and now commences the songs-stuck-in-our-heads portion of the trip:

19 08 2008

so friday morning we drove into (and immediately went walking in) memphis, and started off with a little picture-taking at the visitors’ center, a cup of coffee within walking distance (much harder to find than in seattle!) that i had iced despite how it was 9 in the morning because it was hot as hell, and then a trip across the breezy bridge over to mud island to check out the mississippi & learn a little about trips and distances.
mud island mississippi river model:

that map of the whole river thing? it’s way cool. plus you can see the whole thing from space in google earth, which is also way cool. we walked the length of it with our feet bare, in & out of the water; SK-L wandered all the way down into bayou country, but we were out of crepe myrtles by then, and i had to huddle behind in the shade. the park didn’t open ‘til 10, and we were sunburned & hungry by 11, so we headed down to beale street instead (humming as we passed by union avenue to get there) to do the tourist oggling thing, rifle through the infinite quantities of undefinable junk & treasures at the a. schwab general store, shop for a few actual souvenirs for ourselves, and let all the restaurant barkers try to pull us in to six different options for barbecue before seeking our lunch at the blues city cafe where we’d been planning to go all along, so SK-L could have some allegedly-world-famous (or at least food-network-famous) ribs & i could stuff myself with catfish fried in cornmeal like it oughta be, watched over by the king. the banners over the grill inside said “put some south in your mouth”; with an imperative like that, what’s to be done but follow directions?

(oh, and funny story, which you might have noticed if you were really paying attention for those last few links—that’s actually claire’s rib dinner and her décor shots, taken a month previously when her leaving me involved a side-trip to bonnaroo from which her gang took a side-trip to memphis. i didn’t have the camera out during lunch, but fortunately, she did! and no, we didn’t plan it.) from there, SK-L & i rolled back to the car & found our way back to the highway, to get off on 51—a.k.a. elvis presley boulevard—to drive past (the gates of) graceland to say we’d (watched the tourists walk-on-through) driven past graceland and then pick up the highway again down mississippi-way. don’t get me wrong, i’ve nothing against the king, but at $60+ just to get in the door, we thought we could do better with our money. so we took this picture to prove we were there, and ate a pair of these in the car to show we had the spirit.

then it was into mississippi, for maps and free cokes at the welcome center (all the rest stops in mississippi came with signs on the highway letting you know whether or not “security” was “provided”–and i really couldn’t decide if i found that much more daunting than driving through states who didn’t feel the need to alert me from the far-off safety of my car about the likelihood (and presumed need?) of a close-by cop wherever i might stop for a pee) and a whole lotta driving, past some state parks we didn’t see, through miles and miles of book on tape that i’ve almost completely forgotten already, and through lots of shared aggravation at the mp3 randomizer in SK-L’s car, which re-sets to zero every time you turn off the car & thus tried to play some of the songs on our several-thousand-track playlist never at all and others sixteen times. sometimes we’d fast-forward through twenty in a row–“heard that. heard that too”–before getting one we weren’t already sick of. somebody needs to take that technology back for another think-through. mississippi bled into louisiana somewhere in the 7ish hour, and somewhere in the midst of miles and miles of what felt like a gorgeous, alien-landscape, neverending bridge-tour of the swampy bayou–

–we traded in I-55 (from 40, from 65, from 71, from 90) for I-10 & followed her in, using our too-broad maps and a little zen (the louisiana welcome center, of course, by the time we got that far, was closed) and finally a cell phone to hone in on ima_spoony_bard’s locale, popped in long enough to drop stuff off & hop into his cruiser instead for a quick dash across a couple neighborhoods, & voila, new song for you: destination achieved, friday evening found us touch[ing] down on bourbon street.

(or if this is more your style:
“nighttime on the city of new orleans,
changing cars in memphis, tennessee.
half way home, we’ll be there by morning
through the mississippi darkness
rolling down to the sea.”

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8 responses

19 08 2008
walkinthewilds

Sounds like a fun part of the trip. And very faithful to the song. I like Marc Cohn’s version much better than the Lonestar version the country station likes to play.
I remember Mud Island! My cousins and I had a blast walking barefoot down the mini-Mississippi on a family trip quite a while back. Then we drove across the Mississippi just to say that we had been west of it and turned around to go find the cabins at the park we were staying in.

20 08 2008
tyra

isn’t it teh cool!?!
shawn said in no uncertain terms were we to go to arkansas. he was very precise about this. i have no idea why. so that bridge remained uncrossed, although we could *see* one more state and could have had an even more absurd statistic… 😉

20 08 2008
tyra

isn’t it teh cool!?!
shawn said in no uncertain terms were we to go to arkansas. he was very precise about this. i have no idea why. so that bridge remained uncrossed, although we could *see* one more state and could have had an even more absurd statistic… 😉

19 08 2008
walkinthewilds

Sounds like a fun part of the trip. And very faithful to the song. I like Marc Cohn’s version much better than the Lonestar version the country station likes to play.
I remember Mud Island! My cousins and I had a blast walking barefoot down the mini-Mississippi on a family trip quite a while back. Then we drove across the Mississippi just to say that we had been west of it and turned around to go find the cabins at the park we were staying in.

21 08 2008
Anonymous

I think its just GORGEOUS that you went to the exact same place I did, although I am sad that you couldn’t cough up the $30 to visit the final resting place of The King.
Its ok though, I had enough Elvis my day there for about 4 people.
Claire

21 08 2008
tyra

$60, as there were 2 of us (which buys a lot of soul food), and another 2-3 hours that mid-day which would have meant getting into nola at bedtime & missing bourbon street. we had to make choices, woman, choices! and they were HARD, believe me!

21 08 2008
tyra

$60, as there were 2 of us (which buys a lot of soul food), and another 2-3 hours that mid-day which would have meant getting into nola at bedtime & missing bourbon street. we had to make choices, woman, choices! and they were HARD, believe me!

21 08 2008
Anonymous

I think its just GORGEOUS that you went to the exact same place I did, although I am sad that you couldn’t cough up the $30 to visit the final resting place of The King.
Its ok though, I had enough Elvis my day there for about 4 people.
Claire

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