Saturday, May 28, 2022

2022-4 Johnny Cash's Boyhood Home, Historic Dyess Colony



Historic Dyess Colony
Johnny Cash’s Boyhood Home

Campground: Delta Fairgrounds, Kennett Missouri. $20 full hookups 50 amp. $300 for monthly stays, electric included. Directly across from Walmart, Dollar Tree, shops.

Delta Fairgrounds, Kennett Missouri.

After leaving my last C.O.E. campgrounds in Mississippi, I traveled through the corners of Tennessee, Arkansas and Missouri. Only taking a couple of hours to accomplish all that driving. But I’m going to share information about the Dyess Colony and Johnny Cash’s boyhood home.

Late planting season in Arkansas
lots of rain this spring

This seasons travels are once again, concentrating on the smaller venues and attractions, avoiding the larger national parks and crowds. Covid, still being a concern, but a bit less so since I have been vaccinated 4 times. Still, just a day or two ago, reports of a mother and her son in our Shelter Cove Florida community getting Covid and needing to go into the hospital are enough to remind me, that precautions still need to be taken.

Historic Dyess Colony
Johnny Cash’s Boyhood Home

The administration building where taxes
and payments were made after the crops were harvested
Now a museum on the history of the town and Johnny Cash
Very good exhibits

shops and stores once lined the circular town center

the Theatre is now part of the visitor center

The Dyess Colony is situated on 16,000 acres of wetlands. The land was drained and the cypress trees were cut down, 4 sawmills were set up on site. The lumber was then used to construct 500 modest homes each on at least 20 acres. Two worthy families from each county in Arkansas were selected to move into the new homes and farm the land. All as a part of Franklin Delanor Roosevelt’s New Deal during the great depression.

It quickly became apparent that the 20 acre plots were barely enough to grow food for each family. John Cash’s family consisted of 9 people in the two bedroom house. Eventually after paying off the house and land, some farmers moved on, and others who could afford it, would purchase their 20 acres to enable them plant enough crops to actually make a living.

The experiment did help many families, but the size being half what would be normal to help a family out of poverty was a decision the Government made since prices of crops was so low, the Government was actually paying farmers not to plant crops. So by reducing the size of the farms, it insured that the market would not be glutted with too much wheat, corn, cotton, etc.

Now what brought me here of course was to see the home that Johnny Cash grew up in from age 3 until his graduation at 18. He did sing in church and his mother played a piano, but he did not get a guitar until he joined the air-force and was stationed in Germany. Learning to play the guitar hoping one day to be able to sing on the radio.

The two bedroom home has been beautifully restored. Cash’s mother never painted the walls, so during restoration, at least 6 to 9 layers of paint was stripped to bring it back to the way it would have been when the Cash family first moved in. Original linoleum flooring, some furniture include a side table that Johnny built in school. During his time in school, they built furniture, not just simple things like a bread board.

Johnny Cash built this in highschool

two people/kids to each bed

smoke house and small barn

His song writing included so much material from his time growing up on the small farm in Arkansas. When Johnny Cash made his first record at Sun Records in Memphis, Hey Porter and Cry, Cry, Cry. They were a modest success. Followed up by Folsom Prison Blues and I Walk the line. Both becoming number 1 hits. His first check that he received was for over $2,000 and was what his father earned working the farm for a full year.

To be in the small community, current population around 390, to visit the small town center, read the descriptions of life back then. And of course, take a small tour bus out to the home where Johnny grew up was a pretty darn good day. To my way of thinking.

More Pictures:

Johnny Cash boyhoodHome  73 photos

Thursday, May 19, 2022

2022-3 Poverty Point, Louisiana



Traveling the Gulf Coast Route

Poverty Point World Heritage Site

Poverty Point, World Heritage Site
along the Mississippi River


Campground: Poverty Point Reservoir State Park. $16.50 half off price, electric and water. Nice shaded site back-in, Paved pad. Note pull-thru sites do not have much shade at all.

Campgounds:  others listed on my FB pages

I’m posting many updates on my FB page as I can provide more immediate photos and notes as they occur. But this place, Poverty Point in Louisiana has been on my bucket list for a number of years and felt it deserved a full report.

Biloxi Mississippi 

Pasgagola Mississippi


Fort Morgan

Gulf Shores State Park, miles of bike paths

Gulf Shores Alabama

I’ve been traveling along the Gulf Coast through the panhandle of Florida, Alabama and Mississippi.


Wondering if the price of fuel and campgrounds would become overwhelming. After not quite a month on the road I’ve been pleasantly surprised by these numbers.

Average Daily cost based on 22 days out:

Diesel Fuel: $19.00 per day average

Campground fees: $18.30 per day average

That’s not bad at all. I’m trying to stay at campgrounds for 3 or 4 days but that will most likely change as I continue my journey. And I’ll keep you apprised of the changes in costs as I travel this summer.

I have not done hardly any boondocking, as the summer heat as already kicked into the 90’s. Not bad during the morning hours, but would rather have electric hookups by mid afternoon and settling in for the evening.

POVERTY POINT a World Heritage Site

So, a note on travel.  My plan was to get to Natchez Mississippi and then take the Natchez Trace Trail. But as a traveler, I'm able to change plans pretty quickly.  And after looking at my trusty National Geographic Road Atlas, Explorer Edition, I noticed off to the side Poverty Point, just over Mississippi River in Louisiana.  I had to take a detour and here I am.

a 2 mile path leading around to the mounds and
6 crescent shaped ridges  

First off the location is named after the most recent farmer/land owners. The land is a mix of clay and dirt, not ideal for farming. Much of the site had been farmed and a much of the 6 ridges which were originally only a few feet to 5 feet in height. They have since been worn down through age and those farming activities. The site was first discovered via a fly over, which showed clearly the 6 large crescent shaped ridges or C shape design. The broad flat ridge tops would have been used for staging their dwellings, cooking and daily activities. A number of mounds were also created. This is the largest earth works design in the New World by Hunter Gatherers as early as 1650 B.C. That’s over 3,500 years ago. Hunter Gatherers did not farm or plant. Existing on hunting and fishing as well as gathering nuts and berries and such in nature.

the ridges are defined by not mowing the grass over them

largest mound A
in the shape of a bird effigy

great to be able to use Little Zippy
to travel between sites as it was getting in the 90's

The plaza at the center of the C shaped ridges covers 43 acres. 40 circles and arcs made of poles that were approx. 2 ft in diameter and buried as much as 9 ft deep. Could they have been the skeleton of large huts. No evidence is available to make that assertion.

The site, imagine over 3,000 years in the past, was most likely a major site for trade as evidence of products and materials for as far away as the Mid-West, northern Michigan and as far east as the Appalachian Mountains.

Thousands of perfectly formed spear tips have been recovered from the area as well as small ornaments and beads.

one of the many circle sites
the tree posts would have been at deep as 9 feet
indicating they were probably very tall above ground

I’ve traveled throughout the U.S. over many years and have seen numerous Indian Mounds mostly east of the Mississippi River. From south Florida on up through the Mid-West. The extent of the Native Indian population across the United States was so large, it is almost impossible to imagine.

What an education to learn more about the history of this country and land.

More Photos:

Poverty Point

Pascagoula Mississippi

Fort Morgan Alabama

Old Rusted Out Trucks, along the Forgotten Coast Fl