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Categories: Iowa, minieasternloop2017, Pizza Street | Leave a comment

Year In Review Number Two

Y’all! Today is our second nomadiversary! Another year has already passed!

You might have noticed we’re doing our #50statetour in loops. We have to spend some time each year in Texas where all of our doctors are. Even though we’re nomads, we still have to go to the dentist and get check-ups.

For our second loop/year we headed east. We made our way from Texas all the way up to Maine and then we worked our way down the east coast to Florida before returning to Texas.

It was quite the year! We added 22 states to our map during our second year! 22!

I thought we could talk about some of our favorites from year two during our #easternloop2016.


We can’t talk about our second year without talking about Niagara Falls. The American side of the falls was kind of a bust for us, but the Canadian side was ah-mazing!

We stayed until the fireworks and guys…it was such an awesome experience!

Now, y’all know we’re foodies…so it should be no surprise that we’ve got some foodie things on our favorites list. Our favorite burger place also scores our favorite poutine place. We found this place when we ventured over to the Canadian side of Niagara Falls. Everything we had at The Works was delicious! We would go back to the Niagara Falls area just to cross the border for this place!

Our favorite state capitol building of our second year is the New York State Capitol Building. In fact, this is probably our number one SCB of all 38 SCBs we’ve been to so far. It’s also the place I developed a thing for staircases, but a staircase called The Million Dollar Staircase will do that. I could’ve spent hours walking around taking pictures of this SCB.

Out of all the National Parks/Memorials/Historic Places we visited this year three really stood out for us. We couldn’t come to a unanimous decision as to which one was best so we’ll talk about all three. Acadia National Park in Maine was great for all the wild places and hiking it offered and the views weren’t bad either.

Cape Cod National Seashore is probably at the top of the list for me when it comes to National Parks for year two of our #50statetour. Beaches, hiking, lighthouses, and amazing views. The only negative for me would be all of the people. It was crowded. We had to search out the empty places, but the effort was worth it.

The last National Park to top our list for this year is Everglades National Park in Florida. We didn’t get to do much hiking here due to the wildness of the park, but we learned so much and saw so many diverse biomes.

So, this next favorite surprised us in the best way.

The Newport Mansions in Rhode Island! Guys, they were breathtaking. We want to go back during the Christmas season to see them all decked out for the holidays!

It was so neat to see the opulence of that era and hear about their daily lives.

Even though they’re no where near each other, we kind of group The Biltmore in with the Newport Mansions. The Biltmore was built by the Vanderbilt Family who also built two of the Newport Mansions, but where the Newport Mansions were really made to show off all of the opulence and wealth of the era, The Biltmore was made to be more of a home and to entertain friends and family. It took us almost six hours to visit this place and we had to rush. It’s crazy big!

Another foodie favorite was the Crème Brûlée Shake from Burger 21 in New Jersey! It was eyes-rolling-in-the-back-of-your-head good! I’ve got to give a shout out to my friend Nicole and her family for introducing us to Burger 21!!

We caught this sunrise in North Carolina off the coast of Kitty Hawk. We had the beach pretty much to ourselves that morning. Luckily, we didn’t have to get up too early since all we had to do was walk across the road to get to the beach.

We’ve also had some pretty spectacular sunsets, but this one really stands out for me. We were having dinner with some friends of ours in Alabama and this was our view. *waves at friends* It was a great evening filled with friends, food, and views.

We ate a lot of BBQ during our #easternloop2016. Way more than we should have. Our favorite place is a little joint in Kitty Hawk, NC called High Cotton. Everything we got here was finger-licking good! It was so good that we ended up getting a family pack the night before we left the area just so we could have more of it!!

The boys all loved Cafe Du Monde in New Orleans. Those light and airy pillows of fried dough were pretty good!


Y’all knew this one was coming, right?

We spent four days in HarryPotterverse aka Universal Studios living like wizards and it was totally awesome!

We ended our 2016 year with a snorkeling trip to The Keys in Florida. It was cold and windy and the snorkeling was a total bust, but we all loved it! It gave us island fever. We’ve been planning our next trip down to The Keys since we were driving away.

What did we learn during our second year as nomads? We learned quite a lot! Let’s chat about a few of the lessons we learned this past year!

1. Big cities aren’t really our thing. During our first year of nomads we didn’t hit too many cities…and none of them were what I would call big. Now, we’d been to big cities before. We are from the Houston, TX area so we knew what we were getting ourselves into.

