Sunday, May 24, 2009

Doerrs Go To the Beach - Day One

Mapquest said that the one way trip from Tulsa to Gulf Shores, AL would take about 12.5 hours. I am thinking that it may take double that. Traveling with Miss Vivian is just not as simple as traveling with Catie. Miss V is not willing to just get along. In fact, she is completely committed to letting us know when she is NOT happy. Hopefully we will arrive at the beach before the end of the week...

The first day of the trip involved a drive from Hugo, OK (we spend the night there with my parents and traded our car for their land barge so that we could haul all of the kids' gear) to Vicksburg, MS. We thought, and it turns out to have been a wise decision, that breaking the drive up into two days would be a great idea. I am so glad that we did. The total trip from Hugo to VB would have been just five and a half hours, but took more like seven with stops to let the kids run around and to switch drivers. I don't think B or I would have wanted to press on from VB to Gulf Shores, since that's another five and a half hours without stops. Ugh!

We got to Vicksburg early enough to drive through the Vicksburg National Military Park. The park was established in 1899 to commemorate the campaign, siege, and defense of Vicksburg during the Civil War. According to Wikipedia, the park "includes 1,325 historic monuments and markers, 20 miles (32 km) of historic trenches and earthworks, a 16-mile (26 km) tour road, two antebellum homes, 144 emplaced cannons, restored gunboat USS Cairo (sunk on December 12, 1862, on the Yazoo River, recovered successfully in 1964), and the Grant's Canal site, where the Union army attempted to build a canal to let their ships bypass Confederate artillery fire." I know Wikipedia is not the most reliable source, but I went to the park and this sounds about the right.

Anyway, here are a few pictures from our trip to the park

This is the Illinois monument, dedicated to the soldiers and commanding officers from -wait for it- Illinois. This building had to be modeled after the Pantheon in Rome because that is the first thing I thought of when we stepped inside. It is really an impressive building. It sits up on a hill surrounded mostly by woodland. The kids were mostly impressed by the echos of their footfalls bouncing off of the marble walls.

Cayton is standing near one of the columns on the front of the Illinois monument.  It was really a nice view from the entrance looking out.

Viv loved running around inside the building.

Near the Illinois monument was the Shirley House. According to the park map, this is the only Civil War era building in the park. It looked really rundown and I was so disappointed that it seemed the house was being allowed to fall apart. But, as we came around to the front of the house, I saw a sign posted that detailed the Restabilization of the Shirley House. So, I am glad to know that something is being done to restore and preserve this historic house.

We finished up the day with a drive through the historic downtown. There are so many beautiful antebellum homes in Vicksburg. I remember visiting a few of these homes on vacations with my family when I was a kid. One particular home even had a cannonball from a civil war battle lodged in a wall in the parlor! That was obviously a big memory for me since I was only nine at the time that we toured that home!

For supper we found a great little catfish restaurant and it was just what you should eat if you are lucky enough to find yourself in Mississippi. You know that you are in the right place when your main question is "Should I go for the 1/2, 3/4 or full pound of catfish?" For the record, I chose the 1/2 pound and shared it, somewhat begrudgingly, with the kids. It goes without saying that the tasty fish was accompanied by hushpuppies and fries and, of course, sweet tea. Blake had the chicken and unsweet tea. Sigh...