The Deep South
2001

Photos © Ruud Leeuw

 

While my prevailing interest seems to go to mountains, deserts and sparsely inhabited, this time we decided to look into an area in the USA offering somewhat different: the Deep South. Mainly for its rich culture and history, but the itinerary included also a search for aeroplanes.
Travelogue the Deep South 2001
We flew US Airways via Philadelphia to Atlanta. Our first visit was to CNN's headquarters at Atlanta.
 

Travelogue the Deep South 2001
After some plane spotting at Atlanta (modern airliners, mainly Delta's) drove to Griffin-Tara Field for DC-3's.
This particular DC-3 had been shipped to Europe and after assembly by Fokker in Holland it started a career
with Swissair which lasted until 1955; since 1977 until this day it had been used by Academy Airlines.

Travelogue the Deep South 2001
Various other stops for planes included Montgomery, where I had been invited by the 187th Fighter Group (ANG)

 

Travelogue the Deep South 2001
Heading west, driving through hot, steamy back country, I came across some photo opportunities.

Travelogue the Deep South 2001

Travelogue the Deep South 2001

Fitting for a roadtrip in the year 2001:
Turning With the Century Lyrics by Sonny Landreth
In the evolution of you and I
Living under the everlasting sky
From a smoke signal to a cell phone
And call waiting where the buffalo roamed

Free spirited gypsy souls
Shedding Eden on a serpentine road
Tires hissing with a mystic drone
Can't you hear that flat snake moan?

Well that's the road rolling out from under our feet
Turning with the century
Like the road rolling out from under out feet
We are turning with the century

Like a sleepy town with a runaway train
We had a full head of steam and fitful dreams
But didn't we make rhythm of the roughest rides
On the back of the beat, side by side?

On the road rolling out from under our feet
Turning with the century
Like the road rolling out from under out feet
We are turning with the century

From an ear to the ground to the info age
And a run in the jungle to a walk in space
The big picture is straining my eyes
But I dig the view and I'm mesmerized

By the road rolling out from under our feet
Turning with the century
Like the road rolling out from under out feet
We are turning with the century

 

Travelogue the Deep South 2001
 
 
 

Travelogue the Deep South 2001
I had also pre-arranged a visit at Naval Air Station Meridian,MS

Travelogue the Deep South 2001
Since the 1990s I keep a database of where 'propliners' are located, owned by whom, condition, etc.
That database comes in handy when I actually want to photograph them; these sad DC-3's at Hattiesburg were picked up many years later for preservation; years of storage in damp conditions the cause of derelict condition
 
 
 

Travelogue the Deep South, New Orleans
The streets of New Orleans!

Travelogue the Deep South, New Orleans
It was hot & humid, but the best way to see a town is by walking. In August there wasn't much going on.
We took our breaks and had our first tastes of some Louisiana's food, e.g. Jambalaya and spicy Gumbo soup.

Travelogue the Deep South, New Orleans
The above photos were all taken in the French Quarter; I prefer the quieter streets!

Travelogue the Deep South, New Orleans
The 'Garden District' has the most beautiful houses.

Travelogue the Deep South, New Orleans
Maybe a bit morbid, but no vist to New Orleans is sad to be complete without a visit to the unique cemeteries.
The ground is so wet due to high groundwater level that the dead need to be buried above ground.
Lafayette Cemetery in the Garden District.

Travelogue the Deep South, New Orleans
Street artist in the French Quarter

 

Travelogue the Deep South
We drove a scenic route to Houma, to see some more planes. The scenic route was disappointing since the road was mostly built on stakes, high above the ground and we didn't see much nor was there opportunity to stop the car. But we ended the day in Lafayette where we did find the beautiful scenery we had been looking for!

Travelogue the Deep South
We went to Lake Martin, which showed on the map to have a road that would bring us round, but the road
was closed due damage by flooding; so we got out of the car and hiked over a levee. And there was Mr Gator!
The walk was exciting, because of all the bird noises and spotting of wildlife; we saw a few more alligators and also a 'nutrio', looked a bit like a beaver - but these we either too small or too far away for photography.

Travelogue the Deep South
We also did a boat tour through the swaps, no visit to the Deep South should be without!
This was from McGee's Landing and we toured the Atchafalaya Basin.
The above photo shows how roads (here I-10) are built through the swaps, quite an engineering feat.

Travelogue the Deep South
More 'gators. It started to rain but that is hardly surprising here.
Our guide was an Acadian ol' timer, he talked an amusing talk, but a lot of it was lost because he had evidently left his dentures at home.. But he knew his stuff: when he called 'hey Joe..', this gator showed up!

 

Travelogue the Deep South
We started out on the beautiful Natches Trace and arrived at the Melrose Estate; this beautiful house is built in socalled 'Greek Revival'-style (18th century Georgian architecture), built between 1841-1845.
It had several buildings around it, including slave quarters. The garden is decorated with cypress trees and magnolia's; hanging moss on the branches of the trees: idyllic!
We decided to visit this place because it had an exhibition on slaves, while most 'Antebellum Homes' focus on their own pride and glory. www.nps.gov/natc

Travelogue the Deep South
Also on the Natchez Trace Parkway (www.nps.gov/natr): the Windsor Ruins!