We only spent a handful of days in various big cities

so we could see some of the iconic, historical landmarks,

but we didn’t really enjoy any of the days we spent walking endless miles in a concrete jungle.

We knew when we started the #easternloop2016 that there would be more cities and less wild places. We didn’t know how much we would miss the wild places. While we are grateful for the chances to see and experience the big cities we are glad to be done with them.

2. Secure the kitchen sink faucet before leaving. Cats. Why are cats such big jerks? We have two cats…

a fat one and a fluffy one. Don’t let them fool you, they’re menaces…both of them. The fluffy one likes to jump up on our kitchen counter when we’re gone and look out the window. We usually close the window blinds when we leave to keep him off the counters, but the day we went to New York City we forgot. Fluffy cat turned on the water at the kitchen sink while we were gone which eventually filled up the front grey tank which caused the grey tank to back up into the shower where we keep the litter box. I should point out…the grey tank is just rinse water from the sinks. But still…it gets stinky.

We got home from NYC about 10PM to find a note on our door that our water had been turned off because there was water pouring out of the bottom of our RV. We walked in to find the entire bathroom flooded.

The shower was disgusting. The entire bathroom floor was disgusting. And to top it off, Fluffy cat was afraid to use the litter box because of the water so he decided to use our beds as his own personal litter boxes. It was a looonnngggg night.

I spent the next day sanitizing beds, showers, floors, counters… We now have a way to lock the kitchen sink faucet in the off position. Lesson learned.

3. I (Jennie) have a slight obsession with flowers. I’ve always enjoyed pretties. During our first year, I had tons of pretties to photograph everywhere!

During the second year, the pretties were harder to find and I started going to greater links to get to them.

That’s when I knew I had a problem…is there a step program for this?

It doesn’t matter if the pretties are actual flowers or weeds.

And…if I’m being completely honest, my obsession isn’t limited to pretties…it just needs to look interesting for me to lay on the ground and snap a picture.

4. We kind of love National Forts, Battlefields, and Historical Sites. So, we really love them. A lot. Confession: When we started this nomad life I didn’t think we would really be interested in any of them. Boy, was I wrong! I can’t even begin to tell you how much history we learned during our second year of nomad life.

One of our favorite forts is the Old Fort Niagara in New York, It sits right on the shore of Lake Ontario. We watched a big rain storm come in across the water while we were there…it got a little wet…and cold.

The first time the boys heard a canon fire they about jumped right on out of their own skins. I’m laughing at the memory as I type this. I really wish I’d caught it on video. If you’ve never heard a canon fired, it’s loud. Depending on the size of the canon…it can be very, very loud.

We’re cautious about period actors. Sometimes they’re fun and sometimes they can be…tiresome. These guys were great! They stayed in character just enough to make it fun, but not so much that it was weird.

You don’t need a time machine to travel back in time. All you need to do is visit one of the many National Parks/Memorials/Historical Sites. The NPS does a fabulous job of recreating life of days-gone-by and of teaching anyone interested enough to listen. We learned so much about the founding of our country, the Revolutionary War, the War of 1812, and the Civil War during our #easternloop2016. Our history lessons were very hands on.

5. We (Jerl) learned how to fix a pulley system slide. It was the last couple weeks of June and we were in New York when we started hearing a weird ratcheting sound while bringing our main living slide in. On June 24th we decided to leave the slide in because we were afraid of getting stuck somewhere because the slide wouldn’t come in. This reduced our living space by quite a bit. We learned to dance around each other anytime we were in the kitchen/living area.

We lived with the reduced space until September 8 when we made it to the DC area. It took all five of us to push the slide out so Jerl could work on it. Things were going ok, until there was a big pop and the slide tilted out. You can see the angle of it in the photo above. It was about this time that I got out a pint of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream and started stress eating. I kept picturing the entire side of our RV sliding right on out and onto the ground. Luckily, it stayed put and Jerl was able to get a new motor put in and the pulley cables all reattached. So really, I guess we learned two lessons that night. How to fix a pulley slide system and how much Ben & Jerry’s I (Jennie) can eat in one night.

8. We can eat lobster for days and not get tired of it.  This lesson is one of our favorites. Lobster.

While we were in Maine we found some really decent priced lobster and we found a recipe. We ate on that lobster for several days!

We also ate lobster when we went out!

