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My November Vacation 2021 Road-Trip

#TravelThursday continues now with Part 6 of my 7-part blog series on my recent 18-day road-trip between South Florida and North Texas.

Last week I left-off at the end of Day 16 at my hotel destination on the west side of Hattiesburg right around sunset that night. It was my 2ND stay at that particular hotel, and it was a good night’s stay. Back in November I wrote all about Hattiesburg Mississippi here on #TravelThursday. On a future road-trip I need to spend a couple of days there exploring the local area rather than just a hotel night.

Early the next morning – Saturday November 27TH 2021 – I departed at dawn with freezing cold temperatures and a heavy layer of frost on my car windows. Temperatures dropped to as low as 30°F / -1°C during the first hour of my drive southeastward along historic U.S. 98. I drove through Semmes and Mobile Alabama right around 8 AM, and on the east side of Mobile (after another scenic drive along Battleship Parkway) I picked-up I-10 eastward.

Post-Thanksgiving holiday traffic on I-10 eastward was a madhouse. Once again it was quite scary driving through Pensacola. It didn’t really get much better after that. I don’t think I’ve seen and experienced I-10 as busy as it was on that Saturday.

I eventually had enough of the extreme anxiety, and I got off I-10 about 95 miles earlier than originally planned – at U.S. 231 – which leads southward into Panama City. I’m very familiar with this road, as one of my longtime friends has lived a couple of miles off the road for the past 20+ years. After a fuel pitstop at Love’s (my new favorite gas station / travel stop on the road) I took a series of backroads across the Florida Panhandle (south of Tallahassee) and into the “Big Bend” area of the Florida peninsula.

U.S. 98 is fun (translation – peaceful) to drive between Hattiesburg Mississippi and Mobile Alabama, and I especially love it along the “Big Bend” area of Florida south of Perry. I picked-up U.S. 98 in Wakulla County – which is another fascinating area of my state that I’ve spent very little time in (other than driving through). I’m a big fan of “Welcome To Plathville” on TLC, and on a recent Season 3 episode the family ventured down to Wakulla Springs State Park for some fun in the sun and sea. Now I want to visit !

I enjoyed a nice #LuDinner (late-Lunch / early-Dinner combined) at an all-you-can-eat buffet restaurant in Chiefland – which incidentally I plan to eat at on every future visit through Chiefland. After my hearty meal I continued on for another hour to my hotel destination for the night in Crystal Springs (another town I’ve spent the night at previously). It’s located along U.S. 98 and Florida State Road 44, and where the two routes meet – it’s a very busy and congested intersection.

From the very cold low-30s up to the mild mid-60s – those were the temperatures during my drive back into my home state.

Just like Day 16 I drove another 523 miles on Day 17, so that’s 2,497 miles on this road-trip so far. And that’s where I’ll end Part 6 of this 7-part blog series. I’ll conclude with my road-trip adventures and experiences next #TravelThursday.

All rights reserved (c) 2022 Christopher M. Day, CountUp Ministries

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My November Vacation 2021 Road-Trip

#TravelThursday continues now with Part 5 of my 7-part blog series on my recent 18-day road-trip between South Florida and North Texas.

Last week I left-off on Day 9 within the eastern portions of the Dallas Texas Metroplex (Collin County). I visited the Military Heritage Collection Of North Texas military museum, and then from there I visited the “Dallas” TV series museum – the Southfork Ranch. It was an interesting combination of military history and television history, and it was very appropriate in that I discovered the “Dallas” TV series in England in 1986 with my military dormitory buddies. It was “must-see-TV” for us back then.

Here’s what’s even wackier. During our guided tour of the Southfork Ranch, one of our tour guides went around the room and asked where each person or couple was from. I responded “Miami”, and a couple on the other side of the room did the same. We eventually met up outside on the front grounds of the mansion following the conclusion of the guided tour. The couple were actually from Homestead (same as me), and the guy worked at Homestead Air Reserve Base (same as me) for the same Wing. He left / retired a few years ago, and he and his wife moved to the Dallas Texas area. We actually knew some of the same people on base. #SmallWorld

After I returned back to my brother’s and sister-in-law’s house on that Friday afternoon I did not drive my car again until the following Friday morning. I enjoyed the day-to-day routines with my family, and we did the normal things that we always do during the week leading-up to #ThanksChristmasGiving – our traditional combined Thanksgiving and Christmas. One of my favorite things to do is something that goes back some 40 years, and it’s as simple as shopping with my brother. It’s also a good workout keeping-up with my brother in the stores.

On Day 16 of my road-trip – Friday November 26TH 2021 – I departed my family’s house for the start of the long drive home, but first I had to let my defroster melt the coat of frost off my windshield and rear window so that I could see. On that frigid morning I took the backroads of the local area over to U.S. 69, and I took that to I-20. On the south side of Shreveport Louisiana I got in one last meal at Whataburger.

Fun Fact: The nearest Whataburger is about 380 miles from my home.

After my early-lunch at Whataburger I proceeded onto I-49, and I took that to Alexandria Louisiana. From there I took backroads and old U.S highways through the rest of Louisiana, across the mighty Mississippi River, through Natchez, and over to Hattiesburg. I pretty much traced the same route eastward, as I took westward 2 weeks earlier.

I arrived at my hotel destination on the west side of Hattiesburg right around sunset that night. On that day I drove 523 miles, so that’s 1,974 miles on this road-trip so far.

And that’s where I’ll end Part 5 of this 7-part blog series. I’ll continue with my road-trip adventures and experiences next #TravelThursday. I’ll reach Florida next week, but how deep into Florida will I get ?

