Location: Heart of Haynesville RV Park; Mansfield, Louisiana
To get the boring statistics out of the way, here they are:
The trip started on June 11, 2023 and ended on October 10, 2023 during which I towed Liberty about 4,200 miles while camping in 32 different campgrounds (14-state parks, 13-COE, 2-Tennessee Valley Authority, 2-County, 1- private) in 10 states. The cost of campgrounds was about $2,700.00 (average = $22.13 per night) while the cost of fuel was about $2,400.00. I'm disappointed in the amount of State Parks in comparison to COE's. COE's remain my preferred campground with State Parks and County Parks coming in a distant second.
|My campsite for the next 2 to 3 months.|
|This old barn is in the cow pasture behind my campsite. It appears to be ready to fall in at any time. I hope I remember to take a picture of it before I leave in a couple of months to see how it is doing.|
There were several reasons for the trip other than the general reason of getting away to "see what I could see while the seeing is good." The large Forest River RV Rally in Goshen, Indiana was the long range destination, but as usual, the journey to get there was not even close to being the most direct route. As Malia Lane (RIP), solo RV'er, use to say in her blog, ",,,,the journey never ends."
Along the way:
I explored and learned about the Tennessee River Valley and the hydroelectric dams which transformed it the entire valley into something special. It is one of the most successful programs of FDR's New Deal and is still paying great dividends today and will continue to do so into the distant future. I remember learning a little bit about it in school but nothing as in depth as traveling, camping and exploring along the river. I sure hope the schools are still teaching about it.
I explored and learned about the Battle of Shiloh/Corinth and the minor battles leading up to it. It was a turning point in the war and dealt a crippling blow to the south in terms of transporting materials and troops. This is not my first Civil War battlefield. I've explored the beginning point at Fort Sumter, South Carolina and the last at Appomattox Court House, Virginia and several others in between. But it was during the exploration at Shiloh where I got a better understanding as to why Southern Monuments in the cities of the south were erected after the war. They serve more as an all-encompassing general headstone to the southern soldiers who died during the war and never returned home. The vast majority of the monuments were erected because family members didn't know where their loved ones died and were buried. If their loved ones died at Shiloh, more than likely, they lay on the battlefield for weeks until all of the Yankee soldiers were properly buried in a cemetery with their names recorded, if known. After which, the Yankees took over from the local citizens who were burying the Southern dead. The Yankees made quick and disrespectful work of it by burying the Rebels in mass trenches on the battlefield. When the family members learned of this, from Shiloh and many other battles, they erected Memorials to their lost loved ones. Often-times they were erected in the heart of their cities near the court house and served as a Mass Headstone of the deceased Southern soldiers. These are the Memorials that are now being removed by stupid people, encouraged by some politicians and ignored or incorrectly reported on by the media. Sad times being created by people who don't know their history or maybe they do and are just ignoring it.
I visited several Indian Mounds on this trip. And as with the Civil War battlefields, these were not my first or biggest. To my surprise, I finally got a good answer, it many not be the correct one, to my question that I always ask when visiting these Indian Mounds. "Why would people, who had to struggle each day just to survive, waste time building a large pile of dirt." The good answer was, they marked the annual or bi-annual meeting places of different tribes in the area. The various tribes would meet to trade items and information, choose wives and husbands and maybe a little partying. To mark the spot for next year, and sanctify it, they would build an earthen mound, little by little, year by year. That makes more sense than some of the other answers I have gotten over the years from the "experts". This answer does not apply to places like Cahokia, near St. Louis, since it was a giant city, not a gathering spot.
The Forest River Rally was a nice mid-point on the trip. I met lots of new people and talked with many of the technicians about maintaining/repairing RV's. If you are an RV'er and think your RV will survive the brutal roadways in our country without the need for preventative maintenance and repair, then you shouldn't be RV'ing. I will probably go back next year if, as my mother (RIP) would say,,,,,"if the Lord's willing and the creek don't rise."
I saw some really good sunsets/sunrises, many lakes, rivers, working tow boats, lots of dams, some good museums and a few nice scenic drives. I saw lots and lots of farmland with crops growing high and healthy. There were many clean and vibrant small towns supporting those farmers. I had a few really good and unexpected meals at restaurants while eating out. Some even came close to Taco Bell. I was pleasantly surprised by some other campers who brought me supper three nights in a row. I'm still in the process of convincing myself that it was not only due to their generous nature but also because I looked so scrawny and skinny as to have people believe I'm starving to death. I have taken to carrying rocks in my pockets to weigh me down in case a strong gust of wind blows up.
Freedom and Liberty (I've quit using Liberty2) performed very good with the only problem being Liberty's air conditioner going out. It was replaced in a relatively short period of time and under warranty, so that "problem" turned into and "adventure". Adapt and overcome.
The trip was a success and I missed the majority of the record setting heat of a Louisiana summer. I should be here through at least Christmas. I have a feeling a very cold winter is in store for Louisiana to go along with the very hot summer. We seem to be in that pattern. Unless something prevents me from do so, I plan to spend the winter somewhere with highs in the 60's and lows in the 40's.
It will take me some more time to organize and post some pictures from the trip. If you can wait that long, they are in all of the posts that I made during the trip.
Ya'll take care of each other. Maybe I'll Cya down the road.