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2019 – Shortstop: Roosevelt State Park, Morton, MS

We spent a few extra days in Jackson, MS waiting to get into a shop that does front end alignment service on bigger motorhomes. I wanted to use this particular shop because the owner has a motorhome very similar to ours and also he gets great reviews. I think we made the right choice and recommend Shipp’s Truck Specialist in Florence. However, the 3-4 hour job turned into a 2 day job. We spent one night in the shop parking lot. They finished on Wednesday at about 5:00 and we wanted to find a spot with hookups for the night before getting back on the road again the next morning.

Roosevelt State Park in Moran, MS is just a few miles east of Jackson so we decided to go there. The entrance to the park is very close to I20. The “new” campgrounds, though, are a couple of miles in. The road is about a lane and a half wide, with lots of twists and turns. We didn’t meet anyone coming in – won’t be able to report on our exit till tomorrow. If we meet another motorhome it will be a tight squeeze.

The state park features a pretty lake with a big water slide that must delight the kids. There are cabins, a motel, and other nice facilities. The park hosts various community events throughout the year.

The roads in the campground are just one lane with no shoulders. Many of the sites are too short for us at 39′. I was also concerned about being able to make the turns in and out of the sites while keeping the front and back tires on pavement. There are some premium sites right on the lake that look inviting. I eased through the campground looking for the right combination of level + long enough + reasonable back in/pull out. It took a few minutes but I found a nice spot across from the bathhouse parking lot and backed in. Site 73 is just right for us and, in spite of the many sites that slope, this spot is nicely level. There is no room for the car but the parking lot across the road is fine.

I can see that locals who get to know this campground really like it. However, for an overnight stay the long narrow drive in and the even narrower campground roads with ditches making it a challenge to make some of the turns make this State Park a less than desirable short stop of us. For a longer stay it might be worth it though.


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2019 – Wendy Oaks RV Park, Florence, MS


We spent an unplanned few days in Florence, MS, just south of Jackson, as we waited to have an alignment done on the motorhome.  We landed at Wendy Oaks RV Park which is located right on Highway 49, around 12 miles south of I20.

This campground is primarily a residential park but there are a few pull-throughs for travelers.  These sites are reasonably easy to get into and long enough for bigger rigs.  They are level, on gravel, and have 50 amp/FHU connections.

The main feature of the place is a pretty lake.  A few campsites have nice views of it, most don’t but are just across the road from it – still a pleasant setting.  There’s a block shower house with small laundry.

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If you arrive from the north you will need to pass the campground and do a u-turn to get back to it.  I was a bit concerned about having enough room to do that, so after passing the campground and going under the railroad trestle I pulled of onto the right turn lane at Muse Road (in front of a Dollar General that you really can’t see coming from the north).  I waited for traffic to clear and then swing across, using up all the 4 lanes of the divided highway (and just a bit of the Muse Road exchange).  That got our 39′ motorhome with towed turned around and coming the right way.  I will also mention that as I came south my GPS tried to get me to turn around and go to another “Wendy” business – I think a pump out service or something like that.  Again, coming south you want to go under the railroad trestle and then turn around at Muse Road.  You also probably want to know that Highway 49 coming south from I20 is undergoing heavy construction.  Lanes are switched, the road is rough, and traffic can be bad.

Aside from the above, while this place is nothing close to being a destination park it works just fine for people traveling Highway 49 and needing a place to land.  There aren’t many spots so you will want to phone ahead for a reservation.


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2019 – Ameristar RV Park, Vicksburg, MS


As we left Louisiana and crossed the mighty Mississippi River, we took the very first Mississippi exit and drove a couple of minutes to Ameristar RV Park. The park is part of a big enterprise that also includes a hotel, restaurants, and, of course, a casino. There is even a casino shuttle that comes to the park making it easy for people to visit those venues.

In our case, we just wanted a decent place to spend a few days before continuing our journey east on I20. This RV spot worked out just great for us. This is a busy place with a flow of campers arriving and leaving throughout the day. Many people land just for the night as they travel cross country.

There are several nice pull through sites of decent length and reasonable spacing for a commercial park. The roads are wide and easily maneuvered. Many of the sites are level enough, but there are several that are on a severe slope; some even leaning off to one side as well as front to back. Judging from the assignment of sites, it appears that an effort is made to put bigger rigs in the more level sites. A small single axle travel trailer has a better chance of getting level on some of the sites than a big rig.