The Natchez Trace Parkway is a 444-mile drive through Mississippi, Alabama and Tennessee, through exceptional scenery and 10,000 years of North American history. Used by American Indians, 'Kaintucks', settlers, and even future presidents, the Old Trace played an important role in American history.

The Windsor Plantation at one time covered 2,600 acres (11 kmē). Smith Coffee Daniell II, who was born in Mississippi in 1826, the son of an Indian fighter turned farmer and landowner, constructed the mansion itself in 1859-1861.
Basic construction of the house, which was designed by David Shroder was done by slave labor.
The bricks for use in the 45 foot columns were made in a kiln across the road from the house. The columns were then covered with mortar and plaster. There were 29 of these columns supporting the projecting roof line with its plain, broad frieze and molded cornice.
Skilled carpenters were brought in from New England for the finished woodwork and the iron stairs, column capitals and balustrades were manufactured in St. Louis and shipped down the Mississippi River.
The mansion was completed in 1861. However Smith Daniell lived in the home only a few weeks before he died at the age of 34.
When completed, the home contained over 25 rooms, each with its own fireplace and, among other innovations, featured interior baths supplied with water from a tank in the attic.
During the American Civil War, the home was used by both Union and Confederate troops.
The home survived the war and continued to be used for social gatherings in the area. Mark Twain stayed at the home and is said to have used the roof observatory to observe the Mississippi River.

On 17 February 1890, a guest left a lighted cigar on a balcony (it is also said that someone dropped a cigar or cigarette in a pile of wood chips left by carpenters working on the 3rd floor). The family said the fire started around 3:00 in the afternoon. Having planned a seated dinner, they had gone into town to pick up the mail. As they were riding back, they saw flames shooting through the shingled roof. The fire burned from top to bottom making it impossible to extinguish, and the house was completely destroyed in the conflagration.
[Wikipedia, more..]

 

Travelogue the Deep South
More remains, of a different kind.
 
 
 

Travelogue the Deep South
History made visible at the Vicksburg Nat'l Military Park & Cemetery. The canon fired with an ear-splitting bang!

Travelogue the Deep South
We drove a nice route through the park, attempts had been made to illustrate how the battle was fought here.

 
 
 

Travelogue the Deep South
The road goes on.. We stopped for lunch at this gasstation / diner / general store.
We liked the 'Chicken-on-a-stick'; we ate less hamburgers this trip, instead we had quessadillas, gumbo soup, fried catfish, barbecued pork & chicken. The weather remained hot & humid, we drank ice tea & So-Be's a lot.

Travelogue the Deep South
A different use for a schollbus, this one was used as a shed!

Travelogue the Deep South
We suddenly came acros this sprayer plane, he was buzzing the field so I quickly pulled over for a photo.

Travelogue the Deep South
For night accommodation we used travel coupons a lot; the Key West Inn in Greenville,MS was one of the nicest.
 
Travelogue the Deep South
We shouldn't forget our interest in planes.. Just outside Greenwood is an airfield where they salvage parts from disgarded aeroplanes; some of these were quite modern airliners (747s, airbus). We were allowed to walk around
 

Travelogue the Deep South, Memphis
Memphis! Now we were on the music trail.. Some mixed emotions here. It started with our motel, we didn't like the Knight's Inn and found better lodgings in the La Quinta. Beale Street is much smaller than its reputation.
There wasn't much going on during the day, so we retreated to airconditioned climes at the Peabody Place, a mall.

Travelogue the Deep South, Memphis
Travelling with a minor in the US prohibits going out late at night, but frankly our evenings had low priority for we had long days driving over considerable distances and visiting places en route. We'll do the music & bars 'later'.

Travelogue the Deep South, Memphis
This was a highlight: the Sun Studios in Memphis,where many of the greats we admire have recorded their music.

Travelogue the Deep South, Memphis
Johnny Cash had a trick with a folded dollar bill as shown on above photo: this dollar folded between the strings and the frets made the brushed snare sound on Johnny Cash's 'Walk the Line'.

 
 
 
Travelogue the Deep South
In the evening, in Memphis, we visited the Memphis Motorsports Park; every friday night they celebrate Friday Night Thunder ! We watched a lot of action going on on the oval dirt track, but it was also entertaining to see how the Americans spent their evening here: mainly by eating & drinking!

Travelogue the Deep South
We did some plane spotting at Memphis IAP, where we saw a lot of Fedex planes; next was Nashville where we only had one day and this was a sunday - there wasn't much else to do (Grand Ol' Opry was closed) than plane spotting at Nashille's airport! Ada had stayed behind at the pool.

My page on Propliners in the Deep South 2001

 
 
 

Travelogue the Deep South
We drove some nice 'scenic roads', as indicated on our trusty Rand McNally Roadmap, here in Tennessee.

Travelogue the Deep South
We passed through the Smoky Mountains Nat'l Park, we made an effort to avoid tourist-trap Gatlinburg.
 

Travelogue the Deep South
Staying in motels with a pool was a life-saver in this hot climate!


And so came another visit to the US to an end.