Nolen Family Vacation 2017: Day 6

Thursday, April 20th


After breakfast at the hotel we drove over to Vicksburg National Military Park. It was meant to be a quick stop, but I didn't realize from the online maps, just how long and meandering is the road through the park.

[caption id="attachment_3683" align="aligncenter" width="200"] Entrance to the park.[/caption]

It as a picturesque drive through green hills covered in mist. Memorials to various soldiers and regiments are scattered here and there.

[caption id="attachment_3686" align="aligncenter" width="398"] Illinois Memorial[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_3687" align="aligncenter" width="200"] Wisconsin Memorial[/caption]

Funnily enough, we didn't stop and see the Missouri monument because it was toward the end of the park along a side road and we were pressed for time.

The cemetery was beautiful.

One happy surprise was the U.S.S. Cairo. This warship was sunk during the Civil War and was recovered 200 years later. They had to shore up a lot of it and rebuild it in places, but you can actually walk all around and even inside of it. It's hard to grasp the scale of things like this when you only ever see it in books and movies.

[caption id="attachment_3691" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Front view[/caption]

The museum was full of items recovered from the ship. Most of them were mundane, day-to-day items, which give so much insight into how people lived back then.

We continued on our way. Our next stop was the Cypress Swamp. It's right off of the Natchez Trace Parkway. It was beautiful, but the mosquitoes were intense. We sprayed ourselves down, but could only stay 30 minutes.

[caption id="attachment_3694" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Hello, Mr. Butterfly.[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_3695" align="aligncenter" width="200"] Lizard[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_3697" align="aligncenter" width="298"] Cypress Swamp[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_3699" align="aligncenter" width="300"] The lake at the next pull-off.[/caption]

We drove for a few more hours and then ate linner at a Mellow Mushroom in Tuscaloosa. There was a nice downtown area with shops and restaurants and nice, paved, walkways. It looked like a nice place to spend an afternoon.

But not for us. Because we had to press on.

Birmingham is a larger town with a bit more to offer. We stretched our legs at the Railroad park. So named because it runs along the railroad downtown.

We grabbed a coffee and sipped while we walked. After walking the park we headed out to get some ice cream. Ben and Luke chose a flavor aptly named "Road Trip."

Our last stop for the evening was Vulcan Park. Birmingham was a steel producing mega-center back in its heyday. The Vulcan sculpture was actual taken to and displayed at one of the World's Fairs.

I recommend taking the elevator. I thought I'd be clever and walk off my ice cream. Oy. 159 steps is more than it sounds.

[caption id="attachment_3706" align="aligncenter" width="200"] Before Dark.[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_3707" align="aligncenter" width="200"] After dark[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_3708" align="aligncenter" width="300"] View from the top[/caption]

Once again, we packed a lot into one day. All the days and all the things we'd seen were starting to blend together....and we weren't even at the halfway point yet!


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