After a lunch at Premos and a trip to the Appleton's to see the new baby we left Muskegon about noon. Following the Conoco map we arrived in Sheldon, IL at 5 p.m. - 215 miles. The family was not home but the house was open so we made ourselves at home then walked to town to get something to eat at the restaurant. Brooks came in while we were eating - had been playing golf at the country club. Outstanding event for the youngsters - pony ride. Stayed over Sunday going with Brooks & youngsters to a bend in the river in the morning. Brooks is against Willke for President. Thinks he is too reactionary.
Left Sheldon for New Orleans. Took Brooks with us as far as Champaign where he is going to school. Great activity at Rantoul where the aviation school is being greatly expanded. Only building we stopped to examine was the armory and band building - the latter small & seemingly inadequate. Ate lunch at Villa Grove in a small park just north of town (WPA.) Shortly after dinner, got off the road and drove about 15 miles out of our way on a dirt road. One of our bad tires blew out just before we reached Marion where we intended to stay for the night. Yvette decided to take advantage of our insurance and walked a little way up the road to a small mine where a colored girl let her in the office to call. Their best coal $2 a ton. By the time the help arrived from town I had the spare tire on. Stopped at Oak Grove Tourist Court & Tea Room 4 miles west of Marion. The cabin was a shack & the toilets smelled terrible. No running water. $1.50 for our cabin. There were only 2 cabins (one unit) though the people were going to expand & build 13 after getting state approval. They were setting out a lot of shrubs in anticipation. I slept well but a couple dogs kept waking Yvette.
Got an early start. Drove west to Carbondale where we arrived before most of the stores were open. Found a grocery where we bought our breakfast then went south on US 51 to Giant City State Park where we had our breakfast. Park is not well developed like Michigan state parks but has possibilities. CCC boys were at work putting a stone wall along the creek. Built a fire & heated water for Postum. Forgot to buy sugar so used butterscotch candy instead. Reached Cairo about 10:30, too early for lunch so decided to drive on although we had no spare tire. Reached Union City, Tenn. just about noon. Bought 2 new tires for the rear wheels (Goodyear All-Weather at $11.11 each.) Saved the sales tax as there is none in Tenn. Tires plus tubes $25.85. Ate lunch at a restaurant while the tires were being changed. Poor dinner - made Yvette sick. Reached Memphis at 4 p.m. Found cabin with shower & garage, $2.00 just south of town. Visited zoo after supper. All went to bed by 9 o'clock. Cabins in the form of a court - two stories high.
Entered Mississippi soon after leaving Memphis. Corn & cotton. Negro families from 5 years up working in fields. Erosion bad. Soil red clay. Stopped in Jackson for water at state capitol. Stopped at Holmes County State Park near Durant, Mississippi for lunch. Temerature hot. Park undeveloped, no water, poor picnic tables and toilets. Small pond for swimming. Nice trees, however, mostly pine & the road was being improved, negros & whites working together. Main in Shell gas station persuaded us to go to Vicksburg to see the battlefield. Found cabin south of town for $1.75. Had small kitchen besides shower, toilet & washbowl. Spread sleeping bags on the floor as usual for the youngsters. Weather sticky. Good view of Mississippi River from across the street. Went for a tour of the battlefield after unloading. About 35 miles of road thru the park with markers indicating positions of various units of both armies. Very hilly. After eating walked down toward river. Talked to a colored man working in his garden on a slope. No more passenger boats on river but still much frieght. Corn was 6 feet tall here. Just showing above ground in Michigan. Mosquitos drove us home pretty fast. All in bed by 9:30.
Headed south on Highway 61. Country very hilly. Hills sliced perpendicularly for roads which run very straight. Erosion bad in places & land poorer than along 51. Gas 22¢. Corn & cotton where land is good. Natchez most picturesque town along the way. Great moss-colored cypress & oaks, old ante-bellum homes and stores with iron balconies. Red and pink flowers on trees, very beautiful. Stopped at Baton Rouge to look over the new capitol of Huey Long and watch the legislature in session. Very hot and sultry. Road from Baton Rouge to New Orleans mostly through swamps – very straight. Sugar can about waist-high – looked much like cat-tails or the other swamp reeds. Found a cabin at the “Pines” just west of New Orleans by the levee. Walked to top of levee and explored some new houses after supper. No basements or foundations except blocks every 8 feet or so. Water meter is outdoors. Termite protection galvanized metal over top of blocks. $5500 for 5 room and bath with ventilating fan no heating system except gas heater in both rooms. Our cabin has kitchenette, bathroom and big bedroom. $2.00. Run by young woman.
Drove to New Orleans and looked up Mexican Consul. Got our tourist cards without any trouble. Made a few purchases in ten-cent store on Canal St. Big stores and buildings are air conditioned. Ate lunch at “Kress,” the southern “Kresge.” Drove to ferry dock then to Vieux Carré where Yvette talked with two Romanians (in French) in an antique shop. Went to chamber of commerce where I got literature about the city. Back to Vieux Carré to visit cathedral and museum, then went to park to visit zoo with children.
Got an early start for the west, taking the southern route over the free Huey Long bridge (route 90). Homes set close together for miles – similar to French Canada. Many houses have two or 3 front doors even when very small. Started raining near Morgan City. Drove out of our way to visit “Longfellow-Evangeline State Park” at Martinsville. Rain cleared long enough for us to eat. Had sheltered picnic place so tables were dry but ground was muddy. Very hard rain on gravel road getting back to (90). Continued raining most of afternoon. Found cabin west of Beaumont. Visited town for supper at Kress store.