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Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Paris and Wines

Not France, but Paris, Texas was on today's route. Two hours after leaving Rocky Point we stopped to stretch under the giant red hatted replica of the Eiffel Tower.

Several RV's were gathered at the Paris visitor's center adjacent to the tower. They encourage visiting with power and water hook-ups for $35 and boondocking sites at no charge.

A beautiful memorial to local Veterans is also on the property.

Downtown Paris has a pretty town square and fountain. We like stopping in county seats, like this one, to walk around the community.

The 1984 film Paris, Texas never actually filmed in the town.

Their old movie theatre is now a community playhouse.

Since it was lunchtime, we enjoyed a meal at 107 where the unique dining room is outside, but contained in the shell of an older building. While we enjoy sampling local restaurants, it can easily put us over budget. We've found eating out at lunch time to be much more economical than the same meal at dinner time. Even with lunch portions being smaller than those served at dinner, we usually have enough left over to make a meal.


A few hours down the road we stopped to stretch in Sherman, Texas where we found the Sherman Jazz Museum. Housed in a beautiful Masonic Temple built in 1924, the museum is supposed to have an incredible collection of trumpets, vinyl albums, and jazz memorabilia.


Horseshoe Bend Cellars in Iowa Park, Texas was today's destination.

We relaxed on the porch after visiting with the owners. They were a bit busy getting ready to host a wedding, but still took time to make us feel at home.

This is one of our favorite Harvest Host stops so far. The wine was good, but the real find was a Merlot Chocolate Sauce that is wonderful over ice cream or fresh blueberries.

Newly planted vines fill the front yard.

We were the only folks enjoying the peace and quiet tonight.

Thank you to the Poenitzsch family for being a Harvest Host.

We made good "westing" today.

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Shreveport, Texarkana and Rocky Point

Sculptures along the Red River made an interesting stop in Shreveport, Louisiana.

High water levels were evident, even this far north. Part of the riverfront park was unusable.

Beth went into the visitor's center while I watched this railroad crew inspect a vintage steel bridge. They were using an articulated arm hanging from a truck equipped with steel wheels. It is one of the most maneuverable "bucket trucks" I've ever seen.
Downtown Shreveport, once headquarters to oil and gas corporations in Louisiana, fell on hard times during business consolidation in the 1980's. More recently, downtown revitalization has brought an aquarium, parks, and an air & space museum to the riverfront.

Several old mansions are also open to the public as museums.

Always looking for something unique, we drove into the industrial area of the city to visit the Shreveport Water Works Museum.

One of the two huge steam powered pumps, this was manufactured in 1928 and was retired in 1980.
Engine manufacturer's plate
A moveable I-beam crane could lift the heavy engine components for maintenance.
Three big boilers allowed both steam powered pumps to continue operating while a boiler was being cleaned.
Filter tanks are accessible from the second floor of the facility.

This free museum featured a friendly docent who was happy to enlighten us on the history of this building and the water purification process in general. I highly recommend a stop here if you pass near Shreveport. There is also a small railroad museum next door.

After eating lunch in the parking lot of the waterworks, we turned north and set off towards Texas. Two hours later we were standing on the line dividing the two states. A shared courthouse and post office also straddles the line in Texarkana.
The courthouse square is designed for border photo opportunities.

Our mighty little Lexor reached 13,000 miles as we left Louisiana and started into the Republic of Texas. We've owned this ProMaster based RV for just under a year.

Not far out of town, we landed at Rocky Point Campground. High water had boat ramps closed, but the area was still open for camping.

Finding an entire loop with no one camping in it, we snagged a spot on Wright Patman Lake. This is an Army Corp of Engineers campground with nice big level spots for $24 per night.

Walking around the large campground we found a picnic gazebo at the top of a rise with nice views of the lake.

Another day ended watching the sun set behind the western shore.


Monday, May 13, 2019

Vicksburg and Poverty Point

After a quiet night in the petrified forest, we headed towards Vicksburg, Mississippi. An overlook, just outside the city provided views of barge traffic on the mighty Mississippi.

Boats, trains, and automobiles pass on this Mississippi River crossing. If you peek through the bridges you might be able to see a barge.

Level parking is a bit of a challenge in this town on a hillside.

A riverboat cruise sent their passengers ashore to enhance the local economy just before we arrived.

The train station still looks good after many years of flooding. It is now a museum and event space.




Lots of civil war history in this pretty southern town. Jefferson Davis was a local farmer who started his political career making a speech in front of this courthouse. He later went on to become President of the Confederacy.

Mansions abound in the city and appear to be well cared for. A leisurely walking tour led us to shops, restaurants, and churches.



City Hall is a unique building.

The Women's Reading club met in this building with a curved porch and balcony.

We stumbled upon the Lower Mississippi River Museum, another well done Army Corp of Engineers facility.

Not only was the museum interesting, but it includes a river boat that is free and open to the public.
The pilot house gives a good view forward...
... and down so the captain can see the tie points for the raft of barges that these boats can push.
Beth liked the full size chart table with drawers.  It is quite a contrast to the tiny table on our 35 foot sailboat.
The technology in use when the boat retired in the early nineties was fun to see.
The crew maintained a serious electrical panel.
Stairs lead down to the engine room.
The port side engine was easy to access for maintenance.
The engine room has a back-up helm station.
The galley was huge with clearly posted rules and reasonable meal prices.
The morning in Vicksburg was great fun. We love being small enough to fit in on-street parking spots.
Drove just outside of town to make lunch in the shade. Grant's Canal was one of those places that sounded better than it really was.




Other than some historical markers and hordes of mosquitos, there wasn't much to see. It was an uncrowded place to park for lunch.

Once across the river we were in farm country. The river floodplain made fertile farmland. This yellow crop duster was prepping for take-off, so we stopped and watched him rise into the air.

Next on today's agenda was Poverty Point World Heritage Site. Built between 1700 and 1100 BCE, this site has mounds and artifacts from when humans built major earthworks here. We were the only vehicle at this pullout for one of the largest mounds.

Boardwalks protect the site from erosion and make the climb easier. We pondered what motivated pre-agrarian people to build these structures as we ascended to the top.

A selfie with us and the van in the distance.

Twenty minutes down the road we chose Poverty Point Reservoir State Park for tonight. In addition to campsites, there are two bedroom lodges for rent suspended over the lake.

Poverty Point had shaded and level sites, clean showers, and even free laundry. Our site was $33.11 for the night.
Here's the road recap for today.

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