Monday, 22 April 2013
America's 1950 Great Loop A Pre-Internet Blog


1950 Kodachrome Trip Photos by William F. Duthie

In 1950 my family took a 2 month loop from Toronto to Los Angeles to Vancouver BC and back to Toronto via Banff and Minneapolis. On our return my father, who loved to write, hand wrote a blog of our trip. I found it in his papers several years ago and typed it up for him. We drove over 10,000 miles in a 1950 Studebaker sedan. Besides me, Bob, the other characters in the story are my mother, Marion, and sister, Louise. I often refer to this document when planning routes for our next adventure. Click here to download a PDF copy and enjoy. It has lots of humor and observations of government organizations of the time.


The blue ox photo is at Trees of Mystery in Klamath CA. It’s still going strong after 63 years and has added Paul Bunyan. I don’t see the claim made on the sign on their website. In 1950 it said “Unbelievable but true. “World’s Largest Group of Nature’s Living Wonders.” Wow!

Posted on 04/22/2013 4:56 PM by William F Duthie
Thursday, 11 April 2013
Mississippi Loop 2013 Day 10-11 Natchez Trace to Nashville

We took 2 days to cover the 672 miles stopping overnight at Tupelo.  The main purpose of our route was to follow the Natchez Trace, a National Scenic Parkway, from Jackson to Nashville, a distance of 476 miles. The Trace is incredibly relaxing to drive with a speed limit of only 50 miles per hour. There was hardly any traffic in either direction. The tree leaves were just starting to come out along with a few redbuds in Tennessee. Due to the slow speed we averaged 19.7 mpg a new record. There are many places to stop and see nature or historical places. The pictures tell the story best. A few years back we camped beside some art boats going down the Mississippi River. The Art Camper reminded us of those boats and gave us a name to use. The camper was owned by an elderly man that was camped in the free Meriwether Lewis Campground. There is a map of the Trace at the bottom left of the page here. Click on View Park Map.

Posted on 04/11/2013 12:34 PM by Bob Duthie
Monday, 8 April 2013
Mississippi Loop 2013 Day 7-9 to New Orleans

Sunday was the last day at the boat show. It was much slower than Saturday, but we had a group of about 15 for my Great Loop talk. We left at 3:30 for an easy 70 mile drive to New Orleans. We had reservations at the French Quarter RV Park. The park is just north of the French Quarter and is surrounded by a 7 foot concrete wall with sharp barbs on top (see photo). Taxis are recommended at night but we walked everywhere in daylight. We walked to Royal St and had an early dinner at Pere Antoine’s. They put us in the window so as to attract other guests. For entertainment, we had a great view of a man on a balcony across the road. He must have spent an hour hosing off the balcony as his two dogs used it as if it were a park.  The water dripped down on the sidewalk through cracks and overflowed onto the road. Nice. Dinner was very good. I don’t think there is a bad restaurant in New Orleans as the competition is fierce.


This morning, Monday, we walked to Café Du Monde and had their famous coffee and benes for breakfast. It was mobbed and we shared a table with a couple from Houston.  It’s a tradition in our family and we go there every trip to NO. Then we walked over to the new WWII Museum. Mavis wasn’t interested so she continued West on Magazine St to the antique store area. In total Mavis walked 7 miles today. I did 3.5 not counting the museum walking around. This museum is new and well worth seeing. They are still completing additional buildings which are due to open in 2014. I watched the 4D cinematic experience titled Beyond All Boundaries. The 4th D is the vibrating seats that turn on during bombing raids. The 3D is to show objects that rise up from the floor during the movie, and the 2D is the large screen movie. After that I went to the Boeing Center where they have the B-17, My Gal Sal that crash landed due to weather on the ice in Greenland and remained frozen in the ice until 1995. It was dug out of the ice and restored in 2012 for the museum. There are 6 large touch screen interactive displays in one area. Each has a huge database of information on various battles and the equipment used. For example you can compare the statistics of the Japanese fighters to the German fighters. To me the most interesting fact was to discover that dozens of ships were sunk by German submarines in the Gulf of Mexico.  People could see the ships burning from the shore line.  We had lunch in the American Sector restaurant. My shrimp salad sandwich was very good.  We were back at the RV Park at 4:00 happy to get off our feet. Tomorrow we will drive to Jackson MS and then get on the Natchez Trace headed for Nashville.


Posted on 04/08/2013 9:42 PM by Bob Duthie
Saturday, 6 April 2013
Mississippi Loop 2013 Day 5-6 in Gulfport MS






The Gulf Coast Yacht & Boat Show had to open a day late due to the 70 mph winds on Wednesday that blew down all the tents and signs. It was a mess but by working all night they managed to get it all back together and opened on Friday at 10:00AM. We got a place to park near our seminar tent inside the grounds. We were able to relax in the View in between shows. Our co-presenters were Captain Chris & Elise Caldwell. They give 3 talks per day and during the whole show will give 8 different talks on the boating life. They have to earn their living doing this whereas Mavis and I would starve doing this for a living. There were 35 chairs in the tent and attendance varied from 35+ to 6 depending on the time of day and content of the talks. My Great Loop talk drew about 30 people. Keeping in Touch attracted 8. There was lots of competition to be heard in the tent with the park’s constant country music, planes taking off, trucks going past, and people talking in the next exhibit. A sound system was brought in and that evened the score somewhat. We finished the day at 6:00PM and went to the Beach Boulevard Steamer for dinner. It’s an old restaurant that has survived many hurricanes. Dinner was very good. I had shrimp and Mavis went for oysters Rockefeller. This morning we got to our parking place early. My first talk is at 1:00PM but there is a chance to move some merchandize before Captain Chris starts at 11:00AM

