11/23/03 Update

Hi Friends,

16-18 Nov 03 - Glider Park, Wildwood, GA

Yup, we're still here in the NW corner of Georgia a few minutes from I-59.

We awoke to pouring precip Sunday, the 16th, and since we hate to drive in the rain and love this park, decided to stay put. Rain stopped by noon so we were able to go for a 2-mile walk.

Mon., 17th: the severe storm that's pounding Texas and Arkansas today is headed our way and will be clobbering our Alabama and Miss. routes tomorrow so we'll be waiting it out a couple more days.

We unhitched the Honda, packed our first picnic of this season, and wound up and around the hairpin curves on Lookout Mt. Our destination was Cloudland Canyon State Park and a superior area it proved to be. There were clouds and some fog, but we were able to see and enjoy the very impressive deep and long canyon from a couple of overlooks.

We returned via the Lookout Mountain Parkway that eventually took us along the ridge that parallels this hang-gliding field where we're parked. That was most interesting as we've been admiring the homes perched 1000 feet above us; but better still, we saw the cement pad from which the hang gliders launch when the wind is right. We were delighted to see a couple of fellows setting up hang gliders so thought we'd have a ring-side seat for their departure out over the tree tops. Not so, however, as the wind direction never swung around to the west so they had to pack up their gear with no flight today.

Tue, 18th: We're enjoying our fourth day here, watching the storm move our way on the weather map, and happy with the flexibility we're able to enjoy as we trek westward. Temperature is 62 degrees. We only got heavy rain, no wind, here in our valley - we'll move out tomorrow.

19 Nov 03 Wed: Sunset Travel Park, Cottondale, AL

We were quite excited to see blue sky the first thing this morning, but by the time we were packed up, filled the tank with gas, and were cruising south on I-59, it was raining. Between the rain, heavy traffic around Birmingham, and construction, it wasn't the most fun we ever had. Sun was out bright by 2 p.m., however; and we zoomed along happily and settled into this travel park which is nestled up close to the interstate.

20, 21, 22 Nov 03, Thu-Sat: The Battlefield RV Park, Vicksburg, MS

We finished Alabama on I-20/I-59, left I-59 soon after entering Miss., and began our most direct westward trek of the trip. The drive across Mississippi was very pleasant as most leaves are still on the trees, the grass is green along the interstate, the road surface is good, and the sun was bright all day. We stopped just short of the Louisiana border and found a space under the pines in Vicksburg.

Fri: We're stopping here for three nights so we can brush up on our Civil War history. First stop was the Battlefield Museum where the film, "The Vanishing Glory" provided a history lesson in a nutshell. There is a diorama giving a miniature view of the Vicksburg battlefield, and also the world's largest collection of Civil War gunboat models.

Since our park was minutes from the Battlefield Museum, we scooted back to Kenzie for lunch, and then another short drive brought us to the National Military Park. We viewed a film depicting the siege and campaign of Vicksburg. Then armed with a tour cassette, we took the 16-mile drive along the Union and Confederate battle lines. We viewed over 1600 monuments and markers. A highlight of the afternoon was a stop at the Cairo Museum where the remains of the USS Cairo ironclad gunboat is displayed.. It was located with metal detectors on the bottom of the Yazoo. River, raised in three pieces, reassembled, and restored. The weather couldn't have been more perfect for our many stops to view points of interest - sunny and temperature in the 70's.

If you're interested in learning more about the Vicksburg chapter of history go to www.nps.gov/vick on the Internet.

Sat: We needed to restock the pantry so our outing today included WalMart, Kroegers (groceries), great buffet at Ryan's and an excursion searching for Grant's Canal which took us across the state line to Louisiana. This canal was a failed effort by the Union forces to divert the Mississippi away from Vicksburg. A very short restored section is visible today. Details regarding the canal are also available at the above listed website.

22 Nov 03 - Sunday - Bonnie and Clyde Trade Days RV P, Arcadia, LA

We're continuing to evaluate I-20 as we've never traveled it before either going or coming out west. Previously, we've been south along the Gulf coast when traversing Louisiana. Thus far, the route passes with flying colors.

We planned a short day today - 127 miles, and this is another unique park. Join us as we approached and finally found the entrance. There wasn't a RV (or any vehicle or person) to be seen, but we proceeded across the immense, open field where we soon saw buildings obviously used for a flea market. After crossing a levee between little ponds, we eventually came to an area with RV hookups, and pulled into a site up on high ground.

We had almost finished hooking up, when a very friendly guy approached, and after some pleasantries, happily took our money. We learned that the 'Trade Days" part of this park's name means that during the week-end before the 3rd Monday of every month, there is a huge flea market here--the largest in Louisiana.

There are "100 RV hookups in a pastoral, 130-acre setting with ponds, pine trees and sunshine." That translates to lots of space for vendors and more acres for the buyers to park. There's free fishing in any of the three ponds.

We immediately went for a long walk as rain and wind were forecast and the dark clouds looked as though it could happen soon. And yes, as we write this it is pouring.

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours - Cal and Connie