Lobster was everywhere in Maine! Everywhere! We even tried a lobster roll from McDs! It was…ok…and very pricey. The lobster rolls we made were 100 times better and way cheaper.

We even found lobster mac-n-cheese in the grocery stores. Guys, it was soooo stinkin’ good!!!

 9. Not every state sells postcards. This one was a shock for us. We had the worst time finding postcards to send out to the postcard club in most of the states along the east coast.

I even had to resort to buying some state postcards from Amazon. *gasp* I know! Postcards are not expensive. Every gas station should have a small selection of state postcards. Postcards are such a fun and inexpensive way to stay connected to friends and family while on the road!

Well, that’s it! We wanted to share with y’all some of the highlights and bloopers of our second year as nomads! We love having y’all along for the ride so stay tuned for year three!!

See y’all down the road!

Categories: EasternLoop2016, Keeping It Real, minieasternloop2017, Nomadiversary | Leave a comment

Here We Go Again

Hey Guys! We spent almost a month at my parent’s house in the Southwest corner of Missouri visiting with family and friends!

One of our friends (waves to Gogo and family) sold Girl Scout Cookies with her troop…and well…we always like to support our friends in all of their endeavors. Especially when food is involved. So, we bought some cookies to help her out…and…cookies. Since she lives in Virginia she graciously shipped them to my parent’s house for us. Food is our favorite kind of mail.

Did you know that Girl Scout Cookies can have a different name based on which bakery they were made in? What?!?! I know, right?! I totally did not know this!

Not only are the names different, but the cookies can even be different. The S’mores cookies were totally different! I don’t have any pics to show you…we kind of ate them too fast…but if you have a chance to compare them, do. The S’mores cookies from little Brownie Bakers were like a sandwich cookie where the ones from ABC Bakers were a dipped graham cracker cookie. Just FYI…we voted the Little Brownie sandwich cookies better.

Since we’re on the subject of food… We had to hit some of our favorite foodie spots while we were back in our old stomping grounds. The burger above is the Poutine Burger from Eagle Drive-In. If you live in the area, go get one today. Trust us…everything from Eagle Drive-In is good!

We even found a new foodie spot! Wiestside BBQ is definitely a spot we will hit again! Just check out that burger Littlest has!

Jerl and I took a little side trip back down to Houston one weekend. The plan was to stay with some good friends of ours (waves at friends) who were expecting a baby any day. On the Tuesday before we were to fly down, they thought they might have to induce early. So, Jerl and I decided to take some of the stress off and grab a hotel room. The last thing an expectant mom needs is the added stress of house guests. Well…more stuff happened and we ended up canceling our room and planned on staying with our friends again. We flew down on a Friday night.

Not a bad view for sunset… I didn’t get a window seat. I feel bad for the guy that sat next to me. I kept leaning over him to take video and pics. I did ask first and struck up a conversation with him…so that’s not too rude, right? He didn’t seem to mind…maybe he was just a nice guy. We ended up answering questions once he found out about our nomad lifestyle.

For anyone who’s had a baby, y’all know they do things on their own time. Our friend picked us up at the airport Friday night and told us they were, in fact, inducing that night! Wait, what? Long story short, they had the baby and he’s an absolute doll! We also had the help of a couple of other friends (Ben, and Brian) who we can’t thank enough.

We packed up our storage unit Saturday morning with the help of Ben and Brian, then drove back to my parent’s house that afternoon.

But, first…we made a pit stop at Torchy’s to stock up on some chips, queso, and salsa! We needed sustenance to get us through the long eleven hour drive ahead of us. *wink, wink*

The weather didn’t cooperate with us during our stay in MO. We had all of these plans and projects we wanted to do while back, but we didn’t have the right weather to do it. The couple of days that were nice, the boys all took the opportunity to ride around my parent’s place on anything with wheels that went fast.

Mr. Dude turned 14 while we were there. Well, actually, he turned 14 the day after we left, but we celebrated while we were there! I baked him an Almond Joy Cake! It was pretty tasty!

We started planning the last 50 state tour loop. It’s going to be a doozy, Guys!! More on that in a different post.

I had a girl’s night with some of my besties (waves at friends). We’ve been friends for…a few (cough 30ish cough) years. Give or take a few years. I went to school from kindergarten on with one of these lovely ladies! Bonus points for anyone who knows which one!

 Oh!! And, my camera crapped out. Boo. It saw me through 36 states. So, I’m learning how to operate a new camera.

