Tag Archives: American road trip

Day 11, Part 3: Memphis, Tennessee

10 May

ROAD TRIP

Memphis really comes alive in the dark- the city has an energy like nothing I have ever experienced before.

We decided to head to the famous Beale Street for the evening. Beale Street was a significant location in the city’s history, as well as in the history of blues music. From the 1920s to the 1940s, Louis ArmstrongMuddy WatersAlbert KingMemphis MinnieB. B. KingRufus ThomasRosco Gordon played on Beale Street and helped develop the style known as Memphis Blues. B.B. King was even billed as “the Beale Street Blues Boy”!

We hadn’t even arrived at Beale Street and I already made my first new friend for the evening, our cab driver, Russell. He told us all about his life, family and Memphis, which was quite an accomplishment considering it was a 5 minute car ride. He was born and raised in Memphis and was very intrigued by our road trip. He used to be a truck driver and had been lucky enough to see America from behind the wheel. I was sad when our time together ended because I would have enjoyed chatting with him some more.

When we got out of the cab I was surprised to see a police blockade just before the entrance to Beale Street. Oh no, did something bad happen? We were stopped by the cops, carded  (to make sure we were over 21) and searched for weapons. Interesting start to the night. My second new friend of the evening was a very friendly police officer named Bill and he informed me that 1. he could tell I wasn’t from Memphis. 2. He used to live in New Orleans 3. He’s single/available (good to know) and 4. they have to do this on Beale street on the weekends because people were getting too rowdy, very drunk and oh, yeah SHOT.

Shot?! Well, that sounds very bad.

After making it through security we were officially on the main drag of Beale street and it was filled with people, flashing lights, commotion, restaurants, music, bars and blues clubs- my kinda place. I was most definitely drinking the Memphis kool-aid at this point and I was high on it. Our first stop for the evening was Blue’s City Cafe– their tagline reads “Put some south in your mouth”. HA. Don’t mind if I do. In my everyday life (when I am not traveling the country with my best girlfriend) I don’t usually order ribs for dinner but you can’t go to Memphis (the land of delicious BBQ) and not eat ribs, right? At least that’s what I told myself when I ordered a huge rack with baked beans and coleslaw. Did I mention I am eating my way across America?

I am embarrassed to share how many I ate but I will say that they really were scrumptious!

After dinner we strolled Beale Street where I continued my public speaking tour and stopped to chat with everybody and anybody. So many nice people in Memphis! This may have been when Rachel started to become a tad annoyed with me for wanting to chat with everybody.

As we passed the venue Blues Hall amazing blues music poured out so we ducked in to hear some more (I’m sure Rachel also thought this would keep me quiet for a bit. Wrong!).

Enter in THE MOST amazing man I have ever met- Dr. Feelgood Potts. I mean his name says it all doesn’t it? Not only was he wearing harmonicas strapped to his chest as if they were bullets, he had an incredible voice and a stage presence that did not disappoint.

While perusing the internet for a video of Dr. Feelgood Potts for you, I came across this gem. Not only do you get the pleasure of hearing his music you also get to watch a man in a white baseball cap dance to his music. You’re welcome.

In between sets I chatted with my third and fourth new friends for the evening, a father and son team next to me at the bar. They happened to be traveling across the country as well! Although they were doing it in a huge RV and were very confused how we were doing it in a Jetta.

At this point I did not think Memphis could get any better. I was full with ribs, good music and joy and I didn’t want the night to end. But we had to get some sleep so we would be ready for the amazingness that is Graceland the next day.

We hailed a cab and we were picked up by my fifth new friend for the evening, a cab driver named William. He must have been near seventy and he was wearing a camel colored suit with a little silk hanky tucked in his pocket. Memphis just got better. William asked what we were doing in Memphis. I told him about the road trip and he smiled. He shared that he too traveled the country when he was a young man. He was born and raised in Memphis and he had to get out because it was too hard to be living there as a black man at the time. So he packed his car and set off to explore in search of better things. He ended up back in Memphis and now has a huge family and one great-grandchild (whom he was very proud of). I found his tales heartwarming.

When William dropped us off at The River Inn he wished us luck on our journey and it meant so much.

I merrily climbed into my big, plush and cozy bed at The River Inn (a far cry from the Motel 6 the night before) and went to sleep feeling deliriously happy.

Eat. Drink. Boogie. Repeat

“We’re going to Graceland!!” up next….

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To see Rachel’s blog click here!

365til30: instagram  @kate365, twitterfacebook

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Day 11, Part 1: Jackson, Mississippi…The End

8 May

ROAD TRIP

{family portrait/ photo by One Part Gypsy}

I awoke at Motel 6 under an orange bedspread, very confused about where I was. This was starting to happen a lot- I never knew where the hell I was when I first woke up!

Too many cities…too many beds.

After getting my bearings, I showered up, we packed the car (at this point we could pack a car in 1 minute flat- we were like machines) and set off to continue on our adventure.

Can I be honest about something? I wasn’t a big fan of Jackson, MS. I think one of my readers said it best in a note she wrote to me yesterday-

“The only thing I liked about Jackson, MS was leaving…”

Hahahaha. This really got a laugh out of me. But, in all seriousness, she’s kinda right. I’m not saying Jackson is horrible. I’m just saying when you are going to amazing cities like Memphis, New Orleans, Charleston and Austin it kinda falls a little flat.

