Friday, March 25, 2011

Day 59 and 60 of our trip to FL and SE

On the Road Again Thursday March 25. We know the temperature will be below freezing when we get home so we drained the plumbing. We winterized which means putting RV antifreeze in the water system so our pipes won't freeze.

First stop on the Natchez Trace at Chickasaw Village site.

Indians built the frame of their winter house of logs covered with oak or
hickory splints, 6 inches of clay and a thick thatch of long grass.

We visited graves of 13 unknown Confederate soldiers.

Stopped at Dogwood Valley, some trees thought to be 100 years old.

A natural cave probably used by the Indians.

So many beautiful redbud trees blooming along the roadway. The picture doesn't do it justice.

Nature is amazing, how this branch grew in a curve!

Hiking down the path to a clear clear creek.

It looks like a crust on top of this slight hill, but is the top soil with grass and a few trees growing on it. Top soil is loess, clay looking but very fine, doesn't hold together. A lot of erosion in this area.

We stopped at Napier Mine where they mined iron in the 1800's.

The grave of Meriwether Lewis. A broken column to signify that his life ended too early...age of 35.

100 others are buried there. One family is the Tait family. Our son-in-law's first name is Tait, so found this interesting.

Farmers in this area grew tobacco. It took them 250 hours of labor per acre to bring tobacco from seed to harvest. An acre of wheat 3 hours of work. Tobacco is very labor-intensive.

Gordon House built in 1818, one of the first brick homes in the area. The family ran a ferry across Duck River.

We are traveling through more hill country. Also trees are not as leafed out as when we started the Trace.

The Birdsong Hollow double arched bridge near Nashville, the end of our travels on the Natchez Trace Parkway. Imagine the Indians first traveling up and down these hills, through the woods, crossing rivers, lakes and streams. Then the French and Spanish venturing into a new world. Then the farmers wanting to get the best price for their crops, taking them hundreds of miles down the rivers. So many traveled through this area before it was a smoothly paved road. How very remarkable and ambitious our forefathers were.

On the Road Again Saturday March 26 from Paducah, KY. This is where we spent our first night on this trip and our last night. We are on the homeward stretch.

What an incredible 60 day journey of 6684 miles it has been. We try to think of a highlight and we can not name just one. Each day, each stop, all the people we met along the way, all the new things we learned about our country, indescribable, but we did try it through this blog.  Something not mentioned earlier it's amazing to see how flat the land is in FL. AL. MS. and LA.

We were blessed with good travel conditions and so many, many days of sunshine, only one day of heavy rain. We now return to winter. We kept thinking it was spring and then summer as we experienced temperatures up to 85 degrees. Soon we'll be planning our next trip to investigate our great country. Hope you enjoyed our stories and pictures.

- using BlogPress from my iPad

Day 57 and 58 of our trip to FL and SE

On the Road Again Wednesday March 23. We spent the night in the Walmart parking lot along with other RV'ers. One couple from Quebec, another from New Brunswick and 1more ...don't know where from. It was warm and muggy at first but eventually cooled off. We bought a battery operated fan when we boon docked in the Everglades. Good investment. Used it again.

First stop at Natchez National Historical Park. Tour of the William Johnson home was not offered till 10 am and we were ready to get on the Natchez Trace Parkway. It was first called Trace by the French, meaning follow the footsteps of the Chickasaw and Choctaw Indians. The Trace connects Nashville and Natchez, a Mississippi port.

Visitors Center in Natchez

Seeing so many beautiful dogwood trees blooming.

On the 444 mile Natchez Trace Parkway, commercial vehicles are prohibited. This is a quiet peaceful road to travel.

The "Kaintucks" from the north brought their furs to sell in Natchez and New Orleans on their flatbed boats. They sold their boats for lumber and needed a way home. To get home they walked the Trace. People living along the Trace took in the travelers.

Mount Locust, one of the homes. Some homes where travelers stayed were called stands.

Wisteria in bloom throughout this area.

We took the exit to Vicksburg to visit the Vicksburg National Military Park. In 1863 this town was a Confederate stronghold on the Mississippi River. We learned about the siege of Vicksburg by watching a film and driving through the 16 mile driving tour. We listened to an audio on our cell phones, learning about the battles, forts, memorials and monuments.


One remaining home on the battlefield. The soldiers called it the White House.

More photos will be posted by 3-28.

USS Cairo, an Union ironclad gunboat that was sunk by the South is on display. Interesting to learn about the gunboat and the salvage of it.

