June 16, 2010

A Warm Mississippi Welcome

After our "adventure" in Oklahoma (read the post below this one for details if you missed it) we enjoyed the southern hospitality of Alabama and Mississippi, though not the traffic. Not that the traffic was really that heavy, but we're just so used to these open western highways with lots of elbow room.

We delivered Monday morning north of Birmingham, and then high tailed it to a town in northwestern Mississippi, trying to get there to load before they closed.

Northeastern Mississippi was pretty and reminds me a bit of middle Tennessee with its rolling, forested hills.

It was 88 degrees at 9:00 that morning so we new it was going to be a bit warm! However, even knowing its going to be "warm" and that Mississippi is a humid state, still doesn't quite prepare you for it when you've been out of the southern heat and humidity for almost 4 years as we have! Lets just say by Monday afternoon everything in the truck was rather sticky, including us. I got sweaty just standing at the edge of the parking lot waiting for the girls to go potty. Ahhh...a warm Mississippi welcome!

We were headed to a town called Sunflower. Isn't that just a perfectly sweet name for a town? I looked forward to seeing what it was like. But first we had about 250 miles to get behind us. Once we crossed into Mississippi, one of the first towns we passed through was Tupelo.

Have you heard of Tupelo, or know why its famous? Tupelo is the birthplace of Elvis Presley.

I went to his childhood home a few years ago when my mom, sister, and I were visiting my aunt and uncle, who at the time were living in Oxford, another small but famous Mississippi town. Oxford is where Ole Miss is located. It was an adorable town, if I recall correctly. We drove past Oxford on Monday too, but the highway kind of bypasses the scenic part of town.

I was enjoyed the scenery as we rolled through the countryside, including the clouds. I suspected by the way they were mounding up and getting that really tall puffy look, that there would be some thunder storms by evening.
As we crossed into western Mississippi, the land leveled out and there was more farmland visible.

Along with my "taking in the sights," I also enjoyed seeing some of my favorite's from my southern days, first and foremost...roadsides full of Queen Ann's Lace and Black Eyed Susans.

The Crepe Myrtles were in full bloom and so pretty. These are ornamental "shrubs," but more like small trees, that lots and lots of people use in their landscaping. I always liked the brilliant pink blossoms.

Another pink blossomed beauty, though many would also label them pests, are the mimosa trees. They are very nearly a pesky weed. One of those lovely ornamental plants that people planted and then they went hog wild and took over the world. You know the type. I tended to over look them as a common weed tree when I lived in Tennessee, but now I see them and have nostalgic memories.

Speaking of pesky plants that take over the world, do you know what this one is?

This lovely green vine is called Kudzu, also referred to as "the vine that ate the south." Kudzu, if your not familiar with it, is an awful vine that someone thought was pretty and ornamental and now it is almost quite literally eating the southern states alive. There was an old running joke that if you left your car parked too long (like 5 minutes) near a kudzu vine, it would get covered with the pesky stuff. It is quite literally nearly impossible to kill, get rid of, destroy....its immortal. Really its quite lovely the way it efficiently covers and takes on the shape of whatever it grows on, BUT it is a serious problem.

We finally got over towards Sunflower in west central Mississippi. I was disappointed to see that they don't actually grow sunflowers in Sunflower, MS. Instead its primarily corn and rice.

Sadly we didn't load corn or rice. That would have been much more pleasant. We loaded fish meal. Actually we'd brought salmon meal from California to Alabama and in Mississippi we loaded just regular fish meal, but I can assure you...it all stinks. And we're not talking the general fresh fishy smell that's slightly unpleasant but bearable. We're talking about the putrid rank fishy smell that makes you gag every time it hits your nose. Sadly...every time we got within 15 feet of our truck, it was the putrid fishy smell, and it smelled like it inside and even Malcolm's clothes smelled like it. And we'd been smelling that fishy smell since loading in California Friday morning! I've had my fill of fish for a while. After loading in Sunflower, we headed west towards Arkansas. It was getting dark, so pictures started getting difficult to get clear, but I was holding out hopes of at least one shot of the Mississippi river. I was pleasantly surprised to get stopped at a red light right in front of the Mississippi welcome center, which to my delight was built to look like a river boat. And it was all lit up for the evening. I think this was one of the absolute best welcome center's I've ever seen as far as creativity and depicting the state's character go!Finally we reached the bridge to cross the river... ...and I got one shot, only slightly blurry, of sunset on the mighty Mississippi.

We delivered our fishy fish meal south of Houston, TX on Tuesday morning, and reloaded near the port east of Houston. We are hauling a special sand used for drilling and it's going to the oil fields in western North Dakota.
I enjoyed the time in Mississippi and the south, but with the heat and humidity combined with the traffic and Sunday's experience, I was relieved to cross into Kansas early this morning (like 2:00am) and when I stopped north of Wichita to go to bed, it smelled like hay and was much cooler and wonderful!
Today we've been traveling in Nebraska and South Dakota, and now we are just a few miles from North Dakota. Its WONDERFUL to be back in our part of the country. I love my southern roots, they will always be a part of me, but this country just feels right.


Shirley said...

The fish meal does sound awful. Glad the rest of your trip was uneventful after the road rage incident. Love the Johnny Cash song- it's perfect!

Yankee Girl ~ Missy said...

ha ha I'm so glad that I can't smell that. The pictures on your blog are just breath taking. I love reading your posts.

small farm girl said...

LOL! You described the humidity perfectly. We,around, call it The Air You Can Ware. I understand about those vines too. The grow so fast. Luckily we don't have any on our farm, but I do know people that have them in theirs. It will cover a car. lol.

You guys be safe out there.