It was time to check out by the time we woke up. Had wanted to grab a bite at the hotel, but they were not serving lunch yet. So we packed up, checked out, and went down to Beale St again. Figured someone’s got to be serving food.
Stopped by at the Police Museum, which was actually a functioning police station. Lots of weapons and gadgets used by both police and crooks. Also stopped by at A Schwarb, supposedly the oldest shop in Memphis or something. Got some candy, but otherwise, most of the stuff was pretty boring.
Had a ghastly lunch at Kings Cafe or something like that – I had seafood pasta, which falsely advertised “crabmeat” when it was only crabstick. I could not taste anything, although the inside of my mouth was completely buttered by the time I stopped eating (with almost half of the pasta remaining). Randall had a Bloody Mary that had too much mix and not enough of anything else, and a vegetarian pasta that was also baked in butter, and still stewing in it when it was served.
We later popped over at BB King’s for a drink (just to say we have done it), and boy was it a pleasant surprise. The drinks were excellent – we had the Hootchie Coochie, Root Doctor, June Surprise, and Voodoo Child. We also got to keep the glasses as souvenirs (the drinks were 9.99 and 6.99 depending on whether they were cocktails or shooters). Excellent deal I thought. And the fried catfish bits we ordered was pretty good too.
Lost the map for Memphis, so decided to head back to Lonoke instead of going to Graceland. Great to be back.
Heading towards Memphis today. Got a room at the Marriot through Priceline for 75 bucks, not bad considering its a downtown area. The room was pleasant, although there was no free high-speed internet – available for $10 a day. Decided to pass since we’ll be back in Lonoke tomorrow anyway. There were some nice Neutrogena bath products provided – not as fantastic as the Aveda ones in the George rooms, but good enough.
We had stopped by at the Coors brewery before checking in. Coors is apparently the #3 beer in the US (although I have not heard about it before), behind Budweiser and Miller. The guided tour was ok — didn’t really get to tour the facilities. A lot of time was actually spent in front of diagrams and pictures, and Chuck the guide just explained what they all meant. Made some nice points, I thought, such as Budweiser is the only beer to use colors that resembled a soft drink (namely, Coke), as well as use animals and cartoons in its commercials.
We were given a couple of free drinks at the end of the tour. Coors Original, which I tried, was pretty good for an American beer. [Ever heard the joke about why drinking American beer is the same as making love on a canoe? They’re fucking close to water! Ha ha.] Also tried the Blue Moon, a Belgian-style wheat ale, and the cherry Zima –> an alcoholic soda like Hooch. Too bad we didn’t get any free souvenirs.
Had dinner on Beale Street – including some pretty decent ribs [apparently, you have to have ribs when you’re in Tennessee]. The stuff mushrooms were pretty disappointing though — think they’ve been soaked in butter for way too long. The night (after watching the finale of The Apprentice) was spent at a few clubs, two of which were Irish – Pat O’Briens and Silky Sullivan’s. The bartender at the latter joint didn’t know how to make a Black and Tan, or a Snakebite. Hmm.
Today was going to be the beginning of the long trip – all the way to Washington DC.
First stop was Memphis, Tennessee, home of Elvis Presley. We would only be having lunch here today, at a microbrewery called Gordon Biersch, which has branches all over the country, including DC! I had this great pizza called the Looziana, which was topped with crawfish tails and cheese. Definitely have to check out the one in DC, although I kind of lamented the lack of an unfiltered wheat ale.
3 hours on and we were in Nashville, TN. This is home of country, where 90% of the radio stations played country. Most of the time, we stuck to that one rock station, or some unoffensive country music. We stopped over at the downtown area, tried to get some postcards — failed, cos they were all too tacky — then found another microbrewery, this time the Big River. We had the sampler, which convinced me I didn’t really like the beers here, so I had a margarita which was too sour. We also had the nachos with spinach and cheese dip. Nice, and really pretty, cos the chips were in 3 colors.
Decided to call it a night a Crossville, about 2 hours from Nashville. Originally thought Ramada was a reasonably nice place, but we were WRONG. The place was pretty run-down –> stairs creaked too much, pool was closed, and they had put potted plants into what was presumably the jacuzzi. The heater in the room was too noisy. Overall, the place reminded me too much of something from Afred Hitchcock’s Pyscho.