Category Archives: Mississippi

Last Day on the Trace and Spending the Night With a Country Star

April 30, 2014 – Wednesday

This morning when Bill took the dogs out to potty, he talked to the people in the fifth wheel. The older couple drives the RV, while the other six are riding the Natchez Trace Parkway from beginning to end on bicycles. They are averaging 88-100 miles a day on the bikes. The RV pulled out at 8:30 am with the bikers following. I didn’t want to be too nosey and go outside to take pictures, so I took these thru the window, not too good.

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The back of the fifth wheel has a lot of advertisements and sponsors on it. It did say “We Cycle America” and I saw a web site called, freespiritadventures.com which I haven’t checked out yet.
The other neighbor has left this morning too, so we are back to being alone. We get the RV ready to take off ourselves, now that the storm is gone. We have been here four nights and its been nice, but we are anxious to move on. I snap a picture of Bill doing the “dirty work” of emptying the black and gray tanks. He may not want to drive much, but he has been good about doing all the outside jobs. ๐Ÿ™‚

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We leave this beautiful state park and head to Nashville, 155 miles away. Only 140 more miles till we get to the northern end of the Trace. Bill decides to drive today. We cross the Alabama/Mississippi state line at mile marker 308.4, just under 4 miles from the park.
Our first stop is at mile marker 327 called Colbert Ferry. I was expecting to see a ferry, but instead it was just a lookout point where maybe the ferry had been in the early 1800โ€™s. I could barely see the Tennessee River between the trees. We cross the river on a pretty bridge.

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We also cross the Tennessee / Alabama state line at mile marker 341. Alabama looks just like Tennessee. ๐Ÿ™‚ We were in and out of Alabama in less than an hour, and Bill did all the driving in Alabama. ๐Ÿ™‚

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Next stop, mile marker 350 for the Sunken Trace. Three sections of the original road show how the route was relocated to avoid mud holes.

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We made a quick detour off the Trace because I saw a Visitor Center Sign, and wanted info on Nashville, but it was just a cute little center in Collinwood, but they had free coffee, cookies and some info for Nashville.

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Mile marker 385.9 was the next stop, for Meriwether Lewis Monument (of Lewis and Clark fame), who died here in 1809. The monument was erected in 1848, over his grave site. The design is a broken column to represent a life cut short, he was just 35 years old. The log cabin is a replica of one from that time period, where he was shot dead.

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The log cabin was closed when we were there, but is open for displays if you get there at the right time.
I take over the driving now, and we head to mile marker 391.9 Fall Hollow. It’s a short walk to a waterfall.

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Back on the Trace, the only wildlife we see are wild turkeys off in the grass on the side of the road, and bicycle riders in the road. (No pictures of the turkeys) This end of the Trace is more curvy than the southern end. Sometimes we would get behind a bike, and have to go really slow because you couldn’t see far enough down the road to safely pass the bikes. They say this is a really popular road for bikes, but it looks dangerous to me, sharing the lanes with cars.

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As we get close to the northern end of the trace, we see some beautiful homes and land, before getting to the Natchez Trace Parkway signs we had to pose next.

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While at the Trace sign parking lot, I call a RV park in Nashville to see if they have a spot for us tonight. I want to take a trolley tour ride in Nashville tomorrow, and this one was pretty close. I ask how much, and she says $45 with AAA discount. They say they have a spot, and I put there address in the GPS. Expensive, but I want to see Nashville on a bus or trolley tour and its already 3:30. As we are driving to the RV park, we see a frozen yogurt place and have to stop to get our fix. They are hard to find and expensive. This time it was $11.50 for them both. While eating our yogurt, I check the Overnightrvparking web site and find a Walmart just six miles away. Of course we decide to go there for free, since its late in the day and we can’t enjoy the RV park that much for that price, this late. ๐Ÿ™‚ Walmart saves us again. I also called the RV park back so they wouldn’t be waiting for us.

