Saturday, October 31, 2009

Moundville Alabama to Tatum Texas

October 31 Saturday (450 miles)

We woke up to 48 degree temperatures – quite a drop from the 81 yesterday afternoon. We had rain off and on all night but I love the sound of the rain on the metal roof of the Sprinter. A quick breakfast and run through of the checklist and we were on our way west at 8:15.

We found our way back to I 59 and followed it to I 20 in Meridian Mississippi. We crossed both the Black Warrior River and Tenn-Tom Bigbee waterways – both have locks and are navigable. We were surprised by the lack of crops as we had expected to see cotton, corn, etc. There were mostly cattle and catfish farms where we traveled in Alabama.

Cypress Trees along Tenn Tom Bigby Waterway

After a short stop at the Mississippi Visitor center we continued west across the state through Jackson. We stopped as planned at the Vicksburg National Battlefield for a national parks passport stamp and to view the areas noted in Michner’s Texas. We saw the introductory video and walked through the Jewish Cemetery to see the lunette defended by the Second Texas Regiment during the battle of Vicksburg. We did not take the 14 mile drive since we had done it on a previous visit. The weather was sunny and warm – a huge difference from early morning. We ate a snack lunch as we drove today since we really wanted to get across Louisiana before stopping for the night.

Cannons at Vicksburg

Both Mississippi and Louisiana got lots of rain during the storms that crossed the area yesterday – water was standing in most of the fields and along the roadsides. Across both states there were fields of cotton, numerous cattle, and even a few oil wells. A quick stop at the Louisiana visitor center gave us a map to follow across the state. We had crossed Louisiana on I 20 before, but I remembered nothing about it…Shreveport surprised us with its huge casinos. The Louisiana State Fair was in progress and the crowd was massive. We passed on through and crossed into Texas.

After searching through our campground materials we selected the Emerald Glen RV Park in Tatum which was about 40 miles south towards Nacogdoches where we hope to learn about the early history of this part of Texas. We are about 30 miles south of Longview – really barely into Texas when you consider the size of this state.
The campground is out in the middle of cattle farms and is very rural. Probably 60 sites – there may be 15 travel units here and most of them look like they are fairly permanent – but we have seen no one at any of the sites. The owners told us on the phone to select a site and leave money in a box. It has great wireless and we are
able to watch recent TV shows on There is a nice pool, great laundry and restrooms. We expect a quiet night after all the excitement last night it will be welcome.

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