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Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Hattiesburg to Vidalia, La Day 6

Although I did not write a report for day 5 in actuality we spent it in Hattiesburg. On the one hand you might think it was a leisure day of rest taken from the road and so it was. On the other hand, however, it was a day of apprehension wondering if we would have to endure the unfamiliar experience of a tornado. Hattiesburg was on a tornado warning until 7 pm and the reports called for thunderstorms sometimes severe with heavy winds starting around 1 in the afternoon. We felt fairly secure being in what we considered to be a sturdy building on the ground floor with a large inside bathroom—that is, all inside walls, no windows and a long counter with a deep open area beneath it. Basically, we hung out in the room eating leftover pizza from pizza hut and some of the food I’d packed. Both of us read most of the time and watched some TV. The day was unbelieveably warm and humid but there was no wind, no rain and no indication of storms. The local newscaster on the 6 pm news verbalized what I’m sure all of us were feeling, Where is the weather? Why the warning—nothing is happening. BUT just northeast of us—right where we’d been on Monday –particularly in Jasper etc the tornadoes were hitting and hard. Only 20 miles away. In addition, the area around Tupelo, where we usually stay when we travel the Trace was experiencing very high velocity winds. At 7pm the warning was off but a watch was issued in its place until 3 am. Bill as usual went to sleep at 8 pm and I watched TV until midnight. No wind, no rain, but I went to sleep. I woke at 130 and Bill was awake—seems I’d just missed a really heavy thunderstorm with lots of fireworks. Never heard it. Went back to sleep and woke up at 8. Missed the heavy winds and rain that hit during the night but thank goodness, no tornadoes. Gathered up scattered belongings etc and had some coffee and was on the road by 930. Did not need to leave too early since we were only going as far as Vidalia, La about 150 miles away. Took back roads we’ve traveled before to Gloster and looked for a favorite restaurant, the Gloster Cafe. Closed and moved away to another nearby town. All that was left for dining was the Wagon Wheel Grocery and Cafe. It is nothing fancy and definitely the local place. Workmen came in for their lunch. We opted for the plate of the day—stewed chicken, cabbage and sausage, fried okra, deviled eggs, berry pie, corn bread muffins and a drink from a machine. As you can see we opted for different parts of the meal and though it wasn’t fancy looking at all, it was delicious and filling. The owner said each time you come through there is less and less in town. Indeed, that is the case. Continued through a National Forest to Liberty Road that takes one right into Natchez. Took a spin downtown and toward Natchez under the hill before crossing the bridge into Vidalia. I’ve wanted to stay at this Comfort Inn since it was built on the shores of the Mississippi and this year we decided we would.. The room is so lovely, the view so beautiful we are staying for two nights. It is now sunset and a barge and tug are moving North under the bridge which is backlit by the flame red sky. Time for me to go and sit before the picture window and watch night fall. Good night from Louisiana. The Valley Vagabonds KandB

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