Coming east out of the Ozarks, the landscape gets really flat.
It’s agricultural country. We passed huge fields that had just been plowed. Further west it would have been corn, or maybe at this time of year wheat. Giant silos suggested grain. We saw a telltale sign:
Over the 10,000 years of its existence, the Mississippi River has created a rich delta that reaches north at least to Tennessee.
We checked into our first-ever AirBNB suite in Memphis. It was a few blocks south of Beale Street and two blocks from the Lorraine Motel.
If you are my age, you will immediately recognize the Lorraine Motel as the site of Dr. Martin Luther King’s assassination almost 50 years ago. It’s weird to make a public shrine and museum (Civil Rights Museum0 out of a place where somebody was murdered, but I found it moving and appropriate.
Memphis is a curious town. We learned from our walking tour guide, Rooster, it was named after an Egyptian city located in a position on the Nile similar to Memphis’s on the Mississippi. It’s got a rich history as a distribution center, especially for cotton and slaves. It’s strategic significance in the Civil War is less than that of Vicksburg, Mississippi.
Present-day Memphis is a typical middle-sized Big League city with a lot of older warehouse-type buildings being converted into condos. We were a little confused by the lack of traffic in town: We walked more than a mile through town at several different times of day and barely had to look out for cars when crossing the street.
One peculiarity of the town is the duck march inside the Peabody Hotel at 11 a.m. every morning.
The biggest tourist attraction is Beale Street. For two blocks, every establishment is a bar with live (mostly) electric blues. We went to B.B. King’s Blues Club, where we caught Preston Shannon, a Memphis legend who can play a guitar. The food was mediocre and the drinks overpriced, but the music and ambiance were worth the effort.
Oh, and Beale Street has great neon.
A cotton bale weighs almost 500 pounds.
We ate real Memphis food on the visit: Ribs at Central BBQ (no relation to BB King), fried chicken at Gus’s, and breakfast (I had the red neck eggs breakfast with four biscuits and gravy over sausage patties, yum) at the
Arcade. Simple settings, portions to get my girth back.