There’s an active railroad track that passes near the park, but the trains never sound their horns. You can hear the train, but it’s not especially objectionable.

While this is just a shorter stay sort of park we would stay here again in similar circumstances.


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2019 – Sightseeing Vicksburg, MS

At the Ironclad Cairo in Vicksburg, MS
Vicksburg is a historic town right on the Mississippi River. The Welcome Center has a large veranda with a wonderful view of the River and the bridges that cross it. There is a lovely room staged inside representative of the many historic homes of the area. Nearby is is an overlook called the Navy Circle with markers explaining its importance to the Battle of Vicksburg.

We also visited the Vicksburg National Military Park which commemorates the many soldiers from both sides who fought for control of Vicksburg and control of the Mississippi River. The Battle for Vicksburg lasted more than six months and cost over 48,000 casualties. As we drove through the park I was amazed at the many markers and commemorative statues honoring those involved in the siege.

Also in the park we visited the USS Cairo and the museum. The Cairo is one of seven ironclad gunboats built by the Union army. This is an amazing partial restoration with many of the original timbers still intact. I was surprised that some of the metal on the front was railroad ties placed horizontally for protection. The Cairo was leading a flotilla tasked with destroying Confederate Batteries and underwater mines. She was hit with two explosions and sank within twelve minutes with no loss of life. Inside the museum are many personal artifacts along with other equipment recovered with the ship and are now on display for all to see.


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2017 – Shortstop: Davis Bayou Campground at Gulf Islands National Seashore

File Mar 01, 6 11 08 PM.jpg If you’re looking for a stop along the short Mississippi portion of I10 you might want to check out Davis Bayou Campground in the Gulf Islands National Seashore. It’s a 15 minute or so drive south of the interstate at Ocean Springs, MS. The sites in the campground are water/electric only with good roads and paved sites. We received a friendly welcome and, when we needed to change sites, the ranger helped us out, putting us in a more suitable site. You may want to know, though, or reason for moving: several of the sites on the parameter (but not all) on the main loop have a considerable slope front to rear. It was highly unlikely that we would have gotten the 5th wheel level in our original site, even with the landing gear as short as possible. I doubt that even a small motorhome in that site would have any chance of getting level front to back. Of course, small campers (popups, Casitas, etc.) would have done fine there. We were allowed to move to one of the two “emergency sites” that are kept vacant for use when necessary. The campground, itself, is clean and pretty and the park beyond the campground boasts a beautiful Welcome Center and lots of nicely developed hiking trails. We had some issues with biting gnats (no-see-ums) which are a bit of a nuisance. The price for this campground is excellent, especially with our senior America the Beautiful Pass: we paid just $11 a night. All in all, we think this is a good stop along I10 especially if you are good with water/electric only and can avoid the problem sites.

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Shortstop: Natchez, MS State Park

PHOTO_20151106_171439.jpg There are two campgrounds at Natchez, MS State Park (plus a primitive camping area and a cabin area). We stayed in the newer Campground B a couple of years ago and liked it very much. Our stay this time was in the older Campground A, we like it too. Campground A has the only full hookup sites in the park and there are only six of them. Not only that, but it appeared to me that three of those were taken by long term campers. I’m not sure how that works in a state park, but I remember seeing at least one other long term setup in the newer campground a couple of years ago. The full hookup sites are all back in but between two one way roads in and out of the campground. The sites are level, reasonably spaced and concrete slabs. The other sites in Campground A are water/electric only. Some look like they would be okay for bigger rigs, but there are others that would be a tighter fit. I could get my 5th wheel into the lower part of Campground A but I don’t think I would like doing it very much.

Our 2013 Review – focused on Campground B – is here.

PHOTO_20151108_124253.jpg Getting to Campground A is an experience all in itself. As I mentioned in my 2013 review, to get to this state park one turns off of Highway 61 onto State Park Road. You will wind your way past several buildings that are at the falling down stage right on a pot-hole filled road. In a few minutes you come to a sign instructing you to turn left off of State Park Road if you want to go to Campground B and the main offices. Otherwise, you continue down State Park Road to the entrance to Campground A. The rough road only gets worse as you come, but it’s only a mile or so to the campground entrance. The back in, full hookup sites are right there.

You could get into this campground from the main state park road (not to be confused with the road I just described “State Park Road” – how’s that for confusing!). However, that way into Campground A is via a narrow road just wide enough for one vehicle down and through the lower part of Campground A. Then, once you get to the row of full hookup sites you are going the wrong way with no place to turn around! Needless, to say, you don’t want to do that, so approach Campground A on State Park Road and not the road into the rest of the park (I know, confusing).

