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Memphis – Day 1

 

Hank – Today we woke up when we woke up. After yesterday’s exertions we earned a sleep in. Besides, we only had about 14 miles to Memphis, so maybe an hour and a half of riding. But we had rain in the forecast so we decided to leave at 9:30. Kathy still had points with Marriott from her working/traveling days so she set us up with a free room at the downtown Sheraton.

We headed out with a light mist falling. We were on relatively quiet roads until about eight miles into the ride. The sign at the beginning of the bike trail that would take us to the bridge crossing the Mississippi said the trail was closed due to flooding. We’ll, of course it is. Everything is part of the country us flooded.

That left us with one alternative–crossing via the interstate highway. Things went well at first. Then we got to the big bridge that crosses the river. There’s no shoulder.

Well…crap!

We took the lane and endured about 2-1/2 miles of stressful, white knuckle intensity, unnecessarily enhanced by the few drivers who thought leaning on the horn for 30 seconds would help matters out. Thankfully, everyone slowed and moved over even though some of them didn’t like it very much. We got off at the first exit and took a roundabout way to the hotel because the bike path on the Memphis side is flooded too.

But we made it to the hotel safe and sound.

We walked down to Beale Street and had some great ribs and a drink at the B.B. King’s Blues Club. Live music started up and we enjoyed that for a while. Then we strolled down and back up Beale Street. It’s populated primarily by bars, which reminded us of Bourbon Street in New Orleans. But there is a lot of live music.

We checked out the Memphis Music Hall of Fame. It had some nice displays but I thought it lacked coherency and depth when it came to covering the history of many artists. Clothing and instruments of various artists are mixed together and, for example, if you looked at a guitar owned by one artist you could easily assume the other items also belonged to that person. Once I realized that wasn’t so I would wonder what the connection was between everything other than being in the same display. It was not a satisfying visit.

Our Warmshowers host in Cape Girardeau, Judy, told us about the ducks at the Peabody Hotel so we walked there to check them out. You can read how the ducks got their start there here. We arrived a little after 4:00 pm. The ducks were scheduled to March from the fountain around 5:00 so we got a drink and looked for a place to sit.

To our good fortune there were two men sitting at a table for four. They had a great view of the fountain and the ducks would pass by them on their way to the elevator. We were thinking about asking if we could have the two empty seats at their table when they asked us if we’d like to sit down.

And that’s how we met Steve and Matt Keeney of Denver, Colorado. To prevent crowding and view blocking everyone in the fountain area must be sitting at a table. They didn’t want to be “those people” who had a table but weren’t sharing so they invited us to join them. We appreciated that and thanked them. Steve and his son, Matt, were seeing the sights in Memphis. They shared their experiences at Graceland (get there when they open to reduce your wait times) and Sun Records (highly recommended and it’s fun).

Steve is an interesting and humble person. He’s retired but he mentioned he was in broadcast radio in Denver for many years. With about 10 seconds of searching on the internet I found he was a pretty big deal in broadcast radio in Denver. Matt is the president of a marketing company. He has traveled extensively. It’s not every day you meet someone who’s been to 133 countries.

We enjoyed chatting with Steve and Matt. Politics even came up and Steve shared an interesting observation. “Donald Trump brings out the worst in everybody, even me.” I forget how he phrased his next words but it was something along the lines of this: “Hate is not an admirable characteristic in a person, but he (Trump) creates it in me. And he does it even more for the people who admire him.” I thought that was very astute.

We then listened to the Duck Master tell the story of the ducks and watched him march them from the fountain to the elevator. Steve and Matt said goodbye and we parted ways. It was great to meet them. Kathy remarked that we wouldn’t have met them had it not been for the Peabody ducks.

After that we walked back to the hotel, taking photos along the way.

Kathy – We rode 16 miles into Memphis, Tennessee – State #45 completed!!! It was an easy but wet ride. It was frightful to ride across the freeway bridge into the city. Happy to have survived and have that one done. ✅

I find it unbelievable that we have ridden our bikes in 45 states. That’s crazy! It’s been quite the adventure over the past year. We will be done with our trip in the next few months. I’m trying to take it all in because I know it will be over before I know it.

We have hard days, but we also have really great days where we meet amazing people like Steve and Matt. They are obviously good people and it was wonderful to spend a little time with them. The ducks at the Peabody Hotel were cute but nothing super spectacular. I enjoyed B.B. King’s Blues Club where the food was delicious and the live band was impressive. The Memphis Music Hall of Fame was OK. Hank explained it well above. I was surprised just how discombobulated it was. If you’re coming to Memphis you can probably skip this one. There are so many other museums in this city that have gotten much better rating. We plan to check our more museums over the next few days.

Today we had a good short 16 mile ride, followed by hours and hours of walking about exploring this city. We will call it a good day. 😊 Looking forward to seeing Elvis Presley tomorrow! 🎶🕺🏻🎶

3 Comments

  1. Glad you make it there safe. Enjoy your time in State #45!

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  2. For future reference for you to share with anyone who may go on the same journey and find the river crossing trail flooded. Years ago I would go over to Memphis from Marion quite often via bike, before there was a Big River Crossing trail. My only option was to ride the shoulder of I55 to the old bridge, just as y’all did. However, when you get close to the bridge, the concrete barrier closes in on the road and the shoulder ends. Put your bike over the concrete barrier and hop over. Walk to the bridge and then ride across. There is enough room, pedestrian side walk, for you to ride across the bridge there and be out of harms way and avoid the traffic. I can only imagine how nerve racking that was crossing the bridge in the right lane. Glad you made it across safely.

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    1. Thanks. Good to know.

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