Thursday, 11 August 2005.
Weatherford, TX to Vicksburg, Mississippi.
The trip to
Vicksburg was HOT
and muggy. 100° F most of the afternoon
— and while not as long as the day before, the
weather took a lot out of us.
We stayed on I-20 through Ft. Worth and Dallas. The traffic moved
freely even though we were traveling through on the tail-end of the
morning rush. Unfortunately, by staying on I-20, we passed through
to the south of the downtown areas, and Mike later commented that we
hadn't seen any of the famous Dallas skyline. If I had looked more
carefully at my travel plans, I would have realized that we should have
transferred to I-30 through the center cities, then back onto I-20.
Finally (after 230 miles) we left Texas and arrived in northern
Louisiana. Texas may be a wonderful state, but there is just a
little too much of it. Total trip across Texas was about 830 miles.
Northern Louisiana is mostly forested with some farmland, and lots of
rivers, bayous, and lakes. It's a bit boring to just ride through on
the Interstate -- no vistas, mostly just trees.
Mississippi River Bridge (Old US Hwy 80 and Railroad) at Vicksburg,
MS. Behind it (to south) is I-20 bridge.
After we settled in at our motel in Vicksburg (across the street from
the main entrance to the Vicksburg National Military Park), we rode around
the city and had Mississippi farm bred catfish for dinner. Very good. But
the City of Vicksburg was a bit disappointing. I expected more antebellum
survivors. While there were a few fine homes, overall the city had the
appearance of a poor dowager. I guess I should have realized that
much of Vicksburg was destroyed during the Civil War, and that after the
war it continued to have misfortunes as the Mississippi River changed
course and its role as a river port declined.
My image of Vicksburg has always been colored by an experience as a
youth. While in high school, I was a member of the Key Club (a
Kiwanis youth group), and attended a convention in Chicago (my first
substantive solo trip). While there I met a fellow delegate from
Vicksburg, and became quite friendly with him. He was very proud of
his city and its Southern heritage. For a while we corresponded.
But this was still the era of segregation, and I'm afraid I was Yankee
liberal arrogant. Only later did I come to realize how my own home
town (East Aurora, NY) was equally segregated and much more subtly
Tomorrow, we take a ride through the Vicksburg Civil War military park.