Gangsters and Diamonds

After Louisiana, we really wanted to spend at least one night in Mississippi, so we stopped near Jackson in a town called Byram. A short cycle ride from our campsite was the beautiful Byram Swinging Bridge. It even had love locks on it 💖

And then back in to Louisiana we go, to find us some outlaws! Bonnie and Clyde, to be exact! Gibsland is the town where Bonnie and Clyde stopped to pick up sandwiches – fried bologna for Clyde and a BLT for Bonnie, or so we were told, 😉 15 minutes later, they were dead.

Here is a copy of the poem Bonnie wrote for her Mother a few weeks before her death. The last few lines seem to reflect that she knew the law was closing in on them and their time was short. The second photo is a copy of Clyde’s rap sheet.

We toured the very tiny museums, one of which was the Cafe they had stopped at, then drove to the place where the ambush happened. We have recently watched the movie ‘The Highwaymen’ with Kevin Costner and Woody Harrelson, and this area is where the law finally catches up with the gangsters!

Here’s two interesting tidbits of information that explains why both Bonnie and Clyde walked with a limp.

Clyde – ‘While serving a 14-year sentence in Texas for robbery and automobile theft in January 1932, Clyde decided he could no longer endure the unforgiving work and brutal conditions at the notoriously tough Eastham Prison Farm. In the hopes of forcing a transfer to a less harsh facility, Clyde severed his left big toe and a portion of a second toe with an axe, although it is not known whether he or another prisoner wielded the sharp instrument. The self-mutilation, which permanently crippled his walking stride and prevented him from wearing shoes while driving, ultimately proved unnecessary as he was released on parole six days later.’

Bonnie – ‘On the night of June 10, 1933, Clyde, with Bonnie in the passenger seat, was speeding along the rural roads of north Texas so quickly that he missed a detour sign warning of a bridge under construction. The duo’s Ford V-8 smashed through a barricade at 70 miles per hour and sailed through the air before landing in a dry riverbed. Scalding acid poured out of the smashed car battery and severely burned Bonnie’s right leg, eating away at her flesh down to the bone in some places. As a result of the third-degree burns, Bonnie, like Clyde, walked with a pronounced limp for the rest of her life, and she had such difficulty walking that at times she hopped or needed Clyde to carry her.’

We thought this was kind of funny, considering!

At the time, Bonnie and Clyde were like celebrities and many people admired them and wanted a piece of them so badly, that right after the ambush, they were climbing into the bullet laden car and tearing fabric from the deceased’s clothing, grabbing locks of hair, and someone even tried to cut off Clyde’s trigger finger and his ear! The original historic marker that was placed at the site of the shooting had been damaged so much by people chipping away from the stone, just to have a souvenir, that the county had to put up another marker next to it. The original had even been shot at it – you can see bullet holes in the granite! It was kind of eerie being at the museum and especially at the site of the ambush.

On a happier note 😁 we left Kelowna 4 weeks ago today and have now traveled 5230 miles (8417 kms), and have been in 10 States – Washington, Oregon, California, Nevada, Utah, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi. Good thing our son is trying to save the world with his work at Tesla, as we have already burned 475.45 gallons of diesel 🤪.

We carried on into our 11th State, Arkansas, and stopped at the town of Hope, which is the birthplace home of William Jefferson Clinton, aka President Bill Clinton. His father was killed in a car accident 3 months before he was born, so his Mom moved back in with her parents. Billy lived in this house from the time he was born until he was 4 years old.

Crater of Diamonds! What more could a girl ask for?? It’s not often you get the chance to dig for diamonds 💎 so we were really looking forward to this! Crater of Diamonds State Park, Arkansas, is situated over an eroded volcanic pipe and is famous for the 37 acre plowed field on which visitors can hunt for diamonds and other semi-precious gems.

We started out our day all gung-ho, equipped with shovels, buckets, and 2 sizes of screening boxes! After 5 hours, we totally lost our oomph, with nothing to show for it but a sunburn, sore backs and a pocket full of ‘Jasper’ – which are really nice rocks but certainly not diamonds!

The methods of finding diamonds in 37 acres of land are surface searching (which is how most of the diamonds are found), screening and wet screening. Sadly, none of these methods worked for us 😢. Guess we have to find our diamonds the old fashioned way . . . . at a store!

All was not lost – the State Park campsite was beautiful and we had a fabulous spot amongst the trees 👍. It’s our most favourite site so far!

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