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Texas to Mississippi [Nov. 23rd, 2011|10:37 am]
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We stayed at East Fork Park for a total of just under two weeks, extending a few days at a time as the customer meetings shifted around.  A huge storm blew in one night, bringing some much needed rain and a lightning strike which felled a tree in the center of the campground (fortunately in the grassy sward well away from the campsites.)  We heard an enormous CRAACK in the middle of the night and saw the damage the next day.  That sort of thing gets us out of bed and checking the NOAA weather radar right smart! 
Other than the storm it was a nice low key couple of weeks.  Our head colds gradually cleared up, and we took some Sunday drives, ate some good down home cooking, and generally relaxed until it was time to leave for Jackson, MS and yet another customer.  I went looking for a campground and found Le Fleur’s Bluff State Park right in the middle of Jackson, just three miles from J’s customer.  We exited the freeway and drove the four lane surface road for just a mile, turned off into the campground and the city just fell away.  A winding gravel road led back into the woods to a campground on the shore of a small lake; our campsite overlooked the lake and the fall colors reflected in the quiet water.  It was beautiful.
The ranger stopped by to chat and pointed out a large alligator in the lake; J thought he was kidding and talking about a log until he saw the beast move.  (I didn't know they had alligators this far north.)  It was a good eight footer, and the ranger said it had washed into the lake with the last flood.  It turns out that this park is part of the flood control system for the City of Jackson.  When the Pearl River threatens to overflow its banks, the excess water is diverted into this area.  It’s not quite correct to say “into the lake”; the campground is on low ground and pretty much floods right away.  Once we found that out, we spotted a few other things.  The bathhouse is a two story building, facilities up a flight of stairs.  Along the entrance road there are large concrete columns, taller than the rig, with grates at the tops.  They’re *storm drains* to curtail the flooding and send the rising water along to the next flood control stage.  Storm drains. Fifteen feet up.  O_o
I got a (marginal) photo of the gator on the far bank of the lake.  My poor camera is nine years old at this point and doing the best it can; it glitched a bit but I think you can make him out.  Click (2x) to embiggen, as always.