Monday, June 9, 2014


I went over to Sam's Town for the early morning $20 promotion and played just long enough to see the $20 as the table changed and the more aggressive and experienced players came in to drive out the recreational players. I left down $25.



I visited the Tunica River museum. It is small by well worth the $5 entry fee. I liked it that there were real atifacts. So many museums, even the big ones, depend more on informative videos and large poster like blowups. I can get that information on the internet. I go to a museum to be close to actual bits of whatever the museum is celebrating or at least old photos or paintings. This museum had all of that.

Model of a flatboat

There was a model of the Mississippi diving bell invented by James Buchanan Eads and used by him to salvage many of the ships and wealth that had sunk to the bottom of the river over years. His story is here:
This is a salvage boat.

Many of the old steamboats like Twain drove or like what is pictured here had short lives in this dangerous river. Eads found parts of them and brought them back up for a good profit. He said that no one had to go to California for gold. "Gold" was right here at the bottom of the Mississippi.

Along with his diving bell they had information on other bells invented and used over time.
Wildlife and fish were included in the museum

rThese photos don't do the huge catfish justice. Those big bad boys made bass in the tanks look like minnows. A couple albino cats were included as well as other fish from the river lie a school of crappie.

Here is a very old fish

Here is a good look at what an early Mississippi river inhabitant looked like
Here is a much more interesting inhabitant pictured the year I was born.

While they showed this painting celebrating Desoto and his exploration, they also did what was never done in history books when I was a kid, told the truth about the brutality and hardship of these days. Desoto was never given respect by Indians as this shows, but endured thei wrath, often in suicidal battles. Nor were he and his troops dressed so richly. In fact, by this time his troops were hungry and dressed in Indian garb because their food had run out and their clothes had been ripped to shreads.
Desoto treated the Indians very badly.

This is an arrow extractor. It had three prongs. One followed the shaft of the arrow and the other two clamped on the shaft for the extraction.
This does not sound like much fun to me.

These artifacts came from the same ship that I saw reconstructed in vicksburg, the Cairo sunk by a confederate water bomb.

They did have some fun, however, on the Mississippi. Here is a deck of antique cards


The hike:
I spent much of the rest of the day in the river park. I took a two mile hike along the Mississippi and back into the woods. This offered a fine view of the Mississippi from the edge, then took me into a marsh full of bird and frog sounds, would through woods where the trees were marked with little signs and across what they called a lake. It was barely a pond. it was a fine hike even if I did get twisted up. that was really funny.
I am walking at a good pace and pass some folks looking into the details of the marsh. I walk another fifteen minutes and see these same people coming toward me. Okay, I'm confused, so I stop and ask them and they tell me that I went left when they went right and I'm on my way back. I walk another fifteen minutes and get to a place where there are two choices and I can't determine which one goes back to the beginning. I chose one and five minutes down the path here come the same two people again walking toward me. It was like something out of a nightmare. So before I was anywhere near them I turned around then went the right way back.
My entire trip would be like that had I not had GPS to help me.

For the most part I was alone on this hike. One loud bunch of students. A few small groups of people, but I often had the woods to myself.

No leave yet

A new tree for me. Interesting naming

The "lake"
more "lake"

I went back and rocked in the rocking chairs on the porch like section of the museum building. This is an odd addition, this old look on this modern building. Still, it was fine to just rock there and watch the water roll by and watch the boat I would soon ride.

the captain told us Asian carp were everywhere and no one knew how to control them. He said the motors scared them and they jumped, often landing in a boat. An air boat came back with six of them this year. They were a danger to water skiers. They were no good to eat, either. Imported by farmers to clean their ponds of algae, they got into the river and took over.

post script  :  I since have heard that the fish can be eaten.


Next I took a ride on the Tunica Queen, my first ride on the Mississippi. It was dull as boat rides go, but I had a fine time just the same. There is nothing much here to see but just being out on the Mississippi was plenty. The captain was informative. He explained that the sand bar we were passing was a fine place to get away for a day and anyone could use it. However, it would beach us if we were not in the channel marked by the buoys. Since the river changes quickly by 50 feet, the lines on the buoys need to be always shortened or lengthened. Sometimes one would be left too short and pop up in front of the boat.
It was fine to pass some of these tug controlled barges and see them up close. Fifty containers linked together are equal to a thousand railroad cars. That shows the efficiency of shipping like this on the river. We also saw a barge of empties being returned and in the distance a barge carrying ammonia nitrate, good the captain told us for fertilizer and for car bombs. This had to be kept well below zero to be safely transported. I was just as happy this one was a distance.
No bird life here. Not to see flocks of gulls seems very strange. I did see an egret once in a while but not close to the river.

I went to supper with about ten people who regularly post on the Tunica discussion board including Jen, the moderator of the board, and Pat and Dan who live not far from me. We had the Fitz buffet. It was about $16 and about like the others I have visited. It is always fun to meet strangers. Here were people from Texas, Mississippi, New York, and Alabama. These folks frequent Tunica but do not go to Vegas often. There were stories about the uncomfortable nature of flying. Pat told a story about getting lost at Circus Circus. Her frustration reminded me of my own geographic dysfunction which has been totally wiped away by the technology of cell phones, GPS, google maps as well as my own stubborn determination to find a path, learn it, and be competent. I guess my students taught me some of that attitude. Those of them who were poorer learners but kept pushing against the frustration would still learn. So they act as role models for me in the area of geographic orientation.

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