All rights reserved (c) 2021 Christopher M. Day, CountUp Ministries

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My November Vacation 2021 Road-Trip

#TravelThursday continues now with Part 2 of my 7-part blog series on my recent 18-day road-trip between South Florida and North Texas.

At the end of Part 1 I was enjoying food and fellowship at a Thai restaurant in Semmes Alabama – a northwestern suburb of Mobile. From there I got back on U.S. 98, and I headed northwestward into Mississippi. I enjoy driving this mostly peaceful stretch of U.S. 98 – particularly on the Mississippi side, as it’s a rural divided 4-lane highway (versus a narrow 2-lane road on the Alabama side west of Semmes). I think there have been plans to widen the 2-lane stretch to 4 lanes over the years, but due to environmental concerns regarding the Big Creek Lake reservoir and its watershed those plans have been postponed indefinitely. (The reservoir serves as the municipal water supply for the Mobile area.)

On the south side of Hattiesburg Mississippi I took U.S. 49 northwestward through the heart of the city and beyond. (I wrote about “The Hub City” Hattiesburg 3 weeks ago here on #TravelThursday.)

In the past I’ve taken U.S. 49 90 miles northwestward from Hattiesburg to Jackson – the capital and largest city of Mississippi. But this time I took a much different route. From U.S. 49 I jumped on U.S. 84.

U.S. 84 is a major east-west highway that extends over 1,900 miles across 7 states from high up in the Rocky Mountains of Southwestern Colorado to the low-country of the Atlantic shores of Georgia. It crosses the U.S. Continental Divide in northern New Mexico at an elevation above 7,700 feet.

I took peaceful and scenic U.S. 84 mostly a little south of due westward (and mostly with the mid-November afternoon sun directly in front of me) all the way to the eastern banks of the mighty Mississippi River at Natchez. I didn’t get to see much of Natchez (other than the drive through the city to my hotel), but I did walk over (across the street from my hotel) to the grounds of the Natchez Visitor Reception Center – where I captured a few nice photographic memories as the sun was getting ready to set on the bluff. Here’s one of them overlooking the Mississippi River. (Louisiana is on the other side of the river.)

I didn’t get to visit the museum inside, as I got there about 20 minutes prior to closing time. I’ll have to visit Natchez again on a future trip to and from North Texas.

“The River City” Natchez looks like a fun destination city for locals and others in the region to experience and enjoy for a few days and nights right along the mighty Mississippi River. It has a large downtown district with a stand-alone convention center. Many of its hotels have their own convention centers and rooms. There are about 1,200 hotel rooms in and around Natchez. Tourism supports this city. Its population has actually been declining over the past 40 years, and less people call Natchez home today than they did in 1940. But it still looks like a fun town to visit.

I spent the night in Natchez at the conclusion of Day 2 of my road-trip. I drove 462 miles on this day (Friday November 12TH 2021), for a grand total of 981 miles since the start.

And that’s where I’ll end Part 2 of this 7-part blog series. I’ll continue with my road-trip adventures and experiences next #TravelThursday. We’ll cross the Mississippi River into Louisiana, continue along the Interstate Highway System into Texas, arrive at my family’s home, enjoy a fun Japanese hibachi grill Lunch, and finally visit two of the top tourist attractions in Dallas Texas.

All rights reserved (c) 2021 Christopher M. Day, CountUp Ministries

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Hattiesburg Mississippi

#TravelThursday continues, and in this edition we visit “The Hub City” of Hattiesburg Mississippi.

It got its nickname “The Hub City” because it was a hub – a central point – of several railroad lines at the time (1910s) with a thriving lumber industry. Nowadays it’s known as “The Hub City” because it’s where old U.S. Routes 49 and 98 meet at the south end of the city. U.S. Route 11 also passes through the core of the city. It extends southward to near the Gulf Of Mexico, and northward to the Canadian border with New York. I-59 bypasses much of the city to the west. It is definitely “The Hub City” in the southeastern part of Mississippi. It’s a little less than 100 miles northwestward from Mobile Alabama, and it’s a little more than 100 miles north-northeastward from New Orleans Louisiana.

I’ve driven through Hattiesburg several times en route to and from North Texas. I’ve even spent a couple of hotel nights in Hattiesburg. On one of those hotel nights I had driven 657 miles from Wichita Falls Texas. I checked-in to my hotel room, and I looked at my iPhone. I had a voice mail from my Pastor. He told me to call him. I did. He asked me if I wanted to preach on Sunday. (That was a Thursday night.) An exhausted me gladly accepted. On that Sunday (October 02ND 2016) I preached my very first sermon to my church family. I was ready for that day. I had plenty of time on the road to think about and to pray about that first sermon.

I really want to spend more than a hotel night in and around the Hattiesburg area. There are lots of places to see and things to do there. The Hattiesburg Zoo and the Mississippi Armed Forces Museum would be on that list. #VisitHattiesburg.

Hattiesburg is a young college and military town with about 45,000 residents within the city limits and about 170,000 residents within the metro area. It is the home of the University Of Southern Mississippi and the black and gold Golden Eagles.

Join me next #TravelThursday as we visit another location on the face of this earth.

They keep you safe on your way, and your feet will not stumble. You can go to bed without fear. You will lie down and sleep soundly. You need not be afraid of sudden disaster or the destruction that comes upon the wicked, for the LORD is your security. He will keep your foot from being caught in a trap. (Proverbs 3:23-26 NLT)

All rights reserved (c) 2021 Christopher M. Day, CountUp Ministries