2015 – Shortstop: Natchez, MS State Park

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

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

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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Campground Review: Natchez Trace Thousand Trails near Hohenwald, TN

At the conclusion of my previous review of Natchez Trace Thousand Trails near Hohenwald, TN a couple of years ago I commented that on a future visit I hoped to see some of the maintenance issues of this campground addressed. Frankly, as we finish up our second stay here, I have to report that my previous review is still accurate. If nothing else, I’d say the mile and a half road back into the campground has even more potholes than it did two years ago. I mentioned that good WiFi was one of the real bright spots, but this stay it wasn’t working well with lots of dropouts even with a strong signal. I mentioned it at the office a couple of times and near the end of our stay someone may have looked at it because it finally settled down and disappeared less often.

As we arrived there were two other rigs just ahead of us. We found out they were a mom and dad from the northeastern part of the country meeting their son and his family from Texas for a two week stay together. They were very disappointed in the campground. The son wasn’t a member and had paid the “rack rate” for a two week stay in his brand new 5th wheel. After walking around the campground for a long time, looking at every available site and digesting the news that there were no 50 amp sites at all, they settled on a couple of rougher sites next to one another. The next day they pulled out, looking for a nicer campground. I don’t know if they got a refund or not.

Let me say that I think that was a bit of an over-reaction. Anyone who looks online can see that there is only 30 amp service here. Still, for someone looking for a nice campground with some amenities I can understand the feeling of disappointment. For us, the campground itself is at the low end of “acceptable” and not a place I would look forward to visiting aside from it being easy on my camping budget as a fulltime traveler. The primary other positive is that our stay coincided with the peak of the fall foliage here and the colors were glorious.

I don’t understand the layout here. At the front gate there’s a store, pool, min-golf, and lake access. However there are no campsites. The campground for members is a mile and a half away, over a very rough and hilly road. There’s plenty of room for a campground in a big, wide open area near the amenities and I have no idea of why anyone ever thought isolating the primary campground as it is would be a good idea. Aside from that I know the long term residents and the staff of this Thousand Trails are still hoping cooperate will finally turn its attention to this long neglected campground. I suggest that happen sooner and not later.

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Natchez Trace and vicinity: southwestern Mississippi

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

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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Natchez Trace and vicinity: Central Mississippi

The Museum of Natural Science was fun and would be even more enjoyable with children. There is a park entrance fee as well as museum fee but the price is still quite low. Entering the exhibit hall we saw the bones of extinct species of sea life and land animals. There are exhibits of endangered species of Mississippi as well as local waterfowl and wildlife. I enjoyed the aquatic habitats housing native fish, reptiles, and other water creatures. The aquariums are interesting and a greenhouse with a tank provides a home for a variety of alligators, turtles and fish. There’s a special exhibit on reptiles which I found both enticing and creepy with it’s many poisonous and nonpoisonous snakes. I especially enjoyed seeing the Gila monster. For those with preschoolers there’s a hands-on room where small children can climb a tree, play with puppets, visit animal habitats, and listen to stories. There is walk way around the building lots of interesting plantlife. For more about this museum go to http://www.msnaturalscience.org/

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Campground Review: LeFleur’s Bluff State Park – Jackson, MS

I’m thoroughly enjoying our journey down Natchez Trace Parkway.  This drive is for folks who aren’t in a hurry and who enjoy pretty scenery — that should describe retired full-time RVers more than anyone else and it describes us.

The electric here is 50 amps and water pressure is good.  There are no sewer hookups and the dump station is out near the entrance so it’s not very handy for those using a “blueboy” on a longer stay.  The campground restroom is built up on stilts, about eight feet up.  The sites are level concrete slabs.

My satellite reception is limited and, honestly, I’m glad to get even one satellite through all the trees.  I think the best chance for satellite coverage would be in the sites directly across from the restrooms.  Cell reception is very good and my data is a strong 4G.  The weather during this October stay has been pretty good with cool temperatures and only a little rain.  I have the idea that humidity and mosquitoes would make a late summer stay here rather challenging to say the least.

Here’s our 2015 review of this campground.

There are three state museums within minutes of the campground and the Mississippi State University Medical Center is right down the street.  In fact, a park ranger told me that a lot of people use this campground when coming to the area hospitals.

We would return to this campground when passing through the area.  It’s quite a change of pace from staying in rural spots, miles from shopping, etc.  I guess you’d say that LeFleur’s Bluff is a place to get away from it all without actually getting away from it all!

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Natchez Trace and vicinity: northern Mississippi

Arriving at our campground in Tupelo we spent our time relaxing, doing a little shopping, and getting maintenance done on the truck. The only “touristy” thing we did while there was visit the Elvis Presley Birthplace and Park. There’s a gift shop, museum, the house where Elvis was born, and the church he attended and sang in as a child. It’s a nice place to spend an hour or two. Also, we were happy to add to our list of nice soft ice cream places. The “Dairy Kream” was busy any time we passed by. Our stay at Tupelo was a relaxing one and we thought our five nights there was about the right length of time for us to enjoy the area and take care of a few day to day things we needed to do.

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Natchez Trace and vicinity: southern Tennessee

We went to the Banana Pudding Festival at Centerville,TN.  It’s a fun event offering various craft and food booths. We bought a plate of twisted fried potatoes that was more than we could eat.  Then we went to the Banana Tasting tent and purchased our eight small tastings of pudding. They were all good but two were unique. One was made with Twinkies another had peanut butter in it.  My favorite was a traditional one made by a local church. There were large jars for people to put money into to “vote” for their favorite banana pudding. All the money goes to charity.  It was very warm so we did not go to the antique car show going on in town or visit the craft booths set up all around the courthouse on the square.

As you can tell we enjoyed our time along Natchez Trace Parkway in south-central Tennessee. There’s a lot to see and do in the area, especially for those who like the outdoors or like crafts.

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