"Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime"-MARK TWAIN

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Ghost towns, ruins, and relics.


Mention the words, ghost town, and most everyone thinks of the old West.  Old mining towns like Rhyolite, NV or Bodie, CA.  Deserted buildings in a windswept landscape, left behind after some disaster, or the loss of fortunes.  But, in reality, ghost towns exist most everywhere in America.

This past Wednesday my neighbor and I did a little “country cruising”. Our primary destination was the ghost town of Rodney, MS.  Located at the end of a twelve mile dirt and gravel road.  Once a thriving river town with the busiest port between St. Louis and New Orleans.  It missed being the Capitol of Mississippi by three votes.  People such as Andrew Jackson, Zachery Taylor,and Jefferson Davis walked its streets.  Home to thousands, with some of the wealthiest people in the South, and possibly the Country. 

Now, the only things that remain from that time are a couple of church buildings, the old Masonic lodge, and a few other, falling down, buildings.

What happened?  Yellow fever, the Civil War, fire, and the most damaging, Nature.  Rodney was a booming port city with folks always coming and going.  Ripe for an epidemic, or two.  After that came the Civil War.  Grant landed his troops just a few miles North of town on his way to Vicksburg.  The war wrecked the economy, and after the war, there was a fire that destroyed much of the town.

All of that could be overcome, but then Nature stepped in.  The Mississippi River began building a large sandbar next to the town.  Within two years the river had moved two miles West, abandoning the town, and taking its livelihood.  About that same time, the railroad picked a route that didn’t include Rodney.

The old Baptist church.

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Ravaged by the flood of 2011.

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Old door in an abandoned warehouse.

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Corner store.

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Upstairs table in the old Masonic Lodge.

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Presbyterian church.

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Can you see the cannon ball above the window?

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The story is that some sailors from a Union gunboat were very bored, and decided to come ashore and attend church services one Sunday.  A Confederate cavalry unit got word of it and interrupted church to capture them.  The gunboat began shelling the town to cause their release.  Cooler heads prevailed to end the hostility before too much damage was done.

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The old cemetery has been overtaken by woods and we weren’t able to locate it.  Would have really liked to explore it.  The area is still home to hunting camps, and a few full time residences.  Click the hyperlink for more information on Rodney.

From Rodney, we carried on up the road a piece to the “Ruins of Windsor”.  All that remains of what was once a huge pre Civil War mansion.  Used by both sides during the Civil War, it survived, but was destroyed in 1890 by an careless smoker.

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All photographs and building plans were destroyed in the fire.  A sketch was found in a Union soldiers diary sometime in the 1990’s. The sketch is the only real clue as to what the home looked like.


Each column is topped by one of these cast iron capitals.

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Click for more on Windsor.

One more stop before heading home.  Grant’s troops marched and fought on this road.

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They arrived at this home around midnight, as the family was loading wagons to get away from the fighting.

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They had waited too long, as the first shots were fired from their front yard as they watched.

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Grant’s first battle after crossing the Mississippi River at Bruinsburg, on his way to conquer Vicksburg two months later.

Lots of American history was created in, and around these old Loess bluffs.

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Monday, November 17, 2014



Yep, it’s a word.  Looked it up in the Merriam-Webster.  Had an old friend that used it quite often, but he was known to create many words unknown to the English language.  It means the same as addle, baffle, bamboozle, beat, befog, befuddle, confound, flummox, fuddle, muddle; and many more.

Pretty much sums up my state of mind the past month, or so.  I’ve never gone near this long without posting a blog of some sort, or another.  It might not have been much, but always enjoyed putting something out there into cyberspace. Just haven’t had the desire since arriving back home.

We’ve done a few things around the house.  I built a deck off our bedroom which Wanda has wanted since we moved here, nine years ago.  Washed and waxed the Casita. Cleaned and painted some lawn furniture.  Raked leaves and pine straw, and farm sat for a short period of time.  Many phone calls dealing with medical insurance issues for 2015.    Lots of “stuff”, but nothing worthy of blogging about, in my state of mind.

The weather has turned cold, and daylight savings time has ended.  It seems darkness arrives way too early, and stays much too long.  The old hibernation instinct begins to take control, removing the desire to get out and do much of anything. 

We did take the Casita down to Fontainebleau state park near Mandeville, LA this past week.  Some Casita friends from Georgia, Alabama, and Missouri were gathering there for a few days, and invited us to join them.  Really enjoyed a short, two day, visit with all of them.  Came back home Saturday in time to beat the rain.  Sorry, no pictures.

As for future plans, we have a number of them.  Reservations are made, and routes are being worked on. Whether they come to fruition is yet to be seen.  Some are within a few hours drive away, and some are days.  All are subject to the condition of Wanda’s mom.  We’ll take what we can get when the time comes.

Till then, It’s sitting home, looking at pictures, remembering WHEN.

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Sunday, October 19, 2014

One of those Weeks!


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A few miles on the Blue Ridge Parkway took us from Maggie Valley to Cherokee.  Every day the colors looked more vibrant.  We took our time on the short journey and enjoyed the views from every pullout.

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By noon on Sunday we had checked in and paid for our week in Cherokee.  We had been looking forward to this gathering since leaving home the end of August.  Only one other egg there when we arrived. A lady from the Outer Banks with a 13’ Scamp.

Monday was cloudy so we made a Walmart run, then a drive down the Nantahala Gorge and over the Cherohola Skyway.  Rain and fog made up the majority of the day.  Tuesday morning we awoke to more rain.  We had a leisurely breakfast, then decided to make a drive over the mountains to Townsend, Tennessee. Wanda wanted to visit a dulcimer shop there, and it seemed the best thing to do when the forecast was 100% rain and thunderstorms.  The ride over was really pretty in a way.  Rain and clouds, with waterfalls everywhere.

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As we arrived in Townsend, Wanda’s phone rang.  Her mom had been in the hospital for a few days due to dehydration.  Wanda’s brother was visiting her each day and keeping us updated on her condition.  She was scheduled to be discharged that morning.  Sometime Monday night she had managed to get out of bed, and had fallen.  Broken cheekbone and ribs.  Wanda said she felt the need to get home, so off we went.  Back over the mountain, stopping by the campground office to inform them of the situation, and that we were leaving.  Sorry, no refunds. 

Hooked up and out of the campground by 4 PM.  Arrived home eleven hours later.  Wanda was up and on her way to Jackson by 8 AM.  She spent Wednesday, and most of Thursday there, getting her mom settled back at her nursing facility on Thursday afternoon.

The third weekend of October is the time of the Great Mississippi River Balloon Races.  We had made no plans to attend, but decided to drive over on Saturday morning.  We could visit with family, as well as some old friends.  Arrived just in time to see a number of balloons hanging around the target.

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Watched our guys as they passed over.

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We followed along with the crew, and helped them pack up.  From there, we spent the remainder of the day hanging out with family and friends.  Enjoyed a beautiful day outside, overlooking the mighty Mississippi River.  As we were leaving Natchez, we received another phone call.  Mom back in hospital.

Wanda’s back in Jackson for an undetermined period of time…..Sad smile