Saturday, October 8, 2011

The Gulf Coast Route

Bill received a call back in July from one of the project managers at work who offered him the first choice of three different routes for a new Home Depot project that would be staring in August and lasting all the way through the first of the year.  They all started north and wound their way south throughout the fall and early winter. The first route included Ohio, Kentucky, Tennesse and Alabama which would have been nice as we would like to see the Blue Ridge Mountains in the fall when all  trees change color. Another route started in West Virginia and would have taken us through Virginia, Tennesse and North Carolina. This route would  have been even more tempting for us as it would have more of the Blue Ridge Mountains and we already love the Gatlinburg TN/Cherokee NC area. But when the third route was listed and it included the Gulf Coast and all of Florida including Key West at the end of the year, we knew we had a winner! We have always wanted to go to Key West and why not when Bill is getting paid to do it?

So at the end of August we left Atlanta (finally!) and headed towards our first stop in Shreveport Louisiana. Along the way we made a stop in Vicksburg Mississippi to check out their casinos and stay at the Ameristar Casino RV Park near the Mississippi River.  We have found casino campgrounds to be some of the nicest places to stay and they normally are priced extremely reasonable as they want you to come inside and part with your money in the machines or at the tables. . You don't have to be a gambler to stay in the RV parks and you can actually wind up making a little money if you "play your cards" (pun intended) correctly. We always go in and get whatever free play and other perks they offer for signing up for their player's card. We also eat at the buffet at least once. It is hard to keep fresh fruits and vegetables in the RV due to space constraints so at least I know I'll get a good salad bar eating at a casino buffet. Most of the casinos will have a shuttle that will pick you up and take you to the casino and many, but not all, will have amenities like a pool, game room and laundry room. If they don't have the amenities in the campground itself you can usually use the hotel amenities instead. A good resource for finding both casino boondocking and campgrounds is You can join the website and help update it with information on parking, camping, promotions, and food prices and quality as well as pictures of the boondocking or camping areas at any casino across the country. This not only helps others but may help you out in the future when you forget what a certain casino offers because you have been in 31 states in two years and everything begins to look the same!

As Vicksburg is located right on the Mississippi River, it had record flooding during the Spring of 2011 like many other river towns and cities. The picture on the right of the levee shows the previous record of 62.2 feet which was set in 1927 when the levees were not able to hold back the Mighty Mississippi and over 1,000 people died. This year on May 19 water levels hit 57.1 feet, which is over 14 feet higher than flood stage which is a mere 43 feet.   


Along with the high water marks, the levees of the City of Vicksburg also have a set of riverfront murals painted on them and unveiled in 2002 that depict scenes from the city's past, present and future. A future whose story, in large part, is still solidy entertwined with that of The Father of Waters, .The Big Muddy, or Ol' Man River, the Mississippi.


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