Monday, March 5, 2018

Mississippi - Hattiesburg


While we were sad to leave New Orleans we were excited for this next leg of our trip. We are working our way to Dallas, TX for our great-nephews wedding. So, on February 6, 2018 we headed across Lake Pontchartrain to Hattiesburg, MS. 

We stayed at the Okatoma RV Resort just northwest of town.
This goose had no intention of moving ~
the bridge across the lake was very handy
It is a very pretty campground, most of the sites surround the lake and are all back ins, with a few pull-thrus off of the lake for overnighters. Our site was a little un-level but had full hook-ups. The laundry room and bathrooms were clean. There is no WiFi but our Verizon signal was strong. We paid $20.00 a night with our Good Sam discount.

There are two other ponds on the property that are home to a number of ducks and geese.
Morning dog walks were so pretty and peaceful.

Unfortunately it rained all most every day we were here which meant no hiking, but we did find lots of Roadside Oddities on one of the clear days.

In Florence there is a Giant Cross outside of Berry's Catfish House and a large Watermelon sits in the parking lot of a shoe store in Seminary, that was once a fruit market. Sticking with the giant theme we found a Large Totem Pole in Mendenhal.

On the campus of the University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg there is a lovely Medicine Wheel Garden. This time of year there is not much in bloom but the beauty of the garden is evident.

The "spokes" are carved with native drawings and the rocks that hug the garden are painted with significant dates and Indian Tribe names.

Each section of the wheel is planted with medicinal herbs and flowers, with each one labeled.
 In the bend of each spoke is a sign with a quote painted on them.

Being the coffee lovers that we are we had to make a trip to Hot Coffee, MS.

Don't be playing any loud or vulgar
music while you are there. 
The only thing here is McDonald's General Store or as they refer to themselves a Mini Mall. The store has everything from nails to fancy dress hats so the name is correct. No hamburgers or fries but there is deli and a free cup of coffee.

The original general store which is now abandoned is just down the road.

In Foxworth we found the Grand Canyon of Mississippi. To locals it is known as the Red Bluffs and has been created by erosion from the west bank of the Pearl River. It is the original portion of Hwy 587 and it has collapsed so many times that it was finally moved to its current location a mile and a half away.

What a beautiful sight for something so destructive. The gorge is over 150-feet deep, a half-mile wide and over a mile long. Each layer of dirt is a different color, there are yellows, oranges, reds and purples. It really does remind one of the Grand Canyon and the pictures just don't do it justice. There are trails you can use to hike to the bottom.
Mielikki was giving Nancy a heart attack with her exploring.

Also in Foxworth we visited the gravesite of the Oldest Man in the Country. According to his headstone, Sylvester Magee was 130 years old. Of course no one really knows how old he was as he was born a slave. He was believed to be the last surviving American Slave.
It is reported that he served in the Civil War. While there are few records left to support his claim some believe that the detail and clarity of his descriptions would have been impossible for a person who could neither read or write without having experienced it first-hand.

The Greenwood Cemetery is in downtown Jackson, and dates back to the mid 1800's. The first thing we saw was the Hardy's Receiving Vault. In the early 20th century this brick vault was used as a temporary storage for caskets awaiting permanent interment.

The Philip Hilzheim family plot has a beautiful Gothic arched entrance.

A number of the more historical markers have scan codes on them so you can read about the history. We've been in a lot of cemetery's and this is the first time we have seen these - a really good idea.

There were a number of crosses including two metal ones. They were similar in design but not in size.

We found a very well preserved Willow tree, which is hard to come by, and a pointing finger.  According to legend, this dogs little mistress is buried here and he faithfully attended her grave until his own death, at which time her family had this marker made.

We were so surprised to see this bee hive. Definitely the first one we have seen in a cemetery. One can only guess the deceased was a bee keeper.

While this is certainly not our first Woodmen of the World, this was our day for "firsts". We can add a carving of The Last Supper and a Sickle to the list!

A number of angels graced various plots and we found a headless women.

James D Lynch was the first African American to serve as a major state official. He was elected as the Mississippi Secretary of State in 1869. He was also a Methodist Episcopal missionary and minister. His monument has a carving of his face on it.

So many of the small towns we drive through have such interesting buildings. We never know what we are going to find.
In Columbia we came across The Gathering Church, with its rather unusual window display of white dresses - showing purity. The Coca-Cola building made us think of our friend Bill Davis and of course we had to get a picture of Kat's Grocery - unfortunately the business didn't make it.
Today's Courthouses and Capitol buildings just can't hold a candle to the old ones.
Top row: Jackson, left is the Old Capitol Building and right is the New Capital Building. Bottom row: Left, Columbia Courthouse; right, Mendenhal Courthouse.

Next up Vadalia, LA. Hoping for a little less rain.

Till we meet again...

Happy Trails to You.

Tips and things we have learned along the way.
~ Watch out for fire ants, they are nasty little things.

Most of the time you can see the mound of dirt from their home and can step around it, but sometimes there is no mound and because they are little they can be hard to see.
It is especially important to check anywhere you may be standing still, even for just a few minutes. Even the least bit of disturbance can get them moving and biting.

Both of us have been bitten in the last few weeks.
Nancy stepped on an ant hill while hiking down a slope and there was no where else to put her foot. Les got bit while hooking up our water hose.
His were much worse as he received more bites and because of the neuropathy in his feet he didn't feel them.

Things to do:
~ If you do step on an ant hill - move quickly away from it and remove your shoes and socks immediately. They bite very fast. Make sure there are none on your feet checking between your toes, then check your shoes and socks closely - remember they are very tiny.
~ Clean the area as soon as possible. Soap and water are always a good first step. Rubbing alcohol or witch hazel are also recommended.
~ Applying ice can help to reduce the pain and swelling. Ice on for 20 minutes then off for 20 minutes.
~ Topical treatments such as OTC steroid/hydrocortisone creams and antihistamines can also help with pain and itching.
~ Of course you should never scratch but let's be real sometimes you can't help it. Putting a gauze pad or band-aid on after applying the cream not only helps to stop you from scratching, it can also help to increase the absorption of the cream.
~ There will be swelling, redness and blistering. If the swelling is bad raise your feet. If the area becomes infected or you show any signs of severe allergic reaction seek medical attention right away.
~ If you have pets check them closely. Mielikki has had them on her more than once. Not good for her plus she is bringing them into the house.

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