This weekend was one of the more memorable weekends of recent history. I’d have to say it comes in a close second to my week in England back in January, so it’s a comparable way to end the year, though we still have a few weeks left in 2008.
India and I went on a road trip to Vicksburg, Mississippi. For those of you left scratching your head, wondering what might be so special about visiting Vicksburg, Mississippi of all places, it was an educational trip. Since India isn’t from the US, I thought she might like to be enlightened regarding some US history. Vicksburg was the last stronghold of the Confederate Army on the Mississippi River which saw a battle that lasted several days. There lies a US Military Park, which was the focus of our excursion.
So we left a very rainy, dreary New Orleans behind at noon on Friday. It took us a tidy 3 hours to get to the Jackson area, which is half an hour from Vicksburg. On our way north, we stopped at the Welcome Centre for the State of Mississippi and grabbed a hotel coupon book. As we continued toward Jackson, we settled on a hotel stay closer to Jackson which was cheaper than the one I’d found actually in Vicksburg. We arrived in the afternoon and got settled into our room, then ventured out to find the local Wal-Mart. It didn’t take us long, using a combination of my pseudo-map reading skills (the map was fake-ish, not my ability to read them) and having a nose for Wal-Marts. We did a little shopping, then went back to the hotel and ordered pizza for dinner.
Saturday we oozed out of bed around 8 and after a ginormous breakfast at Waffle House and a huge faux pas while driving to said Waffle House, we set out for the whole half hour drive over to Vicksburg. I always find the price of visiting National Parks to be very reasonable. It cost us $8 to get in. Both of us together, not each. We wandered around the visitor center and watched a short video on what actually happened in Vicksburg during the Civil War. Then, we rented a way cool nifty GPS device for $10 which gave audio/video information as we drove the long loop around the park. It was quite useful as we didn’t have to do anything to prompt it for info, just drive along and stop when it ‘spoke’.
The whole tour took about 4 hours with all the stopping we did. The tour can be roughly divided between the Union and Confederate sides. It begins on the Union side and when you’re in the northern part of the park, you can stop and visit the U.S.S. Cairo (pronounced Kay-roh) museum as well as take a short drive through the Vicksburg National Cemetery. Then you begin the second half of the tour, travelling down the Confederate side of the park. At one point we stopped at this beautiful monument to the men and boys from Tennessee who lost their lives during this battle and there was a small loop around the monument. I drove around it to get a better view of it (that is, without the sun smack in my face) and stopped. As I grabbed my camera to take a photo, I noticed some movement to the right of the car and looked over to find a real live turkey wandering by. “Oh my god it’s a real live turkey!” I said, excitedly. “I’ve never seen a live one!” It was rather remarkable in its simplicity, but as I sat gawking like a fool, it wandered right into the brush. *rolls eyes* So then I jump out the car to stalk the poor bird, thinking I’m going to be able to get a shot of it in the brush. I walked over to where it had been and no bird. The thing just vanished completely. So much for a fresh Thanksgiving meal…
After finishing our grand tour, we hightailed it back to the hotel where we popped next door for a bite to eat. We were both starving by that time as we’d not had anything to eat since breakfast. If I were to ask for any changes at any National Parks, it would be that they have vending machines for snacks at least. We had dinner at Applebee’s then went back to Wal-Mart to take advantage of the cheap gas.
With a full tank of gas and a few items for breakfast on Sunday, we returned to the hotel where we lounged around for about an hour before going to the cinema to see the latest 007 film Quantum of Solace. It was not even 1/4 of a mile from the hotel, tucked back away from the road, so we saw it only when we’d left in the morning on our way to Vicksburg. I must say the film was excellent and I loved the opening song.
Since this post is already quite long, I will save Sunday’s return home for a post unto itself as it was a full day of both driving and sightseeing.