We were on the road to our campground at 3:30 and thought we'd be there in 45 minutes. WRONG!!!!! We got on Hwy. 20 and sat there. After talking to some truckers, we learned a barge hit a bridge support so all traffic crossing the Mississippi River was stopped until inspection proved the bridge was safe to travel on. Knowing the reason others were driving on the shoulder to take the next exit, we did too. 63 minute we sat in the traffic. Kept saying, but we are safe, not in an accident. By the way, the Mississippi River slowed us down one other time. We were taking the Huey Long Bridge across the River. We didn't realize there was road construction till we were in it. It was TIGHT lanes and slow...but we made it safely. That's what's important.

Back Wednesday's travels...we stayed at Grand Gulf Military monument Park. This area was involved in the Civil War.

On the Road Again Thursday March 24.

Iris have been blooming at Grand Gulf.

Observation tower to see the Mississippi River.

The mighty Mississippi River

Kudzu vine is so invasive. Thought to help with erosion but has gone wild. Can topple trees because the trees get no sunlight.

Church from 1837

One man submarine used to transport...

Whiskey during Prohibition

Back on the Natchez Trace Parkway at mile marker 41 where we go off yesterday.

We walked through a deeply eroded section of the original trace.

Methodist Church built in 1837 at the deserted village of Rocky Springs.

The church is no longer used for weekly services, but is used for weddings and an annual reunion of church members

Oldest grave we could read. Laura, wife of..... born in 1820 and died in 1835.

Safe from the Post Office.

We camped at Trace State Park. As we drove in, thought this will be our last campsite as we plan to boondocks on Friday night. It almost brought tears to my eyes. This has been an incredible trip.

8 young deer near the road quickly retreated.

And what a picturesque place for our last campground.

Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:Natchez Trace Parkway, LA and MS

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Day 55 and 56 of our trip to FL and SE

On the Road Again Monday March 21 we checked out of Sam Houston Jones State Park and joined Dennis and Jean at Jo and Otto's. We all journeyed through Cameron Parish. We stopped at Cameron Prairie National Wildlife Refuge and viewed 2 informative films about the area. We also met a Ranger who graduated from U. of WI. Her home is Prairie du Chien.

Red cheek turtle.

See his red cheek.

White face ibis. First time we saw one.

A Louisiana alligator.

The beauty of nature. Ripples of silt on a pond.

The guys!

We had lunch at GiGi's Cafe in Cameron.

Delicious shrimp po'boy.

Neat rocking chairs.

Dennis and Jean

Jo and Otto

Here we are. Loved the chairs' pastel colors.

We crossed the water inlet on a ferry. This allows Lake Charles to be a port city.

Onto the Gulf of Mexico and sea shell hunting again.

Onto another Wildlife Refuge.

Alligators amaze us.

What a glorious day with friends and seeing the beautiful nature God has created. Although we did see some devastation from Hurricane Rita. Also saw that FEMA has demanded that new housing is built on stilts.

On the Road Again Tuesday March 22 to Lafayette, LA. We were all up to say "Have a good day at work, Otto." we visited Jean Lafitte National Historical Park. We saw 2 films about the Acadiens (Cajuns) and toured the very detailed museum.

Next we toured Vermillionville.

It has 5 original homes from the 1700's to mid-1800's and 12 reproduction buildings.

Native American hut.

Inside of hut showing ventilation and the bed.

Oven made with clay and bousillage.

After Spanish moss dried it was used for bricks as well as in the walls of the homes.

Wall of a home, studs with the plaster between the studs.

Mosquito netting was needed. Windows had no screens.

Tung oil tree blooms.

A gentleman told of the tradition of the Acadiens that when a boy was 16, at Mardi GRAS time it was his coming out time. He would go house to house to invite the families to the festivities. He also asked for a piece of food. At the festivities that one item from everyone became enough food for everyone. If a father had a daughter of the coming out age, he would hang a cloth on the post. The boy would know to be sure to invite the family.

Next stop: Baton Rouge to tour the Old Governor's Mansion. It was built in 1930. It is designed similar to the White House in D. C.

The East Room.

State dining room

Governor's family dining room.

We toured the Louisiana State Capitol. Security and reception desks staff were eager to share stories with us about the Capitol.

Beautiful azaleas in bloom.

View from the 27th floor in the Tower of the Capitol.

One story was that a bomb went off in the Senate Chambers at night. No one was injured but things in the room were thrown all over.

A pencil was stuck on the ceiling and was left there.

We finally after 12 days said Good bye to Louisiana. Never thought we would learn so much.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:Lake Charles, Cameron, Lafayette and Baton Rouge, LA