Geez somebody in Jackson now probably hates me…

 Before we left Jackson to head to Memphis (which was probably one of my favorite cities on the trip so get ready for lots and lots of Memphis posts), we drove around downtown Jackson to see a bit more of the city.

My favorite moments from our drive-

{The trees at the The Fairview}

{this celebrate Jesus sign…it just screams party doesn’t it?}

{Rachel with the Andrew Jackson statue in front of The Jackson City Hall}

{Brent’s Drugs- It has been there since 1946 and was also a location used in the movie “The Help”}

{The blue skies with flags in front of The Jackson Courthouse}

{me in front of The State Capital}

Afterwards we stopped at Julep for one last Mississippi meal. This was the meal I fell in love with southern biscuits and fried green tomatoes. In my everyday life (when I am not touring America with my best girlfriend), I don’t eat biscuits and now I know why! They are too buttery and too delicious to have on one’s list of appropriate things to eat everyday! I do realize that my introduction to them were in the south and they may never be this good ever again.

{photo by One Part Gypsy}….

Day 11, Part 2 : Arriving in Tennessee up next!!

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For Rachel’s blog click here!

365til30: instagram  @kate365, twitterfacebook

Day 10, Part 1: New Orleans, Garden district, Lafayette Cemetery

4 May

ROAD TRIP

Day 10, Part 1

After a VERY fun night out on the town, I awoke in my comfy bed in our gorgeous room at Hotel Provincial (I was seriously thinking about moving in) to a light drizzle against the window pane. Rain? How unexpected after yesterday’s muggy heat.

I mistakenly thought it was going to ruin my last morning exploring the city but instead, it made it even more intoxicating.

New Orleans in the rain is terribly romantic and it made the city seem mysterious.

After packing our bags, we set off to the Garden District- an area I had yet to explore!

We drove around for a bit viewing the AMAZING historic southern mansions that lined the streets. My lord, are they breathtaking- each prettier and bigger than the next.

After our driving tour, we parked and walked over to Lafayette Cemetery, which happens to be one of New Orleans’ oldest surviving cemeteries. Established in 1833, Lafayette No. 1 was among the city’s earliest above-ground burial sites.

It couldn’t have been a more perfect morning to explore the cemetery- the dark and drizzly clouds that hung above our heads proved to be very dramatic.

I loved reading the inscriptions on the different tombs, most of them dating back to the late 1800’s and early 1900’s. I could have spent all day getting lost in that cemetery.

Day 10, Part 2 up next…

Mississippi, a near-death experience, Motel 6 and Hal & Mal’s

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For Rachel’s take click here!

Day 9, Part 2 : New Orleans! Galatoires & Preservation Hall

3 May

ROAD TRIP

{photos by One Part Gypsy}

Day 9, Part 2

During our one and only full evening out on the town in New Orleans, Rachel and I wanted to make sure we experienced two things-

1. an authentic French Creole style meal

and

2. authentic New Orleans Jazz

After a bit of research, we decided that we would dine at Galatoires and see a show at Preservation Hall.

Between the surprise snow in New Mexico (when all we had were summer dresses) and the extreme heat in Texas (I really wanted to walk around naked which wasn’t an option), we hadn’t done much “dressing up” in the first 8 days of the trip. So we decided to get dressed up a bit for our night out on the town.

I was starting to resent the two large bags filled with dress clothes that I was lugging around America.

We left our hotel a little after 6 to walk to Galatoires which was located near our hotel on Bourbon Street. This was my first real look at the mayhem of New Orleans. Bourbon street was packed with people, most of whom were drinking booze from tall fluorescent colored glasses and in faaaabulous moods already.

The streets were filled with energy, laughter and music. It was quite the street party! I still can’t get over the fact that you can roam the streets drinking liquor- what a novelty!

After weeding our way through the crowds, we arrived at Galatoires just in time for our reservation. When we walked through the doors of the restaurant, I felt like I had been transported back in time. It was like a different world and we were suddenly in what I imagine old New Orleans felt like. The restaurant was founded in 1905 and not much has changed since then. It was so fancy!

We were brought to our table by a lovely gentleman who we ended up learning was a Galatoire-such a treat to meet him!

 I glanced around the restaurant taking in the scene. Suits everywhere- even the little kids were dressed in their very best attire. Champagne flutes lined the tables. Waitstaff moved gracefully across the room. The restaurant was abuzz and it smelled delicious.

Then there was this happy pink shirt wearing man and it was his birthday. If you can’t tell from the pic below, he highly enjoyed it when the restaurant sang Happy Birthday to him.

After singing to the pink shirt wearing man, we ordered dinner- I chose the avocado and crabmeat salad to start and the sautéed shrimp as my main course- it was delicious. I finally got my authentic creole style meal!

After dinner we entered back into the mayhem of Bourbon street in search of Preservation Hall and after a few wrong turns, we finally found it. The place was PACKED!! I guess everyone else was in on the fact that this was the place to hear New Orleans jazz when in town. Preservation Hall opened its doors in 1961 as a sanctuary  to protect and honor New Orleans Jazz and 50 years later it is still going strong. We were led into a tiny little room with a tiny little stage. I wasn’t expecting it to be so intimate. When the music started it filled the room.

 It was exactly what I wanted to hear in New Orleans…

New Orleans, you are a magical, soulful and delicious place.

I think I love you.

For Rachel’s take and more pictures click here!