Hi friends! I'm glad you chose to keep up with our winter adventures by checking my weekly blog! We left home on Monday, January 13th around 9am after the worst snow drifts caused by the “polar vortex” the week before. My poor husband was moving the snow off the driveway to keep it clear so we could get the trailer out of the barn! Great job he did! We were blessed in Bowling Green, OH (a little ways from home) when the car right in front of us lost their CAR TOP carrier and it slid beside us as David kept the trailer on the road. The only damage was a small scratch on the hood caused by the ratchet strap! No flat tires either!
We talked about the Natchez Trace Parkway last year, but didn't get on it, so this year we decided to take it! 444 miles from Tennessee to Louisiana and we did all but 40 miles of it (North to South). It is a beautiful drive with no trucks, 55 MPH, and no commercial signs! There are Indian burial mounds, lakes, and primitive campgrounds to pull over and explore and also paths of the original Natchez Trace that people walked in the 1800's. We stayed 1 night at the Jeff Busby campground for FREE! There was no one there except us, so Festus got to run around (he hates the leash). He comes back when called and is enjoying his FIRST camping adventure. We saw Meriwether Lewis' death and burial place (of Lewis and Clark fame, he was also Governor of the territory of Louisiana). So young and accomplished to have committed suicide at age 35.
We then went to Grand Gulf RV Park (full hookup!) for 2 days. We met Don and Theresa...Theresa is recovering from cancer, so we had lots to talk about. We visited the grounds at Grand Gulf, which included a very old cemetery, Fort WADE (my maiden name), and a nice Mill and Church. The next day, we did the Vicksburg Military Park drive, showing where the Confederates and Union soldiers fought, died and were buried in the National Cemetery there. So many stones had just numbers on them, or Unknown Soldier. Everyone should visit this place, IMHO. We photographed an Ohio monument honoring the 32nd Infantry with David's grandfather's exact name (not the same guy) – Col. Benjamin F. Potts! This park is also the location of the Civil War ship Cairo that is on display outside under a huge tent. We toured Vicksburg, LA also.
We left on Friday morning for Louisiana and the Duck Dynasty workplace in West Monroe, LA. They have a store with all kinds of merchandise and I needed a coffee cup and David needed sunglasses and a new Buck Commander hat :) We didn't get to meet any of them. We then checked into Gum Springs at the Kisatchie National Forest for 3 nights @ $1.50 a night! It was built by the Conservation Corp (CCC) back in the 1930's. Beautiful spot #16 right by the water. We met Fred and his Trail dog, and a nice Pastor and his wife who invited us to Church on Sunday, January 19th, and we went in nearby Winnfield. We also met the local sheriff who is in charge of 35 deputies that cover 950 county (parish) miles of LA. He gave us two flashlights and a nice pocket calendar.
Statistics for week 1: David drove 1343 miles and 7 states (MI, OH, KY, TN, AL, MS, LA). Total camping fees: $52! I DID NOT get to wear shorts yet :). No new birds, but beautiful scenery to get to LA. Notable birds were first warbler-Pine Warbler; Osprey, Black Vultures, Fish Crows and Cardinals everywhere. I've been trying to walk a lot every day (mostly birdwatching :). Need to get weight down 10 lbs before March when I see my doctor. Wish me luck! My Verizon personal hotspot is working great (first time used!). Forgot to mention that our cat Sally went to Grandma's house before we left and this week she was scared into Mom's basement and won't come out. My daughter tried to get her out, but she will only come to 3 people. My sister put down food, water and a litter box in the basement to sustain her and maybe her and Boots will make friends. It's always something when we first get on the road :) Take care!