In order to move "visit all the fifty (dis)United States" from bucket list to done-that list, we took a 3.5 week driving tour of the "former" Confederate States of America. Part 1: LA, MS, AL, FL.
Jump to Part 2. NB: [click] means you can click the image for a larger, perhaps different, picture.

We struck new territory in SE Texas, near the Big Thicket--these are loblolly pines. [click]

A high-rail grapple truck loads ties near DeQuincy, LA.

The DeQuincy, LA Railroad Museum displays some rolling stock (including a 1913 Steam Locomotive) and artifacts of a disappearing age. [click]

This out-building is on Oakland Plantation in the Cane River Creole National Heritage Area. In 1845 it's owner held 104 slaves. The pipe on the right funnels rain water into a cistern. [click]

Antebellum Melrose Plantation museum's main house is framed by an old oak with vibrant rain-restored resurrection fern topping its limbs. [click]

Sunset illuminates the bridge over the Mississippi into Natchez, MS. [click]

Following fine dining at The Castle, we began the next day on the Natchez Trace Parkway. [click]

The Trace is a great drive: 40-50 MPH speed limit, two lanes, little traffic, deep valleys, many pull-offs for exploring by foot, ... , and a Cardinal for contrasting color. [click]

The Vicksburg Battlefield is huge (over 1800 acres) and peppered with 1325 monuments/memorials for many individuals or units involved in the siege/conflict. A timeline tracks the battle. [click]

Ironclad USS Cairo--the first U.S. ship sunk by a torpedo/mine. [click]

Grierson's Raid on Newton Station cut the route supplying Vicksburg. [The Horse Soldiers] [click]

Demopolis, AL was settled by French exiles banished after Napoleon Bonaparte abdicated. Antebellum Gaineswood is now a museum in Demopolis. [The Fighting Kentuckian]

Mobile, AL has antebellum homes, forts, [click] ...

Slave market sites, and rad warships [click]

It was too early for Bellingrath Gardens to be in full bloom, but it was still lovely! [click]

Fountains and formal gardens abound... [click]

next to a Bayou. [click]

A long bridge took us to Dauphin Island ferry port where we awaited the Fort Morgan, sister ship to the Marissa Mae Nicole (above). [click]

Next stop: the packed and comprehensive National Naval Aviation Museum, Pensacola FL. Take a virtual tour! [click]

Displays of Mercury, Skylab 2 capsules and LEM previewed upcoming museums. [click]

No Sopwith Camel is complete without Snoopy! [click]

Next up: a swim with Manatees (and Brown Pelicans) at Crystal River. [click]

Murky waters made the manatees difficult to separate from the clutter. [click]

Due to cold weather, several hundred manatees- all carefully roped off-napped at the bottom. [click]

Some (novelty) manatees are easier to spot! [click]

Elegant engineering = cable-stay bridges! [click]

Shift your surreality at St. Petersburg's Dali Museum. [click]

Exterior of Dali Museum--time flows. [click]

Pileated Woodpecker at Everglades City. [click]

Next adventure: kayaking with alligators in the subtropical wilderness of the Turner River. [click]

We spotted a rarely-seen limpkin. [click]

To navigate mangrove tunnels, stow the paddle and pull yourself through! [click]

Next day: an NPS cruise through 10K islands., featuring bottle-nosed dolphins! [click]

White pelicans, brown pelicans, cormorants, gulls... all hang out on 10K islands. [click]

Sabal Palm-the Florida State Tree. [click]

Onward, over bridges and islands, to Key West, FL! [click]

Southernmost U.S. signs: 24.5465° N, 81.7975° W. [click]

To prepare for the next day's cruise to Ft. Jefferson, we studied its model at Dry Tortugas Museum., just down the wharf from the marvelous Waterfront Brewery. [click]

Fort Jefferson, former prison of Samuel Mudd, on the Dry Tortugas. [click]

Marilyn inspected the wall and magazine. [click]

Corner guns could rotate to cover long walls. [click]

Among the restored structures is the furnace that heated cannon balls so they could ignite wooden ships that they hit. [click]

A detached magazine kept reserve powder dry and safe. [click]

Sonic booms cause bricks to dislodge, so Fort Jefferson requires continual repair. [click]

Clear waters of the marine sanctuary teem with life. [click] (Download .PDF self-guided tour)

We drank red ales, watched the sun set on red sails and surveilled the spring-break revelry on Duval Street before turning in for the night.

Since I-95 was a mobbed construction zone, we drove up the center of FL to Cocoa Beach, where we connected with the Martins, missing a re-scheduled Space-X launch by just one day! As partial replacement, we toured the Kennedy Space Center. [click]

Atlantis is awe-inspiring! [click]

Essential facility for human space flight. [click]

If only! [click]

Up-date of the 6 MLb Crawler-transporters that carried the 663' tall, 6.2MLb Saturn V rocket from the VAB to the launch pad. [click]

An entire Apollo/Saturn V assembly lets you walk by and examine each stage and module. [click]

Invasive, poisonous Lionfish are a problem in Florida's waters--no bag limit!

Next: St. Augustine's Castillo de San Marcos, America's oldest masonry (coquina) fort. [click]

Moat and drawbridge added security. [click]

Iron and bronze cannon and mortars line the walls. [click]

A Rendezvous with Siren Noire slaked thirst after walking the Castillo. [click]

Many Florida beaches allow automobiles and horses, like this one on Amelia Island. [click]

On to GA, SC, NC, TN, AL, AR Up to Ron's Home Page (with links to travelogues).