But, here's the story:
On 7/6/16 …. Our summer trip to the mountains turned into quite a hot trip. From Jacksonville, fL to Tupelo/Memphis, TN; to Hot Springs & Eureka Springs, AK; to Branson, MO; Nashville, TN; Atlanta/Athens, GA; HOME
Our first overnight stop was Tupelo, MS - which turned out to be one of the best overnight stops we ever have lucked up on. Not knowing much abut Elvis' history, we were surprised to find his whole story, right there in Tupelo. We visited the house he was born and raised in, visited the museum and grounds, ate at adorable restaurants, and purchased Tupelo Honey. Now, that's a great way to start a trip.
The next morning we headed to our first destination stop - Memphis, TN ... but, we were much chagrined (is that a phrase?) ... We were excited about UNTIL a national issue was boiling along with the heat that summer. The Black Lives Matter Demonstrations and Riots were taking place everywhere that week, and we seemed to find ourselves right in the mix. We went down to Beale Street all excited but were met with cops on every corner, kind of a dirty nasty feel. Demonstrating kids with signs on the road and we didn’t think this was our kind of trip. Went back to the RV park to regroup, but were again dismayed by our choice of campgrounds. Initially we were excited about staying on the Mississippi River until we realized how filthy it was now and how little they are doing to preserve its history and abundance.
We stayed on that side of the Mississippi River that night instead of going back into Memphis due to the supposed danger; and, it was a good thing we did, because they shut down the main Interstate for hours. The demonstrators were climbing all over the semi’s that were on the road stopped and blocking cars .. it was scary and dangerous for several hours - but fortunately ended without too much conflict and no one got shot in Memphis that night.
We did go back to Memphis the next DAY to see the Blues Studio…. which was ok, but the feel downtown was much like a depressed hood. We sidetracked that day, just to kill time, went to the nearby city - Germantown - and were relieved to find a very affluent neighborhood where we felt comfortable to enjoy a few sites and restaurants. Poor Memphis is blighted terribly … didn’t like it at all. Even our scenic River cruise down the Mississippi was discouraging. The Paddlewheel boat was cool, but splashing along in a big puddle of mud and garbage, not so fun.
The Bass Pro Shop was amazing. A huge pyramid which held the tallest elevator (free standing) east of the Mississippi. We went to top of pyramid … and I walked out on the glass shelf patio. Franky Baby was a little unnerved by the glass footwork, so remained to the side ... challenge! I won! So windy up there, but made Memphis look better from that distance. It truly is their claim to fame. That was when we first realized bass pro shops were quite the thing and more was to come before this trip was over ….
We high-tailed it out of Memphis a day or 2 early and went directly to Hot Springs, AK … loved loved loved it. We couldn't leave without trying to big indoor pools & baths - filled with multiple hot degrees of spring water. We also enjoyed the spring water doming from the mountains and made bunches of jugs of water to gift and to bring home. but it was such a hot time of year .. record breaking .. hard to be outside ….
Headed to Eureka Springs because everyone says that was so much better …. a little too hilly for me since my foot, hip etc. were not in good sync. Did get a few nice clothes items in the great stores in both Eureka and Hot Springs, but we were ready to move on to Missouri …
A bit of a shock when we took the trail according to gps and ended up on PigTailTrail…..Frank was not happy …. even though we found out afterwards that many truckers like the trail and do it for adventure … but lots of opeople would avoid it .. frank for one. but too late now and we did it..we also ended up getting a RV GPS sent directly to us Fed Ex at the campground we were in.
Still dealing with terrible heat exhaustion and inability to be outside for long or for much … we did hit a few places downtown .. A Patsy Cline tribute … and then we hit pay dirt. I went to get my hair cut and done by the stylist of the RV campground manager .. We hit it off real well and she was telling me all the great things to do in Biloxi and Arkansas. She recommended The Top of the Rock … didn’t even know what it was .. thought it was a flat rock somewhere in the wide open spaces, but it was a tribute mountain and location to the Founder of the Bass Pro Shops. Had caves, museums, golf carts, shopping, and lots and lots of acreage, water falls, and money oozing out all over. Amazing tribute to the american indians and all the land .. his story is remarkable….click here for more about that and put it on you next trip to the area.
Funny — until we saw the Pyramid Bass Pro in Memphis we didn’t have any idea of the popularity of the pro shop designs … seems they are everywhere and get better and bigger everywhere. Who knew?
A resistant Franky Baby joined me on the largest Ferris Wheel looking over the Branson city and the next day we went to the Dixie Stampede - Dolly Parton's amazing experience. Loved it truly …. had it all ..
We left that area and headed excitedly to Nashville. We had ticket sfor the Grand Ole Opry and were hoping to get the to Blue Bird Cafe …
We did it, we sang, we marveled, we toured, we loved. Stumbled upon the Parthenon and had it not been for my painful hip I could have enjoyed all of it much more. This place was beyond belief and held my namesake mentor model and guide in early days … Athena the Greek Goddess.
Gold and 10 stories high.
We also tripped on a place on the outskirts of Nashville … based on a few friends back home who knew someone special … way out in the farm country we stoped by Lee McCormick's Farm/Kitchen/Store, Restaurant … and Music. What a treat! Great music, great food, great people and a sacred holiness about the location.
We wre happy and ready to head back home .. through Atlanta to see the chickadees …. and Christy and Penny in Athens where we did a ceremony for Kristy in honor of her help to us.