Up early and had a very entertaining breakfast in the hotel, watching all the tourists fight over coffee and investigate the mints (yep, at breakfast. Weird.)
Then out to the less affluent part of Memphis, where the Stax Soul Museum resides. Stax Records was, by the sounds of things, and from Dad’s memories, an incredible hive of musical talent. More of its history can be found here and here.
Though I wouldn’t have said I knew much blues, and certainly not much about blues music, I found I recognised so much! It was beautifully put together, staffed by very knowledgeable, young people, and told the triumphant then tragic story of Stax in a very moving way. I found it almost unbearably poignant in places, but uplifting that from the ruins there is now the museum, a record store and a school and music academy, ensuring the legend will live on.
Should you ever be in that part of the world, please visit, it was unquestionably one of the highlights of the trip. Photos to follow.
Then on to Nashville… And I drove all the way!
… as Dad put it when we crossed the border, which I thought was lovely! I had cake for breakfast in honour of Sophia’s birthday, and then today was mostly about driving – I drove across an entire state (Arkansas) in a day! It was good experience, but not the most inspiring of landscapes –but we entertained ourselves by trying to find a Cracker Barrel to have brunch at – the one we saw a sign for in Texas appears to have been stolen, but we found several after that 🙂
I found the signs for Memphis and Nashville weirdly evocative.
Took a photo of Daisy near an empty truck. The trucker behind said he’d be upset if I didn’t take one of her with him in his truck. So I did. Spot the duck!
Daisy with our food when we eventually found a Cracker Barrel (this was hugely entertaining at the time, but I realise probably lacks the humour in a blog post…)
Entering Tennessee, over the bridge.
Even with The Great Cracker Barrel Hunt, as it will ever after be known, we arrived in Memphis in good time in the evening. Our hotel, rather wonderfully, was right behind Beale Street, so we were able to park the car and mooch round the corner to Beale Street to have dinner at BB King’s 😀
Dad pointed out, when I was trying to decide which boots to wear out, that it is not a cowboy town, and he’s right – Memphis has a feel all its own, and it’s fantastic. It’s vibrant and noisy and full of people, and reminded me a little of Covent Garden at night, if Covent Garden had neon lights and really good blues music. And we had endless fun with Daisy lol…
And then, slightly randomly, we went into Hooters – and I found the poster telling the girls how to dress bizarre – hair must be “down and styled glamorously”, and tattoos must be covered with opaque makeup and there’s quite a lot of instruction about how the tank top and hotpants should be worn…
Next post – Stax Soul Museum and on to Nashville 😀
Somehow an entire week has gone past since last weekend, and I’ve not had five seconds to sit down and write a post!
So we’d done six glorious days in Texas, and now it was onto the road trip part of the road trip… 🙂
Thursday 16th February 2012 – we left Texas for Oklahoma. This was the driving part I was most excited about as it involved leaving the interstate and driving Route 66. Well, part of it anyway! Here’s a random section of interstate with an advert for Ariat boots – this is one of the reasons I love this part of America!
It didn’t take as long as I’d thought to get over the border and into Oklahoma City (where we were joining R66). This made me realise exactly how lucky the girl we met on the plane is (she lives six months of the year near the Oklahoma border, as a photographer. She lives the other six months of the year in the UK, as a teacher. Ok, I wouldn’t want to teach, but what an awesome way to incorporate two countries you love into your life!)
Here’s the turning onto R66…
And me and Daisy Duck driving it…
We stopped at the Rock Cafe in Stroud, on Route 66, on Mum’s recommendation (from things she’d read – she’d not been on it before either). It was a gorgeous little 50s-style diner, and it turned out to have a wonderful story behind it. The owner, Dawn, bought it almost by accident and found happiness in a small town. Pixar then discovered her, and the Rock Cafe, and she is the inspiration for the character Sally Carrera in the Disney/Pixar film Cars (http://route66news.com/2006/06/09/a-route-66-guide-to-the-cars-movie/). Which is amazing. The cafe also burned down in May 2008 (Dawn’s chronicles of its rebuild here http://rockcafert66.wordpress.com/)
Here’s the cafe, outside and inside – someone considerately parked a Boxter outside it so it’s almost like Sally herself was there…
… it’s just been utterly mad at work this week! Weekend job, definitely… even if it’s just to get the photos up 🙂
On board the plane… Love how the foil cover has the London skyline and everything is very carefully British. Excellent.
Writing this post on the plane, strangely… Have discovered a wonderful thing called ‘airplane mode’ which means I can use my technology on board, which is rather lovely!
Up at daft o clock and in trying not to fall over on the ice outside, I forgot to take a photo of our suitcases 🙁 I did however make it in one piece to mum and dad’s in poppy last night (it was a bit hairy and involved a lot of sliding sideways, mind you…)
Arrived at the airport (Heathrow – no idea why autocorrect just turned that into Athens :s), sorted out some niggles with the car parking, and went airside for breakfast. I was massively impressed by Wetherspoons’ pretty plates…
Then some speed-shopping round the duty free for chocolate and perfume – all the essentials :p I could happily have bankrupted myself on cosmetics but had already decided to ignore them and save myself for America’s beauty emporia and drugstores. And hell, Walmart too – I’m after stuff I can’t buy (or buy easily) at home.
Mum and Dad rather wonderfully distracted me from my sudden nerves at take-off, Mum by modelling the headphones and giving us the giggles!
And now I’m ensconced in my seat, Manic Street Preachers and some rather good country music on my in-flight entertainment playlist (I must get myself an mp3 player…) writing this post and about to settle into reading the Peach Keeper.
And yes, that is brandy and coke. It might be 11.30am here but it’s five o clock somewhere….