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So we are doing our usual thing, Bill playing games on the iPad while I do the trip journal, photo editing and reading about where we are going next. There are four eighteen wheelers and three RV’s parked for the night. At 9:30 I see and hear a big custom bus pull in, followed by another fancy custom bus pulling an enclosed trailer. They look like movie star or music star tour buses. The one bus is older and is painted colorfully with writing on the side of it.

We are curious, so Bill takes Chica out to potty, and walks close enough to read what it says. He comes back and says it says “Jake Owen – Days of Gold Tour”. Neither of us have heard of Jake Owen, so Bill does a google search and we find out he is a country singer song writer and is on tour right now. I do a search too and listen to a couple of his songs on YouTube. I see he is in concert tomorrow in Fort Wayne, IN then PA the next day, etc.. Wow, a country star spending the night with us in Walmart. How exciting. I sit by the window, with the light off and watch the activity by the buses. More cars and trucks pull up and park next to the buses. They are loud and running the Diesel engines or generators till at least 11:00. Guys in the cars that pulled up are getting duffle bags and sleeping bags out of their trunks and carrying them to the colorful bus. They must be the road crew. I bet Jake is in the really nice bus. Guys go back and forth in front of our RV to go Walmart shopping, bringing back carts of stuff, food or booze? I want a photo for the blog and I try to take one thru the RV window, which doesn’t come out. So I leash up Bella and take her out to potty, making my way close enough without looking like a stalker, to take a picture. It’s dark, so I only got a picture of the colorful one. They were probably looking out their windows laughing at me. The RV in the left side of the photo is just a regular RV person and not the fancy bus I didn’t get a photo of.

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I can’t wait for morning, so I can get some good day light pictures!

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Alone at Tishomingo State Park For a Short Time and Poison Ivy?

April 29, 2014 – Tuesday

This morning it’s a bit foggy but soon burns off to a warm day. Monarch butterflies flutter around and birds are chirping loudly. Bella wants to stay in bed but Chica is ready to take a walk. We walked to the other side of the lake, where we camped before the tornado watch. She is full of curiosity, stopping to smell everything. The water/stream noise baffles her and she seems curious but fearful of it.

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When we get back to our site, Tilli, our only other neighbor lady is walking her Maltese Tibet. Chica and Tibet have fun play fighting.

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Our new friends, Tilli and Glen are leaving today. We exchange emails and hope to see each other again one day. We will be the only campers here now!

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The one bad/inconvenient thing about this park is the lack of trash dumpsters. There are none in the campground area, it’s on the way out. We need to empty our trash, but don’t feel like carrying it that far, so we use the dog stroller to carry it. Chica won’t have trouble walking, but Bella’s hips or knees are bothering her I think. I get the dog back pack carrier out that has only been tried on and never actually used. It’s hard to put a dog in it and then get it on my back by myself, so Bill puts Bella in it after I have it on. Now that I see the pictures he took, the straps look too loose and she appears to be leaning out too much. Bill kept saying she looked fine and never tried to get out. That dog loves to be pampered.

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The back pack felt a little heavy, so Bella rode in the dog stroller on the way back to the RV.

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I take advantage of being so close to the restrooms and take a long hot shower over there, instead of unloading our water bottles and dirty clothes from our shower. It’s handy to store stuff in there, but a pain to unload it each time. Bill said its suppose to rain again today, but we are both wearing shorts and its hot. I decide to take a look at the trailhead that ends near the back of our RV. The path is narrow, and I know the rule about “leaves of three, let it be”. I snap a picture of a plant with three leaves and send a picture of it to my son. He thinks it might be poison ivy from pictures he has seen on the Internet. Without knowing for sure and finding a tick on Chica, I’ve lost my desire to walk the trail.

