So after we got our bearings right and then drove in the right direction, we eventually found our campsite at Rocky Springs. Not before turning off the Natchez Trace Parkway 5 miles too soon though…I fully blame the sat nav as it is good in taking you in the general direction but it is crap at finding specific places in the middle of nowhere or even attractions en route.
The best thing about this campsite was that it was free! 22 sites, barely any taken, it was peaceful. In no time at all Nathan had the tent pitched. We decided to have a chilled evening and go walking in the morning. That chilled evening consisted of drawing on our map where we have beenyou can just about see the blue pen outline! Then came the task of de-corking a bottle of wine, which Nathan assured me he could do, without a corkscrew…With comments such as “it’s the wrong kind of cork,” and “it looked so easy on facebook” it became clear that this wasn’t going to work.
Next, he started to cut the cork using his penknife. Slowly, bits of cork were cut away but there was still no sign of it coming out ready for me to drink it.
I must have turned my back for all of thirty seconds when suddenly there was no cork in the top….nope not in the top but swimming in the wine itself. Before there was too much cork swimming around we poured it into a plastic cup, picking out the big bits of cork, and then poured the rest of it into an empty bottle of water. We were then set for the evening. I can safely say that the bug situation was out of control. I mean we practically used a whole can of mozzie spray, and still got bitten. Nathan five times, me only once. We decided to move our party inside the tent…
We tried to figure out the backpackers game….tried to photograph the fireflies that were dancing outside our tent, before settling down watching the ranch hoping it would get dark enough to see a beautiful sky. The tent has even come with a trusty wine cup holder! An alarm was set for 2am so we could see the sky scattered with stars….
That never happened. The lights from the toilets were so insanely bright that we could barely see one star let alone a sky full.
After another relatively decent nights sleep in the wilderness it was time to pack up camp and go explore the local vicinity. Now, I’m no expert on tent etiquette, but apparently you have to make sure it’s dry otherwise it won’t be waterproof, and you have to fold it back in so accurately whilst removing any debris so it doesn’t get inside. 45 minutes later….we were finally packed up, after a mini argument as I would have just shoved it back in the cover, which is clearly wrong 😂.
There was a short walk not far from our campsite which took us to the old town of Rocky Springs which no longer exists. Rocky Springs maximum population was 2616 in 1860 with cotton farming driving the economy. There was an outbreak of yellow fever in 1878 which saw the decline of the town. All that remains now are a couple of safes and cisterns and the church which closed in 2010 as the congregation wasn’t big enough.
Onto New Orleans along the Great River Road. We drove along highway 15 following the meanders of the Mississippi River. We actually saw a turtle crossing the road…We tried to feed it some grapes but obviously that’s not part of a turtles diet. Instead he continued his/her journey back to the marshlands. We also saw some deer springing through the fields but Nathan was going too quick for me to take a photo 😔.
The scenery driving along the road was beautiful. Fields of crops growing on either side of the road, to locks for boats to pass through Lunch today consisted of grapes and chocolate covered raisins, feeding both to Nathan whilst he was driving through the cute little river towns as I kept my eye out for a mailbox. Found one at a gas station. We went into the gas station and there was a chicken/pizza food joint at the back of it that we thought we’d try. Grapes and raisins weren’t filling enough.
I ordered chicken tenders and Nathan for a corndog. There’s something that seemed very American about getting hot food from a gas station! It was good food though! Best thing was my chicken tenders came with a scone…work that one out!
We reached New Orleans after about 4 hours and parking was easy enough to find! I had been so excited to see New Orleans and it didn’t disappoint. It was so quirky! The buildings were beautiful and the atmosphere was electric. And it was only 5pm! Every street we turned down was different. Bourbon street was bustling with jazz music, bars, and signs on every shop that will light up the street at night! We then encountered Royal Street where the buildings are even more beautiful and colourful. We had no map and no itinerary. We were just walking. The next place we stumbled upon was Jackson Square where artists gathered all around to showcase their talents. There were musicians, and these guys in the photo were really good! I will upload a video later. Then there was a guy in a massive hula hoop who was also incredibly funny. He didn’t push for tips but he did it in an endearing way. “Dude, no one is going to steal your nipples so move your hands and get ready to clap!” That was one of his especially funny one liners as well as describing his heritage as his mum is japanese so he is naturally hairless and his dad is ginger…so that makes him the ginger ninga! 😂
We walked around the square and there were several different paintings by all different artists all around the railings. In the middle of the square was a statue of Andrew Jackson which has St Louis’ Cathedral in the background. It is the site where in 1830, America purchased Louisiana from the French in what was known as the Louisiana Purchase. Alongside the park there were Mardi Gras beads hanging from the treesThey were really pretty. Almost all the shops were selling Mardi Gras masks and costumes! It was so colourful. The view from Washington Artillery Park. They even had Bubba Gump Shrimp!There were jazz musicians everywhere we turned. The music was delightful and just added to the amazing atmosphere surrounding the French Quarter. As I said, I was thoroughly looking forward to this particular place and it hasn’t disappointed so far….