Friday, September 25, 2009

North to Kentucky

Today, once Add Imageagain, we were slow on the uptake. We found a place in Oxford called Big Bad Breakfast and decided it was a must try. It was. What a good breakfast. Eggs were the best, hash browns (really home fries/chunks) were very good, wheat toast was homemade--all in all, it was a very good choice. When we got around to leaving there it was almost 11:00. We headed to the attraction that never closes, Graceland Too. Guess what---closed! Not really closed but we couldn't get the guy to answer the door so after about 15 minutes, we left. It is in Holly Springs and we hear it is a must see--I guess I will have to get Kerry to take me. Time to head Memphis. As we were pulling into Memphis, we went past Holiday Ham and it was lunch time so I called Jim to see if, by chance, he was there. He was just leaving so we stopped and said hi to him before heading on to my house. We regrouped a little and headed to Paducah. We decided to go to Dyersburg then go over to the Great River Road and take the back roads on in. So, what is usually a 3 hour trip turned into a 5 hour trip. We didn't make many stops but saw the western KY countryside. We did stop at Columbus Belmont State Park and took a few pictures but that's about it. We got to the hotel about 7:15, checked in and headed to Doe's for dinner and the BBQ festival. It was kind of drizzly but there were still plenty of people at the festival. Tomorrow, we reconnect w/ old friends!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009


Murals and Other Art

Well, do I even have to say it? We got off to a slow start today. I know you are shocked, shocked, shocked! We decided to stick around Vicksburg for lunch--you know, all our days and plans revolve around our next meal! We left the hotel and headed for the Coke Museum. Vicksburg was the first place Coca-Cola was bottled. The museum is small but very interesting and informative. When we finished there, it was not quite lunch time so we walked down the hill to the flood wall to look at the murals. They were very well done and each one had a plaque telling the history of the area. We learned a lot and decided it was a good way to learn a little history. We walked back up the hill and headed to Rusty's (thanks, Kristi!) for lunch. As usual, we attracted the crowd. No one was there when we got there but it filled up quickly. Obviously, a hot spot for lunch. We decided to head north on 61 and then switch over to the Great River Road. We read about Margaret's Castle--a little place w/ some religious writings. We came upon it--we couldn't miss it. We parked, took some pictures and went to the door. The home health nurse was there, but she told us to come on in. We met the owner and creator of the outside (and inside) artwork. I don't believe we found out his name but he may be Rev. H.D. Dennis and he is 92, 94 or 95. He was in WWII, his mother died when he was born, he was raised by white people, and he believes in God. He has read the Bible and let us in on some little known Biblical "facts"; most of which we were in the dark about. We spent a more time there than we would have liked to then got hurriedly got back in the car. It is so hard to contain laughter when we're together. The key is not to look at each other but even that doesn't always work--case in point, the earthen lodge. We headed on to Greeenville via the Great River Road--not much going on in the MS Delta today. We made a pit stop in Greenville, drove by Doe's and headed to the 61 Blues Museum in Leland. Not much going on in Leland today either. The Blues Museum was small but full of information. I thought we might have to do CPR on the elderly worker though. She was in kind of a bad way today. When we finished there we drove around looking for the Jim Henson Museum--like I said before, we have the hardest time finding attractions in the smallest of towns. After we got back on the highway, we found it but it was closed so we drove on to Greenwood, the site of our next meal. We went to the Crystal Grill (thanks, Alex) for dinner. Dinner was great and so was the pie. Yes, Jim, there is still at least a slice of pie left in the South. We got an entree, 2 sides, drink and dessert for $13! We found the Alluvian and went inside for a look-see. Very nice. Time to move on. As always, we toured the not so nice part of town before leaving (not by choice but the Garmin doesn't want us to miss anything-except what we are looking for). We headed up Hwy 7 to Oxford and tomorrow we have a real treat--Graceland Too! Kerry, this one's for you!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

St Francisville & Prison

And More Observations

Rolly bags (not to be confused w/ rolley marbles) do not work well on gravel.

Prison would be a horrible place to spend your life.

I love wrought iron fences and gates but I don't really like it above the waist.

When you drive the back roads in the rural South everyone you meet still waves at you when you pass, even the police

Single-ply toilet paper shouldn't be an option.

From Plantations to Prisons

I just realized that I failed to mention Big Mike's Mystery House in Kentucky in my blog and that was one of the highlights of the trip! It was only a dollar and someone built it in the 70's. David, our guide, took us through the crazy space w/ uneven floors, wild mirrors, water flowing up--it was neat. I must say though, that when we paid our $1 I thought it was going to be a self guided tour and when David was summonsed and I got a look at him I almost asked for my money back. I know Jan had mentioned Deliverance in her blog and this was along that line! I regress! Yesterday, we woke up in Lafayette, LA. We had breakfast at Dwyer's--what a great choice!!! One of the best breakfasts I've had this trip--even though grits came with it. Sometimes I wonder if I'm really a Southerner!!! The sweet potato pancakes were great! We struck up conversation w/ a couple who was sitting outside with us-they were locals and very nice. They told us what boudin is and where to get good cracklins. They travel a lot too so we had a lot to talk about. After eating, we headed to the Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve to learn something about the history of the area. There was a good museum and 2 movies. The first one was good--about the bayou. The second one--not so much. Jan caught a little nap and left me to wonder why we were there in the first place! I did not know much about Cajuns but now I do. The movie was really depressing and made me appreciate my cushy life. I would not have made it long if I had to live the life of the Acadians!! After that, we headed to Breau Bridge to look for the "best place for cracklins" according to the locals. We didn't find it--it was actually in another town south of where we were and we decided cracklins weren't worth it. I know I can always go to Wild Bill's if I want pork rinds!!! It's amazing how much time we can spend riding around the smallest of towns looking for things. We had picked out a place for lunch, which was closed so we searched for another place. Most places there were closed on Monday--go figure. We did find a bakery so we bought some cookies and we found a place for lunch--not that we really needed to eat again after our big breakfast--it's just the principle I guess! We ate and called Merrill and headed to Baton Rouge. Thankfully, we came into town close to the capitol and managed to find it and Merrill without much trouble. Merrill-thanks for meeting us and showing us a bit of Baton Rouge! The old capitol was very different from most of the capitol buildings we have seen. Brilliantly colored stained glass windows, spiral staircase. Really a neat space. Merrill explained that it has a museum and now is used mostly for receptions and private parties. From there we walked to the new capitol. Have I mentioned it is warm in Louisiana? It is. The Louisiana capitol is the tallest capitol building in the country-34 stories. It was very impressive and we saw where Huey was gunned down. Creepy! After our self guided tour we moved on, past the Episcopal church that looked somewhat like the one in Paducah and found a place to get a glass of iced tea. We then headed back to our cars and parted ways. We had thought about spending the night in Baton Rouge but decided to just drive and see where we ended up. After the Garmin sent us all over the Louisiana countryside we ended up on a ferry across the Mississippi to St Francisville. We decided to call it a day. We found a B&B, got directions to the one restaurant that was still open--again a matter of principle that we eat, and walked to dinner. When we got back from dinner, we found out that the Internet was not working so we watched the Colts beat the Dolphins.

We set the alarm for an early start today (Tuesday). Like that works. We had breakfast at the B&B and then did a walking tour of St Francisville. We were wondering why we took showers. It's warmish in Louisiana. We saw lots of old neat buildings but the neatest thing was the cemetery--lots of wrought iron, live oaks and Spanish moss. Also on our walk was a very well done museum run by local volunteers. A tall glass of tea was in order so we went to George's and refreshed. We decided we would stop at Rosedown Plantation on the way out of town. It was 11:15 and the next tour didn't start until 12. I don't think so. On to Myrtles---the haunted plantation! It was cool. Interesting history and is also a B&B. Then we decided to go to the Louisiana Penitentiary Museum at Angola. What an interesting day! We had a little trouble getting there. We knew it was at the end of Hwy 66 but our electronic devices wanted to take us different ways so we listened to them and ended up on a gravel road in who knows where. I figured we would end up behind the prison fences without even knowing we were there. After several miles, we decided to turn around, a feat in and of itself, and head back to the main road. Once we found our way, we got the most interesting and entertaining tour of the museum from one of the inmates. He was so nice, informative and soft spoken--and he had been in prison for 25 years. I can't even imagine. He was not even 50 yet. He was incarcerated when he was 24 and was sentenced to 60 years. Can you imagine?!? When we left there, we headed to Natchez to! We stopped at the Malt Shop for a malt and then we split a shrimp po-boy. I just want to point out---this would only be our second meal and it was about 4 pm. It's a wonder we didn't waste away today. We could have perished on the prison grounds from lack of food! We went to the Basilica so we could go inside since we didn't get to do that when we where there before. What beautiful stained glass windows! When we left there, it started raining so we decided to stop in Vicksburg for the night. We went up the Natchez Trace for about 20 miles so we could see what we missed in the dark on the way down. Hmmm, couldn't see it much better in the rain! After we got on 61 it absolutely poured! Glad we only had a few miles to go (25 or so). So, here we are, dry for now and ready for new adventures tomorrow.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Beignets to Burgers

Lobby-9:00-Cafe Du Monde for beignets. Line was short and we all crowded around a little table and enjoyed our breakfast and filled in the blanks for each other about what happened yesterday. Some of us were fuzzier than others--can you say frozen voodoo?!!! After breakfast, we walked down to Aunt Sallie's and then found the artist that Alex & I had talked to yesterday. Alex & I both bought a small painting and then we went back to the hotel to drop our purchases off so we didn't have to carry them around. Then we regrouped and walked over to St Charles to get the street car to go to the Camellia Grill. Have I mentioned that it is very warm in New Orleans but, it didn't rain so I shouldn't complain. We enjoyed the street car ride through the neighborhoods and were dropped off right at our destination. Unfortunately, lots of people had the same idea so we waited a long time for our next meal. I really don't think that was a bad thing except it was warmish--oh, did I mention that already? The meal was well worth the wait, especially the chocolate freeze! By now, we were pushing it to get back to the hotel so Jan & Rex could check out by 2. We hopped back on the street car and made it back without having to pay for another day at the Royal Sonesta. Jan & I got our stuff, loaded up the car, said our farewells and set off to Houma to see Jan's friends from her Katrina relief efforts. We were able to find our way (effortlessly) out of New Orleans and on to Houma. In Houma, we went to Beulah and Rod's first and then Beulah took us to the volunteer village so Jan could see how it looks now. We stayed there for a while and then went back to Beulah & Rod's, visited briefly and got back on the road again. We decided Lafayette would be as far as we could go today so that is where we are now. Tomorrow, Baton Rouge.