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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 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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Mobile Alabama

#TravelThursday continues, and in this edition we visit “The Port City” of Mobile Alabama.

I’ve driven through Mobile a bunch of times since the mid-1990s. It’s a very unique drive along I-10 over Mobile Bay, under the Mobile River, and through the downtown area. It can also be a scary drive through the 3,000-foot tunnel, as it has a reduced speed limit of 50 MPH, but everyone is driving much faster than that. I’ve been severely tailgated through that tunnel, and it was not a pleasant experience. And then of course once you reemerge out of the tunnel you are instantly hit with blinding daylight.

A little over 5 years ago on a 3,008-mile road-trip to and from the Wichita Falls Texas area I enjoyed a scheduled pitstop in downtown Mobile to check-out some of the sights for a few hours. It was too short of a visit, and there’s plenty to see and do downtown over the course of several days or a long weekend. I talked to two women who were serving at their downtown tourist bureau (co-located with a museum), and they gave me great ideas for sightseeing for a few hours, and for a few days. I told them that I only had a few hours, but I vowed to return sometime in the future to spend more time in their city that they clearly love. Their friendliness and excitement actually inspired me to possibly pursue post-retirement service in the tourism welcome industry.

Before I talked to them I actually visited Fort Charlotte (Fort Condé de la Mobille). It’s a partially-reconstructed 18TH-Century fort that guarded Mobile during wartime. It was demolished about 100 years later (because it was no longer needed). The current replica fort was opened on America’s Bicentennial on July 04TH 1976 directly above the western-end of the aforementioned I-10 tunnel.

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