Life's Journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, totally worn out, shouting "Wow...What a Ride!"

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Natchez MS

 Our next stop was in Natchez MS where we stayed at the Natchez State Park a short distance north of town. Natchez SP is a nice park but many of the sites would have not been able to hold us and our extra truck, luckily I had reserved a large pull through that we fit into easily. My only complaint about the park is in negotiating the park, I knew what site number we were in but didn't make note of what campground (A or B) it was in...bad me. Their signage gives just what campground not the site numbers, we eventually found our way to our site. 

At Natchez they allowed foraging for wood, close by we found a large log and part of a stump so we got our first fire going in many months. So nice to spend the evening sitting by a fire and enjoying another beautiful state park.

One of the things we wanted to do while in Natchez was tour a few of the Antebellum homes. We stopped at the visitors center and bought tickets for multiple houses.

Our first stop was  Rosalie Mansion, since we arrived early no tours were being held but instead we were allowed to tour the home at our leisure. You can read about the history of Rosalie here. This home was made up of furnishings original to the home. Somehow this wonderful house survived the ravages of the Civil War intact.


Stanton Hall was our second destination, as is with many of these old homes the furnishings were of the period but very few were actually from the home itself. Stanton Hall was completed only months before Stanton's death in 1859, a story we've heard time and time again at many of the historic homes we've toured around the country. You can read more of the story of Stanton Hall here.

 Our third home to visit was Longwood home, the house that would never be finished. The home was started prior to the outbreak of the Civil War, the owners fortune was lost during the war. The basement area was the only part ever occupied...what once was to be the servants quarters turned into the owners home. Once it was declared a National Historic Landmark it couldn't be completed. This was to be a very unique home with it's octagonal shape and grand vision. As with the other homes, pictures couldn't be taken except for in the unfinished upper areas. You can read more about Longwood here. 

 With the advent of the Civil War most of the construction workers who were from the north and headed home. They left behind tools, molds and many utensils of their profession. Many of which have been preserved.

Our last tour was of Melrose which is part of the Natchez National Historical Park. The home is a Greek Revival Mansion with furnishings from just before the Civil War. Most of the furnishing are from the home itself as the original owners and subsequent owners sold the furnishings with the home.  You can read more about the history of Melrose here.

The following day we took a 50 (of 444)  mile ride on the Natchez Trace Parkway. We enjoyed a few stops along the way. 

Mount Locust Inn where travelers could stay as they traveled the Trace.

Sunken Trace, where relatively soft ground was worn down by walkers, riders and wagons.

Rocky Springs Church and cemetery, the only building standing (and still in use) from the town of Rocky Springs.  Population in 1860-2616, today-0.

After leaving the Trace we headed over to Windsor Ruins. All that is left of a mansion that survived the Civil War only to be destroyed by fire started by a careless smoker.
We enjoyed our brief time in Natchez  and though we forgot to get a photo Dave once again got another dinner of crawfish.

Until next time...

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Galveston to Abbeville

We've been back on the road for a week or so now. Our take off from Gulf Waters was anything but stellar. We of course had help and distractions as we were getting hitched up and set to go, this threw us off of our routine which resulted in dropping the RV on the truck bed rails. Thank goodness there doesn't appear to be any real damage, another scuff or two but after a year there are already a few.

 Our first stop was Galveston Island State Park, we had grand plans of visiting downtown Galveston but that never happened. Think we were in decompress mode, our days we were spent on the beach and biking around the state park. First bike ride in quite awhile, by the time we took some of the trails think we put on about 5 miles or so, not bad after so many months of biking absence. Our site was on the bayside of the park, if the mosquitoes hadn't been so prevalent we would have spent more time outside.

 Dave got the last of his salt water fishing in, can't find too much salt water in AZ so it'll be awhile le before he's fishing anything but lakes and streams.

Last Thursday we left Galveston moving eastward, it took almost 2 hours to go 30 miles...long wait for the Bolivar Ferry. While on the ferry, we were approached by a gentleman wanting to get our input on plans he had for building an ownership RV park on Bolivar Island. He was modeling it after one he had seen on Mustang Island in Port Aransas TX, while he couldn't remember the name we were happy to supply him with Gulf Waters name and our experience as owners. He then asked if we could take a few minutes and share what we had told him with the folks he hoped to partner with in his adventure. Well we did and now have an offer of 10% off of a lot if we want one. So two hours after leaving Galveston State Park we were finally really moving down the road.

After a bumpy and long ride we arrived at Betty's RV Park in Abbeville LA, a headache after a long drive day and no lunch led to our chose to skip happy hour that evening. For those who haven't had the pleasure of driving I-10 in LA be prepared for a very bumpy ride, make sure everything is secure in your rig before the drive otherwise you'll find things in new places.

While in Abbeville we headed to a nearby town to meet the local shrimp boat, at $4 a pound how could we not. We ended up going back a second time (took the ice cube trays out of the freezer) so by the end of our stay we our freezer was bursting but 18 pds of shrimp were on board.

 Rice and crawfish are rotated crops in Louisiana,  one year rice the next crawfish. We decided to visit Kelly's Landing in Crowley, Kelly used to be a rice and crawfish farmer, with the onset of macular degeneration he had to get out of farming. He now invites folks to visit his farm where he explains about both and serves up a delicious homemade meal. On the menu that day was crawfish etouffee, rice of course, salad and coconut cake. Kelly also is now a collector of John Deere toys and loves all things John Deere. We had a fantastic time listening to him, he was a great story teller and if we didn't have shrimp in a cooler we would have stayed longer than 2.5 hours. If you are ever in the area and looking for some local flavor check out Kelly's Landing in Crowley.

Dave got his fill of crawfish while in Abbeville, a local boil shack one night then Richards another. We tried Shucks for local seafood and bread pudding. Good meals at all.

Easter was celebrated at Betty's with a pot luck dinner. Betty's RV Park, what to for sure don't go there for the park itself but for meeting Betty. During our stay there the park was full of folks who had been there many times, many of them Canadians, we were the only first timers there. We enjoyed meeting Betty and the folks there but doubt we'll be back.

As we got ready to leave Betty's on Monday water came gushing out of the under belly of the rv, we are trying to trouble shoot it and also have an appointment at the factory on 4/22. So ready for this rough patch of rv trouble to be over. 

We are now in Natchez State Park but more about that another day.

Until next time...