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Report 2041: Driving the Great Mississippi River Road

By BJinNM from New Mexico, Fall 2012

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Page 20 of 33: Day 20-Paducah, KY to Memphis, TN

photo by BJ Firestone

Cotton here, cotton there, cotton, cotton, everywhere

Today was a travel day for us and when you are taking the Great River Road that means traveling on mostly two lane roads, sometimes unimproved gravel roads. Because of this, we often take a lot longer getting from one place to another.

We set out from Paducah without eating breakfast. The place where we stayed had cereals and fruit in the kitchen if we wanted it, but the refrigerator was set for 46 degrees and we were afraid to use the milk. We stopped at a small, roadside diner, walking in minutes after they stopped serving breakfast; so, at 10am we had a BLT, a hamburger and fried okra! Strange, but we were hungry so it really didn't matter.

Back on the road after "lunch," we stopped at the Columbus-Belmont State Park. It was here that the Confederates ran a huge chain across the Mississippi River in order to try to stop Grant's army from taking control of the river. The Confederates failed in this attempt and the Union forces broke through, ultimately taking control of the entire river all the way down to New Orleans.

We left Kentucky and continued deep into the Tennessee countryside. We tried to stay as close to the River as we could. As many of you might have noted, we have had a tendency to get lost in corn fields. You all will be glad to know that we didn't get lost in a corn field today. No, today we got lost in a cotton field. Cotton here, cotton there, cotton, cotton, everywhere! This occurred when we followed the AAA map and Alan's iPhone map. The road went to gravel and then we met an oncoming grader who was in the process of spreading large quantities of deep dirt on the road, so we had to turn around and backtrack.

We got to Memphis about four this afternoon and checked into our little hotel. It is right on the River and we can look out our room window and see the mighty Mississippi rolling on by. But first things, first. We were starving after having had "lunch" at 10am. Two different friends had made suggestions online today, so we took one and went to Rendezvous for ribs. This was only the second time we have had barbeque this trip, the first being in Kansas. We really enjoyed our dinner. Memphis barbeque uses a dry rub rather than constant basting. It is different but tastes very good.

We got back to the hotel in time to go up to the rooftop terrace and watch the sunset.

Now we are watching the second Presidential debate, and since you can tell I am writing this as we watch, it is no more spellbinding than the first one was!

Tomorrow we plan on searching out and finding Elvis. I have a feeling that in Memphis that shouldn't be so hard to do!

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