|Even then Kermit was only
Sesame Street's roving reporter but his popularity grew and he took the
staring role on The Muppet Show, made five feature films and even hosted
| King Live and The
Tonight Show, was Grand Marshall in the 1996 Tournament of
Roses parade and was there for the presidential inauguration
celebration of Bill Clinton. All from a humble beginning
|At Greenville we turned south on Hwy 1 in the direction of Vicksburg.
As we checked into accommodations we asked, "Where can we get the
best catfish?" and without hesitation Michelle said, "The Lucky
Fisherman" and started giving directions.
||From the outside The Lucky Fisherman is not a pretty place and is plunk
in the middle of factories lining the highway. Their customers are
the factory workers and other locals. We were a novelty ...
especially "y'all bein' such a long way from home". Wooden
rectangle tables and wooden benches with backs furnished the open space
and simple down home plastic tumblers to hold sweet ice tea or plain ice
tea (served with a couple of packets of Sweet & Low) and plastic
plates and bowls - many supporting chips.
| We had three ladies of
varying ages dotting on us saying "y'all must have some of this"
and "the way we make this is ..." and "here's how you peel
a shrimp" and "this is called 'tarter sauce'". Their
hospitality was genuine and they each kept checking back to see how we
were getting on.
|| The buffet was plentiful and we were trying to
select some of the local specialties. We passed on the macaroni and
cheese so they brought us two full dessert bowls " 'cause it's a
favourite with folks". Indeed, we noticed that the locals took
heaping spoonfuls of it to go along with their other smaller
selections. Between us we tasted (along with the macaroni and
cheese): turnip greens, fried okra, deep fried oysters, catfish (yum!),
butter beans, grilled quail, potato log, fried shrimp, corn on the cob,
bar-b-que rib tip, boiled shrimp (only one - too spicy) coleslaw, corn
bread and finished with lemon ice box pie.
|With very full tummies we parked the car in front of our motel room and
took a constitutional.
November 5, 2003
The Vicksburg Visitor Centre was our first stop and presented the first
good look at the Mississippi. The Visitor Centre itself was photographic
with antique appointed parlors and a wide columned porch overlooking the
river complete with reed seated rocking chairs.
||The next hour we spent on a scenic self-drive through Historic
Vicksburg guided by a map indicating attractions to view along the route -
such as the site where
Coca-Cola was first bottled in 1894 and the Old Court House where, during
the Civil War while the city was under siege, Union prisoners were housed
and after Vicksburg fell the site where General Grant raised the US flag and reviewed
| Many of the old mansions are now serving as bed and
||Driving south on Hwy 61 about midway between Vicksburg and Natchez, we
pulled into Port Gibson, the town General Grant said was "too
to burn". We drove into the commercial area and took a picture
of the domed Claiborne County Court House then went in search of the
"beautiful" part. Not accomplishing our task, we went back
out to the highway and turned south again. That's when we had an
opportunity to understand the "beautiful". Mounding up
gracefully on both sides were southern mansions of various sizes, well
kept on manicured lawns.
||When the highway reach the Natchez-Trace Parkway that runs diagonally
across the state, we turned onto it and began a most pleasant and peaceful
drive along sun dappled roadways floating under arched canopies of trees
- some shawled in hanging moss; trimmed grass roadsides flowing to open
floored forests, dried mudded creek beds, snake fenced fields and inviting
|First stop in Natchez was the Visitor Welcome Centre where we made
|| Shortly afterwards we were sitting in a surrey with
a fringe on top (makes you want to break in song doesn't it?) and to the
clip-clop sound of horse's hoofs we rode through the old section of
Natchez while listening to our driver's slow southern
drawl. One n-ice th-ing abawt ta s-aw-th-er-n
dr-awl is that thay tawk so slow y'all have t-i-me ta fig-ure - owt wh-awt
it is thar say-in.
||The most impressive house is named "Stanton
Hall". The property is substantially smaller than its original
size but even now it occupies an entire block. The two story
structure boasts a 70 foot long central hallway that run through the house
to assist with ventilation. Three other rooms with, 16.5 foot high
ceilings, complete the main floor. Our driver informed us that when
it was built in 1857 no money was spared to build it in the grandest
manner and the total costs reached $85,000. During it's
lifetime it fell under neglect and much of the estate lands subdivided.
It was purchased about 1938 for a cost
of $16,000, when few
people had jobs, let alone monies, to spend on ruined mansions.
| It has taken a great deal more than that to refurbish it
to its original grandeur. The impressive trees surrounding this
exceptional mansion are century old live oak trees.
||Thinking we would move on to Louisiana, we crossed the Mississippi
(those who want to break into a rendition of "Ol' Man River" can
go ahead) and went to the Louisiana Welcome Centre. Armed with
brochures and recommendations, we returned across the river to Natchez
Mississippi to spend the night.
Natchez would mark the southern most point on this trip.
November 6, 2003
Once again we crossed over the Mississippi (this time to the tune of
"it's a treat to beat your feet on the Mississippi mud"). At
the tiny town of Archie, we turned north. Just a tiny bit
further we went through Jena with a sign saying "Welcome to Jena ~ a
place to call home". We didn't 'cause that would be silly ...
when the phone rang no one would be there to answer it.
Along the way we passed convicts in white pant with wide black strips,
working on the roadside.
We paused at Winnfield, the home of colourful Governor Earl K Long who,
along with his family have long been famous (or is that infamous) in Louisiana
and Washington DC and was the subject of the 1989 Disney movie
"Blaze" starring Paul Newman as Governor Earl Long and Lolita
Davidovich who portrayed his girlfriend and stripper, Blaze Starr.
|Taking country roads, we worked our way up to Junction City and crossed
into Arkansas. We had planned to stay at the Comfort Inn on the
outskirts of El Dorado, but when we asked directions at the Hampton Inn
they pointed to a bare lot across the street then encouraged us to stay
with them - offering an attractive room, at an attractive price.
Very nice with warm hospitality.
November 7, 2003
First time Terry had biscuits and gravy for breakfast. We did a
driving tour through town. It looked like many of the other US towns
we have driven through - impressive government buildings, large churches
and lots of them, and newly revitalized downtown boutique shopping streets
~ an attempt to claim back some business from Wal-Mart and attract tourist
The weather has turned cooler and giving us light showers. Terry
has changed, from wearing shorts, back into jeans and Sherrie has replaced
sandals with socks and hiking boots. But it is not as cold as the
freezing temperatures being reported back home.
Showers turned to heavy rain as we drove towards Magnolia. At one
point we drove through a strip of land about 300 meters wide that appeared
like a tornado had passed through flattening trees and causing severe
damage to a trailer court in which some homes seemed to have simply been
Texarkana straddles the Arkansas-Texas border. Still raining we
took the most direct route to Dallas and secured accommodations on the east
side on a peninsula in Lake Ray Hubbard.
For dinner we went to the Saltgrass Steak House ~ hey! we're in
Texas! We noticed a sign on the wall that said
accordance with local alcoholic beverage laws, it is required that all
guests join our private club in order to be served alcoholic
beverages. To enroll you as a new member, your server is required to
take your drivers license and scan it into our membership tracking
system. We apologize for any inconvenience and hope you enjoy your
visit to Saltgrass."
| Some counties in Texas are "dry"
and the restaurants use the "private club" membership to get
around the liquor laws. Some memberships cost one or two dollars and
some area restaurants have banned together to create "one
club" membership that will cover numerous establishments.
Our waitress sent us home with two complimentary small loaves of
Saltgrass beer bread and two containers of their honey-butter.