger had found an RV park run by the casino a block away. The office was closed, but a sign on the door said to pick a site and pay in the morning.
July 26, 2016
When Roger went to the rv office this morning, the attendant did not charge us. He told Roger not to worry about it. Roger figures they make there money from the casino, so the rv park is not a major concern.
Roger found a parking area at the National Military Park that was on a hill and transmitted from there. I was looking out the window at the lovely grounds and saw another first for me. One of the small shrubs looked “alive” with movement. When I got out my binoculars, I saw a “flock” of small orange butterflies moving back and forth among the branches. It was a strangely beautiful site and made me feel as though the butterflies were “dancing with joy”.
They have a wonderful Tour Road that allows people to drive around and see the actual location where specific infantry divisions took part in the famous Civil War battle. There are monument to the many battalions, acknowledging their participation in the conflict, both Union and Confederate. Each one is individual, with different designs and types of stone. There are also busts of important leaders in the battle. The cemetery contains over 17,000 Union Soldiers (with the Confederate soldiers, being interned in another cemetery called Cedar Hill.)
After leaving the battlefield site, we stopped at the visitor’s center in Clinton, Mississippi to get brochures for Natchez Trace Parkway and the Natchez Trace Trail, so Roger could see where they intersect. I was very happy to have an unexpected surprise at the visitor’s center. They had a tiny “library” outside the building. I have started to notice them in many towns along our route. They are usually wooden boxes built on a stand with a windowed door that lets you see two rows of books. You can take as many as you want, so long as you replace them with books you are finished reading. Since I had read all of the 20 books I took with me, I was very happy to exchange the old ones for some of these.
We found a great spot for Roger to transmit. It overlooked the Ross R. Barnett Reservoir, just north of Jackson, Mississippi. The lake is 10 miles long, north to south and almost 5 miles wide. It was such a peaceful place, with a great view. People were coming and going the whole time we were there.
July 27, 2016
This morning we spent several hours at the Camping World, where we purchased our Thor Axis RV. Roger had to wait for the service manager to finish with a meeting. Once they spoke and Roger explained the problem we had with a leak in the propane valve, he was very helpful. He personally tried to fill the tank and saw the obvious leak. Then he referred Roger to one of his employees, (named Drew) who handled the warranty paperwork.
Roger wanted to wait and see what the Thor company would reply, before leaving town. So we found the local Moose Lodge and met one of the members who was inside. He told us there would be a cook available about 5 pm. We ate a steak dinner and met several more Moose members, all of whom were very courteous to us. We ended up staying to play bingo, which we haven’t done for years. They had a good crowd of over 40 people. Though we didn’t win, we enjoyed watching those that did. I was surprised that they gave away $40 to each of the ten winners.
July 28, 2016
Roger was able to confirm that Thor approved replacement of our propane tank. But it would need to be ordered and still take a week or more to arrive. I did not want to wait that long to get home, so Roger headed to Natchez Mississippi, driving down the Natchez Trace Highway.
This is a two-lane road that is 444 miles long and travels through Mississippi, Alabama and Tennessee from Natchez Mississippi to a point just south of Nashville, Tennessee. It has been used by American travelers since the late 1700s and was actually designated as the official postal route in 1801 by President Thomas Jefferson.
The route is a very pretty “greenway” where there are no businesses or advertisements. Commercial vehicles are not allowed to use this road and Roger noted that the road is in such good condition because those big rigs can’t use it. The route has such peacefulness about its atmosphere, with its creeks, hiking trails and picnic areas. We even saw 5 large wild turkeys beside the highway that scurried away into the trees as we drove by. The National Park Service brochure has a map with mile marker numbers that explains each location all along the route.
When we reached Natchez, it took awhile to locate the actual National Park location. It was not advertised very well so Roger had to compare the different maps on various internet website to find it. But once we located it we were very pleased. Roger described it as “a beautiful spot”, (which made quite an impression on me, as Roger hardly ever makes such an expression). It had a large parking lot overlooking the Mississippi River, near downtown Natchez. There was a decorative fence and nice landscaping, adding to the serenity created by the flowing river and the slow barge traffic that casually drifts by.
July 29, 2016
Roger activated the Natchez Trace Parkway again this morning, then we drove down to New Orleans. We made good time until a few miles outside the city, where an accident on the interstate stopped the traffic completely. We were fortunate to be able to get off at an exit and went down to the road that travels along the levy next to the Mississippi River. But it took a couple of hours,since we could only drive about 35 mph through all the little towns along the way.
Tricia and her cousin had arrived in New Orleans earlier in the day. We had planned to meet them, but they were on a bike tour when we got in. So we walked up the French market area and sampled pralines along the way. We had hoped to eat at the General Grocery, but it closed 10 minutes before we arrived. Since we had been dreaming about eating a muffalatta sandwich for miles and miles, we found a small restaurant named Frank’s and ate them there. But they were not nearly as good as those at the General store.
We decided to drive over to Chalmette Battlefield so Roger could transmit there tonight. Afterwards, we found an rv park in one of the suburbs and set the alarm for 7am tomorrow. Roger had one more site to activate and we needed to get in town early to get a parking spot.
July 30, 2016
Yesterday we had walked by the National Historic Jazz Park and found out they had been relocated in the Old Mint building, while renovations were being done on the other site. So we drove straight to the Mint and got a parking space right next to the building. While Roger was transmitting, Tricia found us and we walked to Café Du Monde and ordered benets for breakfast. They surely are “mm mm good”! So light and fluffy and sweet!
Tricia’s cousin, Lauren and her husband, Scott and Tricia’s friend, AJ arrived after we finished eating. We stayed awhile to visit with them, but declined joining them on their mansion tour. We had done mansion tours in Natchez with Lauren’s parents several years ago and I really wanted to get home. So we said good bye and wished them a fun time for the remainder of the weekend.
Roger called a John Guthans on the phone. He and his wife, Judy are both ham radio operators who have been contacting Roger on the radio all along our trip route. He was glad that they were available to meet and suggested the Cracker Barrel in Slidell. Judy said it was so good to “put a face to name” when we met. We talked for almost an hour.
It is interesting and rare to find a couple who are both ham radio operators. They both have separate radio setups, which is probably why they enjoy it so much. Another interesting thing we discovered about the couple is that they are both musicians. John was an assistant band director and can play most any instrument. Judy plays the piano and clarinet and has taught for years. They are both retired now and Judy is trying to get John to travel more, which was another reason she was so happy to meet and talk to us.
From Slidell, we drove to Long Beach Mississippi, taking the beach route, which is so pretty. It is so good to see that area is recovering and there is some new construction. Our favorite restaurant, Harbourview Café, was surprisingly busy even at mid-afternoon. We ordered our typical shrimp po boy sandwiches, but decided to get to go boxes right away. Then we cut our sandwiches in half, to eat the other side for dinner after we get home, later.
After getting back on the road again, I remembered that Mississippi had a section of Gulf Island National Seashore (just like our Pensacola Beach). So I asked Roger if he wanted to stop there and transmit one more time. He was glad I had suggested it. I don’t remember ever going there before. But Roger thinks we have been once a long time ago. I was surprised they had a campground. We drove through just to see what the sites were like. The park is very well maintained. But they are none on the water, so we may not use it, unless Roger happens to get back into fishing sometime.
After transmitting for awhile in one of there parking lots, we got back on the highway and finished our long but very enjoyable journey. It was almost 7 pm when we arrived home. It is good to be back. Unlike full timers, I love having a home base to return to. Even with all the work that is ahead, cleaning the RV and repairs to the house from a termite infestation in May, it is great to be home!