Monday, February 28, 2005

05-03 Biloxi Mississippi to Natchez Miss

The Roving Reporter
Week 3 of 52
Biloxi Mississippi
And Natchez Miss.

It was a short drive from Pensacola to Biloxi, going through Alabama and into Mississippi was 159 miles. I’m now at Keesler AFB Fam-Camp which has easy access since it is actually off base. $15 a night full hook-up. No hassle getting into the place. Nice concrete pads for the camper and patio area. I have a pull thru which we dearly love. I’ll be here for 3 days, just to check out the area.

Traveling the back roads through Alabama was pleasant. Much agricultural land and I noted quite a few pecan trees. I try to avoid the major highways except when there’s no better way to get from point A to point B. If you haven’t traveled the back roads lately, give it a try. You’ll get to your destination more relaxed and may discover some neat small towns along the way. I heard that the interstate system is less than 20% of the highways in the US, but they carry something like 80% of the traffic. Get a clue, use the secondary roads….

Biloxi is right on the Gulf with a number of casino’s of course as the main attraction. I stopped into the welcome center crossing into Miss. And was disappointed to see “White Supremacy” and a swastika sign printed in bold black marker pen on the bathroom wall. I talked to one of the greeters about this and he said it happens about once a month. They try to remove it as soon as possible. He said it’s not pleasant for the black attendants who have to clean it up. Needless to say, it did not give me a good feeling traveling into the state.

History: The Jefferson Davis Home, Beauvoir” and Presidential Library. Biloxi was the home of Jefferson Davis for the last 10 years of his life. The library and home provide a backdrop for learning more about the 1st and only Confederate President who fought for states rights to determine their own course. Not to mention slavery… which is not mentioned in the presentations. But I did get a better understanding of the struggle our country went through. The huge quotes on the walls of the presidential library all concede the errors and conciliation that had to be made to reunite our country.

Gambling: Well I’m not a gambler. Just hate to part with my hard earned money. But I did have fun without spending much money. They have slot machines for as little as 1 cent and 5 cents. So you can play for a long time without going through much money. And if you ask around, you can get some great deals on the casino buffets. I went to Treasure Bay Casino and Boomtown Casino. Boomtown has Breakfast or Lunch buffets on Monday and Wednesday for $4.65 for seniors over 50. That’s half off the regular price.
I wish I was staying longer to enjoy some of the entertainment that goes on in the casino’s theatres. Whoopi Goldberg will hear this coming weekend. Many singers and comedians are scheduled each week.

I really like the fam-camp I’m staying at. It’s close to everything, well laid out and I have a great campsite.

Natchez Miss. I made it to Natchez Miss. in record time. The approx. 226 miles from Biloxi to Natchez only took about 4 and a half hours. Which also reduced my MPG going along at 65 mpg through some beautifully rolling hills. I foolishly took route 13 for a way, thinking it would be good shortcut. Unfortunately, it was a narrow winding road with many lumber trucks halls ass on the road. Yikees, you don’t want to be towing a 29ft camper along a road with all those trucks coming at you. Even though it was a pretty drive overall. I am averaging about 9.3 to 9.6 mpg.

Well the beginning of my trip into Mississippi may have had some questionable merit towards my African American friends, but Natchez sure made up for it. Natchez has no fewer than 20 historical churches, houses, museums, art galleries etc devoted to give each person a hands-on experience of the life of the black slave through their present day achievements.

One story is of a black slave, William Johnson who was freed by his master also named William Johnson and became successful in town. After acquiring a number of businesses, he and his wife purchased a number of slaves themselves to help run his many enterprises. A freed slave becoming a slave owner, odd but true. You’ll have to come to Natchez to learn the rest of the story. Of course Natchez is also known for their 50 antebellum homes and historic churches. I took a tour of over 500 photo’s being displayed at the First Presbyterian Church. What a great way to get a feeling of the town during it’s heyday.

I’ve decided to spend a few more days in Natchez before heading up the Natchez Trace Trail through Mississippi. This will give me time to explore the town more, visit a number of the antebellum homes, Stanton Hall, Longwood, as well as visiting the Indian mounds and learning more about the Chickasaw, Choctaw and Natchez Indians.

Natchez is definitely a place I would come back to visit. Especially after having lunch at Mammy’s Cupboard. (see pic of black Mammy restraunt) Everything is homemade from the chicken pot pie, 7 layer salad, cornbread and deserts that take all morning to make and only a few minutes to eat. Yum!

I head up the Natchez Trace trail on Saturday.

Couple of notes. Poor reception on cell phone, Verizon, so I don’t have access to the internet or e-mail unless I go into town and use the public library. Found a great place to get an oil/filter change, $24.00. The state park has a place for the washer and dryer, but alas, they don’t have them installed, so will have to do my laundry in town somewhere. Oh, I just got my “national local” channels for Direct TV. When I informed them of my new address, I was no longer allowed to have local stations from Orlando. If I hadn’t informed them of my new address, I could have retained the Orlando stations. Now I have about 8 stations from NY and LA as my “local” stations. It’s costing me a couple more dollars, but I now have full national coverage.

Have a super great day,

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