Very challenging too since the Vicksburg area is very hilly. At the beginning of the drive was a memorial arch or gateway (like the one in Yellowstone). Each state that fought in the battle has their own memorial. The best are the Minnesota and Illinois ones. The north had better ones than the south since they won the war and the south was like a 3rd world area for the next 50 years (budget memorials). At the midway point of the drive was the cemetery (which overlooked the Mississippi River) and the USS Cairo museum. The USS Cairo was a northern Ironclad (like a Civil War era battleship) that was raised from the river and put back together like a giant jigsaw. Over half of the boat was saved and the other half was re-created by the National Parks staff and put under this huge canopy. Just past this was the highest point in the battlefield overlooking the Mississippi. To see this giant river flooded will put you in awe. For contrast, the Louisiana side is very flat. After the bluff, I sped along as I was running out of time. Out of the park I took a detour back to the RV park to drive through the historic downtown on the river. Downtown sat on a bluff also so the floods did not affect it so much. The roads from downtown to the river were very steep (glad I did not drive my RV down here). Some of the areas at the river were closed since it did flood.
Back at the Ameristar RV park, Pooja had much of the RV ready to go. All I had to do was the outside checks to connect it to the truck and head out to Texas
. But things were going too easy. As I was checking the tires, one of them was very low. And "wha-la," – there was a nail in the sidewall. My first thought was better to catch it now than the tire going out while crossing the Mississippi River and blocking traffic. So Pooja called around and found a place in town that had our tires for the 5th wheel. I pumped the bad tire back to capacity (this took awhile since it was pretty low) hooked the RV up to the truck and drove the 15 miles to the place. At the tire shop I had to maneuver the RV back into the bay with cars parked all around. Surprisingly, I did it on the first go without crashing into anything. Another positive was they put the new tire on within 15 min. of me being there. It felt like NASCAR – RV division. And the price was less than back home. In no time we were back on the road and on our way to Texas. The bad news was it was already afternoon and we still had to cross Louisiana.
So first it was across the Mississippi River Bridge and then we stopped again in no time. This time at the Louisiana Welcome Center to park the RV and eat some lunch. Out came the generator and slides on the RV so we could cook. This made things a little cheaper so we would not have to eat out all the time. Back on the road it took around three hours to cross the state and make it into Texas. I-20 was mostly straight with nothing but trees and small and large rivers to cross. After a Flying J stop, we were in Texas
. It was another three hours to Dallas and another Flying J. The place looked OK so we decided to stay there for the night.
Our plan was to make it to Abilene which was another 3 hours away, but I knew I could not make it that far with all the activities of the day. We parked where the door was next to a little grassy area so I could take the chairs out and hang out. I had a $5 off coupon for pizza from the Flying J and that is what we had for dinner. It was so huge we could only eat half. And it was pretty good for gas station pizza. We were a little nervous at first since this was the first time we had stayed at a gas station for the night. There were a few “hood” elements in the area but there was also an off-duty police officer at the station. Pooja went to bed early and I stayed up a little while to read. It was nice a cool outside but hot and stuffy inside. I had our small battier operated fan for the both of us. It was hard to stay cool that night and I don’t think either of us got too much sleep.
P- Someones car alarm kept going off.
Will this 60 day trip have 60 mishaps? Well, so far I'm shooting par. The day started out fine. Woke up around 7 and went to WalMart to get some supplies. Then it was off to the Vicksburg Battlefield National Park. Pooja relaxed in the RV since she is not too interested in battles. I got there when it opened at 8:00 and watched the short intro movie on the battle. Kinda sad since the South lost the battle (me the native southerner cheering the home team). The main part of this park is the drive. The park is crescent shaped around the city of Vicksburg. Unlike most Civil War battlefield parks, this one includes most of the actual battlefield. The drive is very beautiful with all the old growth trees (the park was established in 1899) and the hundreds of markers. I limited myself to only two hours in the park since I had a long drive in front of me today. The only other people out there besides me were the fitness gurus – bikers, walkers, runners. Now that I think of it, this would be a great place to ride your bike.