Lord of the (Key) Rings

Trip Start Jun 03, 2008
Trip End Aug 12, 2008

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Walmart Parking Lot

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

Electricity?  YES!

Instead of "Daddy, are we there yet?"  Today was filled with "Are we in Mississippi yet?"   Audrey is collecting a keyring from each state and she forgot Mississippi the first time through it so BY GOD we're not going to forget it today! 

So we started our day with our last Antebellum....the Oak Alley famous for its 28, 350 year old Living Oaks.  Clarkism, "Kids, for oaks to be living oaks, they need to be at least 100 years old and each are named after a person."  We arrived between tours so we descended upon the gift store in search of a keyring.  No luck.  In fact, Ellen knocked over a candle stick holder and broke it and bought it.  (Should any of you receive a fleur de le candle holder, you know where it came from!)

The tour was presented by a true southern belle in costume.  She herself had just gone to finishing school in Paris.  She was simply delightful as she told tales of the marble flooring that was destroyed by the boys who were allowed to race their horses through the first floor.  As we completed the tour we purchased lemonade and our first mint juleps while sitting on the veranda. 

Moving on down the road, In Clark's quest to make this a back roads tour, we found ourselves presumably in the 9th ward in eastern New Orleans.  Confident that he was on course, Clark continued through the gauntlet of destruction and terrible neighborhoods that still showed remnants of Katrina. A 30' motor home pulling an automobile is a sitting duck in these parts and Ellen was nervous.  Clark fearlessly journeyed on to a small strip of marshland barely above the water table disguised as highway 90.  Then the rain started.  This time for real.  And then the wind., enough to pull off the road before it happened accidentally. "Are we in Mississippi yet?" was the question from the back.  It cleared enough to continue on but what's that just ahead of us?  Oh! It's the pick up truck that just about drove off the drawbridge!  He skidded to a stop just in time! The police were called to this near tragedy and there we sat.  Finally,  we got to cross the bridge. Guess what, we didn't fit! Not with that other oncoming truck anyway!  We both stopped, mid-bridge.  Can't back up, both had a line of cars behind us.  Clark inched forward with his eyes closed waiting for the inevitable sound of metal on metal.  We actually passed without incident, other than Clark needed to go change his pants.  YUCK!

We drove for miles and miles in Katrina ground zero.  There were acres and acres of land for sale where there used to be unique custom homes.  All that's left are the posts from the docks and homes.  Some are rebuilt, but most of them have just left.  "Are we in Mississippi?"  "Not yet."

"Are we in Mississippi now?"  "Yes."  "When can we stop?  I need to buy my keyring."  As we continued on down 90 or along Long Beach, the devastation continued.  Many places were vacant and for sale.  It was Saturday and not a soul on the beach.  Odd really, as it was a nice warm day.  The one lane construction made for white knuckle driving again.  "When are we going to stop?" 

We drove along the beaches and ran into traffic making for another delay along the way.  We weren't making as good time as we thought we would.  We found Katrina's wrath was wide spread and still had her presence known.  Many of the homes that were rebuilt are now left without insurance, as the insurance companies have just informed them they won't be renewing policies.

We stopped to get gas and a keyring.  The only gas station in the US that doesn't have any key rings for sale.  We continued on.  "We are still in Mississippi aren't we?"  Clark finally slammed on the brakes and pulled the bus into a bus stop in front of the Hard Rock Casino in Biloxi, ordered the women out, not to return with out a key ring!  The only keyring for sale was a mini-crock.  I told her we could write MISSISSIPPI on it.  That satisfied her and off we went to Alabama.  We choose to make up some time and hopped on 10 and stopped at the first exit and truck stop we found.  Plenty of key rings!
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