This week started off with a bit of a blinder.
One of the key stops on the ‘Blue’s trail’ through Mississippi was the little town of Clarksdale. According to Morgan Freeman’s club there, it was ‘ground zero’ for Blues – where it all started. Whilst the ground zero club had some good live music, Reds’ across the road was what we were hoping for: an 80 year old dude, sat on a stool with his guitar, strumming out some blues in this old Juke joint (pronounced Juk – and interestingly where Juke box first got its name from). It really was what I was hoping for, and hopefully we’ll find more little places like this on our travels.
The next day we headed off to Vicksburg, a major American civil war region (pretty much the death knell for the Confederate Army, after being besieged for months by the Union forces). The town itself is very much a tourist town, and I think Civil War lethargy over the last couple of weeks, meant we perhaps didn’t give it the time it deserved. But, I’d like to go back if possible.
With a bit of discussion, we thought we should definitely go for Mardis Gras, as it was a couple of days away, and we were too close not to give it a whirl (the sky high prices, and booked up RV parks had previously put us off). Meg found a truck stop not too far from the French Quarter, and so we headed off, via a quick stop at Natchez – apparently the wealthiest town (per head) at the start of the civil war than any other part of the US (the houses still standing, that we saw, definitely proved that).
Mardis Gras was great. The main floats bit was a little bit disappointing (think trucks dressed up in tissue paper, with people in masks chucking beads into the crowds), but the French Quarter parades & milling about were great. Essentially every artsy resident of New Orleans, dressed in whatever random clothes they could find in their cupboard, drinking, dancing and generally having a good time. There were block parties on every street corner, and just a jovial atmosphere all around. Add the amazing looking architecture of the French Quarter, the cool neighbourhood bars, and it was a mix that I can’t wait to go back to (which I think Meg agrees).
We’ve now made it to Austin (via Breaux Bridge swap/bayou stuff) and are happily camped at our first ‘base’. The luxurious Royal Palms, “Manufactured Home & RV Community” whereby we have a little strip of grass, a slab of concrete, cable, electricity, laundry and a huge list of do’s & don’ts. But, the good news is that Meg has got some work lined up at a bakery in town, and I have volunteered my services for the SxSW festival which rolls into town in a few weeks. In the interim, there is 101 little jobs that I need to be getting on with in Milton, as well as trying to get back into doing some exercise – with both of our brand new second hand bikes ready to be utilised, and a depleted bank balance, this has helped force the fitness/diet issue (we have perhaps been living a little too much like our mascot Milly the Sloth over the last couple of weeks)