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 Trip to Natchez and Vicksburg!

It looked gruesome as we left town. Rain, rain, and more rain! The first night we made it to Shreveport. I had made a reservation, which, it turns out, was a mistake! The hotel was impossible to find! Even with MapQuest, in which I have now lost faith. After not correctly getting the directions to the hotel, then the screwups in Natchez (they had the one way streets backwards!)

But we found it, we made it, amidst the rain, even after stopping for a very mediocre Mexican dinner. Should have gone to Taco Bell - it would have been cheaper and probably better! But - since they topped off the meal with a free cone for my daughter, it made it seem ok.

Finally the first big milestone - Welcome to Louisiana. As you can see, the weather is still nice! Well, at least not raining!!!

Driving through Louisiana, we came across some interesting buildings. This one was one of them, in Shreveport. An old dilapadated building made more so by the dismal weather.

An interesting city, perhaps given a bit more life by the gambling just down the road in Bossier City. But - there was a mission involved here! Read on!

Yes! It's a car museum! It's the Ark-La-Texas Car museum, home of some interesting old iron, both American and foreign. A wonderful old XKE, a very nice 50's GMC truck (my daughter's favorite), a pre-ware Datsun, etc. They even take consignments, which, if I am not mistaken, means free indoor storage for some unspecified period of time. Hmm.

This is one of the few pictures I took inside. The back lighting makes it come out weird. That's an Auburn on the right and a Morgan on the left.

This gorgeous little 'vette was the subject of a raffle. Of course I bought a ticket!!! $20 for the chance of owning a fantastic piece of Detroit iron! Why not? Notice that it is a California Black Plate car. If you don't know what that means, email me and I'll explain it.

This little gem was in the museum as well. Anyone see the recent remake of "Gone in 60 Seconds?" This is Eleanor! Without the NOS! A supposedly original car!

Ever see the book "Abandoned Cars?" These two absolutely belong there! I think the first one falls into the category of "restorable." Not a good sign when you are looking for a vehicle. The other one, I think, my daughter wants to rescue. I'm sorry - this doesn't even fall into the category of "Parts Car." Sad.

This looks like a fun place! Check out those cars! Included in this batch is a very rare, very fine example of a Crown Victoria, complete with continental tire! Plus there is a Mercury Turnpike Cruiser, another rare and valuable beast! Apparently this guy does restorations, and favors Ford products.

OK! Is my daughter precious or what??? Love this picture!!! You will notice the little red car in the background. Hey - I've got to sneak a few of those in there!

Another abandoned car. My daughter wanted me to photograph this one. I knew she had a soft heart for animals, but I didn't know she had one for old cars!

Just had to do it! After all, this thing now has over 100,000 miles on it, and it's still going strong! Great road car! But yes, the convertible top does leak in the rain. Oh, well.

It's the Mississippi River in all its grandeur!!! Great river, great bridge! Here we are, crossing the river over into Natchez. This was some of the last nice weather we had for a couple days!

Yes, Welcome to Mississippi! We made it!

River shot. Guess I think I'm an artist . . .

Here we are, skipping rocks. She is getting pretty good at it! And with the water so rough, it was hard going! But we skipped a bunch, and had a great time!

We stayed at the Radisson Eola Hotel in downtown Natchez. Nice old hotel that on the inside has been pretty much homogenized to look like every other hotel. Oh, well, so much for old world charm.

The next day we went to visit Dunleigh and Longwood. Both interesting old mansions. Truly representing the heart of old Dixie. It was interesting for my daughter to see them. Not something you typically find in Dallas. She liked Longwood better. I'm sure it was the cupola and the octagonal design. Just like her mother

The rain continued; we were miserable, so we just drove on up to Vicksburg, where we are now. Finally, late this afternoon (early this evening?) the rain quit. We went for a walk; then went to the mall with the top down (at her request!) but we are ready for tomorrow! We'll wash the car, do the battlefield, then head down to the Windsor ruins! Stay tuned for more pictures!

Oh, the optimist in me! Next morning it is much colder and still a bit rainy. Really horrible weather for a couple of tourists! But we will persevere! Oh, yeah. This wet weather really cuts down on the picture taking. Sorry.

The rain ended early that evening, so we went out, top down, to the vicksburg Mall. My daughter was rather amused at the small size - she is SUCH a city girl!!! But we found some fun stuff - she thinks they had better stuff than we do! Go figure!

The next morning, yes, it was wet again! More rain, more gray, more lousy weather. Here was glitch number two - we had left the camera in Natchez!!!! Heck, it's only an hour, the weather sucks anyway, so we drove back down to Natchez, picked up the camera, and headed north along Natchez Trace. A nice drive! The road is typically slow and full of tourists, but on a lousy Sunday it was pretty clear and I made good time. We saw some fun stuff, cars and the like, and then went on to the Windsor Ruins. Clearly off the beaten track, this was an AMAZING site!!!!

Built about 1860, this enormous house had really great columns made out of plastered brick. In 1880, the house burned down. So there is nothing left out there but the columns. Very wild!

The weather was kind of gray, as you can see, and just added to the haunted effect. Very cool! This was a trip highlight!!!

We drove through an interesting town, which had some nice buildings, including this one in downtown. This trip is also a lesson in architecture!

More driving, more cars, including these! There were a number of interesting places with lots of interesting cars along the way, many in good shape, some, as seen previously, in not such good shape. I think the phrase is "ambitious restoration project!" I should know - I have one at home! See my project!

But look - in that garage - it's a TR6!!! Kewl! It's the brown color, but still, out here, in the middle of Mississippi is a similarly afflicted individual preserving British heritage!

So, next stop, back to Vicksburg! Weren't we here before this? Anyway, the park is pretty interesting.

This is the park "gateway." It is really different from Gettysburg, where there was a battle and movement of the battle lines. Instead, this was a siege.

As a result, there are lots and lots of trenchworks, lots and lots of cannon emplacements, and, of course, lots of monuments. We noticed that it was almost entirely a mid-west effort, with the soldiers being from Ohio, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Kansas, and Illinois.

This massive monument was fascinating! Inside, the top was actually open (an old Roman style), and if you said anything at all inside, it reverberated! Not just an echo! Again and again and again - it was very impressive.

Nearby was a monument with a pair of statues were on either side; very impresDefinitely the best "realistic" work!

I think the best standard monument was from Ohio - the "stacked" cannon. The best monument, though, is the one from Kansas - the three rings with the eagle on top. The bottom ring represents the country before the war; the middle one, broken, represents the divided country, and the top one the reunited country. Kewl!

Then there was this hill! My daughter and I actually climbed up it! It was wet, slippery, and muddy. But we had a great time - it was one of those silly adventures when you do something that your parents would have told you not to! We got wet and muddy, and then, on the way back, I stepped in the creek! Wet foot! But we had great fun!

Topping off the night, headed west to Dallas, we found a great steakhouse and a warm, dry motel! This is me, posed, looking tired and weary, as I guess I should at this point!

The next day we went looking for a car museum in Kilgore. Unfortunately, the museum was no longer in operation. We saw one or two carcasses from the 60's in the back, probably only good for scrap metal at this point, what looked like a sign frame, and a very shuttered and closed building! Ah, well. Home we go!

Great trip - my daughter told her friend that her Dad is very good at planning trips!

And, she is convinced that we will win the Corvette. I love an optimist!