Natchez MS to Natchitoches LA to Nacogdoches TX – Dec 6-12

27 Dec

Leaving New Orleans, we had no particular destination in mind, other than visiting friends in Nacogdoches TX four days from now.  I thought it would be fun to head up the Mississippi along the old Great River Route (GRR) for a few days.  In 2006 we spent several weeks on the GRR from Memphis TN to the Great Lakes, one of the memorable legs of that trip.

So, being late in the day, we headed towards Baton Rouge LA and spent the night.  It was a purely functional overnight stop on our way to Natchez.

The next day we got into Natchez MS after dark, totally missing the GRR for a second day.  We camped in a virtually deserted, heavily wooded state park campground and, with freezing temperatures outside, we slept very well in the warmth of our  VW bed.  We toured Natchez, along the Mississippi waterfront and historic downtown.  A pleasant enough town.  We met a delightful woman in an art gallery, Elodie, who spent her married days in the Los Angeles area.  She gave us a Natchez history education.

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On our second Natchez day we discovered a flat tire on the VW.  Another unexpected event.  We destroyed the tire by having driven on it.  Our spare, while never having been on the ground, was 11 years old.  So, the AAA guy changed our tire and guided us to a tire store for new tires.  The VW uses an usual tire that none of the local tire stores carried.  The ExpertTire store manager ordered two tires from his distributor that would be delivered tomorrow.  When we returned the next day we discovered the new tires were not quite the correct tires.  They rated at 1,500 pounds of load, and the VW tires should be rated at 1,700 pounds.  We took them anyway, and they seem to be OK.  We were happy to be on the road again.

Back on the road to Natchitoches LA, a town about which we knew nothing.  Arriving late in the day, we stayed at a motel and went to the historic downtown for dinner.  The weather is still very cold.  Downtown is along a river, and the city installed a holiday light sculpture show along the opposite river bank.  Quite beautiful.

We took back roads to Nacogdoches TX and arrived at our our friends’ home in the early evening.  Jim and Kerry live “off the grid.”  It’s always a special treat to stay with them, experiencing life in the woods without connection to utilities – electricity, water, gas or sewer.  Over some thirty years they have developed a beautiful home complex on their 8 acres in the east Texas woods.  Power comes from propane, water from a cistern system, heat from wood burning stoves.  We spent the weekend with Jim, Kerry and their 17 year old son, Forrest.  Daughter Maya was away at college.

On Sunday we left for the Houston TX area, stopping at a campground south of Houston in League City.  Why League City?  Because it’s close to the Houston Space Center that we’ll visit tomorrow