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So much for the sunshine and having the park to ourselves. It started to rain about 4:00 pm. Soon after, a truck and trailer drove past us and took the next available site. We wonder why out of an empty park, he wants to be so close. Then about 5:00 pm a truck and big fifth wheel drives by and actually backs into the site between us and the bathroom! We watch a man do a lot of work required to unhook and level a fifth wheel. Soon we see others by the fifth wheel and they are wearing bike shorts and shirts. The rain stops long enough for them to change clothes, put a tablecloth on a picnic bench and eight people sit outside eating dinner.

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Tishomingo State Park Swinging Bridge and Big Storm

April 27, 2014 – Sunday

It felt good to wake up and not have to get on the road today. This morning, the couple next to us in a tent is packing up to leave. They said a big storm is heading this way. She also mentions that she felt something crawling on her back yesterday and it was a tick. Yuck, just what I was worried about with the dogs. Since I was still in bed just relaxing, Bill took Chica out for her morning potty. After she came in I saw a tick on her big old ear. It hadn’t latched on yet, so I got it off pretty easy, and put it in an empty water bottle with a lid. Then I got the Frontline Flea and Tick prevention out that I bought for the trip and put it on the dogs. Now I check them and our selves when we come back in the RV.

We checked our iPhones and iPads for local weather and saw on the radar that the storm was coming fast and was surrounding us. It was as far as Nashville, TN so we decided to extend our stay here and wait the storm out. To move the RV, requires packing everything up so things don’t slide around while driving. We drive down to the entrance/ranger station and pay for two more nights. The ranger says there will be a tornado warning in the area tomorrow. She agrees we should stay put, and it’s so beautiful here, I’m happy about the extra days.

Before we head back to our site and hook up again, I suggest we drive over to the day use area and take some pictures. Bill is worried it’s going to rain any minute and wants to hook up, but I’m driving so I talk him into it. It’s about two miles from the campground to the day use area, on the other side of the Trace. We park in the swimming pool parking lot, leave the dogs, and hurry over to the Swinging Bridge, which I’m most interested in. Just as we get to the bridge, another couple is getting off, so we ask them to take our photo and then they hand us their phone to take a picture of them. That worked out nicely, since the park is very deserted now.

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Bill playing guitar this morning.

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At the other end of the bridge are sets of stairs going down to the various walking trailheads. Now that I know there are ticks here, I don’t want to walk the trails.

We hurry back to the RV snapping pictures of the playground, and pool area, then hurry back towards our campsite. Of course it starts to rain on us before we can get back. I hear “I told you so…” From Bill. Along the way I snap a picture of the road and an old log cabin in the park.

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The rain turns to thunder and lightning. Bella who gets stressed just being in a moving vehicle, is really stressed over the sound of lightning, thunder and loud rain on the RV roof. She tries to hide in the RV on the floorboard of the cab area. She is panting and wild eyed. I can’t comfort here, so I just cover her up with one of her blankets hoping she will feel more secure. Later she peeked out and I took this photo. I tried to get rid of the “red eye”, so her eyes look extra weird.

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I know she is stressed when she won’t eat her treats! Chica on the other hand isn’t bothered by the noise and plays or sleeps thru it all. The pretty dogwood tree behind us has white flowers. The wind blew so many flowers off it looked like snow.

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The rain stops and we take advantage of it by walking the dogs to potty and get some fresh air. It’s Sunday and only a few campers are in the park still. Most people returned to work and school. We do meet another couple on our walk who have a nine month old Maltese puppy. Chica and the puppy have fun chasing each other around, while we get tangled in their retractable leashes. Bella sniffed noses with the pup but she doesn’t actively play like Chica.

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This nice couple drive a Chinook class B motor home and have a three wheel motorcycle in a trailer that they pull. They were parked on our side of the lake but moved over here by the cement bathrooms for protection in case of a tornado. Her husband was a Marine Corp Reserve about the same time Bill was in the Marines, so they struck up a conversation while the wife and I talked about our fur babies.