I’ll leave you with this pretty from my parent’s (waves at parents) yard.

See y’all down the road!


Categories: Foodie Find, minieasternloop2017, Missouri, Texas | Leave a comment

Aaaannnddd…We’re Back

Hey Guys!! Aaaannnddd…we’re back in Houston! I can’t even begin to tell you how fast our Eastern Loop 2016 went or how good it feels to drive back onto Texas soil after having been gone for a whole year. A whole year, Guys!! This was our first full year loop and it was…well, it was kind of awesome. I’m not going to do our Year-In-Review post right now so stay tuned for that!

All of our loops start and end in Houston. That’s by design. We go back to Houston once a year to see our friends and get all of our yearly check-ups done. Even nomads have to go to the Dentist (waves and Dr, McGriff & staff), get their eyes checked (waves at everyone at Today’s Vision Sugarland), and they definitely have to get physicals done (waves and Dr. Kahn & all of the lovely Ladies). And, with two nomad cats, a good Veterinarian staff is a must (waves at SPAH)!

We spent two weeks getting our business done, visiting friends,

and hitting our favorite eateries. Y’all know we’re foodies and Houston is a foodie town. 

I’ve tried several other places in several other cities, but the best Indian Food is in Houston and this is my favorite place to indulge.

We spent the whole year missing Torchy’s Tacos. They have awesome tacos, but my favorite thing to get there is the queso. It’s…well…magical.

We didn’t just hit all of our favorite foodie spots, we also went to the Houston RV Show! No, we’re not looking for a new home. We wanted to see what new features were being added and get a few ideas for some upgrades we are wanting to make to our home-on-wheels.

Check out this slick feature! This is an induction cook top that has been designed in a way that allows you to easily remove it and move it to another spot like the table or outside and still use it! We want to take out our gas cook top and replace it with something like this. Our current cook top uses propane and we’ve found that in some areas propane can be…well, a pain to find.

I got to spend the entire afternoon with one of my absolute favorite BFFs (waves and Andrea). We always celebrate both of our birthdays while I’m back even though neither one of them is in February. She knows me so well…check out those truffles!

We’d just left Louisiana and all of that wonderful Cajun food right in the middle of crawfish season. We tried a place not far from where we were staying in Houston. It was ok. If we hadn’t just had the real thing, it would’ve been good.

During crawfish season all of the HEBs (Here Everything is Better) have live crawfish that you can get live or you can get them already boiled up in a spicy Cajun seasoning! We got 8 lbs of crawfish!

We ended up with about 17 ounces of crawfish to use later in an Étouffée. Guys, we didn’t actually eat any of it as we shelled it. Maybe a few…for quality control purposes only. I promise! lol! We were a little surprised by how little we ended up with so we headed back and bought some crawfish in the freezer section that had already been cleaned up. And you know what? It was cheaper to buy them frozen! Oh well, lesson learned. I’ll post up my Étouffée later if y’all are interested.

Living in an RV, weather is always on our minds. We had a few close calls with tornados in Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana. We didn’t really expect any trouble in Houston. But, we spent an hour or so up at the RV park office during a tornado warning one morning. Growing up in Tornado Alley, we know the power and devastation Mother Nature can cause so we’re always prepared to jump and run.

While we always enjoy our time in Houston…

we don’t enjoy the endless supply of traffic.

See y’all down the road!!

Categories: Foodie Find, Keeping It Real, Texas | Leave a comment


Hey Guys!! We spent one day exploring New Orleans.

We stayed about an hour north of NOLA so we got to drive across Lake Pontchartrain on the longest (continuous) bridge over water in the world to get to New Orleans.

 This bridge is about 23 miles long with several crossovers on it. Can you imagine getting on it by mistake and having to go the full length og the bridge before being able to turn around? Yikes!

We went on a Sunday morning hoping to avoid some of the crowds. Too bad we didn’t know about the 5k run that was taking place. There were cars everywhere, no parking spots, and streets blocked off! We made it to a parking garage where we choked on the cost of parking. We learned later that traffic is always bad and parking is always pricey in NOLA.

We’d been told that NOLA isn’t really family friendly. We were hoping by going on a Sunday morning there would be more families out and there were! We had a good time strolling around looking at all of the street performers. You can see how many kids were around in the pic above.

We headed right to Cafe du Monde! The line was long, but moved fast.

