We had an easy trip from Waveland to Wesson. We got an early start, the weather was wonderful, and the drive was a piece of cake. Our next stop was Lincoln State Park on the border of Lincoln and Copiah Counties just east of I-55 – north of where we left and south of the Capitol, Jackson. This park was completely different from the last. We were back in the woods. No traffic sounds, only birds calling and the sound of wind high up in the trees. Lake Lincoln is small but very scenic and peaceful. As we set up our camp we met our neighbors, a group of about 10 couples from a Baptist Church in Baker, Louisiana. We were all going to be there for about the same amount of time, so we declared ourselves a neighborhood looked forward to having the same friends around us for the whole week.
We got settled in that afternoon – had our traditional “first night” martinis inside the bus so as not to offend the minister and his wife across the street from us. We started our campfire and turned on our music – it was all going just a bit too smoothly. After about 6 hours, later into the evening, everthing suddenly went black on our site. No lights, no music, no nothing. Well hell, was it our problem or the electrical box? Mike fidgeted with some things and reset other buttons, but no power for the Martins. Luckily, we have a giant generator! We turned it on, finished our evening, and went to bed worried that something was terribly wrong with the bus.
One notable thing about Lincoln State Park is that they are woefully understaffed. There is the Park Ranger, the Park Manager, and the lady in the front office. That is all. The next morning we walked up to the headquarters to let them know there was a problem with the power at our site. The lady in the office gave us a brochure and a map of the park. Great, thanks… and the power? The Ranger came by to take a look – tightened some screws on the box and told us the problem was probably our rig. He got the power running again and when he left he said he would be back to check on us later. Three seconds after he left we had no power again. Generator back on. No more Ranger for the rest of the day or night. The generator was no problem for us at all, but we felt bad for our neighbors. Who wants to camp in such a relaxing environment only to have to listen to and smell the exhaust of a diesel engine running for hours on end?
The second day with no power we walked back to the headquarters to report our situation again. This time the lady at the desk asked us if we had checked in yet… Yes, two days ago. The Ranger came by again and gave us permission to move to an adjacent spot that happened to be on a different power line – to see if it actually was our problem or if the park’s electrical box might need some work (or replacing). We packed up all the gear and situated ourselves for a drive around the loop to spot #28. When we hooked into that box, everything worked great. Yay, no more generator!
The neighbors must not have been too put out with us because they invited us over for a hamburger lunch one afternoon, and brought us some fried fish on another evening. Come to think of it… we shared hamburgers on the day we moved the coach to a new spot – maybe that was their kind way of thanking us for turning off the generator.
Another slight problem we encountered was that we had no wifi signal or phone service at this park. When we get to each new place there are a few tasks I like to complete immediately. First, I like to update our blog while things are still fresh in my mind. Second, I like to do research on what day- trips we want to take that week. Lastly, I like to research where we want to stay next and line up some reservations for us. That was all a very large problem with no internet access.
In order to “get connected”, I drove into the small town of Wesson and parked in the parking lot of the local community college to access my email and the internet. Another day I went out to the edge of a fishing pier where I got three bars and parked myself there to try and download some information – to no avail it was just too slow to tolerate.
On the third day we drove into the next largest town, Brookhaven. We found a diner from urbanspoon.com that was highly rated. I took my laptop in and finally secured reservations for the next week while we ate a terrible lunch. The reviewers for Bob’s Cafe must have been family members, but it was all okay because we finally had a plan for the following week! We stopped at a downtown bakery to bring the neighbors back some sweet treats, and then picked up groceries at Piggly Wiggly.
The next couple of days were spent doing nothing – riding the bike, walking the dogs, fishing (for Mike), planning the evening menu, and burning the campfire. All the things you do with no internet, phone, or television (well, we did get NBC so I’m sort of exagerrating).
Toward the end of the week we took a road trip into Natchez with the dogs. What a beautiful and historic town. We walked around to look at the wonderful architecture, read every historic marker, and stopped into every establishment (that allowed dogs) to take a break and have a drink. The first Catholic Cathedral in Mississippi was built in Natchez. The architecture and stained glass were majestic. Across the street from the church they had built a little recreation hall to accomodate classes and other activities. We noticed that they had a fenced-in yard and the gate was unlocked. Since the dogs lost their yard in September of last year, they have basically been on a leash since then. I thought it would be a nice treat for us to sneak into the yard and let them run around and go crazy until they got tired or someone kicked us out. We got inside, let them loose… and Cessna immediately went under the shaded porch and laid down. Uuhmm, not exactly the idea I had in mind lazy dog.
I started talking to a couple of local girls at one of the watering holes and asked what else we should see when we were in town. They directed us to an historic plantation turned B&B called Dunleith. In addition to the guest rooms, they had a wonderful pub and restaurant in what I think might have originally been the slave’s quarters. We had cocktails by the pool, then put the dogs in the car and went inside for a scrumptous dinner. We started with duck eggrolls covered in gumbo gravy and sprinkled with crawfish on top. I won’t bore you with a description of the rest of our meal, but just know I’m still dreaming about it today.
By the end of our week, the park was starting to fill up with families camping over spring break. Piper and Cessna made friends with all the kids on our loop, and we had company at our camp every day for love and kisses between children and canines. Despite a rocky start and my slight panicky feeling of technology withdrawal, it was a great week. We loved our time at Lake Lincoln State Park and would return in a heartbeat.