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Friday, August 26, 2011


Please say HELLO to Senior Pastor David L. Bridges, FOLLOWERS OF CHRIST CHURCH, Wills Point, 'Texas.

Dave was up at dawn to try his luck on the lake pier at ASKEW'S LANDING CAMPGROUND as I opened SPIA's door after my before dawn oatmeal early this morning.

Yes, Dave had one "bump". No, Dave caught no fish this morning.

This is about as fresh as a Black Eyed Pea is gonna get. I picked it from the living plant as I walked along US 80 between BOLTON and EDWARDS, MISSISSIPPI. Had to go back towards BOLTON to cover the miles I did not walk yesterday afternoon.

From the Campground, drove SPIA into EDWARDS, parked and walked the walk above. Then moved SPIA out about 3 miles from EDWARDS, parked again, and walked another 12 miles along US 80 down a fertile valley towards BOVINA, MISSISSIPPI, a bedroom community for VICKSBURG, MISSISSIPPI on the Mississippi River.

Field of Black Eyed Peas about ready to harvest. The plants have all but dried out and the pea pods are about to fall off the bush.

A bit further on are a number of harvested Corn Fields. The above photograph shows the corn stubble after the harvest is complete. I'm impressed at how "clean" the harvester equipment leaves the field. A number of local corn fields have all ready been plowed...except a plow is not used...a large disc is pulled by a tractor thoroughly turning and mixing the field, ready to lay fallow for a couple months before being planted again...perhaps with a different crop such as Cotton, Peanuts, Black Eyed Peas, or a couple other choices. Crop rotation is important to keep the soil from becoming depleted from crucial elements. If, say, Iron is taken from the soil by this year's crop, next year's crop should put that iron back into the soil.

On the roadside I came across this large pile of corn kernels dropped during the harvest.

US 80 between EDWARDS and BOVINA is NOT a maintained road. Strange that neither the Feds, the State, nor the County steps in to keep US 80 maintained. It is deteriorating severely, especially the many concrete bridges, which are literally falling apart from crumbling cement.

The above river is the same river we saw yesterday in the Mural...the ferry boat being destroyed by the Union Soldiers...the ferry was a bit upstream from this bridge.

Plaque riveted to the bridge.

The River Bridge from a distance. The roadway is so narrow, many of the concrete uprights have been damaged or destroyed from being hit by passing vehicles.

About six such bridges are in the area which is not maintained. When a vehicle came, I had to climb OVER the concrete rail to avoid being hit...the driving lane is only 8 feet wide...and NO berm at all.

US 80 roadside is lined with tall grasses, having not been cut for a number of years. I certainly was not going to step into those grasses...snakes, you, I simply stood still and forced passing vehicles to go around me.

Under nearly every bridge, it was dry down below. except this one, which had pools of standing water.

Another pool had a number of small turtles. Managed to snap this photograph as one came up to breathe. They normally stay submerged for a few minutes and only surface for a few seconds...probably to avoid becoming din din to some passing hawk.

Please say HELLO to Randall Mauck and his lovely daughter Katie.

Randall owns JOHN's GROCERY in BOVINA, MISSISSIPPI, where State of Mississippi once again maintains US 80 the rest of the way into VICKSBURG.

I stopped in to ask Randall about the profusion of vines growing over everything...the same vines I have reported for some weeks and which Bob, my friend from BELLINGHAM, WASHINGTON, , sent us a description from Wikipedia.

For some miles along US 80 leading into BOVINA...and on to VICKSBURG, there is very little of Mother Earth that is not over grown by this vine. The vine is: KUDZU. Remember that may soon be common in YOUR back yard the way it is growing...about three feet EVERY DAY...and cannot be killed !!!

Brought into the United States about 1920 as a supplement for grazing cattle, the vine quickly spread. The Government - Feds and State - liked the idea of using KUDZU as an erosion stopper, and took it upon themselves to plant sprigs - it only takes a one-inch piece to get it growing - all along US 80 banks to stabilize them.

80 years later, the entirety of middle Mississippi is overgrown with KUDZU, overwhelming everything else. It grows over all vegetation, including tall trees. It grows up telephone poles and reaches into the sky to grab hold of overhead electrical wires. Wherever KUDZU grows, everything else dies.

A few select photographs will convince even the most skeptic critic that KUDZU is bad news:

KUDZU even attacks the roadway !

If I did not move, tomorrow it would have a good hold on my shoes and a week, I could not be found, being fully covered with KUDZU.

Imagine sleeping under an open window as a few KUDZU vines come searching for new turf.

BOVINA, MISSISSIPPI also has a nice Water Tower.

The only way to get rid of KUDZU is to cut it out...even so, it WILL come back in the Spring; the roots haves been discovered over 30 feet underground by construction crews. Randall is also a Surveyor and has witnessed excavations uncovering KUDZU roots deep underground...poison will kill the above ground plant, but NOT the roots.

KUDZU appears to be here to stay.

As I walked into Louisiana after driving SPIA over the Mississippi River I-20 Freeway Bridge (walking is NOT allowed to cross the Mississippi River), I have spotted numerous KUDZU vines growing on the Louisiana side.

A really BIG tree. The home is under...if one looks closely...why not click click !
and, next to that big tree is this field of ready-to-harvest Cotton.

The Cotton Boul, ready for picking.

I have walked three sessions today, totaling about 30 miles. SPIA is parked in the Louisiana town of TALLULAH, about 15 miles from the Mississippi River, on US 80.

We will stay on US 80 until reaching SHREVEPORT, LOUISIANA, where we will turn North West on SR 1, crossing into Texas at the junction of Texas, Louisiana, and Arkansas...SR 1 then becomes Texas SR 71, which continues to WICHITA FALLS, TEXAS.

..a point of interest is that WICHITA FALLS, TEXAS was my very first assignment back in 1952 when I joined the US Air Force. I did not attend any "Tech. Schools" as I was already well trained in Shorthand and Typing in High School...shorthand I took at 165 wpm and typed - on an old upright manual - at 100 wpm...guess that is why I ended up as a Stenographer at the PANMUNJOM, KOREA Peace Talks a few months later.

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