Thursday 9/27: Shreveport, Louisiana - Gloster, Mississippi
Sorry for being "out of touch" for a day or so...there's a very good reason for that, but I'll discuss that later. *Suffice it to say that things are going very well...
BTW, the (free) text editor I'm using on the iPad (my device for this trip) seems to insert asterisks at odd points...for a while I manually edited them out, but I'm tired of doing that. *So just ignore all the asterisks. *Thanks.
Leaving Jeff and Becky in Shreveport
So in the morning I told Becky..."I know you're not big breakfast people, so couldja maybe please make me a piece of toast with peanut butter. *I should've known better...
She brings out this incredible plate of scrambled eggs + goodies + toast + who knows what else. *Needless to say, I couldn't finish. *Good thing they have a couple of dogs...what a great pair of hosts. *Bless you guys.
Vicksburg, Mississippi and the National Military Park
I took I-20 from Shreveport, LA to Vicksburg, Mississippi. *Normally I avoid the interstates, but I wanted to get to Vicksburg with as much time as possible to look around. *Why? *Because the "Siege of Vicksburg" was maybe THE
pivotal point in the Civil War, that's why. *So here's what I-20 was like:
You know my weakness for running water, well here's the OLD MAN
, the Mighty Mississippi:
Best I could do while riding...
See? *I was really there!
Any of you guys remember DeSoto? *No, not the CAR
And---like I said---this is why I was here.
BTW, the last few photos were taken at the "Mississippi Welcome Center," which I feel is a very nicely done "welcome center"...based on the many "welcome centers" I've encountered in my diverse travels.
Here's a pic of the Mississippi River from the Welcome Center (east bank of the river, of course):
And here's a "closeup" of a barge being shoved upriver. *The Mississippi River was THE
key to shipping, which is why President Lincoln said that "Vicksburg is the Key to the Civil War", and "we need that key in our pocket."
The Vicksburg National Military Park
There's a lot to see in Vicksburg. *But---given my limited time---(yeah, I know I'm retired, but...) I wanted to focus on the "Military Park." *When I rode up to the "guard shack" I flashed my "Senior Pass" and they waved me thru! *Hey, age has its privileges! *The first thing I saw was this plaque about ARTILLERY
Man, what could be SCARIER
than artillery?!?! *Uh, on the receiving end, I mean.
And here was the "murderer's row" of artillery, right out front:
Man!! *Gives me the shivers just to look at the pic. *And the big bruiser in middle had this nameplate:
Don't think it had anything to do with "Dennis..."
play a big part in any "siege"...look at this thing! *Its "stroke" is not much longer than its "bore"...yikes. *These things just give me the willies. *Small arms are one thing, but...
And the f'ing projectiles
that they threw!...like this "Solid Shot"...I've read about these things taking the head off some random officer!!!??!! *Howdja like to be riding next to some poor bloke one second, and the next WHAM
a 10-inch bowling ball screams thru and removes his *head. *MY GOD!!! *How did these soldiers keep fighting?!?
Sorry, I just get carried away... *Of course, then there's THIS GUY
who probably did even more damage:
I mean, come on, guys. *I think everyone should be required to tour these battlefields and think about what these poor boys went through.
Ah, yes...life in the trenches.
And then the poor civilian buggers in Vicksburg...they ended up living in CAVES
to avoid the carnage. *I mean, can you IMAGINE
living in a CAVE in Vicksburg, Mississippi in friggin' JUNE and JULY? *It's bad enough being on the surface! *No offense to any Vicksburg residents, y'unnerstand.
They tried to portray what these caves might have been like...yikes!
The 16-Mile Vicksburg Military Park "Tour" Route
There is a 16-mile "tour" route thru the Military Park. *Naturally I rode it. *After the first couple stops I quit wearing my jacket (it was HOT) and gloves. *That sped things up a little. *The first sign I saw was:
There was a similar "Entering Confederate Lines" sign later down the road, but I don't think I got a pic of it.
