Monday, August 3, 2009

Chapter 5: The Mississippi Delta

View USA in 80 Days: Likely Route in a larger map

Driving up the Mississippi River was one of the earliest concepts considered for this trip. Following a river seems like a perfect way to get to know a land intimately. Before that though, a jaunt across Louisiana. Lots of myths to bust here. Maybe that is what this trip is like, an American Cultural Mythbusters where we travel around measuring up this country against our imaginations. I'm expecting catfish and klansmen and good ole boys. Frankly the image thats been getting out about this place is pretty backwards. Hopefully I can report that the reality of the situation isn't quite the same. Still, I expect there to be some kind of Louisiana essence that will come across.

It's a great shame we won't get to experience pre-Hurricane Katrina New Orleans. It is one place that was always on my to do list, and if I ever get a time machine, I'm sure mid-20th Century New Orleans would get a visit. Still it will be interesting to visit the city now, and meet the people. There has been so much world attention placed on their situation, but what is it really like? Will it ever be the same again?

I know I said we would follow the river up, and we will, but first we have to steal across to Alabama to visit Mobile. Once again, it is one of those places that I have heard of and would like to check out, and it would be a shame to come so close to Alabama and not go in. I bet there is some pretty out-there delicious food along this way. Then it is a switchback West as we head towards the city ofHattiesburg inMississippi (one of the first long words I knew how to spell!), where we rejoin the river to retrace its steps North. I'm hoping to find a little history along the way here. Lots of signs of abandoned industry along the river. I doubt it will be as idyllic as my imagination.

What are the must see things around the bottom of Louisiana and up the Mississippi river? I don't want to just drive past anything, not realising until it's too late. My Dad and I did that in New York, walked right past Strawberry Fields and didn't even realise until later. Regardless though, there will be no time to rest or dally at this point. We aren't even half way yet.

Next up, something Alex is really looking forward to, Chapter 6: Graceland and the Gateway

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