The irony of touring Vicksburg Military Nat'l Park on the day of an historic election is quite remarkable. Vicksburg was amazing, as this election has been. I hired a guide to drive the park with us for two hours, and what a great idea that was. Gary told us so many stories, and we just listened, enraptured with every detail. The deal was I had to let Gary drive the RV. One might think I was happy to relinquish this duty, but as it turns out, I am more protective of the Turd than I had thought. At one point, I had to potlitely ask Gary to *slow* down, especially on the turns, as I was losing my load! Things were falling all over the place, and Jack and I silently made "Oh my goodness" faces at each other. Gary didn't hear things banging around in the back...had to do a little pick-up after the drive.
Vicksburg was (along with Gettysburg) one of the great wins for the Union. From the start of the Civil War, control of the Mississippi River,south of Cairo, was vitally important to the federal government. Set atop a high bluff overlooking the river, Vicksburg was protected by riverfront artillery, a maze of swamps and a ring of forts. President Lincoln called Vicksburg "the key." He believed "the war can never be brought to a close until that key is in our pocket." Gen. Grant lay siege on Vicksburg for 47 days. It was July 4, 1863 when the Confederates officially surrendered. Over 10,000 men died here and more than 600,000 men in total died in the Civil War, more than any other US war. There is a cemetary where 17,000 men lay in rest. Unknown soldiers make up 13,000 of that total, leaving only 4,000 named soldiers.
The kids very enthusiastically filled out their Jr. Ranger programs and earned another badge to add to their Nat'l Park collection. All in all, we spent four hours touring the park and loved it.
After lunch in the parking lot, we drove through historic downtown and stopped at the Coca-Cola museum where the first coke was bottled in 1894. The kids order "coke floats" and we walked down to the river. We also stopped at an antique doll museum which completely creeped me out. It seemed like the perfect setting for a horror movie where all the dolls come to life. We lasted 10 minutes. Jack was on my side about that one.
From downtown we drove to Wal-Mart. Why don't they sponsor me??? I had to pick up a new battery for the RV and some paper goods. Tomorrow morning my drive-by service guy will come and install it. I love that.
Since it's a big, big night, I'm hoping to see the election with the kids-we'll have to stay up late here to learn about the results. No matter what happens, it will be one for the books, and one that the kids will be sure to remember.
Tomorrow we'll head to Shreveport, LA for the night before hitting Dallas on Thurs.
Happy Election Day!