100_4841.JPG I managed to get most of my satellite TV channels but it was a challenge. Had it not been fall with the tree leaves thinning out, I doubt I would have had any success at all. My Verizon 4G was a fairly good 2 bars. Now that I’ve stayed in both campgrounds at Natchez State Park I think I’d go for Campground B for shorter (no sewer hookup) stays and Campground A for longer stays, and that only if I could get a full hookup site.

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Shortstop: LeFleur’s Bluff State Park – Jackson, MS

PHOTO_20151104_092856.jpg Our shortstop at LeFleur’s Bluff State Park in Jackson, MS is our second stay at this campground. We were here two years ago as we journeyed down Natchez Trace Parkway the first time. There’s really not much new to say. We still like it here.

Our review from 2013 is here.

One good change is that the unnecessary concrete island at the entrance has been removed, making it easier to navigate through the gate. Before, there was no one at the entrance station but now we noted that it is manned. I mentioned in my previous review that I thought satellite TV would be easier to get in the sites across from the bathhouse. I was mistaken. “North” isn’t quite where I thought it was and the satellites are still out through the trees. From what I can see, the sites nearer the campground entrance might be best for satellite, but as wooded as it is getting a signal there would be challenging at best. However, there are lots of local over-the-air channels so a TV watcher will still have plenty of entertainment available. This is a busy campground on weekends so a person would be wise to reserve a site early if possible.

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Campground Review: Tombigbee State Park at Tupelo, MS

100_4829.JPG This is our second stay at Tombigbee State Park at Tupelo, MS. We were here two years ago and as we journey down Natchez Trace again we’re staying at the same places as we did then. Obviously, we like this state park. The campground features nice paved sites, 50 amp electric, full hookups, and a nicely done and clean bathhouse that even includes a laundry. The route back into the state park is, of course, still a hilly, twisting road that is a bit challenging but do-able.

See our previous, and more complete, review of this campground here.

100_4830.JPG My Verizon data has been a weak but usable 3G and satellite TV is pretty good, although in this particular site I wasn’t able to get my third satellite which has some of the HD channels on it. My only real complaint is the same one I had two years ago: late every night the campground voltage rises to the point that my electrical management system shuts the electric off to my camper to protect it from high voltage. I spoke to the office about this two years ago and brought it to their attention again. They know about the problem and the too high voltage is related to an effort to keep the voltage from dropping too low during busy, hot summer months. Our solution was to unplug overnight and use a heavy duty extension cord to run a space heater. It’s a minor inconvenience for us, but I do wonder how much wear and tear is being done to campers that are experiencing this higher-than-optimal overnight voltage each night.

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Natchez Trace and vicinity: southwestern Mississippi

2013-10-22 15.00.30.jpg Natchez, Mississippi is known for it’s antebellum home tours.  We chose to go to Melrose which is operated by the National park service.  There is some remodeling being done to the exterior but we enjoyed our tour with a volunteer guide. The McMurran family moved into this home right after it was built in 1841 and it has been restored to that era.  We entered through the massive front door and stepped in the wide hall that runs the length of the house. The furniture and fixtures throughout are elegant and remind us that this was a family of means.  The main hall floor is made of painted oilcloth that feels like linoleum.   In the dining room is a large elegant table and there’s a large mahogany fan that has a pull rope to be used to keep the air moving around the diners at all times.  Wood venetian blinds and silk curtains cover all the windows.   There are bell pulls in each room running to a set of bells with different tones in the back of the house to summon a slave to that particular room when something was needed. There is also a room where the women could entertain, sew, and chat as well a separate room for the men to go to smoke and talk.  The bed rooms upstairs are nicely furnished with four poster beds, day beds, desks for writing for the adults, and toys in the children’s room.  Behind the big house is a two story building housing a kitchen, a cooling room for milk and other perishables.  There are two other buildings for slaves that are open for viewing as well as buildings for the animals and carriages.  Most of the flowers are gone this time of the year but gardens are still a nice place to visit.  There are many different types of trees.  The two that caught my attention are the very old and large Magnolia beside the house on one side and a sweet olive tree that has fragrant blooms on the other.  We thought this was a very interesting and enjoyable tour.

