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Published: September 20th 2021
This morning we left our hotel at 8:35 and 79 degrees and headed west to meet the Mississippi River. Our target was Vicksburg and our plan was all about the Great River Road. Before we ever got to Vicksburg, we hooked up with the entry point to the road and we followed the signs north. We drove for miles and miles through the Mississippi Delta, the most lush and fertile farmland one might ever see. And we drove for miles and miles without ever seeing the great river. It was always there, to our left, but out of sight. And with most of the land abutting the river being fields of crops, there was no access that we could find to get over there and take it all in. So we drove on and on through brown fields that had already been harvested…fields of grain and corn and massive fields of cotton, some ready for harvest.
Early on, we rarely saw a house or a living soul. But as we moved further north, we did have the opportunity to drive through small areas of very modest houses, some inhabited, many in ruins and abandoned. And where were the
people? We didn’t see anyone. I figured they were all in church. After all, we are in the Bible Belt of the US. But we saw a lot of churches and few had any cars outside or activity around them. It seems everyone around this area must be Baptist, because most of the churches we did see were one type of Baptist or another. And on Sunday afternoon, don’t you expect to see people out fishing, or having a BBQ or playing soccer or baseball in a field? But it seems everyone was at home, inside, doing I don’t know what.
So we drove on and followed the signs that kept us on the Great River Road. There were many stretches of nothing but fields, until we saw a sign for Roy’s Store. Well after all of that time it was the first place we had seen where we could stop for a potty break. We hadn’t even seen a gas station in over a hundred miles. So this came at an opportune time. We turned the car around and took the one mile road to Roy’s. And what a charming place it was. You can see from the
photo that they had an RV park, gas, food, and many other offerings. The gas pumps looked like something out of the 1970’s. And there were a few pick-ups parked in front of the store. Inside they were selling anything you might want to buy, from fishing supplies to OTC medications, snacks, prepared foods and so on. And the lady at the counter was charming in her own right, with her lazy southern drawl. We both used the restrooms and bought a few snacks to take with us.
Further down the road we happened on a boat ramp just about noon time and decided it would be a great place to park and enjoy the view of Lake Bolivar as we had lunch, and so we did. We made sandwiches and sat there listening to the chirping wildlife and enjoying the view of the cypress trees in the water as we ate.
Moving on up the road, we continued to follow the road signs and they took us to a place I would never recommend that anyone go. The Great River Road signs led us onto a levee and then into a deep forest where we drove for
about 25 miles on a dirt, and sometimes muddy, single-wide road through the woods. Steve was worried we would never be able to get help if we had issues. There was no cell service and seemingly, no one around. We only encountered 2 vehicles coming in the opposite direction and were able to move over enough so that we could squeeze passed them. Eventually the signs led us out to the main highway. Now, we never saw the river. So the purpose of putting us through this odyssey is a mystery to me. If you ever decide to follow this road, stay on rt 1 south of Marianna, Arkansas. You won’t be sorry.
Once back on the highway, we headed straight for West Memphis, which is a town in Arkansas on the west side of the Mississippi River from Memphis, Tennessee. We checked into our hotel only to find issues with our room that took us a while to resolve. Then, to add insult to injury, our food order at Cracker Barrel never got filled, so Steve spent over an hour trying to get our food back to our room. The bed is going to look mighty welcoming in
a little while from now. Tomorrow, we drive to St. Louis, again on the Great River Road. Hopefully we will have a chance to enjoy the river itself.
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