Lotsa monuments like this:
The surrounding countryside was very "rolling"...so many places for artillery emplacements like these:
The Poor Soldiers...
The Northern soldiers at Vicksburg seemed to come primarily from Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin. *This statue of a Wisconsin boy just touched my heart:
The USS Cairo Union Ironclad
The Union "ironclad" boat USS Cairo has been raised and is on display:
During battle, when a 10-inch "solid shot" would hit dead center on the steam boilers of these ships, the resulting explosion would often claim many lives. *Boilers like these...
I'll put a plug in here for the ASME (American Society of Mechanical Engineers), my professional organization. *In the early days of the Industrial Revolution, steam boiler explosions killed a lotta people. *The ASME developed a "code" for safely designing boilers and pressure vessels. *Save many lives. *See, engineers do good stuff!
Here's some of the rest of the big steam engines on these ships...now, that's a REAL
Seems like the Confederate boys came from Louisiana, Alabama, and Mississippi:
It just (literally) brings a tear to my eye to think of these Indiana, Illinois, and Wisconsin boys firing away at the Alabam, Louisiana, and Mississippi boys. *Seeing these historical sites somehow brings the reality of war home to me in a way I didn't expect. *This trip is definitely worthwhile, for me at least.
More Mississippi guys:
This statue of Confederate General Lloyd Tilghman caught my eye...talk about a dramatic pose:
That concludes my visit to the Vicksburg National Military Park. *It affected me profoundly. *Hope you "enjoyed" it.
Looking for WALT in All the Wrong Places
My contact for the evening was ADV inmate "DWalt" (Walt). *We had agreed to meet up somewhere in Natchez, Mississippi, but of course I screwed up. *After about 45 minutes and several phone calls we finally made connections. *Note Walt flat-footing his V-Strom:
I was a little "ticked off" for losing so much time, but Walt was so enthusiastic that I couldn't stay upset too long. *What a guy (as you will soon see...)
Bad (er, Full) Moon Rising
When Walt finally "showed up," I was ready to get a motel. *"Hey, it's a beautiful 40-mile ride to my place," he said. *And it WAS!
*The time we lost simply made the rising full moon even more beautiful. *Walt set a spirited pace on his V-Strom and I'm sure the Multistrada thought "at last, I get to stretch my legs." *It was indeed a beautiful ride on down to the vicinity of Gloster, Mississippi (southern part of MS). *My only concern was that a DEER
would jump out in front of me, but Walt later assured me that couldn't happen. *Of course his "guest house" was festooned with innumerable deer antlers! *Yikes!
Best Dinner I've Had in a Coon's Age...
Once we got to Walt's "hideout" (Greengate, BTW), I met his lovely ladyfriend Joanie (left below), friend Danny (right below), and his folks Mary and Walt, Sr. *What a great buncha folks!
And lookit this dinner! *Fresh-killed teal (duck), shrimp, bacon, and a buncha other stuff that I ate more of than I expected. *Man!
Here's a better pic of Walt. *That darn guy is the EPITOME
of what I'd consider a GOOD OL' BOY
...and in every way the best sense of the word. *Friendly, kind, and looks able to still start on most college football teams. *Good thing he's a friend of mine!
Here's a final pic of my dinner plate: black beans, salad, teal+bacon, other stuff (sorry, I don't recall the terminology). *Plus I got to stay in the "lake house" all by myself! *I mean, where else can you go but ADVrider.com and meet people who will just take you in and treat you like (or better than) family? *I felt like I'd died and gone to Heaven...
Hmm, let's see; Gloster Mississippi to Tupelo, Mississippi?...
Yeah, I had a great night's sleep at Walt's place, and made it 300+ miles to Tupelo. *But that story's gotta wait a few more minutes. *Please stay tuned, and I thank you all for your concern (especially Jeff & Becky!)