Vicksburg National Military Park, MS…

After we visited the Arkansas Post National Memorial last Friday, we spent a down day celebrating Beth’s 17th birthday…

Beth doesn’t like to be the center of attention, and looking at EVERY one of her birthday pictures from the last 10 years or so, she has snatched a little kid to help her share the limelight.  Whether they like it or not…

vicksburg, ms 009

Bethy didn’t want a cake or brownies or a cheesecake or anything.  Just ice cream.  It didn’t last long with 17 candles!vicksburg, ms 029

We got her several things that she had asked for, and I found a beautiful Montana Silversmiths necklace, with a heavy chain, and a old-fashioned key on it – she loved it (and I was so tickled to have found something that she loved but hadn’t asked for!)  I had been hauling that thing around ever since Wyoming; so glad to finally give it to her! LOL!

Eli made her a new survival bracelet in her choice of colors and braid (it’s reversible)…vicksburg, ms 057

We had a nice, laid-back day that included a 3 hour drive to Vicksburg, MS.  Beth actually likes the longer drives!  We spent the night in the Cracker Barrel parking lot in Vicksburg.

The next, rainy, cold, miserable morning, we pulled in to Vicksburg Military Park, in Vicksburg, Mississippi.vicksburg, ms 063

Where I got next to no pictures because it was dark and dreary, and we didn’t get out of the van much because of the rain.

We spent some time in the visitor’s center watching the informative film, checking out the small museum, and working on their Jr. Ranger program…vicksburg, ms 070

We love the Jr. Ranger programs, but sometimes it does get a little overwhelming trying to help the littles get them done while still making the destination fun!   We have been to a few parks that had such easy programs that we felt guilty accepting the badges that we ‘earned’, and we have been to a very few where the program was so difficult that it would have taken our whole day with nothing but work, and we would not enjoy the park, and in those few, we have NOT done the program, just enjoyed the location.  This JR program was just about right… enough information that the kids had to work at it a bit and still earn them, but also fun and interesting, with time to enjoy the park.vicksburg, ms 071

After some time inside, we left the truck and 5er parked in the visitor’s center parking lot, and ran to the van for a drive around the 16 mile long loop in the park.  We (not me!) got out at only one place because of the torrential rain… the Illinois memorial (I think)…vicksburg, ms 083

The top of the memorial is open, so it was raining inside too! vicksburg, ms 080

After that, we continued down the loop, reading the informative blurbs about each place marker from the park brochure.  We did stop at one other spot; we had to check out the coolest part of the park…vicksburg, ms 085

The Cairo…

The Cairo was one of 7 armored gun boats.  She was sunk on the Yazoo River in 1863, and was raised in 1963.  Much of what is shown at the museum is her natural wood, which was well preserved from being covered by silt.vicksburg, ms 094

At the Cairo, there is also a small museum filled with artifacts that were also well preserved – they have many items that look like new, but were actually on the Cairo when she sank, and recovered when she was brought up a century later.  The ship’s museum has a short flick about the raising of the Cairo.vicksburg, ms 105

We also drove through the military cemetery that is at Vicksburg…vicksburg, ms 137

and finished the loop.  We aren’t usually so hands-off, but it was chilly and rainy, and none of us felt like getting any wetter than we already were (not to mention cold!).  We LOVED Vicksburg – it is such a beautiful park – there are over 1300 memorials, and the park is very well maintianed.  We just decided that we would have to come back when it is nicer out!

We went back to the visitor’s center to turn in our J.R. booklets…vicksburg, ms 077

And then after that, we hit the road in a downpour.   We made it to the eastern edge of MS before calling it a night, and camping out in a local Walmart.  We have a destination and a deadline – usually we hate the constraints of either, but in this case, it’s an exciting little jaunt!  We know what we are getting into, and can’t wait for it to start!  :)

Lilla Rose

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