2014 Western Road Trip Day 3, Wednesday May 7th

Today was to be a day of a lot of driving with only two scheduled National Park stops both of which were in Louisiana. We left Memphis, Tennessee at 8 am headed for our first and as it turned out our only National Park stop today. Our travel to the site took us from Tennessee through Mississippi, Arkansas, and Louisiana. Our day was lengthened by an accident on I40 west that I tried to circumvent but only resulted in an unnecessarily long detour which took us out of our way. Next time I’ll just pick a lane, stick with it, and “bite the bullet”.

We saw a lot of interesting things along the way, but the cotton and corn fields of western Mississippi and northern Louisiana have to be some of the flattest places on earth. You can literally see for miles.

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Cotton field plowed and ready for planting

Although cotton is still “king” the government’s fuel mandate is causing farmers to forego their cotton crops for corn which because of Ethanol has become a sure cash cow.

It was amazing to see how much Tunica, Mississippi’s casino population has exploded. The last time I was there in 2007 there were six casinos in Tunica. When we drove by it today, I counted more than a dozen.

Right outside of the casino area we found an interesting visitors center which was set up in a vintage railroad station. The visitors center which is the beginning point for the “Mississippi blues trail Hwy 61”,  was full of  memorabilia from early blues music performers.  The visitors center is the first piece in what will eventually be a blues music museum.

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Mississippi Blues Trail Visitors Center

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The vintage railroad bench was warm and the blues music great

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Guitars played by famous blues musicians

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Raw cotton, Babs took this photo to show our granddaughter Vita.

It was lunch time and we found a roadside park in Leland, Mississippi. The park was adjacent to a nice creek and was shaded by oak trees which was nice because it was 89 degrees out.  We were joined by a gaggle of ducks which we fed into a frenzy by throwing them bits of crust from our sandwiches.

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Ducks are fun

Pulling into the roadside park we noticed a little building at the entrance that indicated it was the home of Kermit the frog. So when we finished harassing the ducks, we decided to see what it was. It turns out Leland is the birthplace of Jim Henson who created Kermit. In addition to an original Kermit, the museum was stocked with all things Kermit & Henson. The hostess was very well versed on the subject matter and imparted way more than you wanted or needed to know about Kermit and Henson. I bought a postcard and a tee shirt just to escape!

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Kermit the frog museum

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Our buddy Kermit

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An original Kermit

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About two hours of driving later, we arrived at Poverty Point Historical Site. The site is an active dig for the discovery of artifacts of the prehistoric Indians who lived there as early as 3000BC. We watched an interesting 15 minute film about the site and its significance and then explored the small museum which is home to many of the artifacts found during the digs which have taken place over the last 30 years. Although part of the site has mounds, no human remains have ever bee excavated. They attribute this fact to the inability of human bones to survive that long and to the plowing and tilling of the land by farmers before it was brought into a historic trust.

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In the foreground is a model of the site and in the distance, top center, a mound

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Bayou used by the indians to travel and trade. Most likely it was part of a bay during their time.

Then, we drove another hour plus and finally arrived in Monroe, LA where we are staying at a Comfort Inn & Suites. Popeye’s chicken was our dinner and as simple as it sounds, they screwed the order up. And I always thought Popeye’s was Louisiana fast. They must have not heard the commercial!

Babs Says: Looking forward to the meal that is served to me. Haven’t had one yet.

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