It was dark as Hell out here last night except for the tent down the road. For some reason, they had spot lights on all night so it looked like Charlton Heston’s compound trying to keep out Brother Mathias. I have no idea why they needed spot lights and I hope it isn’t because of alligators. The bathhouse had lights on but they were muted by the trees, otherwise there was no light out here. It provided for a peaceful night, my neighbor across the street coming back last night the only break in the silence. I waved this morning and he provided no response. I like to think it’s because he didn’t see me. The morning was cool, around 62 with no humidity or bugs. Someone up there must like me because this is a perfect morning. I wander to the bathhouse, multiple signs telling me to urinate in the toilets, I am thankful for the advice because I intended to use the floor. Not sure why there is a need for the signs but I do know I don’t want to find out. I wish there were signs telling the spiders and moths to stay out of the showers, it would have made for a more pleasant bathing experience. Nothing like pulling back the shower curtain to ensure a big spider won’t jump out at one of your most vulnerable moments.
I didn’t have a registration and I didn’t drop payment in the box, so in essence, I was a squatter in the campsite. Two women in a Gator drive up and one asks me how many nights I had been there. I told her it was/will be just one night and will pay on the way out as I didn’t have cash to cover the cost. Funny, I thought that campground management didn’t know how long I had been there. But as I drove around last night there were multiple sites with old registration stickers. I guess they don’t drive the gator around much. I tried to insert humor by telling them I came by late last night and was told to take any site as the young lady told me her Mom was in the tub. Crickets, not even a smile. Mabel and I took a walk and then stopped to admire the 1930’s style, CCC buildings that dotted the picnic area. The park had a nice feel and plenty of space to picnic, sitting on a large pond that hosted a fishing pier. I paid at the welcome center, another building large stone building constructed by the CCC. The main reception area was beautiful and the woman told me it is used often for gatherings. A large ruff hewn bar sat in one corner and I could imagine the times it was used.
The houses at Holly Springs were nice and I got a neat hometown vibe as I waked down the uneven sidewalks. The town is a square around some type of government building, its cupola in need of a scrape and paint. Parking took an effort but I found a spot near the school that was in session. Mabel and I walked along the route outlined by the map and saw roughly five of the ten houses designated “worthy”. Of course, Mabel decided to relieve herself on the only lawn with its owner present. I tried to change her positions, Mable intently resisting and I finally just yelled a “Sorry” out to the lady. “Don’t worry, when you have to go….” She replied. Thank goodness for those little bags we keep on the leash.
We headed south on HWY 7 which runs straight into Oxford. It was an easy drive through a rural area, the trees close to the road. We were headed here because I wanted to visit the town and the home of William Faulkner. Driving into Oxford felt tight to me and I was aware that I had the trailer. It was busy since I came though during lunch time but the GPS did its part in directing me to the house which was on the outskirts of town. I pulled down a dirt driveway into the woods, very tight on both sides with trees and ruts in the road. I thought, “this was it, the first place I would need to unhitch the trailer,” but was lucky as there was just enough room to turn around. A deer was in the woods watching my progress but Mabel failed to see or smell it when exiting the car. We walked around the well-kept grounds before I went in the house and Mabel to the car, thinking this was like most places and dogs were not welcome. I had to use the bathroom and I asked for the facilities before paying admission. The young blonde lady, pointed down the short hall and I could see the door to what didn’t look like an institutional bathroom. Once I closed the door it looked more like a normal home’s bathroom from the 1960’s and there were even real hand towels on the towel bars. I made a joke to the young lady that I used the same bathroom as Faulkner and she confirmed I did. She went on to say that this was a private bathroom when Faulkner was living here and he didn’t let anyone else use it. So, I can now say, I peed in the same toilet as literary giant Robert Faulkner.
After taking my $5, the young lady, a senior in English at Ole Miss, proceeded to tell me about the house and I found out she was from New Jersey. The home is exactly as he left it when he died in 1963, the furniture and books are all the same. It was a nice collection of period furniture and I felt very inspired walking his halls especially looking in the writing room. The outline for his book Fable was written on the wall in grease pencil. I told her about my trip and she mentioned she is reading TWC, small world. She also told me that dogs are allowed in the house and that Oxford is dog friendly. Unfortunately, my trip back into town didn’t find me in these establishments, the one book store I visited wasn’t pet friendly. I liked Oxford and Northern Mississippi and surprisingly could see myself living there.
Vicksburg was my next destination and HWY 278/61 took me South along the Louisiana border. I saw a lot of poverty on the way, people living in trailers I wouldn’t let Mabel stay in. How does one get to this point and do you think most are born into an unbreakable cycle? I passed a family in a trailer on a postage stamp sized lot. The highway in their front yard, corn fields pushing towards their tiny sliver of land. They were outside around the grill, a few 4-wheerlers parked alongside the trailer. I wondered if they were happy or longed for the same type of security I do. Do they want to be helped is the question, and should we? Or does a person’s lot in life reside within themselves? How should I feel that I would treat my dog to a better home than the people’s I saw on the way? I did a lot of thinking on this section but didn’t come up with many answers.
The route takes me along cotton fields and silage corn, brown from lack of water and too much heat. The harvest is on and dust clouds announce the positions of the farm equipment. Trucks, miles away, surrounded in a smoke of dirt. At first, I didn’t know I was looking at cotton until a sign confirmed it. We don’t see cotton plants in Minnesota.
I was out of luck in Vicksburg, there was no room at the inn. I checked on-line for respectable campsites with good reviews and came back empty handed. The casino RV lot was full and I maybe could have stayed in overflow parking but that is at best a parking lot. The fight is this weekend and I think that is contributing to the lack of space. Do I finally break down and search out a Walmart? I had planned on staying one night in a Walmart and this could be it. The map shows camping 20 miles away, a state park called Rocky Springs and I decide to take a chance. If I can’t roll the dice in the casino, I’ll roll them at Rocky Springs and hope there is a spot with my name on it.