Photo taken near Monument Valley, Utah

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Short Stop in Natchez

At River View RV Park, Natchez, Mississippi...

Eastbound from Nacogdoches, we were successful in outrunning a storm system that was slowly moving its gloomy rain across the southern U. S. Looking at the radar, it was clear that we needed to take a more southerly route due to yet more rain showing up in northern Louisiana. So, we chose to go by way of Alexandria, Louisiana to Natchez, Mississippi. It was a good choice; there was no rain, but a lot of southerly wind flow that usually precedes an approaching weather system from the northwest. 

While I'm on the subject of weather radar, allow me to mention a real find in weather radar apps for your smartphone. Go right now and download RadarScope. It is a little pricey at $9.99, but it is so worth it. This is the same app used by many television stations to display weather on their newscasts, and it reminds me very much of the weather radars we used in airliner cockpits. If you bring it up on your phone and tap the location widget at the bottom left corner of the screen, it will locate you wherever you are in the U. S. and display the closest live radar image. I used this to navigate my way to Natchez, and it works unbelievably well. Here's a photo of my iPhone screen with the app live:

As you can see, it shows my location in Natchez, along with some light rain in the Natchitoches-Ft. Polk area and a small cluster of thundershowers just southwest of New Iberia. The radar being used for the display is at Ft. Polk, Louisiana. Now if this isn't worth $9.99, I don't know what is.

We are very impressed with River View RV Park, which is actually on the Louisiana side of the river, across the bridge from Natchez. It reminds me greatly of the Tom Sawyer park in West Memphis, Arkansas, only nicer. For example, take a look at the long concrete riverwalk that extends the entire length of the park:

Here's a view from the walk; a big tug pushes a long line of barges upriver:

Below is a view of the same tug from the other side of the river in downtown Natchez. (The tug was going very slow against the current, so we had plenty of time to drive over there.)

We had only one full day in Natchez, so we made the best of it by visiting a couple of the grand antebellum mansions that we hadn't seen, beginning with Dunleith:

Built in 1790 and rebuilt in 1855 after a fire, it now hosts overnight guests on its beautiful 40-acre setting near downtown. Magnificent.

We also took a tour of Rosalie mansion, overlooking the Mississippi River downtown:

Here's the view of the river from Rosalie's second floor balcony:

The mansion has a very interesting history that is easily found online, so I won't take up space with recounting it here. Suffice it to say, however, that reading about it is nothing like being there and seeing it in person. We had an excellent docent who made the tour very enjoyable. She was a quintessential southern belle who couldn't even bring herself to utter the words "Civil War." She referred to it as the "War of Northern Aggression." I suppose one can understand that the emotional wounds are still raw--after all, it hasn't even been 200 years since the war ended...

And now, no visit to Natchez would be complete without a couple of foodie reviews, so here we go:

I didn't think we would ever find a doughnut better than a Krispy Kreme, but I think Natchez's Donut Shop has one. This fluffy little circle of goodness has a bit more substance and not so much icing as the KK and, wonder of wonders, it was still warm when it was handed through the window. I would have taken a photo, but the doughnut somehow disappeared before I could pick up the camera. Here is the very modest shop that created it; one would never guess the delights it contained:

And yes, it goes into my list of favorite restaurants found at the beginning of this blog, as does the next one.

Supper (as the evening meal is called here unless you are a Yankee unafraid of gunfire) was at Jughead's Fish Fry and More. This ramshackle little place may have the best value I've ever seen in fried seafood.

You just won't believe this--a seafood platter with boiled shrimp, fried shrimp, catfish, oysters, clams, crab balls, stuffed shrimp, stuffed crab, onion rings, hush puppies, french fries and coleslaw--way more than enough for both us--for (drum roll) $19.95. I kid you not! 

Now I ask you, who is the king of finding great hole-in-the-wall joints? Yes, yes, it is I, my friends, and it's all for you. (Remember, if it's a fact, it ain't bragging!)

We have a longer leg than usual tomorrow to Red Bay--a little over 300 miles--but that's really pretty easy, as the miles pass smoothly in Phannie's big captain chairs while we glide along on her air suspension. Watching the scenery through her Imax-like windshield and listening to tunes on XM Sirius, the only real challenge is selecting the kind of snack or beverage that will be sweetly delivered to the cockpit by the cute stewardess...wait a minute; why am I hearing the theme from The Twilight Zone?   

Thank you, Lord, for this wonderful life; please forgive me if I don't appreciate it enough each day.

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