Hi! I just got a complaint from our daughter that there is nothing “new” on our blog. So I guess I’d better get busy & send you our stuff. (BTW, on our last entry, I was told that the coal mine & new electric plant are NORTH of Gillette, not south. Sorry – “my bad”, as they say.)
Love, M 0:-)
April 25 – May 1 MS to LA
The 2 “Wandering” McGees arrived at Jim and Laura Harrell’s home near Sardis, MS, on Friday evening. It was wonderful to see both of them and especially to see Laura getting her old “spark” back again after her victorious year-long bout with cancer. As promised, Keith spent part of Saturday working on Laura’s computer; hopefully it will behave now. We McGees got in some more target practice with our new pistols too, which was fun. Sunday morning Laura and Maryann attended church in town. After a lovely lunch with the Harrells and another couple, we bid adieu and headed south in our Roadtrek.
We reached Vicksburg, MS, that evening and ate dinner at the buffet in the Riverwalk Casino by the MS River. On our way in we noticed some neat metal sculptures on their grounds. After dinner we walked along the river, and Keith got a nice sunset shot. Not knowing how “welcoming” the casino was to campers, we spent the night in our old faithful Wal-Mart parking lot along with the 18-wheelers and other RVers.
Early Monday morning found us at the waterfront (where else?!) boarding the “Sweet Olive” for an ecological river cruise. Jim Jones and his son (http://www.msrivertours.com/) take school groups and others, and we were lucky enough to be able to ride along with the students. The children and we learned many interesting facts about the Yazoo and Mississippi Rivers plus ways to protect our waters. It was neat to see and feel the difference in the two rivers where they joined together. And it was good knowing we were in the capable hands of “Captain Sonny” who had been on the MS for over 40 years as a barge captain. We appreciated his advice and enjoyed hearing his colorful stories! As we were leaving the boat, we noticed that the river has been a good deal higher in the past...
We were told that lunch at the Walnut Hills Restaurant was “not to be missed,” so we hiked up the steep hills of the historic old town section of Vicksburg and were indeed rewarded with a
delicious meal there. The restaurant is famous for their big round tables, where they serve “everything on the menu.” Knowing we didn’t need all those calories, we had “The Blue Plate Special”, which was just right. While there, we met a man and his wife who have been with NSA (the maker of Juice Plus+) for 22 years. What a neat coincidence! After lunch we walked a few more blocks to the historic Old Courthouse, where we spent an hour or so immersing ourselves in the history of the area. Coming down the hill (MUCH easier), we saw an historic railroad station at the bottom. Across the street were colorful murals painted on the seawall.
After our riverside adventure, we drove north to the Vicksburg National Military Park, the site of a huge Civil War battle. As it was getting late in the day, we opted for the driving tour. We saw many statues and monuments from the different states denoting lines of their engagement along the ridges. Illinois seemed to have many more troops represented than others, and they even had a beautiful rotunda on the grounds. Inside were listed the names of their military leaders of the time. Along with ground troops, the North had sent naval ships to the battle. One such ship, the U.S.S. Cairo (pronounced Karo, like the syrup), was sunk by a Southern “torpedo.” Years later the ship was removed from the river bottom and re-assembled on the grounds of the Park. It is massive, and you can still see where the blast opened the port side of the keel. The ship and its museum, containing artifacts retrieved from the wreck, were fascinating to tour. Later on we saw miles of gravestones, reminding us that many thousands of men from both sides had died there on the hillsides of Vicksburg.
On that sobering note, we left MS and headed for LA. It was a welcome site to cross the MS River and to be in LA again. The first night in our “land home” in Youngsville was pretty quiet after our camping adventures in all the states we had been through. We’ve spent the past few days working on our “to-do” lists in preparation for our return to Dream Manor next week. We 4 McGees are getting excited to be back on the water again!