After we picked up the car on Tuesday, we decided that we would drive down to the Gulf of Mexico via Galveston. We got out and walked along the seawall just as the tide was rolling in. In wonderful 60 degree weather! The only thing that could have made the day any better would have been a grande brew with room from Starbucks. The palm trees and the gulf and the smell of saltwater… BEAUTIFUL! We definitely want to go back and bring the kids!
The next day, we completely changed up our plans. The original plan had been to go to Memphis via Little Rock, but after looking at the map and deciding to take an extra day to get home, we drove over to Shreveport, Louisiana. While there we stopped at a HUGE Bass Pro Shops right on the riverwalk (which we walked along for a while) that had alligators outside of it. We took pictures for the kids – which they thought was great! (I think the real highlight of the trip was being able to connect with our kids not only via phone, but also by text, email and instant messenger).
Our next stop was Vicksburg, Mississippi. Chip is a HUGE Civil War buff and it was the one stop he really wanted to make while we were on the road. I called my Gram from Vicksburg. She’s a Mississippi native – my dad was actually born in Jackson. We entered the park and didn’t have to pay because it was 4:30 and they closed at 5. It’s a 16 mile drive so we knew we wouldn’t be able to see it all. But we certainly didn’t expect to get LOCKED in the park at 4:50. We had turned to go back to the entrance via the marked signs and the gate was LOCKED! Fortunately, it’s a hot spot for jogging and a good samartian told us how to turn around and continue down the road and where to turn to get out. She just kept saying how she couldn’t believe they’d locked the gates already. But we were able to see where many of the Illinois troops fought in one of the most important battles in the Civil War. We are starting to make plans to go back. Elijah’s excited because he’s a Civil War buff like his dad (we’re actually studying it right now in school) and he keeps saying, “But we could make it a SCHOOL trip…”
When in Memphis, like any good tourist, we drove past Graceland and looked for Elvis in the upper windows of the mansion. We followed signs and tried to find the Pink Palace – which we had no idea what it was so we had no idea what we were looking for (it’s a mansion owned by Clarence Saunders who is the founder of the Piggly Wiggly and headquarters for the Pink Palace Museums). We ended up eventually getting downtown to Beale Street for lunch. Enjoyed the amibiance of great Blues music and soaked in a bit of the culture and history.
Before leaving Texas, we looked for a palm tree to bring home with us for our Christmas tree for this year, but they were either outrageously priced or just not what we were looking for. I guess for our kids to see a real palm tree, we’re just going to have to take them South sometime.