My 2016 Mid-West Trip~Part 16

19 Oct

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

 

Day 16 (Sunday)

 

I began the day with a nice drive west on I-10 from Mobile to Gulfport, Mississippi. Since it was Sunday, I didn’t expect any of the museums to be open, and most of them were not. But I wanted to take a look at their locations anyway. My first stop was to check out the Busted Wrench Garage & Museum there at Gulfport. The building was closed and very small, and didn’t look big enough to house a lot of cars. But, when I Googled the museum, I was surprised to see photos of a nice collection of beautifully restored cars that I missed.

 

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Just down the road a ways was my next stop at the Mississippi Coast Model Railroad Museum. Here again the museum was closed, and the building was not very large.   I could see through the window that they had a good sized model railroad layout, but not much room for anything else.

 

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Next I drove a sort distance south of I-10 to check out the Gulfport Dragway strip. The fellow attending the entrance gate informed me that they had drag races on Wednesdays only, and no other races were scheduled for today. That made three closed attractions in a row so far today.

 

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As part of the planning for this trip I had contacted my son about the possibility of meeting my granddaughter in Gulfport for lunch. Lacey is attending college in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, about 65 Miles north of Gulfport, and this would provide the perfect opportunity for us to meet and spend some time together. As it turned out, she was able to meet with me and we had a delightful lunch at Shaggy’s Gulfport Beach Restaurant on U.S. 90 overlooking the beach.

 

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After lunch I took some time to drive around the beautiful Gulfport Marina, and took some pictures. There was a large ship tied up at the Gulfport docks, which looked like it might have been a cable-laying ship. I had never seen anything like it, and couldn’t figure out how it might work.

 

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Then I headed west again on I-10 for New Orleans, LA. I tried the Cars of Yesteryear’s Museum in Metairie Louisiana, but here again they were closed.

 

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Next I took on the 24 mile long Lake Pontchartrain Causeway from New Orleans to Madisonville. My objective was to visit the Lake Pontchartrain Maritime Museum.  This was a very nice museum filled with a large verity of local historical memorabilia.

 

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Of course, there was also a considerable amount of information about the Civil War. This included a replica of the 2-man Confederate submarine CSS Pioneer (1861), which was a predecessor to the famous Confederate Civil War submarine, the CSS H. L. Hunley (1864). I had never heard of the CSS Pioneer and was surprised to discover that during initial sea trials, it sank with the loss of the crew of 2. After being raised and refitted for more sea trials, it was scuttled, for fear of capture, when the Union Army advanced on New Orleans in April of 1862.

 

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More well-known is the Confederate Civil War submarine CSS H. L. Hunley, which was even more deadly than the Pioneer. During the sea trials of the Hunley, it sank on two different occasions, with the loss of the entire crew of 8 both times. Each time the submarine was raised, improved and refitted for more sea trials. Then finally, in February of 1864, when the Hunley was successfully used to attack and sink the Union ship USS Housatonic, it became the first submarine in history to sink an enemy ship during wartime. Unfortunately, the Hunley was lost, on that sorte the final time, taking all 8 crew members to their death, including the inventor Horace L. Hunley. Interestingly, I saw a full-scale replica of the CSS H. L. Hunley when I visited the Battleship Memorial Park in Mobile, AL just yesterday.

 

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As I was leaving Madisonville I noticed a complex of unusual condos over-looking a small bay and marina. The owners had their living quarters on the second floor and underneath each condo was a protected slip for their private boat moorings. How convenient.

 

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Driving North from Madisonville, back across that 24 mile Lake Pontchartrain Causeway, seemed to take a lot longer than it did going south. I was curious about the construction of the causeway and found the following details on Wikipedia. The two, 2-lane bridges that make up the Causeway qualify it, in the Guinness World Records, as the longest “continuous” bridge over water in the world, at 23.83 miles long. The two spans were built between 1955-1956 & 1967-1969, and the two causeway bridges are supported on 9,500 concrete pilings, and 40,000 cars cross the Causeway daily.

 

 

By the time I got to the motel, I was ready to relax and have some supper. I had enough of the Taco Bell Mexican Pizza left over from last night to satisfy me. Then I had a cup of Blueberry yogurt for dessert. That did the trick for my hunger, and I headed to the motel’s computer to check-in for tomorrow’s flight home.

 

—–To Be Continued—–

 

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