Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Murals of Vicksburg

It's spring, or at least it will be on Thursday. Anyway, what I was getting at is that we are travelling north through Mississippi and along the infamous 'tornado alley'. That means we have to keep an eye on the weather in case things go terribly awry. We have been watching the news each day and making sure we check the weather. Well, every day except Sunday night / Monday morning. We were in Natchez and didn't get any real TV stations to watch the news. We did get some weather channel that showed local temperatures, but no real weather forcasts or national overviews. I didn't think it was that big of a deal, and we got on with our lives, doing the tourist thing and travelling north to Vicksburg.

All was well until we were about half an hour from Vicksburg. The clouds started rolling in. Not just any clouds, but the dark ominous ones. And the wind was picking up a bit with wind gusts. Then the skies got dark. The clouds were not too bad directly over us, but I could see something developing ahead of us. We tried to get a radio station to get an update on the weather so we could make a decison whether we were stopping in Vicksburg or going further north to aviod bad weather. No luck.

We pulled into Vicksburg and stopped in the Walmart parking lot. The lot was wet with puddles left from a recent rainfall. And the nasty clouds were moving east. Ward turned the TV on and we were able to get a decent TV station right away. As soon as we tuned in the station we heard the weather alerts. There were serious thunderstorms threatening in the area until 9pm, with chance of large hail and possibility of tornados. Soon after we got coverage of egg sized hail in Jackson, Mississippi, which is about 50 miles east of Vicksburg.

I got the computer out and checked the weather.com website to get a better idea of weather on it's way. The doplar radar showed the worst of it had already passed Vicksburg. For the next few hours I kept an eye on the doplar radar to ensure nothing bad was developing, as the weather alert was still in place until 9pm. We were lucky to have totally missed the weather system that came through the area, and I was seriously irritated with the stupid weather station we were watching that morning and the previous night. You would think they would give a little warning on serious weather coming through. But no, not a word.

Since having that close call with the weather I have started paying more attention to the doplar radar, wind directions, temperature fronts and changes. I am becoming my own weather analyst as we make our way up tornado alley. And we have been given a bit of a heads up that there may be some bad weather coming through the area on Thursday or Friday this week. I will be watching as it developes to try and direct our travels around it.

In the meantime we took in a bit of tourist stuff in Vicksburg today before leaving for Greenville. I had a look at the tourist information we had on hand and decided to check out the historic murals on display on the seawall down by the Mississippi River in downtown Vicksburg.

When we got downtown I found a parking spot on Washington St where I could see the murals down by the waterfront. As I got out of the RV I saw one of the Mississippi Blues plaques. It was the '61 Highway' plaque. Highway 61, the one we travelled on from Natchez to Vicksburg is famous for blues music.

Then as we started walking toward the murals I noticed some hitching posts along the side of the road on Washington Street.
Beside a couple of these hitching posts there were fancy water troughs. Have a look. There is not just one trough on each of these posts, they are at varying heights all around the posts.

We finally made it down to the waterfront and saw the long line of murals painted along the seawall. There were a total of 35 murals. For an idea of the scale of these murals, have a look at the edge of the seawall gate here. It must be eight or ten feet tall.

Here is a sample of the many murals painted on the seawall.
After leaving Vicksburg we went back down Highway 61 up to a town called Rolling Fork. We turned off Highway 61 to hook up with the Old River Road, Highway 1, for a slower and more scenic drive into Greenville. But before we could get onto the Old River Road we had to stop in the town of Rolling Fork for another one of those Mississippi Blues plaques. This time it was Muddy Waters.
Well, that's it for now folks.

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