Back home again

Trip Start May 01, 2010
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Trip End May 29, 2010


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Flag of United States  , Georgia
Friday, May 28, 2010

Well, we pulled the plug yesterday and came on home. After four weeks on the road, we decided to save New Orleans for another time.

First, some catch-up. We heard from several of our "fans" that Field of Dreams is on the market. According to TIME, the asking price is $5.4 million, including the two-bedroom house featured in the movie and six outbuildings on 193 acres:

http://www.time.com/time/specials/packages/article/0,28804,1989783_1989779_1989785,00.html. If the property sells, I predict visits to the field in the future no longer will be free of charge. Look for a $10 admission fee from the new owners.

Second, I failed to note the creators of the sound track we enjoyed on our trip down the Natchez Trace – son Ben and his main squeeze Ashley, now living in Scottsdale, Ariz. I believe it was mostly Ashley, but I'm sure Ben provided creative direction.

Back to our adventure. We spent Wednesday in Vicksburg, viewing the beautiful antebellum homes, including the Cedar Grove Inn, in which we spent two nights (http://www.cedargroveinn.com). The Inn is unique among Vicksburg properties. It was begun in 1840 by wealthy businessman John Klein for his bride Elizabeth, with whom he fell in love when she was 12 and married at 16. The house was completed in 1852. Cedar Grove survived the Civil War unscathed because it was used as a Union hospital after Vicksburg fell to Grant’s troops, and also because Elizabeth’s uncle was Gen. William T. Sherman. Grant himself allegedly stayed in the house for a night or more, occupying the bedroom in which we stayed during our visit. A whiff of his cigar smoke still lingers. The house was struck by random cannon fire from Union gunboats on the river and a cannonball remains embedded in the parlor wall.

The Inn is graciously appointed, with much of the original furniture purchased by the Kleins, including a piano said to be worth $1.5 million and rare “gasoliers” (gas chandeliers). The staff is very friendly, and all took a liking to Cash. He had a great time chasing his ball on the huge back lawn of the house.

We spent about three hours over three days touring the Vicksburg Battlefield Park, following the beautiful, tree-lined 16-mile road that winds through it. The road is lined with granite stones and bronze statues commemorating the units and individuals who were key to the battle. Combined with the Union “victory” at Gettysburg just hours before, the fall of Vicksburg on July 4, 1863, was a turning point in the war. After his victory at Vicksburg, Grant went on to become General in Chief of the U.S. Army and forced Lee’s surrender almost two years later in Appomattox, Va. The Confederate commander, Lt. Gen. Pemberton (born in Philadelphia), eventually resigned as a general and commanded artillery in the defense of Richmond in 1864-65.

Little known fact: Vicksburg no longer sits on the Mississippi River, and has not for more than a century. A flood in 1876 cut off the “meander” in the river that made Vicksburg a major trade center. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers diverted the Yazoo River in 1903 into the old, shallowing channel to rejuvenate the waterfront.

Still, Vicksburg is a shadow of the city it was before the Civil War. The old houses are lovingly maintained and presented for tourists, but the city seems to live almost entirely in the past. Virtually the only signs of modern enterprise are the casino “boats” on the riverfront.

The trip home yesterday was uneventful – about five hours worth of Interstate 20 and into the teeth of the late Atlanta rush hour. It was good to sleep in our own bed last night, especially knowing exactly where the bathroom is when you need it in the middle of the night.

Tomorrow: we’re going nowhere special. I’ll try to make time to summarize the trip.
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Comments

Jim Brams on

Great narrative all along the way, Ray. I have pipe dreams of hooking the smallest Airstream to my Corvair and crossing the whole country in the same way you traveled. Thanks for some fun color on your trip! Jim

Ben on

Hey, thanks for the shout-out!

The picture of Cash and the cannon is fantastic. Sorry to hear the trip is coming to an end.

Ash and I are looking to take a day trip to Tombstone this weekend, because she has a rare weekend off. Investigating the costs now.

Glad you're back and safe!

Josh on

Thanks for the daily informative and occasionally witty storytelling. Now back to the grind (for another month anyway).

Alan Freitag on

Outstanding context for your Vicksburg visit. Time for you guys to start writing travel books.

Suzie Raeder on

Welcome home. Glad you made it safe and sound. How did Cash fair the trip?

Suzy Gardner on

Wow! What a trip! I get the heebie geebies after about a 3 hr car trip. You two are amazing!!! I bet you're glad to be sleepingin your own bed again. Just happy you had a safe trip and found some time to have breakfast with us!! Welcom home

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