The weather turns cold and feels like rain again, so we start walking back to our RV, but it rains before we get back. It was kinda fun walking in the rain! Bella, who usually walks slow, was walking fast. She wanted to get back to the RV, while Chica was in heaven sniffing every thing around her and just having fun. When it stopped again, and we took another walk, all the dry streams were running with water and sounded pretty.

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While editing photos for the blog, my good friend Judy calls to ask where we are. She was watching TV and saw that a huge storm and tornado watch was where she thought we might be. I told her we were fine and staying till the storm was over. So far the tornado warning is for Nashville we think, which is still about 140 miles north of us.

Tishomingo State Park on the Natchez Trace Parkway

April 26, 2014 – Saturday (Continued)

After the visitor center we head north, not knowing where we would spend the night. When we got to mile post 304, we came to the Tishomingo State Park. I figured they would be full like the other places I checked, but we lucked out and they had openings! They gave us a map of sites available and let us drive thru and pick one we liked. I think the park was about 3/4 full and we marked on the map sites we thought were big enough for our RV. Then we came to the best spot in the park and it was available. We drove back up to the ranger station and paid for two nights it was so pretty here. With Bills senior status we paid just $13 a night, for electric and water hookups. I’m so happy to get to stay here two nights. That will give me time to update the blog and research Nashville for when we get there.

We set up our chairs and put the dog crate out on the picnic table and enjoy the view!

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This is a large park and the day use area is way on the other side of the park. From there, you can take various hikes, go swimming in the pool, rent cabins, and see the Swinging Bridge. Since its too far to walk, we plan on driving over there the day we leave, so we don’t have to unhook the RV again.

We spend the rest of the day taking walks around this side of the campground, Bill plays guitar and I relax and read.

Natchez Trace Parkway Headquarters & Visitor Center

April 26, 2014 – Saturday (Continued)

We left our visit with Elvis, and got back on the Trace heading north for a short distance to one of the official Headquarters for the Natchez Trace Parkway at mile marker 266. Today they had some exhibits and demonstrations outside of the visitor center. The teenagers at the booths loved the dogs and were on their hands and knees playing with them.

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While Bill stayed with the dogs, I went inside the visitor center.

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The center had a nice wall display about the history of the Trace, a gift shop, and a room showing a video about the Trace. Back outside, we looked at some of the exhibits, such as turtles, alive and shells. There were animal pellets hanging off one of the tables. Chica walked up to them, took a smell and quickly backed up like she was afraid but kept going back up to smell them again.

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Following Elvis Around His Home Town


April 26, 2014 ย – ย Saturday We are in Tupelo, MS, birthplace of Elvis Presley! After leaving Walmart and getting gas, coffee and biscuits and gravy, we head for Elvis Presley’s birthplace which includes a museum, gift shop, memorial chapel, a bronze statue of Elvis at age 13, the two bedroom house he was born in, and the family car. The 15 acre Elvis Presley Park is pretty and in a residential neighborhood right off the Main Street in town. The two bedroom house was built by Elvis’s dad, grandfather and uncle. The church is the actual one the Presley’s attended. It was moved to this location from a few blocks away. image imageBill sitting on Elvis’s porch swing. image image imageimageimageimage ย image image image

We are here before the museum opens, so we don’t get to see in the gift shop or church, but we are happy with what we saw for free on the outside.

Next we track down the Tupelo Hardware Co where Elvis got his first guitar. Story goes…In 1945 Elvis and his mom Gladys go to the hardware store to get a present for Elvis’s 10th birthday. Elvis wanted a 22 rifle, but the hardware store owner and family friend told his mom how dangerous they were and refused to buy it for Elvis. Elvis had a fit in the store and to quiet him down, a sales clerk opened a guitar case and handed him a guitar. Elvis loved the guitar and his mom bought it for him instead of the rifle.

The city has a bunch of painted, 6 ft guitar cut outs all around town in honor of Elvis.

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