On the third day of my Spring 2015 road trip, I arrived in Jackson.
( Read more about the scientific aspects of my road trip on Cicada Mania. )
My destination was the Mississippi Museum of Natural Science (2148 Riverside Dr, Jackson, MS). The location was particularly vexing for my GPS, which led me through a maze of lumpy streets, the surface of which rose and fell with an amplitude of about half a meter. It was as if I was driving over frozen waves or ski slope moguls.
( An aside: My in-dash GPS is good, but it isn’t great. It probably isn’t as great as Google/Wais is, but I’m not going to risk my life and the lives of others squinting at a cellphone screen or juggling one in my hand while I drive. I do use Wais when I’m stuck in traffic though. )
The Mississippi Museum of Natural Sciences
The Mississippi Museum of Natural Sciences was nice. Their best attractions were their live fish, reptile, and amphibian environments. They had a two-headed snake and more cute baby alligators than you can imagine.
The live fish exhibits were particularly fascinating and enchanting. Definitely, a perfect atmosphere to chill out in after a long drive on a hot day.
Trails behind the museum led to the LeFleurs Bluff State Park. The trails wound through what seemed like miles of woodland, past alligator-infested lakes and the Pearl River (which I will assume is also infested with gators). My “desk potato” body was out of breath by the time I navigated all the trails and returned to the Museum.
Here’s a video of some of the many natural wonders you’ll find in LeFleurs Bluff State Park:
Maybe it is wrong to say “alligator infested lakes”. It is their home and has been for millions of years.
( My condo is a “Dan-infested condo”. )
Needing a place to stay, I found the nearest Hilton, and said: “I’m a Hilton HHonors member, what have you got for me”? ( Two h’s in HHonors, BTW. ) Membership has its privileges and I got a penthouse suite, on floor 14. Great view of the city. I liked that the desk chair looked like it was made in the 1960s.
If “classy” has a spectrum, the Jackson Mississippi Hilton falls on the “swank” side of the spectrum, rather than the “posh” side. This is the room:
It’s “swank”, right? Look at this chair. That is a swank chair.
The highlight of staying in the penthouse suite was that Ms. Diva was in the suite next to mine. How did I know Ms. Diva was next to me? Her Bluetooth name gave her away. I got to meet Ms. Diva in the hallway, and she looked like Janet Jackson, which seems appropriate.
Most of the hotels/motels I stayed at had breakfast in the lobby, but the Jackson Hilton had its own classy dining room. And breakfast was not free. Rule of thumb: if breakfast is in a dining room, it is not free; if it is in the lobby, particularly if there is a lobby waffle maker, it is free.
I was amazed by the number of pickup trucks in the parking lot of the hotel. Pickup trucks seem to be the new SUVs — everyone has one because they’re handy for hauling shit back from Costco and Ikea.
After deliberating where to eat for about three hours, I settled on Dracos’s which is a seafood joint in the same parking lot as the hotel.
Draco’s claim to fame is their charbroiled oysters. In the spirit of trying everything at least once, I gave them a shot. And guess what: they’re freaking amazing. Oyster + butter + parmesan cheese + charbroiled flavor = amazingly delicious. I can’t lie.
How Lucky I Am
I was done exploring LeFleurs Bluff park & the museum, I’d met Ms. Diva, and I’d had amazing oysters, so it was time to go. I stopped by a chain pharmacy (can’t remember if it was a CVS, Rite-Aid, or Walgreens, and not that it matters) to load up on water, Red Bull, and some snacks. At the front of a checkout line was a gentleman in a wheelchair. He did not simply have a broken leg; it was apparent that he suffered from considerable physical and neurological disorders. Every moment of his transaction with the cashier was a struggle; finding the change, handing it to her, holding the soda he had purchased — all a struggle. A second and third cashier opened their registers, and the rest of us customers were able to check out quickly. I left before the man in the wheelchair and turned back to notice that he was stuck in the automatic doors. I held the door open for him, and he was finally able to leave.
I am thankful for how lucky I am to have been born with a relatively sound mind and body, and that I am able to drive around the U.S., pretty much anywhere I want to go without much effort or resistance. I’m a lucky guy.