Monday, September 17, 2018

Trumann Arkansas to Martin Tennessee via Memphis

With no particular place to go today, we started slowly again. Not up until after 7:00 AM, we had the hot hotel breakfast. I had sausage, eggs and gravy while Sandy had her usual cereal and yogurt. After conversation with a few other guests, we realized that Memphis was less than an hour away. We visited Graceland in 2013 but had not seen any of the rest of the city, so a visit seemed in order.
Right at home on Highway 69

In them old cotton fields back home....

Within the hour, we were crossing the Hernando De Soto Bridge over the Mississippi River from Arkansas to Memphis, Tennessee. In this era of political correctness, I was surprised that there has not been a movement to rename this bridge because De Soto has come to be regarded as an example of all that was wrong about the conquest of the New World by the Europeans. Still, the name continued to  percolate throughout the southeast.

Memphis in the distance

Hernando De Soto Bridge

I read online that the Tennessee Welcome Center on Riverside allowed free all day RV parking. It was easy to get off I-40 and drive straight to their lot, where we parked and went in to see what the city had to offer. An older lady named May Ann gave us a map of the trolley routes and a guidebook. She said we could buy an all day trolley pass for $3.50 each (exact change) and that we could leave the car and trailer in the lot free until 11:00 PM.

Elvis is everywhere

Tennessee has more Civil War battlefields than an other state

Hernando De Soto Bridge

Bridge to Mud Island

A nice place to berth your yacht

The Bass Pro pyramid

So far, the parking lot is ours

A little bit of history

The main (Red) trolley line ran on rails and went up and down Main Street. A trolley came by about every twenty minutes. The Green and Yellow lines operated on tires and were not as frequent. We just missed a Green trolley at the Welcome Center, so we walked two  blocks up to Main Street and waited for the Red car. The rule with trolley's seems to be that as soon as you give up waiting and start walking, the trolley will come along.

We walked south a few blocks and then caught a trolley. The driver/engineer/operator helped us feed bills and coins into the machine that spit out our all day passes.

Main Street - Memphis Tennessee

Hard to believe it has been 50 years

Bicycle rentals abound

Blocking side streets for loading and unloading was normal

Our trolley driver

At the south end, we debarked in front of the National Civil Rights Museum. The museum occupied the Lorraine Motel where Martin Luther King was staying in 1968 when he was assassinated on the balcony. It also included boarding house from which James Earl Ray took the shot that killed him.

I remember that evening in 1968 when Rod, a classmate of mine, and I were were on an eleventh grade school project about Norway when the word came that King had been shot. It was one of those moments frozen in time. 

The museum had many places that brought home the struggle against government sanctioned racial discrimination. "All men (and women) are created equal...." took a long time from the signing to the enactment in law. Unfortunately, discrimination still exists today in many forms because human nature always seems to target anyone who is "different". "Content of character rather than color of skin" is an ideal I strive to follow.

Fire hall near the motel

The wreath is about where King was standing when shot

Remembering the lunch counter sit ins

The actual Freedom Rider bus that was burned

Memphis Sanitation Workers strike that King was in town for

The other section of the museum

King's last speech - as if he knew

The view from Ray's room - he actually fired from the bathroom

From the museum, we walked down Main Street to the Beale Street Entertainment District. The trolley came by as soon as we started walking.

Across from the Civil Rights Museum

Main Street - Memphis Tennessee

Many beautiful buildings

With artistic components

Bird Scooters were everywhere

Hot lady, hot day

Not sure what makes it safe

We reached Beale Street, the home of the Memphis Blues, on foot. After walking down one side of the street, we had hamburgers for lunch at Dyers before walking back up the other side.

W. C. Handy - Father Of The Blues

Back on Main Street, we waited for another trolley to come along.

They don't turn the trolleys, the operator just moves to the other end

After boarding, we rode to the north end and then walked a couple of blocks to the Bass Pro Pyramid. This structure housed a Bass Pro store, restaurants, an elevator to an observation tower and restaurant and lots of water.

The elevator to The Lookout

We took the elevator to The Lookout. The outside deck had a see-through floor as you approached the railing. But you had to approach the railing to get clear photos. I should spend an hour a day in a place like this to get rid of the butterflies in my stomach.

This girl did not like heights

Aerial view of Memphis

Our car/trailer are down there

Back on the ground, we circled the store. They had a small lake in the middle stocked with some large fish. They also had quite a few very expensive Tracker boats.

Reminds me of someone's motorcycle

We left via the back door and waited for the Green Trolley to take us back to the Welcome Center.

At the Welcome Center, we asked Mary Ann about other things to see tomorrow. She suggested Discovery Park of America in Union City. It looked interesting, so I booked a room at a Days Inn in nearby Martin, Tennessee. The car said it was 98 F when we got back to it, but it was hotter inside.

We left on I-40, which immediately jammed up with rush hour traffic. Soon after, we exited on US 51 and followed it all the way to Union City. It was a short hop to Martin on Tennessee 22.

Breyer's Ice Cream plant

Dyersburg Elevator

Clouds to the east stretch to the Atlantic coast

Once we got settled at the hotel in Martin, we walked next door to the Subway restaurant and got sandwiches to take back to the room. I anticipated having some time in the morning, so I didn't do much work on the blog before going to bed.

Today's Route (178 Equinox miles):

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