Saturday, October 22, 2011

2011-32 Missouri to Mississippi


Arkabutla Lake Resevoir
Union city



Mount Olive

Campground:  Union City Rv Park.  Passport America Rate: $15, Regularly $20 so they are not giving the expected half/off rate.  It is a simple new campground, clean white gravel sites  with  darker gravel to indicated each site clearly.  It sits behind a small shop off the main road leading into town.  Full Hookups and good free wi-fi.

Campground:  Arkabutla Lake Reservoir (Army Corp Campground).  $10, senior rate. Reg. $18-$20.  Elect/Water, paved pads, large picnic tables and grills.  Lots of shade trees.  20 over air TV stations, minimal cell phone coverage.

Campground:  Dry Creek Water Park (Mt Olive).  $9.10 Passport America rate.  Full hookups.  Beautiful open forested setting, very quiet.  25 HD over-air TV stations.  3G service available, no cell signal.  Good lake fishing.

I’ve left St Louis.  They were expecting a couple of days of lousy weather and even though I didn’t really feel all that up to moving on, I knew I’d feel better on the road.  With a slightly queasy stomach I headed out around 9:30.

The further I got from the epicenter of the dreaded “bug” the better I felt.

The flat cotton fields on the eastern boarder of Missouri were waiting to be picked, leaving the fields looking like snow covered fields on an overcast day.

Since I wasn’t in much of an exploring mood, I missed stopping in New Madrid and a visit to the earthquake museum.  It’s the epicenter of the New Madrid Fault Line.  The Mid-West has a fault line that apparently has a major earthquake about every 200-300 years.  The last ones  being in 1699 and 1811-12. The largest being in the 8.0 range.  My niece Kim said they have felt small earthquakes in St Louis, but they are not worried about it at all.

While traveling through the Madrid area I noticed that a number of the highway overpasses have been retrofitted with heavy cables connecting the horizontal concrete structures to the side walls.  Otherwise, many of the overpasses will most likely slide off their bases, blocking all traffic during the next big one.  A Missouri PBS station  had quite an interesting piece on the Madrid Fault and the locals in that area are very much aware and preparing for what a large earthquake in the area would mean.  200 “events” occur each year in this area.  Averaging 20 a month.  Imagine.  That’s a lot of earth rumblings.

Food Note:  After feeling much better this morning, I went out looking for a quick breakfast.  Found Hardees.  They have a great breakfast special, biscuits & sausage gravy, tater tots, egg and bacon for $2.99.  Wow.  And some really great coffee.  Just what I needed to get back to normal.

Tunica's Museum

I’m in Tunica which is a small rural town in Mississippi.  It’s about 30 minutes south of Memphis Tn.  Around 1990 Tunica was the first county to approve gambling along the Mississippi river.  The area went from about 26% unemployment and being a cotton growing community, to having 4% unemployment after $4 billion dollars of casino investments in the area.

As I drive into town from the my campsite at the reservoir, I pass huge combine type farm machinery on the rural roads.  Huge tires easily 10ft high and each as wide as a car.  I have to straddle the edge of the road as the machines pass, half on, half off the roadway.

The flat rich delta soil is still farmed in cotton and soybeans and the casinos huddle next to the Mississippi.   like giant colorful painted cardboard boxes made to look like castles and fanciful imaginary cities.  Most of the fields have been plowed under for the next seasons crops and butt up against the new highways and casinos.  There hasn’t been enough time to build subdivisions and huge malls or strip shopping centers as of yet.  Not sure they ever will be built.

I had planned on traveling along the river highway, which isn’t exactly along the river but close enough I guess, since the Mississippi is known to flood quite often.  But, as a good Rv-er, I changed my mind and drove down hwy 55 through the heart of Mississippi, through the state capital Jackson and even saw a big new Nissan plant on the outskirts.  Lots of thick forests along hwy 55, but almost no services off of any of the turn-offs.  It was a pretty boring drive all in all especially since I rarely drive on major highways.

I arrived at my next destination of Mount Olive, mainly to stay at a Passport America park as it is on my way as I head back to Florida.  What a fun find.  This is after a windy drive along a road just about as wide as the truck and camper.  Had to pass one truck but all went smoothly as I crept along.  I planned on staying just two days but will extend an extra day because it’s such a nice place.  Dry Creek Water Park is a pretty State owned campground with a lake for fishing and picnicking.  It’s referred to as a “water park” because it is a watershed area with a small earthen dam.  The park itself could be flooded if need be to protect land downstream.

Picked a large bag full of pinecones for a craft project later on and enjoying this simple super quiet park, the big pine trees, small lake and perfect 77 degree sunny weather.

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