Sunday, May 15, 2016

I'm going down to Clarksdale, take my rider by my side

I said yesterday, we should be heading to Texas and then swooping up and across Missouri via Arkansas, but I amended our plans to head straight up thru Mississippi. I am disappointed we will not hit Texas, but the stops for today are pretty neat.

First stop is Vicksburg National Military Park. This covers a Specific site and a Veteran Memorial spot for the Americana Tour and also falls under the NPS thus qualifies for the IBA National Park Tour. Three birds with one stone.

The park includes 1,325 historic monuments and markers, 20 miles (32 km) of historic trenches and earthworks, a 16-mile (26 km) tour road, a 12.5-mile (20.1 km) walking trail, two antebellum homes, 144 emplaced cannons, the restored gunboat USS Cairo (sunk on December 12, 1862, on the Yazoo River), and the Grant's Canal site, where the Union Army attempted to build a canal to let their ships bypass Confederate artillery fire.

Source: Wikipedia

The Specific item was the Entrance sign to Vicksburg.

This is the Wisconsin Veteran Memorial inside the park

Vicksburg is really a beautiful ride even if you don't care about the history.

Not pictured is the recovered USS Cairo, which was one of the first American ironclad warships built for the Union Navy at the beginning of the U.S. Civil War. We didn't visit the Cairo because we had been hear back in 2009.

If you are in the area or going on tour this is a great spot to stop at.

Up the road from Vicksburg is Transylvania. We had to grab a sign of the town. We crossed over from Mississippi back into Louisiana. As the name of Transylvania is associated by many people in the United States with the Hollywood Dracula movies, the general store in the town sells Dracula- and bat-related merchandise to people passing through on Highway 65.

We passed thru Lake Providence, LA on the way north and grabbed this great mural.

The Lake Providence area first opened for European-American settlement in the late 1830s, after Indian Removal. New settlers drained the cypress swamps and cleared the land for cultivation. By 1861, at the start of the American Civil War, the region consisted entirely of large cotton plantations worked by thousands of slave laborers.

Source: Wikipedia

Still heading north we crossed into Arkansas.

For the Something COOL for Arkansas we stopped in the Catfish Capital of Arkansas. In 1970 Tony Joe White released a song on his self-titled album entitled "They Caught the Devil and Put Him in Jail in Eudora, Arkansas."

In Leland Mississippi, (yup crossed the border again)picked up the American specific spot, Rainbow Connection Bridge, dedicated to Jim Henson, of Muppets fame, who grew up here.

Mississippi has a rich history in the Blues, Rock and Roll and music in general. It is said that American music was born in this area. The Mississippi Blue Trail is something I would like to ride sometime in the future.

The Mississippi Blues Trail was created by the Mississippi Blues Commission in 2006 to place interpretive markers at the most notable historical sites related to the birth, growth and influence of the blues throughout (and in some cases beyond) the state of Mississippi. Within the state the trail extends from the Gulf Coast north along several highways to Natchez, Vicksburg, Jackson, Leland, Greenwood, Clarksdale, Tunica, Grenada, Oxford, Columbus, Meridian and many other points. The largest concentration of markers is in the Mississippi Delta but other regions of the state are also represented. Several out-of-state markers have also been erected where blues with Mississippi roots has had significance

Source: Wikipedia

In Indianola Mississippi is the BB King Museum. The guitar statue in front is a specific stop for the Americana Tour. Having strum some strings on an electric guitar back in the 60's the one pictured here is a Les Paul. As far as I know BB King always played a Gibson ES-335 Double Cutaway Semi- Hollow electric guitar. This is what Lucille was. The major change to his ES-355, it did not have the f holes. The Les Paul was also made by Gibson, so I guess there is a connection here.

Having passed thru Mississippi at least 3 times before, I always seemed to miss The Crossroads. This spot is a specific Americana spot and we didn't pass it by this time.

The story according to

According to legend, as a young man living on a plantation in rural Mississippi, Robert Johnson was branded with a burning desire to become a great blues musician. He was "instructed" to take his guitar to a crossroad near Dockery Plantation at midnight. There he was met by a large black man (the Devil) who took the guitar and tuned it. The "Devil" played a few songs and then returned the guitar to Johnson, giving him mastery of the instrument. This was in effect, a deal with the Devil mirroring the legend of Faust. In exchange for his soul, Robert Johnson was able to create the blues for which he became famous.

Crossing into Tennessee stopping at the Welcome to Tennessee sign. Right on the border was Muffler Man statue. Gotta love these big guys.

Muffler Men (or Muffler Man) are large moulded fiberglass sculptures that are placed as advertising icons, roadside attractions or for decorative purposes, predominantly in the United States. Standing approximately 18–25 feet tall,[1] the first figure was a Paul Bunyan character designed to hold an axe. Derivatives of that figure were widely used to hold full-sized car mufflers, tires, or other items promoting various roadside businesses.

Boatbuilder Steve Dashew established International Fiberglass in 1963 by purchasing and renaming Bob Prewitt's workshop, Prewitt Fiberglass. The oversized fibreglass men, women and dinosaurs began as a sideline.

The first of the figures, a Paul Bunyan holding an oversized axe to promote a restaurant, was created by Bob Prewitt in 1962[7] for the Paul Bunyan Café on Route 66 in Flagstaff, Arizona.

Source: Wikepedia

How could one miss this colorful mural In Westwood Shores, Tennessee.

Since the mural above is for a business and might not qualify for the Americana Tour, grabbed this mural just in case. Called the Star Kids Mural by Vitas Shell, painted in 2015. Located in Downtown Memphis.

Last stop of the day was the Bass Pro Pyramid. The GPS has me going all over the place to get to it. Finally I gave up using the GPS and just started driving down streets with the pyramid in view until I got there.

The shot for the Americana Tour.

A more formal photograph.

We are headed across the border into Arkansas to stay at the Ramada Inn in West Memphis. I was really happy to see all the had to do was head up the entrance ramp where the white truck is going.

Miles for the day are 391. Doesn't look it but we did pull in as the sun was going down.

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