 Make sure you take cash if you go to Cafe du Monde. Things run a little differently there. You order with the waiter and then they go stand in the line you see in the photo above to get your order. The waiter pays with their money before they bring you your order so you then owe your waiter for your order. We’d never seen a process quite like that before. I wonder what happens if the costumer didn’t bring enough cash?

Our fluffy pillows of fried dough (otherwise known as beignets) and chickory coffee came in record time. They’re pretty good, but I think it’s mainly the novelty of eating at Cafe du Monde that brings people in masses to this cafe.

 We took some time to look through The Cabildo where we learned about life in Louisiana starting in the colonial times.

Check out this blunderbuss! It’s so ornate! We also got to stroll through the room where the Louisiana Purchase transfer happened in 1803.

This is called an Immortelle. An immortelle is a wreath made of durable material (the one above is made from wire and beads) to be placed on crypts and tombs.

Throughout the late 18th century, most of south Louisiana suffered from epidemics of yellow fever, malaria, cholera, and smallpox.

We stopped by St. Louis Cemetery No. 1 to see what the famed “cities of the dead” look like. We made it to the Lafayette Cemetery No. 1 for a quick walk through. I wanted to go to the St. Louis Cemetery No. 1, but you now have to have a guided tour just to get in the gates. Pretty much all of the graves are above ground in crypts.

We went the week before Mardi Gras and everything was decorated for the party. 

We took a quick peek at Bourbon Street, but didn’t actually walk down it. We’d been warned it wasn’t really family friendly.

Since pralines (pronounced Praw-leens) is the Louisiana state candy…we had to grab some. Plus, we wanted to compare them to the ones we got in Charleston. You might be surprised by how different they were. The ones from Charleston used heavy cream in theirs and there wasn’t any milk in the ones from NOLA. The ones from Charleston only came in two flavors (original and chocolate) while the ones in NOLA came in five flavors (original, peanut butter, coconut, rum, and chocolate). We all enjoyed the ones from NOLA more.

We couldn’t leave NOLA without sampling some of the dishes they’re known for. We found a place called Mother’s. We found it on one of those tv food apps. Mother’s has been on quite a few shows.

I wanted to make sure and get a little of everything so I ended up with a sampler plate. I got to try the crawfish etouffee, the jambalaya, the red beans & rice, and the turnip greens. It was all really good!

The thing Mother’s is really known for though are the Poboys. Jerl got the Famous Ferdi Special which has ham, roast beef, debris, and gravy on it. Debris? What the heck is debris? It’s magic. Mother’s cooks their roast for hours and all of the juice and shavings that fall off the roast is then ladled onto the top of a poboy. It’s basically a NOLA version of a french dip. Like I said…magic.

So! We survived NOLA! We got to see most of what we wanted to see and got out of their before it got dark.

See y’all down the road!!

Categories: EasternLoop2016, Foodie Find, Louisiana | Leave a comment


Hey Guys!

We spent one week in Louisiana!

Maybe I should say…we spent one week in Louisiana…eating. ;-P

I knew it was bad when we found this place called Ronnie’s only five minutes away from where we stayed. We went there for dinner our very first day in LA and it did not disappoint!

I know, I know…it doesn’t look like much, but let me tell you….woo-WEE…it is amazing! What you’re looking at are boudin balls. They’re made of rice and smoked pork then deep fried. The ones we got were stuffed with pepper jack cheese. If you’re ever in Louisiana make sure to get yourself some and make sure you pronounce it like a local… boodan. Ours was served with a spicy remoulade sauce that just really pushed it all over the top! We went back to Ronnie’s just for these. Y’all, I think we gained twenty pounds here, but you know what…I’d totally do it again!

We did actually get out and see some of the state. We didn’t just eat. I promise. We made it to the SCB in Baton Rouge.

Check out that front door! We were completely surprised by the Louisiana State Capitol Building.

This is the front hall of the SCB. We haven’t seen too many great halls like this. Out of 35 states…maybe three (including LA).

I mean…look at the ceiling. Look at our ornate and detailed it is! We spent several minutes with our heads craned back trying to take it all in.

One of the things I always look for at a SCB is the State Seal. In LA they’ve got a huge one right in the middle of the great hall!

This is the Senate Chamber. Check out those columns. We really walked around totally stunned at the opulence of the LA SCB.

Now, there’s not a dome at the SCB, but there’s a fantastic view on the 27th floor! And…you can actually go outside on the walk! That was a first for us. Usually, if there’s some kind of walk up that high it’s locked. It’s usually off limits. You can look out the windows, but you can’t get outside. It was so nice being able to go outside and checkout that view!

