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Day Nine And Ten Of Our First RV Trip: Tupelo, Mississippi And The Voyage Home
The time has come: home, here we come. It has been fun and exciting this past week and beyond, experiencing new things, places, and people but we are growing tired and as the old song goes, "show me the way to go home".
We prepared everything we could the night before and in the dawn's light need only remove the wheel chocks, lower the jacks and unhook the electric and water then clear out the sewer line (black water first then gray) and head out. We wave goodbye to the park as we pull out; no one is up at this early hour so it is silent but for the tires on the asphalt and the growl of the engine.
We follow our same route we arrived on only in reverse, moving north through Milton then on to Brewton, Alabama. As we made our way through this town once voted as one of the top 100 small towns in the country we noticed things we failed to notice on the way down (remember we were worried about the SUV pulling the trailer), like Hank Locklin once called this home, even dying here at age 91 in 2009. He had such hits as Please help me I'm falling and Send me the pillow that you dream on; country classics both. Also from here and keeping that country tradition going was William Lee Golden of The Oak Ridge Boys. You remember him, the one with the mountain man hair and beard and sang baritone for the group for years.
Then we were out of the town and back on the little two lane blacktop road, meandering through the Alabama wilderness. We came upon a tiny town, almost a hamlet named Perdue Hill. We were astonished to see how many historic homes and buildings there was here, surely enough to keep a historical minded person like myself busy all day. But as we were on the road all I could do was listen as my wife read me portions and tidbits she found on her phone as we drove by them. For instance, who among you knows of one William Barret Travis? As in The Alamo Colonel William Travis? Yes Col. Travis lived here and practiced law until he left for Texas in 1831 at age 22; five years later he was killed defending The Alamo.
Stopping for gas near Grove Hill, Alabama and again at Meridian, Mississippi we topped off each time, grabbed a few bottles of water from our fridge and filled our bellies with snacks, walked the dog and then hit the road once more. Our destination was the Campground at Barnes Crossing in Tupelo, Mississippi.
We arrived here in mid-afternoon. checked in and set up the trailer. This was a nice, comfy campground surrounded by trees and filled with little things like flowers and bird feeders which made it feel home-like to us. I had but one place to visit here and that was for Caleb and I; not that the girls weren't welcome but they were not interested in what we were going to see:
Cars! It was a car museum!
Driving right through downtown Tupelo on Main Street we found the museum with no issues and paid our small entry fee. The reason I had decided to come here was for one, and one car only but we'll get to that soon enough.
There are some $10,000,000.00 worth of cars here ranging from a Stanley Steamer to a Dodge Viper. Corvette, Isetta, Duesenberg, even a Tucker are on display here for the novice and expert alike. Some 100 vehicles spanning every possible decade of automobile history is gathered here for your enjoyment. We wandered up and down the aisles, looking at this or that car, reading about it and having a wonderful time. There is even a couple of cars here which belonged to B.B. King and to Elvis Presley himself. By the way, Tupelo is where Elvis was born so if you are in the area you can visit his birth home as well; we just didn't have the time to do that today and I felt like Caleb would like the cars better anyway.
As we rounded one of the final corners and wandered up the aisle I kept sneaking a look ahead to see if what I thought was there was, and it was. Maintaining Caleb's attention on other cars I subtly brought the camera up and switched to video and began filming him in order to capture a reaction I hoped he would have. Guiding him along I had him look over my right shoulder and spy a certain car; as he looked and recognized it a smile broke over his face and joy was in his eyes. "A DeLorean!" he said. Just like in one of his favorite movies Back To The Future there sat a 1981 DeLorean, all steel and shiny and with one of those gull wing doors open for him to look into. As we made our way towards it his smiled never dimmed and standing alongside of it made my heart burst with the joy at showing him a car he never thought to see in person. I pretended like I was going to touch it over the ropes and he grabbed my hand saying "No! Don't!". I did this several times with a goofy look on my face just to get him going and I asked "Don't you want to touch the BTTF car? Come on, you can do it!". Finally he reached over, held his hand above the car and said "Air Touch!". That was good enough for him. I knew that neither one of us would actually touch it (we both respect other peoples items too much) but just having fun with him then having him do his Air Touch was priceless.
We continued on enjoying this and finally it was time to go back to the trailer, grab a bite to eat and bunk down for the night. Tomorrow would come all too early and with it, home.
6:00 AM and we are leaving the park. Bye Tupelo! We topped off just short of Memphis in order to get back on the same pattern we had going down, to fuel at the same locations as before. Then it was heading towards Memphis again and that lovely traffic and poor signage and roads! But we made it through with no issues this time and crossed that wonderful bridge, hopping along like a rabbit. Then it was on to Jonesboro for fuel; then to West Plains, taking our time and caring for the truck on this hot, hot day. It performed well on our return home and I think the care we gave it, slowing down the speed and avoiding the main highways as much as possible did the trick.
We arrived at home around 4:00 PM and backed the trailer into the driveway. For whatever reason it was harder this time than it was before. But we made it, unloaded the trailer and began to relax (after we mowed the front yard, collected the veggies from the garden, re-introduced ourselves to our other dog, the cats and the house). Tomorrow would see us begin the cleaning and laundry; Monday brought work for me and then Tuesday I hit the road to Columbia for the MAPT meetings this year. After a 2,000 mile road trip I had to drive another 200 miles and attend meetings for four days. No rest for the wicked!
Well, there you have it: a first timer's RV trip, on the road for ten days and nine nights to spectacular locations, through challenging conditions and personal injury. It was fun, it was educational but it is good to be home! Who knows what next year will bring? Will we take another trip, basing it off what we learned this time out? Where will we go? North to Minnesota and the Great Lakes? East to Virginia and history? Northeast to Maine? West to the mountains and beyond? Southwest to the Grand Canyon? Northwest to the Pacific Northwest? Who can say, but I do know that with each trip we are scoping out where we want to retire to, what the amenities are in these locations, what the area is like and how the people are. I thank each of you for tagging along and hope there was some knowledge shared so that on your trip you avoid some of our mistakes.
Travel safe, my friends.