This posting is for Valerie and Malcolm … lovers of gardens and charming houses. The “Old South” is not the British “National Trust”, but some of the springtime splendour has been impressive. Also for our many friends who love gardens and flowers … cultivated and wild.
First the nodding oil pumps, and some more exploration drills reminded us of what makes our motor go round, as we headed through Beaumont, Texas and entered Louisiana.
We know this road well, and the fact that it leads to our regular “housekeeping stop” at Kinder, Louisiana. Excellent sites, wonderful facilities, and low cost … so long as you stay out of the casino!!
Alas, all the RV sites were full, so we joined a bunch of other homeless types, and camped in the casino car park for the night. That site was a little noisy, but an excellent price.
The devil appeared the next day on our “real” site. We were sitting outside in hot sunshine when an enormous black cloud approached. Also coming our way was the “casino shuttle”, and the devil beckoned us to shelter! Clearly in a large storm or tornado, a reinforced concrete casino beats a trailer. Of course a casino usually beats the players, but we did manage to win a little as the storm raged outside, and the oblivious players kept trying for jackpots. Large puddles and little else, but the “Weather Channel” remained excited for days as the front moved east.
We headed north and east through to Mississippi and the amazing Natchez Trace Parkway. A National Park, and 440 miles without hazards right through to Nashville Tennessee. Our first objective was the charming (free) campground at Rocky Springs, but alas it was full.
With some tortuous driving we headed to Grand Gulf and its State Park on the very edge of the Mississippi … or rather its flooded outer reaches.
Grand Gulf was once suggested as the Mississippi State Capital. But it was an unlucky town. Yellow fever struck in 1843, and ten years later a huge tornado took out a lot of the town. Real disaster hit in 1855 and 1860, when the massive river changed course and took out fifty-five city blocks. Little remained when Grand Gulf became a Confederate gun emplacement to shell the Union ships that were heading for Vicksburg. As you know, General Grant finally won, and his forces burned what little remained of Grand Gulf.
Now it is a museum and State Park. Charming, with its dogwoods, an interesting battlefield and museum, and exceptionally friendly. We stayed two more days and explored the area.
The church was moved here, and is quite small … about the same size as the Anglican church in Drayton. The style is “Carpenter Gothic” – a cathedral brought down to small-town scale.
The submarine was clearly a hazardous machine, but alcohol was always a profitable smugglers’ commodity, so why not move it underwater across the big river?
The town that Grant said was “too beautiful to burn” is Port Gibson, a few miles to the south of Grand Gulf. A sea of azaleas, and a whole street of old houses, big trees and amazing churches. (Even a synagogue!)
The Presbyterians have a hand that points to heaven. Some of the less reverent call it the “fickle finger of fate”.
Much to our surprise, we found arrays of signs to “Save Church Street”. Emotionally we agreed, and know that some of our Elora neighbours would be on-side. At issue here is the widening of this main and exceptionally charming street, and likely spoiling the whole atmosphere of the town. We try not to become involved in the politics of others, but have to express sadness and surprise that the Mississippi Highways people will further the destruction of part of Port Gibson, when General Grant did not.
Thoughtful moments from the camp host at Grand Gulf. I observed that we were perilously close to the nuclear station here. “Ah yes,” he said, “but this is the best place. If it melts down it will be a lot quicker end than if you were further away. If it just leaks water … we are upstream. Too bad for New Orleans!”
On the road again tomorrow … further upstream.
John (and Elaine who looks delightful in gardens).
One last picture of a Port Gibson house: