- Where We Started: Memphis, Tenn.
- Where We Ended: Memphis, Tenn.
- Miles Driven: 70 (3,071 total)
- New States: None
- Total States: 9 (Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Florida, Mississippi, Louisiana, Tennessee)
THE DAY'S HIGHLIGHTS
As I mentioned in yesterday's dispatch, this will be a short report. Friday was a day for errands, appointments and rest. While we spent two nights in Savannah, Atlanta and New Orleans, we did a fair amount of touristy stuff in all of our "down days." Not today. Joan caught us up on laundry, picked up a prescription for young Hank and got some caught up on some of her professional photography work. I went downtown and talked about Web stuff with some folks from the Memphis Commercial Appeal, then caught up on personal e-mail and planning for the next few legs of our journey. So, basically, we don't have much to report.
While we are going to take a cruise through Memphis on Saturday morning, we're not going to do Graceland or the National Civil Rights Museum, because we did both in 2003 and want to focus on places we didn't hit on that tour. But I've posted our Memphis report from 2003 to cover our flank. Short version: Graceland is something you should do so you can say you've done it. The Civil Rights Museum is something you should do because it's amazing.
- After lunch, Joan took our massive bag of laundry out to the car to head to the laundromat. From my perch, it looked like she was trying to sneak a dead body out of the hotel; the bag was that big. Now for those of you who followed us in 2003, you may recall that Joan met many an interesting person at laundromats around the nation. Friday was no exception. After simultaneously firing up not one ... not two ... but FOUR washing machines, Joan settled in to observe the scene, read her Kindle and wait for a stranger to sidle up with an interesting story. Almost immediately, a young man sat down next to her and began asking questions about the Kindle -- which he said he'd never seen before. Joan and this fellow got to talking about places we should see while we were in Memphis -- the American Pyramid on the river, Beale Street, the Memphis Zoo, etc. He then, for no apparent reason, mentioned that, if we were to get picked up by the police, we should take that opportunity to see the courthouse as well. Yes, tourism by arrest. A whole new concept for the FHMA tour. Anyway, it turns out Rafael and a partner have just launched a new magazine, which he pulled out of his laundry basket to show Joan. Now the magazine is completely in Spanish -- except for a few ads -- and seemingly featured little except scantily clad woman. So Joan wasn't sure what to say or to do. So she cleverly turned the conversation toward the troubled ad market and the magazine's Web strategy -- because we all know scantily-clad women don't do well on the Web. Rafael said they've been doing pretty well for a startup -- then again, what startup doesn't say that? -- and they are indeed on the Web at revistaelguia.com. The magazine is free and serves Tennessee, Arkansas, Mississippi and Missouri. Four loads of laundry later, Joan and Rafael shook hands and went their separate ways.
- Unfortunately, Hank is still suffering from what we scientifically refer to as "leaky pee pee," so we decided to put him back on medication for incontinence. This required finding a vet here to fill the prescription our vet back in Virginia called in. Based on the amazing help we got from the front desk at the Baymont, you would have thought we were staying at a Four Seasons. The woman working the front desk first helped us find a drug store and, after it became clear we needed a vet instead, she helped us find one. Being we were staying in her hotel, I'm sure she was curious why we needed a vet, but she never asked. The vet's office was terrific, and we discovered too late in that day that one of the vets does acupuncture. So we are still hoping that the certified canine acupuncturist in Phoenix calls us back so we can get Fred a tuneup when we pass through.
- By the way, no one asked, but Joan and I are united in our desire to make sure we don't go to a Sonic at any point on this trip. We had two bad experiences there in 2003, but more than that, I don't want to do anything that would give Sonic another $20 to run any more of those ads with those two idiots sitting in a car talking. These spots make me yearn for another refrain of that excruciating "Five Dollar Foot Long" ad from Subway.
- Random iPod shuffle song of the day: The only car time we had Friday, were two round-trip drives downtown, and I listened to NCAA basketball, but we'll be back Sunday with the random shuffle play song
- After I referred to David Gilmour's guitar solo at the end of "Comfortably Numb" as my favorite of all time, Mark Fitzhenry asked in the comments what my other favorite solos are. I'll take a shot at a few other faves: "White Room," by Cream (Eric Clapton); "Dogs," by Pink Floyd (David Gilmour); "Heartbreaker/Living Loving Maid," by Led Zeppelin (Jimmy Page); "All Along the Watchtower," by Jimi Hendrix; "Crazy Train," by Ozzy Osbourne (Randy Rhoads); "2112," by Rush (Alex Lifeson) and "Telegraph Road," by the Dire Straits (Mark Knopfler). I'm sure I'm missing some, but those are on my short list.
- Lunch: Ruby Tuesday, Memphis, Tenn.: Because we were very task-oriented, we didn't want to make a big deal out of lunch, so we ate a quick meal near our hotel. Joan got a soup and salad, and I had some shrimp pasta. Very solid, and like everywhere else we went in Memphis, wonderful service. Joan docked them a half-star for old lettuce. Jim Nutrition Rating: 2.5 stars (out of 5). Restaurant Rating: 3 stars (out of 5, on the fast-food scale).
- Dinner: Interstate Bar-B-Q, Memphis, Tenn.: Now, it just happens to be a coincidence that we finally got some BBQ the day we were being taken to task in the comments area for not having had any hawg yet. We first attempted to return to the famous Rendezvous, where we had a wonderful meal and experience in 2003, but literally, we could not get through on the phone to order takeout. Since Interstate had been recommended by two folks, we gave it a shot, and were not disappointed. Joan got the pork ribs; I got the beef ribs and we also got a sausage side. All delicious. Joan was also a huge fan of baked beans. Jim Nutrition Rating: 2 stars (out of 5). The sausage was something I thoroughly enjoyed, but didn't need to order. Restaurant Rating: 3.5 stars (out of 5). Excellent BBQ, though not a meal we'll be talking about in years.
- Correction: I stated earlier this week that the muffulettas at Central Grocery in New Orleans led to our first five-star restaurant rating of the trip. I was incorrect. We gave Food Dudes in Kill Devil Hills, N.C., a five-star rating for the delicious lunch we had there on Day 3 of our trip.
- Baymont Inn & Suites Memphis East, Memphis, Tenn.: Based on the terrific service we received Friday, we're bumping up the Baymont to four stars. We're never comforted by the fact that there's a security guard walking the hotel at all times, but if they feel they need one, I'd rather they had one than not.
- Presidential Sites: If you're a presidential geek like me, and spend your time wondering why James K. Polk doesn't get the props he deserves, then this book is for you. It's a little too comprehensive -- I mean, do I really need to know where every George Washington statue in the United States is -- but being too comprehensive is a problem the same way having too much money is a problem.
COMMENT OF THE DAY
- Today: Tupelo, Oxford and Clarksdale, Miss.
- Tomorrow: Little Rock, Ark., and The Ozarks.
- The Day After Tomorrow: Tulsa and eastern Oklahoma.
BONUS BEAGLE PHOTOS
Pre-trip photo: Fred hangs out at a firehouse in Leesburg, Va.