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On the road in Mississippi

Leaving Topsail was tough to do, and not just for us. Airstreams slowly cruised the alleyways of the campground but seemed to keep getting "stuck" as they stopped again and again to say goodbye to new friends. One couple said they'd "been leaving" for over an hour but still hadn't managed to get out the exit road.

It was the same for us. Joe, Carol, Bill, and Wendimere came over and between coffee & lemon cake, conversation, and general procrastinating, we managed to turn our planned 10:30 departure into a 12:30 departure. It didn't help that the cold front had come through and cleared the skies at long last, leaving us with a dry and sunny 65 degrees. I could have stayed longer.

Finally we hitched up and hauled out on Rt 98 to the Ft Walton Beach post office. Our remaining mail finally arrived, and it includes a thick package of tourist info on the Ruston area, courtesy of the Mayor's office. I'll have to remember to take into account the mail delays that occur around holidays. The Post Office says Priority takes 3-5 days. Our experience has tended toward five days, especially when going cross-country.

Then we decided to pile on the miles, since it was a clear day and I wanted to have some extra time to stop on Tuesday. No "blue highways" today: it was I-10, I-12, I-55, and here we are in lower Mississippi. Normally I don't comment on the roads, but I have to say that I-55 wins my vote as the most boring Interstate in the US -- and yes, I've driven I-80 through Nebraska. In Louisiana it's also a teeth-rattling experience, although not nearly as bad as I-95 in CT and NY. Our scale for measuring the quality of a road is to count the number of things crashed on the floor in the trailer after towing. I-55 rates a three, whereas I-95 was about a nine.

We're parked behind yet another Cracker Barrel for the night. I swear we could be at any Cracker Barrel in the country and I wouldn't be able to tell the difference. These places are stamped from one mold, inside and out. Emma even knows where the giant checkboard is set up in the store, and of course she led me right to it so she could challenge me at checkers. She's getting too good at it (translation: she beat me like a rug.)

Tomorrow the plan is to drive to the Vicksburg National Military Park and spend a few hours studying history while day-camped in a parking lot, then finish the drive up to Ruston.



Let me know what Vicksburg is like. My grandmother's family lived on Fort Hill. I haven't been there since I was 10 (for my great grandmother's 100 birthday party). Hope the casinos haven't ruined it...

Vicksburg is a wonderful, sacred place. Don't miss the Cairo and the cemetary, 17,000 graves of which over 13,000 are unknown. We towed the Liner through on our way home in 2005.

Rich, if Emma keeps beating you at checkers, maybe it's time for her to learn chess.

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