From Melrose we drove downtown to visit the William Johnson house.  He was a freed slave turned barber.  William Johnson was freed by his white slave owner of the same name.  As a boy he was trained to be a barber by his brother-in-law who was a free black man.  William became a prosperous business man and land owner. He owned and operated three barbershops and a bathhouse in Natchez as well as property outside of town.  We were surprised to learn that he, himself, was a slave owner.  The family lived in town in the upper level of the house on State street over the commercial space.  Johnson was a prolific writer who journaled daily.  His journals not provide invaluable information about the day to day life of a free, and successful black man in Natchez.  Sad to say, he was murdered in 1851 over a disputed land boundary.

image-002.jpg Mount Locust Inn and Plantation is just a short drive north of Natchez on Natchez Trace Parkway.  it is one of the oldest structures in the area.  It was purchased by William Ferguson in 1784 as a farm.  Since it was a day’s walk from Natchez this place became a stopping spot for the the “Kaintucks” who had floated their goods down the Mississippi and sold them in Natchez or New Orleans.  They then walked the many miles back up the Natchez Trace.  Mount Locust Inn provided a place to sleep and a meal of corn mush and milk. It started as a simple inn and later a four room, two story annex was added for the travelers.  We enjoyed seeing the old house and taking a quiet walk around the grounds.  We walked just a short distance along the Old Trace to see what the early travelers walked through on a beautiful sunny day.

image-009.jpg Overall, we’ve thoroughly enjoyed exploring the areas along Natchez Trace Parkway; both the beauty of nature and the rich history of the area.  In spite of our spending nearly a month along the Trace and spending time in three different area campgrounds we know we’ve barely scratched the surface of all there is to see and do along Natchez Trace Parkway.  We hope to return in future journeys to continue enjoying the area.

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Campground Review: Natchez State Park – Natchez, MS

2013-10-22 17.27.21.jpg The last leg of our journey down Natchez Trace Parkway brings us to our third Mississippi State park, and our favorite of the three: Natchez State Park.  This park is just a short distance off the Parkway; in fact, there’s a sign pointing to it right off the Parkway.  The route in to the park is an interesting one.  From highway 61 you turn on to State Park Road.  The weary RVer thinks, “Ah, here I am at the park!”  Well, not quite.  You drive a short distance on a rough section of road with abandoned buildings nearly sitting on the pavement.  Then, to get to the state park Campground (and you want Loop B) you actually turn off of State Park Road on to Wickcliff Road and after a few minutes you come to a nice park entry.  After that, you are still a couple of miles from the campground.

But it’s well worth the effort.

Our 2015 review – focused on Campground A – is here.

2013-10-22 11.39.07.jpg We’ve visited some campgrounds and wondered just what the person who designed it was thinking.  This park, though, is laid out wonderfully.  Whoever put this one together could give lessons on campground design.  The sites are level, paved, big enough, and angled so they are easy to back in to.  The campground has 50 amp electric and water but no sewer hookups.  The dump station is right at the entry to the campground and it, too, is an easy in and out.

This is a big park on a nice lake.  The campground, though, isn’t really on the lake – although there are a few sites down on the end of the campground that have a partial view of the lake though the trees.  There are rental cabins, though, a mile or so from the campground that are built with beautiful lake views.

2013-10-21 16.18.42.jpgWe were allowed to change sites upon arrival, moving from one of the somewhat-close-to-the-lake sites to one closer to the bathhouse and, even better, with a small adjacent open area that gave my satellite dish a view of the southern sky.   Also, my Verizon cell service is working fairly good with the signal booster along with about 3 bars of 3G data.

2013-10-22 17.36.24.jpg I’m tempted to complain about our noisy campground neighbors – no, not fellow campers, but the herd of deer making a bit of noise in the woods settling down for the night just a short distance outside our door!

In case you missed it I really like this park.  Obviously, this is Mississippi and a late summer stay here would include plenty of humidity and mosquitoes.  The October weather during our stay here has been absolutely perfect.  I can’t imagine it being better.  Jackie will post a review of our sightseeing in the area so I’ll just say that Natchez State Park is an excellent base of operations for exploring nearby Natchez, MS.  We’re about 13 miles from the city.

image-001.jpg Since this is our last stop on Natchez Trace Parkway I’ll add a few comments about driving the parkway.  I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the 400+ mile drive down the Parkway.  The pretty, unspoiled scenery, the rich history, the lack of commercial traffic or even roadside advertizing, and the leisurely 50 mph speed limit combine to make this a terrific drive.  I highly recommend this Parkway; it is truly an American treasure.  If you RV Natchez Trace Parkway I highly recommend that you spend some time at Natchez State Park.

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