M-I-S-S-I-S-S-I-P-P-I Spell that five times fast

Trip Start May 01, 2008
Trip End Ongoing

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Where I stayed
Natchez State Park

Flag of United States  , Mississippi
Sunday, June 15, 2008

After one night in Alabama and visions of Deliverance ("you sure got pretty lips boy & I'm gonna make you squeal like a pig"), we hightailed our butt's outta there first thing the next morning. Just try and find Coffeeville on the map! It was actually a nice evening on the river and we enjoyed the drive...

We had been wondering where all the people could be to go to all the churches, but this was Sunday morning, and ALL the church car parks were full..... Where did they all come from because the roads were nice and quite??

We reached the Mississippi border after an hour or so, Brent had been holding the camera determined to get the state sign as we passed. Toby decided it was time for a cigarette, so Brent put the camera down for a second and naturally we blew passed the welcome sign at 60mph!! So after about 5 minutes and 5 miles of arguing over whose fault it was we did a quick U-turn and headed back to the state line to get pictures. 

We drove thru the state of Mississippi all the way across to the Mississippi River on route 84, which is the western border of the state. We headed for the historic town of Natchez. Natchez is an old Native American area, and also during the cotton plantation years the town with most millionaires in America. It is also the beginning of the Natchez Trace Parkway, which is an 8000 year old Indian trail from Natchez to Nashville Tennessee, now a scenic byway. In the Mississippi glory days lumber was floated down the river from Tennessee to Natchez, Baton Rouge and New Orleans, the people used to them walk back all the way to Nashville... about 500 miles!

We arrive at our campsite quite early and booked for 2 nights as we wanted to explore some of the old plantation houses on the Mississippi. We stayed in Natchez State Park campground.

The following day we set off up the Parkway in search of an open Plantation house, we decided to see one of the more famous ones called Rosswood. An amazing Greek revival mansion owned by a retired general and his wife. The house was amazing and the hostess had many stories to share with us, particularly as she and her husband had lived in London, Germany, and Saudi Arabia. She was really eager to tell us her expat stories and here about how much things have changed.

We then headed for Windsor Ruins and got lost. After what seemed to be a never ending back road we arrived at the ruins. Windsor was the largest and most flamboyant of the antebellum mansions built in the area at that time, completed in 1861 at a cost of $175,000 to put this in perspective Rosswood only cost $10,000. The same year that it was completed the owner died and left the house to his wife and children. A few years later the American civil war raged in the area, the Windsor Mansion survived intact as it was used as a hospital for the union army, unfortunately most of the lands of the estate were confiscated by the government after the war, and the family was left practically penniless.  In 1890 the whole place was raised to the ground by a careless smoker. There are no surviving pictures of the mansion, in 1992 the diary of a wounded civil war soldier was discovered and it contained a rough pencil drawing of the hospital he was treated in, this is the only know drawing of mansion.

We then headed further up the parkway to the Petrified Forest. Petrified wood is made from trees that have become stone thru fossilization. It is extremely rare and incredibly strange. It would make great garden ornaments but the custodians of the forest are not too happy about you taking it home.....

Mississippi was a beautiful state to drive thru, and we will now be able to spell it correctly for the rest of our lives.

We grilled some steaks and prepared for an early departure as we were taking the 61 scenic byway north along the Mississippi River, following our determination to stay off the interstates.
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