December 25, 2015

Natchez, MS and Vidalia, LA

Natchez and Vidalia are small cities located on opposite sides of the Mississippi in Mississippi, the other in Louisiana. We are presently camped at River View RV Park in Vidalia, LA. As the name implies, there is certainly a good view of the great river; we are within a stone's throw of the west riverbank.

The drive down the second half of the Natchez Trace, from Tupelo to Natchez, was beautiful. There was very sparse traffic, and no transport trucks or commercial vehicles. The cruise control was set for 50 mph.

Lunchtime on The Trace, with the intrepid Navigator

The weather was sunny, and the seemingly endless vista of forest, rolling hills and pastures was truly good for the soul. This was on Christmas Eve, and we were far from the throngs of people doing last-minute shopping and jockeying for parking spots at the suburban malls.

About to cross the Mississippi River to Vidalia

River View RV Park

Every 20 minutes or so, we see a "barge train" pass by on the river. These can have up to 15 barges, pushed by a huge tugboat. The whole thing moves quite slowly, accompanied by the low rumble of massive diesel engines. I was curious, so I looked up some statistics. A typical barge train carries the equivalent of 216 railcars, or 1050 transport trucks. It is the cheapest and safest method of transport for bulk commodities.

Tugboat pushing the barges
The lower Mississippi River stretches over 1000 miles from Cairo, Illinois to the Gulf of Mexico at New Orleans. There are no locks for this entire distance, and the elevation change over 1000 miles is only 315 feet!
This entire region is steeped in tradition, and the mighty river has shaped towns, cities and lives for generations. Natchez is the oldest settlement on the river, and it is fascinating to visit, and immerse oneself in some of this history.

We leave tomorrow, and head southwest through Alexandria, LA down to I-10, and we will stay overnight at Turtle Bayou RV Park in Texas, just east of Houston. We will pass through Houston early Sunday morning, on route to our destination for four days, Top of the Hill RV Resort in Boerne, TX (pronounced "Bernie").

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