4 Jun 2017

Road Trip contd-North to Memphis

From Vicksburg it was a long drive up the River Road to Memphis so we took an overnight stop in Oxford to break the journey.
Rosedale, a very small settlement on the River Road. The Memorial Park is overgrown and the Country Club has long gone. No Mar-A-Lago here.
The drive upto Oxford from Vicksburg was across a totally flat landscape apart from the big levees along the Mississippi. The River Road was virtually empty -we drove alone for long distances.The vast paddocks were being prepared for planting and cropdusting aircraft were busy. Cropdusting has been long established in the delta and Delta Airways started out as cropdusting operation in the delta back in the 1920's.
The few settlements we passed through on the way were small and obviously really struggling. Most of the farmers have gone.The farms have been consolidated and are now owned by corporations and run by managers. Mechanisation has totally taken over the work of literally tens of thousands of cottonpickers.
One government solution to the plight of these small settlements is to give them a correctional facility-a prison -to provide local employment. So you find small prisons in the most out of the way places which must be very difficult for visitors. But the prisons are just a band-aid solution . These small settlements have no viable future. The world has changed.
A short by chance diversion off the River Road mid morning took us to Roy's Store -which seemed to stock everything and which provided a snack from their grill. Roy's Store is on Lake Washington and is over 100 years in business and is one of the last surviving country stores in Mississippi.
Adrienne,the cook at Roy's Store. My personal favourite photo from the roadtrip.

Roy's Store-they stock everything it seems.

In 100 years you tend to fill the place up

Dining at Roy's Store

From Roy's Store
We made the regional centre of Clarksdale by lunchtime. Clarksdale is the home of the blues. The town centre is run down and we were concerned that lunch was going to be difficult when we found the Stone Pony-a thriving cafe on the main street.Maybe there is a thriving out of town mall which we missed.
 Some of the locals were very enthusiastic about their local elections which were being held that day. I had a good chat with this crowd below and they were really friendly and enthusiastic. It is not all bad news.
Local elections in Clarksdale

Paramount ,Clarksdale

Miss Del's General Store, Delta Street Clarksdale

Deaks. Music sold here -and cold beer-Clarksdale

After a good lunch in Clarkdale we headed on to the university town of Oxford-not a very original name for a university town-in Mississippi- home of Ol' Miss-the University of Mississippi.There we stayed at a really excellent hotel - the Graduate-with a great rooftop bar looking down the main street.
Oxford was a real surprise. It seems misplaced -such a contrast to so many places we had passed through. It has bookshops and so many places to eat and no boarded up shops. However it seems very dependant on the university and it must be very quiet out of term time.
Oxford from the rooftop bar of the Graduate Hotel

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