Posted on 04/06/2013 9:43 AM by Bob Duthie
Thursday, 4 April 2013
Mississippi Loop 2013 Day 3-4 Gulfport MS

Today’s post has to start with apologies to our subscribers. If you enjoy reading your email announcements with almost nothing but  HTML gobble then go no further.  However, you can click on the title and go directly to the post on the website. I was just advised by ICG-Link that   is HTML for a non-breaking space. They got in there when I was trying to get the captions lined up under the photos. I hope ICG-Link will suggest another way to do captions.  The second apology is for readers of yesterday’s post which talked about the campsite Shady Grove Campground at Laurel.  The proper name was Sleepy Hollow RV Park a name that suggested a quiet place. My prediction was right; it was right beside a freeway with trucks running all night. It was in a hollow.  Last night we stayed at Paul B. Johnson State Park 10 miles south of Hattiesburg. This is a really fine campground surrounding a large reservoir. There are 125 sites with power. Ours was overlooking the lake on a concrete pad with power, water and sewer. The office has a lounge and they hope to have food service this summer. If you are over 65 it costs $14 per night. You can make reservations via ReserveAmerica. It was less than 60 miles to Gulfport. The road is like a roller coaster that must be travelling over ancient sand dunes.  Gulfport suffered major damage from hurricane Katrina because it was on the east side of the eye when the storm passed over. There are many vacant lots along the coast and the buildings downtown are mostly new. There is not much to do in Gulfport but one of the attractions listed in the state guidebook is the Busted Wrench Garage Museum and Gift Shop.  It’s really a car restoration business with room to keep the owners’ car collection and a souvenirs gift shop to give it some revenue as it is free to see the museum.  I talked to the owner for a while and he said if you expect to drive these old cars you have to own three, as two will always be in the shop being fixed. True to his word he had three 1960’s XKE Jags and three similar vintage Porches.  A couple of old wood Chris Craft launches were hanging from the ceiling. Much of his life he spent sailing and living on a 49 ft wooden ketch. He has spent the last year restoring an old 30 ft Class C motorhome. He and his cat plan to travel on it sometime soon for two months.  He is another example of a boater moving to a touring motorhome.











Top L-R:  The Busted Wrench Garage, Water over Bridge at Paul B. Johson State Park, Rolling Hills 30 miles north of Gulfport

Bottom L-R Three XKE Jags, Boats, Chrysler Imperial with lid up, Gulf and Ship Island RR Office downtown Gulfport




Posted on 04/04/2013 8:23 PM by bob duthie
Tuesday, 2 April 2013
Mississippi Loop 2013 Day 2


Outside the Tupelo Automobile Museum

Inside the Tupelo Automobile Museum

1939 Graham (named after our son)

Liberacei's Customized Corvette

Elvis' 1968 Lincoln Mark IV

Can you name the cars that had these hood ornaments?
Answers below.

We slept in late, answered emails, and after breakfast headed for the Tupelo Automobile Museum. Unlike most auto museums housed in old factories or abandoned Walmarts, this one was in a specially built 120,000 sq.ft. building put up by the car collector, Frank K. Spain. Frank was an electrical engineer in the early days of television. He founded the Tupelo TV station in the 50’s and built the equipment and tower himself. He went on from there to own other TV stations and amassed a fortune. His passion was car collecting. We left the museum around 1:00PM headed for Meridian. However, it was not to be as there was no room in the campground it being totally occupied by crews building a nuclear power plant nearby. We went another 60 miles to the Shady Grove Campground at Laurel. My guess was that any campground with that name would be right beside the interstate. Unfortunately, I was right. The good news was we werre put beside another View from North Carolina and we had a nice time comparing notes. The owner had bought it for use in going from NC to Texas to visit the grand kids. He also owned a big 5th wheel trailer. They have booked 2 weeks in the Blue Mountains this summer. He thinks he will sell the 5th wheel after that and tour the country in the View. The answers to the hood ornament quiz are L-R 1929 Duesenberg, 1917 Pierce Arrow, 1926 Hispano Suisa. You should have guessed the Pierce Arrow for sure, and maybe the Duesenberg, but you are forgiven if you didn’t guess the Hispano Suisa. The latter, aSpanish company, was in business from 1904 to 1968.

Posted on 04/02/2013 9:17 PM by Bob Duthie
Monday, 1 April 2013
Mississippi Loop 2013 Day 1






                 US 45 at Mississippi Border                                                 Benchmark Coach & RV Park Tupelo

We are taking a 10 day trip to Gulfport MS to speak at the Gulf Coast Boat Show. It's advertised as the biggest boat show on the Gulf Coast.  That says a lot when you consider the Gulf Coast provides the shoreline for Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida.  We left Nashville at 8:30, stopped at the boat to pick up some stuff, packed the View in Murray, filled up with water and were on the road again at noon.  The 189 mile route from Murray, KY  to Gulfport went to Paris, and  Jackson, TN where we got on US 45.  This is a great 4 lane road that runs almost straight south to Meridian MS. If you stay on US 45 it goes to Mobile, AL From Meridian we will take I-59 and US 49  to Gulfport.  Diesel is selling at $3.79 the best price we have seen in  long time.  The Mississippi visitor center on US 45 is very nice and friendly. However, most visitor centers are on the right side as you enter the state. This one is on the east of the highway requiring 4 left turns to get to it.  We stopped at Tupelo for the night at a very nice campground, Full service sites at $29 cash or check.  This area is Civil War country with sites at Shilo, Corinth, and Tupelo.  Tomorrow we will visit the Auto Museum here and maybe Elvis birthplace.

Posted on 04/01/2013 11:04 PM by Bob Duthie
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