Memphis Blues

When I last left off, I was happily tucked away in Eureka Springs, Arkansas. After a ghost-free night, I did get to the Palace Bathhouse and it was glorious!  A long soak in a mineral bath followed by 20 minutes in a steam cabinet.   I had never been in a steam cabinet before – only a steam room.  It’s a steam box for your body and your head pokes out the top.  It gets to 111ºF and you just sweat.  The woman that ran the spa would pop by every so option and give me water to drink.  Apparently, I am one of only a few people who have been able to last the full 20 minutes – most people can only handle it for 7-8 minutes before they give up.  Spa rookies…  I’m a seasoned pro.

Anyway, while I was sorry to leave ES, I had a reservation at Withrow Springs State Parks which is in the heart of the Ozarks so it was time to mosey.  As with most state parks, the setting was idyllic.  Trees galore, some nice hiking trails (I did a trail run the following morning) and NO cell phone or internet service.  It was also sunny, 75º and basically perfect.  Juno and I took lots of walks (where we tried to avoid the ticks), spent time talking to other folks in the park and just enjoyed the day.  I think we were asleep before 9:30pm that night.  Let me just say that NW Arkansas is friggin glorious.

Onward to Little Rock!  Our route took us through the heart of the Ozarks so the first half of the drive was beautiful.  Once we hit I-40, it was typical highway scenery.  Whatever. Spent yesterday downtown – first stop was the Clinton Presidential Library, which was excellent.  Here’s a fun fact about the presidential seal… The eagle used to face the talon that held the 13 arrows but after WWII, President Truman changed it so the eagle now faces the talon that holds the olive branch (with 13 leaves).  Good stuff!  There was an opportunity to sit in the Oval Office and have your picture taken sitting behind the desk but I declined.  I’m going to wait for my nephew to be elected POTUS and then I can visit him and sit in his chair in the real Oval Office.

After a walk downtown, I drove over to the capital building and it looks like pretty much every other capital I’ve visited.  I stayed at an RV park right on the river last night and got a little bonus evening entertainment as the bridges are lit up and change color throughout the night.

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This morning, Juno and I said goodbye to Little Rock and Arkansas and said hello to Memphis, Tennessee!  The good news is it was a short two-hour drive.  The bad news is that it’s in the mid-80’s with 80% humidity today.  So I think that makes it what… 160ºF ? Not sure how the math works but it is hot.

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First stop was Beale Street and I’ll be honest – I wasn’t all that excited about it.  Maybe it’s because I was there at 11:30am so no music going on, none of the neon was on and no one was drinking.  Kinda boring.  But I got a couple of pix of the painted guitars and one of Juno ‘n me by a statue of Elvis.

Lunchtime consisted of a delicious fried oyster po’ boy and fries and then it was off to Graceland!!  Unlike Beale St, I LOVED going to Graceland.  I got the tour that included the mansion, as well as cars, clothing and gold albums.  The house itself is a nice size – not crazy big.  Kinda looked like something you’d see in the flats of Beverly Hills… But it is on nearly 14 acres of land so there’s that.

Here are some of the coolest rooms inside the mansion – living room, dining room, kitchen, media room, and jungle room.  The billiards room was my fave – check out the fabric that lined the walls and ceiling (apparently it took 3 days to install) Note: the upstairs is off-limits.  I didn’t take a pic of the racquetball court that Elvis had built in the backyard but it was pretty swanky.

Elvis is buried in the meditation garden on his property – alongside his mother, father and grandmother.

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After touring Graceland, I checked out Elvis’s cars, clothing and albums.  A smattering for you to peruse here, including a red jumpsuit that you can buy in one of the many Elvis shops for $2,700.

Before I leave Memphis tomorrow, I’ll be waddling back downtown to see the infamous duck march at the Peabody, will be checking out the Civil Rights Museum and also hope to take a little stroll with Juno along the banks of the Mississippi.  From there, we’ll be heading to Missouri.

You might be thinking that I’m going the wrong direction but I’m not.  I’ve decided not to go all the way down or all the way across – Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Kentucky will all have to wait (I’ve actually been to LA and FL numerous times).  Chalk it up to the heat, too much driving, and/or too many bad hair days (because of the heat).  But the trip is not over!  I’ll be spending several days in Missouri and then after going through Kansas and Colorado, I’ll veer up into Wyoming which I have yet to visit.  Yellowstone beckons. I heard it’s still freezing there. I can’t wait!

State count:  37

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