Day 14: January 1, 2010
Sugar Bowled Over
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I'd anticipated just jumping back on the expressway and hurrying along but the bright sun prompted me to drive a few blocks south and give US-70 a try. Outside the city, it becomes a straight, level, and smooth 2-lane. The road itself is pleasant but not particularly entertaining. Driving into the sun combined with an impressive string of operator errors kept me from getting any usable pictures of the road near Little Rock. There are several big grain elevator complexes like this one in Hazen, Arkansas. Trees occasionally line the road to add some interest.

In Brinkley, the Central Delta Depot Museum surprised both me and another couple of visitors by being open and the three of us enjoyed a look inside. The 1912 building is nicely restored and filled with displays of local history. Much concerns the railroad but not all. I thought this sculpture of Brinkley born musician, Louis Jordan, was well done and different. I'm now sorry I didn't check the name of the artist. Today the museum also contained an attendant who really knew his stuff. I didn't get his name either but he certainly helped make the visit enjoyable.

I had barely left the Brinkley museum when I got an even bigger surprise. I'm used to seeing horse drawn Amish buggies around Ohio but I immediately knew this was no Amish buggy. Seconds later, I recognized it as Bob Skelding's traveling home. I didn't actually remember Bob's name at the time but recall reading about some of his past travels. I wasn't aware of his current activities or location so the sighting was a true surprise and a very welcome one. Check out Bob's website here and consider buying a book. I don't think there's another roadie quite like Bob but a link on his site pointed me to a guy who comes close. Check out Bernie Harberts.

In Memphis, I met up with someone whose name I did remember. Alex Burr joined me for the last few days of my 2007 Christmas trip and, despite my inability to take the right exit, we managed to connect for lunch today. Alex tells of some of his own road trips here. His "Arkansas Ramble - Part 2" is over the same Little Rock to Memphis section of US-70 that I just traveled. Good seeing ya, Alex.

I swung through the heart of Memphis with thoughts of maybe stopping at the Rum Boogie Cafe for a beer. There's a big game (Liberty Bowl, East Carolina vs. Arkansas) in town tomorrow and I'm guessing that's the reason a block of Beale Street is barricaded. I'm sure the area figures into student pre-game festivities.

So I just drove by the Rum Boogie then headed east out of town, grabbing a picture of Sun Studio along the way. Sun was not barricaded or even all that busy and I thought of stopping for a tour. But I've done that before and, in the end, decided to keep driving.

This stop was completely unplanned. I pulled off for gas near Jackson, Tennessee, and noticed that signs for the Casey Jones Village pointed directly behind the station where I stopped. I didn't enter the restaurant or shops but did visit the museum which includes Casey's relocated house. There's a good introductory movie and some quite interesting displays here. There were lots of train wrecks in the early days of rail travel and the third and fourth pictures show part of the reason that the 1900 wreck of Engine 382 with John Luther "Casey" Jones at the throttle is one of the few still remembered. His widow, Mary, spent significant energy in keeping Casey's name alive but the real key was probably the song written by co-worker and admirer Wallace Saunders. Ballad of Casey Jones. It became very popular very quickly and remains so today.

The last two pictures are of the inside of the house and of the gift shop, which is somewhat different.

Normally, a night spent anywhere near Nashville would involve a visit to the Honky Tonks and other music hot spots on Broadway. Tonight, however, I intended to watch the University of Cincinnati Bearcats in the Sugar Bowl. I decided to stop west of town and picked a sleeping spot that was not too far from one of my favorite eating spots. Dinner at the Loveless Cafe comes in two steps. First come the secret recipe biscuits with ample amounts of peach, blackberry, and strawberry preserves. The main course shows up just a comfortable amount of time later. My smoked boneless pork chops are glazed with peach preserves so my meal was extra fruitiful.

The Bearcats went down to an embarrassing 51-24 defeat. Brian Kelly, we'll remember you fondly but not all of our memories of you will be fond ones.

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