We also stopped by the old SCB. It looks like a castle! It was very cool!

 When you walk into the old SCB you immediately see this amazing staircase!

And Guys…look at the dome!!! I took sooo many pictures of this dome! But, look at it! Gorgeous!!


The old SCB has been turned into a small museum. We didn’t really look through it all due to time.

The stained glass wasn’t just on the dome. There were several of these wonderful windows too!

Check out this mirror! I had the boys stand next to it so you could really see how huge it is!

Here’s another view of that ah-mazing dome…

and one more shot of the outside. Because, castles are cool.

Zapps chips are offered in tons of states, but they’re a huge thing in LA so we grabbed a couple of bags. We weren’t too impressed with the VooDoo flavor. It was both very sweet and very sour all at the same time.

I’ve struggled this entire EasternLoop2016 to find decent root beer. Y’all…it’s been so hard! And then we get to LA and there’s four different Barq’s!!! What?!?! I had to get some of each.

Guys, we had a great week in Louisiana!

See y’all down the road!


Categories: Capitol Building, EasternLoop2016, Foodie Find, Louisiana | Leave a comment

Pizza Roundup NOLA Pizzeria

To my fellow pizza lovers I bring you a pizza post from Louisiana!

In Loisiana there is a tasty pizza place called NOLA Pizzeria.

At NOLA Pizzeria you can get some tasty pizza like a margarita pizza

and a BLT pizza which is good! If you like a lot of lettuce though, definitely get this pizza.

You can also get sandwiches and wings at NOLA Pizzeria and they look good.

Oh I almost forgot, if you like Barq’s root beer then definitely come to Louisiana because they also have cream soda and red cream soda!

The decor is cool and the service is good.

With all that this place gets a 5 star review.

See y’all next time on…

Pizza Street!!

Categories: Louisiana, Pizza Street | Leave a comment

Vicksburg National Military Park

Abraham Lincoln thought that Vicksburg was “the key” to winning the Civil War. The Vicksburg National Military Park has a 16 mile road that winds through some of the major battlegrounds of the Siege of Vicksburg.

One of the cool things that the NPS offers at these battlefields is an audio tour of the park. There’s usually a few different ones to choose from. We always get the longest, most detailed one. This time the longest one was two and a half hours. It took us over five hours to complete the whole driving tour. We get out at each stop and look around. Talk about it.

One of the times we stopped and got out to look around we found some hidden canons.

Along with the audio tour we got this great little booklet. In the picture above you can see one of the stops. At this stop we learned about the Shirley House. This house was caught in the middle of a siege. The army dug a “honeycomb” of shelters all around the house during the battle.

The house is still there today

and so is the “honeycomb”. The shelters have all fallen down and been cleared away, but the land is still scarred from the battle.

The Illinois Memorial was the biggest memorial we saw. So much thought goes into each Memorial. On the Illinois Memorial there are 47 steps that lead up to the entrance. One for each of the 47 days of the Siege of Vicksburg.

Inside the Illinois Memorial was this gorgeous seal.

We’ve been to several different battlefields, but this was the first time we found a tunnel!

We learned about the different types of artillery. You can see in the pic above that the opening isn’t smooth. It has notches. These notches are super important! They allow the artillery to go farther and with more accuracy.

I think, perhaps, our favorite stop on the tour was at the USS Cairo Museum where we learned about the Ironclad River Gunboats.

On December 12, 1862, the USS Cairo became the very first armed warship to be sunk by a mine. They weren’t called mines at that point. They were called “torpedos” or “infernal machines”.

 The NPS has restored bits of the Ironclad and installed walkways that allow you to really get inside and see the guts of the boat.

The USS Cairo came equipped with 13 guns, including 3 large 64 pounder Navy smoothbores. Two and a half inch plate armor made of charcoal iron is what covered the mid section of the boat in order to protect the vital guts of the boat.

There was a model in the museum to show what the USS Cairo looked like. The USS Cairo sank in 12 minutes, but no lives were lost.

I did find a few pretties.

I don’t know what tree this was, but it had pretties all over it.

We really enjoy the battlefields. We learn so much and it’s such a great way for the boys to really get an idea of what took place there. Instead of just reading about it in a book while sitting in a classroom, they get to walk around the grounds it took place. I didn’t go into extreme detail about each stop, but hopefully I’ve intrigued y’all enough to go visit the Vicksburg National Military Park!

