Bill's Blog

Biil's Vacation - Monday in Natchez MS

The top pic. is me standing on the banks of the Mississippi River at Natchez, Mississippi.  It was another beautiful day...afternoon temps. mainly in the low 60s with bright sunshine, light winds and low humidities.  The river is very high for the first week in Dec. The gauge showed a flow of 852,000 cubic feet per second compared to an average for Dec. 3 of 483,000 cubic feet per second.  The river was close to 44 feet - about 4 feet below flood stage.  The river stays pretty much within its channel, so when the river has twice as much water flowing down...its going to flow almost twice as fast to get the same volume of water through.   On the left (west side of the river) you can see a river barge. 

This is looking south down the river at the Natchez Bridge, the only bridge over the river for over 100 miles (between Vicksburg MS and Baton Rouge LA.  There are two bridges here.  The first was completed in 1940.  It has two lanes - each 8 feet wide.  The second was completed in 1988 and has two lanes that are 11 feet wide plus a shoulder.  So, there are now 2 lanes in each direction.  There is more traffic crossing east than west, so the newer part of the bridge is for eastbound traffic coming into Natchez.

Gayle wanted this pic. of our shadows.  The highest the sun climbs in the sky on Dec. 4 in Natchez (solar noon) is 36 deg. above the horizon.  In Grand Rapids on Dec. 4, it's just 25 deg. above the horizon.  In Natchez, the time between sunrise and sunset for Dec. 4 is 10 hours and 13 minutes.  In Grand Rapids, it's 9 hours and 11 minutes. 

We spotted these two flowering bushes - they looked like rose of sharon - one pnk and the other white.  There were also roses in bloom and hardy pansies.  There can cold and even snowy days in Natchez.  Just last year Natchez had a 5-6" snowfall on Dec. 8.  Their record snow midnght-to-midnight was 9.5" in Jan. 1940.  Following that snowfall, the temperature dipped to an all-time record low of 4 above zero!  The record highest temp. was 105 back in 1935.  The average high temperature is 60 in December and rises to the low 90s from late June to the end of August. 

We stopped at the Melrose Plantation - now operated by the National Park Service.  The ranger on duty was originally from Battle Creek and recognized me.  We did not have time to take the plantation tour, but saw the buildings, the pond and the outhouse (a two-seater - plus a small seater for the kids).  This is actually 8 magnolia trees growing together.  We know a similar magnolia was planted in the 1850s as a gift from the plantation owner to his wife...so these trees may be that old, too. 

Our motel had a drive-up window with a sturdy roof - so guests could check in and stay dry when it's raining.  Also, my oil light came on, so I had to find an oil change.  The Ford dealership was across the street - they couldn't fit me in, so they directed me to the other Ford dealership, which got me in right away and only charged me $35 and some change (synthetic oil).  I also bought gas in Clinton MS for $1.98 a gallon!  We had dinner at the Frog Head Restaurant - I had the seafood gumbo and chicken/walnut salad...either one could have been a meal in itself.  It was really a nice day.   Everyone we met was pleasant and friendly. 

Tuesday (today) we head back to Tennessee...to see mom one more time before heading home to Grand Rapids.  I'll be back on WOOD TV8 this coming Sat. and Sun.  Have a wonderful day and thanks for reading the blog! 


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