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  Wanderlust Home and Pet Care

Our road trip will take us on a circuitous route as neither of us have visited New Orleans, Louisiana (NOLA) and other places of interest along the way.

Dec 7th   The end of our first day found us in Amarillo, TX.  I didn't have any plans for sightseeing so we drove to McKinney, TX (Just North of Dallas). Our old friend Gary Rollins moved back to this area after spending time in Colorado and New Mexico. Gary rented our ground floor apartment that we had in Edwards, Colo. He was a policeman for the town of Vail.

McKinney TX is the county seat and in the 1800's was and still is the center of the TX cotton industry. As we drove into the area, the fields were still full of cotton waiting to be harvested.   We also saw huge bales of cotton the size of a 20’ sea container.  We had dinner with Gary and his new wife Gigi, in historic downtown. Our walk around the square was delightful and all lit up for Christmas. It was so good to see Gary again and meet his wife.

Dec 9th We arrived in Vicksburg, MS early enough that we could walk the historical downtown before dinner. Vicksburg was the final Union nail in the Confederate coffin. Control of the Mississippi River and the rail lines to the cities along the river was paramount for winning the war by preventing the Confederates from supplying their armies. Our purpose for visiting Vicksburg was to see the Vicksburg National Military Park. The 16 mile drive through the park includes the entire extent of the siege and defensive lines. There are many state monuments maybe not as fancy as the Illinois Memorial pictured in the background of this picture. The park also had the remains of the ironclad USS Cairo which was sunk in 1862. It looked like they used old railroad ties to protect parts of the ship - interesting.

As we left Vicksburg we drove on the Natchez Trace which was the original trail or Trace for the Natchez, Chickasaw and Choctaw Indians. It later became the post road for mail delivery and for the Kaintucks - folks from Ohio who floated down the Mississippi delivering goods on wooden flatboats. The Kaintucks sold their goods and the boat in Natchez or New Orleans and walked back home on the Trace. OMG, I can’t believe they walked. The Trace parkway is 444 miles long. We stopped at the only remaining Inn/Plantation along the Trace started back in 1784.

Dec 10th Natchez, MS. I have always wanted to see the Antebellum Mansions built before the Civil War. The Natchez Pilgrimage company suggested 3 mansions. Longwood mansion had a fascinating history. Building began in 1861 but only the bottom floor of the 6 floor octagonal mansion was fully completed due to the Civil War. The Rosalie mansion, built 1832, and Stanton Hall, built 1857, were lovely mansions but I preferred Longwood and how the Civil War impacted the owners of the home. I visited The Tower Mansion decorated with jewelry for Christmas. I can’t believe they draped costume jewelry over Christmas trees, reindeer, and used them as ornaments.

Four days in New Orleans, LA (NOLA). This was our first time to NOLA. The architecture was so much more than I expected and not limited to a small section of town. What I didn’t realize is that the street names and most of the remaining architecture is Spanish. Spain won the territory in the 7 Years War 1763 and owned it until the 1800 Treaty of San IIdefonso. Of course we all remember Napoleon selling the Louisiana Purchase from history class.

We did the following: Swamp Tour, walked Bourbon street, Steamboat Ride, walked Dauphine Street, Sinners and Saints Tour, walked Burgundy street, street car rides, ate beignets at the famous Cafe Du Monde, walked along the Mississippi River, heard Jazz at a locals bar, Aquarium, Gary had fresh oysters every day, and I had my first crawfish and boudin. We had a wonderful time and look forward to seeing the rest that NOLA has to offer.

Dec 17th Birmingham, AL. We visited the Sloss Furnace National Historic Landmark - in a very cold drizzle. The self-guided tour could have been marked better but we found everything. I’m not mechanically minded but it was amazing to see the overall process.

Dec 18th Mooresburg, TN. The force was with us for this trip (Hint - the star wars movie opened last night). We arrived safe and sound at the farm we house sat in August. I loved the TN. DOT sign - “Drinking while driving leads to the Dark Side”.