Tuesday, 1 January 2013

Vicksburg National Military Park and Beyond

If you are ever RVing in the Vicksburg Mississippi area, do not stay at the Magnolia RV Park. Along with soggy, uneven and narrow lots, is a close, noisy road; an animal hospital with constantly barking dogs and general rundown, unkempt conditions. I think the fresh white magnolia blossoms died and shriveled up quite some time ago! We were attracted to the camp after reading the favourable reviews which have been no doubt submitted by the owners themselves..
Bad Sam Park!!
                                                                  Sad Magnolias photo from Bing

Our exploration of the eight miles through Vicksburg Military National Park was striking. The battle lines of the Union Troops and Confederate soldiers are clearly marked on both sides of the park. The tour road is lined with commemorative plaques, and larger than life-sized busts and sculptures of the important individuals involved in the Campaign for Vicksburg. There are beautiful,huge memorials to the individual states involved in the battles. As we stood overlooking the many approaches and conflict sites,we could barely imagine the conditions of weather, battles, suffering and death that has transpired there. The area is very hilly and the creation of tunnels, trenches and battle lines must have been gruelling. As well as displays of canons along the route, were traces of stockades, batteries and a huge cemetery containing 17,000 Union Soldiers as well as Veterans of the Spanish-American War, World Wars I and II and the Korean Conflict.
                                                                                   -Photos from Bing-

The most fascinating exhibit in the park was the restored "ironclad" U.S.S, Cairo, and museum. These amazing boats helped win the battle with their ability to quietly approah the battlesite along the river and release magnanimous canon fire. The Cairo sank to the bottom of the Yazoo River in 1862 where it stayed until a complex raising and restoration project in the 1960's. The undertaking involved cutting the boat in half as its great weight was beyond all mechanical capabilities of the day. The huge number of artifacts recovered from The Cairo provide insight into Civil War naval life. Observing the heavy wooden decks, protective iron cladding, many canons, huge paddle wheel and gigantic bronze bell on board, make it difficult to imagine these boats were ever able to float.

We headed up to Texas near Dallas where we stayed at a Cabella's for a couple of nights. We did some Christmas shopping and purchased our gift to each other, a SiriusXM satellite radio so we can now enjoy stations that we prefer to listen to. We treated ourselves to a movie at a high end theatre offering lazy boy like reclining chairs, blankets and pillows plus our own beverage and food waitress. We watched "The Hobbit" while our little elf, Dixie, was washed and groomed at 'The Pet Puddle'. Temperatures were in the high 80's our first day there and near freezing the next.

Our crazy shadow

On Thursday December 20. we battled horrible congestion and traffic plus high winds as we headed southwest. We stayed overnight at a highway side rest stop. Sometimes a stop over only requires safety and darkness.

Friday December 21, we reached our holiday destination in New Mexico, Brantley Lake State Park. Our peaceful site looked out over the desert and a small lake. It was a great spot for sunsets too. The park was about one half an hour north of the town of Carlsbad, During our stay we saw songbirds, ducks, deer and a huge jackrabbit.

We spent our Christmas in New Mexico and managed to successfully prepare a traditional turkey dinner. Temperatures were in the high 50's during the day and below freezing at night. Chris found an eight inch icicle on Christmas morning!We were disappointed that our WiFi was too weak to skype our families but that is the way of RV life.

                                                                   Christmas lights in our Motorhome

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