See y’all down the road!

Categories: EasternLoop2016, Mississippi, National Park | 2 Comments

Pizza Roundup Pizza Inn

To my fellow pizza lovers I bring to you a post from Pizza Inn in Vicksburg, MS.

Pizza Inn is a mediocre pizza place with a pizza buffet.

The desserts are pretty good and the decor was ok and the bathrooms were clean.

When you order a pizza with no cheese you get lots and lots of sauce on it.

With all of that I think Pizza Inn gets a 3.5 star review.

See y’all next time on…

Pizza Street!!

Categories: Mississippi, Pizza Street | Leave a comment

A Parkway And More

Hey Guys! 

We made it to Mississippi! We spent two very busy weeks in Vicksburg, MS! I’m going to be breaking our time here up into two separate posts.

The Natchez Trace Parkway is 444 miles long and snakes it’s way through three states. We didn’t get to explore all of it, but we got in around 122 miles of it!

 I know, I know…how interesting could a parkway be? Well…pretty darn interesting when it’s sprinkled with historical stops! This natural travel corridor was used for centuries first by animals, then by Native Americans and then when people would catch rides on boats down the Mississippi River to sell their wares. They would then walk the travel corridor back home.

The natural travel corridor that would become the Natchez Trace Parkway goes through the traditional homelands of the Natchez, Chickasaw, and Choctaw nations. One of the stops on the NTP is called Emerald Mound.

Emerald Mound is one of the largest mounds in our country. It stands 35 feet tall and is 770 feet by 435 feet at the base and covers 8 acres. There are two secondary mounds that sit on top of the primary mound making the total height come to 60 feet. Emerald Mound was used as a ceremonial center for the local people who lived in nearby villages, but abandoned the mound in the late 1600s.

Mount Locust Inn and Plantation is one of the oldest structures still standing in the area. The Mount Locust story starts in 1780 and stretches all the way to 1944. The National Park Service started restoring it to it’s 1820 appearance in 1954.

 In the late 1700s boatmen (also known as Kaintucks) were taking their wares down the Mississippi River in their flatboats. At that point the best way to get home was to sell all their wares and the boat then walk back up the natural corridor that we know now as the Natchez Trace Parkway. Mount Locust is right about a day’s walk from Natchez. The travelers would ask the owners of Mount Locust for food and a place to stay for the night. Eventually, the family added on a separate, four room, two story building behind the main house.

We didn’t get to explore the all of Mount Locust due to some bad weather. We would like to eventually go back and see it all.

In the late 1700s and early 1800s the growing number of travelers on the corridor tramped down the rough trail into a clearly marked pathway. On some parts of the pathway where the ground was soft, the travelers wore down the trail and made the “sunken” sections you can see in the pic above.

We made it all the way to mile 122 and the Cypress Swamp!

There’s a nice little boardwalk where you can walk right out over the swamp.

Not far from where we stayed sat the remains of Windsor Plantation. Windsor was built between 1859 and 1861 and was the largest antebellu house in Mississippi at the time.

The plantation once covered over 2,600 acres. It had wrought iron staircases and was four stories that housed 25 rooms, each with it’s own fireplace. The plantation was an important landmark along the Mississippi River. Mark Twain wrote about it in his book “Life on the Mississippi”. The Windsor Plantation survived the Civil War only to be burned to the ground by a party guest who was smoking in 1890.

We also made it to the Mississippi SCB!

Check out the gold coated copper eagle on the dome! It is 8 feet tall and 15 feet across!

Check out the inside of that dome! *cue wondrous music* This is one of the best domes we’ve seen in a while!

And…if that dome isn’t enough to wow you…check out the stained glass in the Senate Chamber. The pics not the best. We weren’t allowed down on the floor so I had to lean out and get the shot from the public gallery.

Not to be out done by the Senate Chamber, the House Chamber has it’s own stained glass dome. We weren’t allowed on the floor again…so the pic is kind of weird, but you get the idea of how awesome the domes are.

The Mississippi SCB has some very nice details. I love these light fixtures.

Y’all know I have a thing for staircases…check out the wavy balustrade! You can also see some more stained glass at the top.

We really enjoyed the Mississippi SCB!

We had some spectacular sunsets while we were in MS!

Stay tuned for part two!

See y’all down the road

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