Mississippi...another great state.  Even though Mississippi State University ended the UCONN women's basketball team's 111 game winning streak, we still enjoyed this interesting state.
A snake on a Mississippi byway.  I don't know the type of
snake this was but it was real annoyed at the guy (not me) who
threw the sick  at him.  
     When we left Louisiana, we headed to Natchez, Mississippi to begin our journey on the Natchez Trace Parkway, a national park scenic highway.  The Natchez Trace is a beautiful 444 mile road connecting Natchez, MS with Nashville, TN.  It is a 2 lane, shoulderless, 50 mph road which, due to the overhanging trees, seems to be more of a long green tunnel.  It turned out to be a serene, wonderful drive with tons of historic stops along the way.

One of the beautiful antebellum houses in Natchez.
Some of the Natchez mansions sit on a bluff 
overlooking the Mississippi River.

A stark contrast to the Natchez antebellum houses.

     Our 1st Mississippi stop was Natchez on the Mississippi River.  Natchez is on old southern town which managed to avoid being burned to the ground during the civil war; so the town still had hundreds of well preserved antebellum homes and a beautifully restored downtown.  Neither Nancy nor I are into touring other peoples homes, but driving by and viewing these magnificent mansions was well worth our time.  Also, our campsite was right on the Mississippi River so we were treated to watching the huge barges moving up and down the river all day and night.  It was a pretty cool sight.
Mammy's Cupboard, a great lunch place
and bakery in Natchez, MS.

A sternwheeler at a dock in Natchez, MS.

Natchez was the home of the Forks Of The Road
Slave Market.

     Our most fun days in Natchez was kayaking on the backwaters of the Mississippi River.  It turned out that there was no public access to put-in our kayaks.  Mary Jane, one of the homeowners on a stretch of the backwater saw us driving around so she flagged us down, told us to park on her front lawn and put-in out of her backyard.  We had a blast talking with her about life on the river and surviving the floods.  Her house was on 20' stilts and she still took on 3" of water during one of the big flooding years.
Our car in front of Mary Jane's house.

Somebody lives in this house near one of the
roads into the backwaters of the Mississippi River.
Kayaking in the Mississippi River backwaters.

     The backwater was beautiful.  It was a giant swamp but, due to the presence of tupelo trees, had no mosquitos.  We were forced to navigate around downed trees and branches as we cruised through this dense swamp.  We zigged and we zagged and sometimes we just plowed our way through a mass of debris.  We only saw 1 alligator but we saw heaps of birds and spider webs.  The swamp was so dense that it would have been easy to loose our way.  However, we tried to steer with the sun always on our right which made it easy to find our way back to the main channel and Mary Jane's house. What a fantastic experience.
The bridge over the Mississippi River from
Natchez, MS to Vidalia, LA.

A barge traffic jam on the Mississippi River.  A barge actually
plowed into the bridge in the background while we were there.

This push boat was propelling 6 barges up the river.
We saw as many as 8 barges being pushed by 1 boat.
Each barge is 195' long, so the barges combined with
a push boat would total around 1,600' in length.

     Next we ventured north to the city of Jackson, MS and we scored another beautiful campsite directly on the massive Barnett Reservoir.  It turned out that there was a "Bassmaster's Elite" fishing tournament on the reservoir and our campground hosted several of the competitors.  In fact, our next door neighbor was the 2012 "Angler of the Year" and when we left the campground he was in 5th place and in contention for the $100,000 grand prize.  I guess bass fishing is pretty intense around there.

The above photos are from the Mississippi Petrified Forest
in the town of Flora, MS; not far from Jackson, MS.

     Jackson was a typical southern city with a few historic areas, but most of the place was leveled during the Civil War.  Jackson featured several blues venues and fine southern cooking with a heavy emphasis on oysters.  Yumm!  We went out a couple of nights in search of music and seafood and were not disappointed.
     And now for another "GEORGE & NANCY TALE OF TERROR."  While in Jackson, MS we were awakened one morning to my cell blasting out tornado warnings, as well as the sound of sirens sounding out severe weather warnings.  We were all going to die!!!  It turned out that the advancing storm was the same one that produced flooding rain and tornados in Texas which killed several people.  So when we heard the warnings, we packed a bag and scurried over to the nearby campground bathroom.  The bathroom was a concrete block structure and, although it wouldn't provide much protection from a tornado, it was way better protection than our rig.  So we cowered in a shower stall in the women's room for the morning.  Fortunately, the storm missed us by a small margin and all was well.  It was more than a little nerve-racking.
Our storm shelter.

     Near Jackson was the town of Vicksburg, MS and the home of the Vicksburg National Military Park which commemorates the famous Civil War battle.  We took a 4 hour tour of the battlefield and learned how Major General Ulysses S. Grant out-foxed Lieutenant General John C. Pemberton to force the confrontation at Vicksburg.  But we also learned how the courage and tenacity of the Confederate soldiers held the union forces at bay until Pemberton had to surrender as his troops were dying of starvation and disease.  This was an ugly, bloody, nasty 46 day siege resulting in almost 5,000 Union soldiers killed and over 30,000 Confederate soldiers killed.
Vicksburg National Military Park

A large monument in
Vicksburg National Military Park.

The USS Cairo was a union gunboat sunk on the Mississippi
River during the Battle of Vicksburg.  Nobody onboard was killed so
 the sailors were re-tasked as foot soldiers for the Union.  

     The town of Vicksburg, MS has a cute downtown and is trying to take advantage of the tourist business.  We toured the Cocoa Cola Museum as Vicksburg was the home of the 1st company to bottle and market Cocoa Cola.
Some of the original Cocoa Cola bottles.

The equipment 1st used to bottle Cocoa Cola.

Cocoa Cola...a health elixer!???

     Our last Mississippi adventure was in Tupelo, the birthplace of "The King"--Elvis Presley.  We toured the house where Elvis was born.  Elvis was raised in poverty and his 2-room home was no bigger than our RV.  He lived in Tupelo until age 13 when his family moved to Memphis.
Elvis' birthplace and 1st home.

The inside of Elvis' birthplace and 1st home.

Elvis the entertainer
Elvis the 11 year old.

     The most interesting thing for us was that for his 11th birthday, Elvis' mother took him to the local hardware store to buy a rifle.  After Elvis' mother learned about the dangers involved in gun ownership, she refused to allow Elvis to purchase the rifle.  Elvis had a fit but the storekeeper calmed the situation by offering to sell Elvis a guitar instead.  And the rest is history...
I really don't want to know what the corn
cobs were for!!!

The hardware store where Elvis purchased his 1st
guitar is now an ACE Hardware Store.

     All to soon we were seeing Mississippi in our rear view mirror as we are now headed to Nashville, Tennessee.


  1. Very interesting! We hope to travel up the Natchez Trace Parkway ourselves next spring.

  2. Bass fishing is HUGE down there! Some of their boats will go well over $100,000 and are incredible. The kayaking looks cool, it would be a great place to explore.


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