Cross-Country Tour Day 6: Dallas to Memphis

Cumulative Mileage: 2675mi ~~ Total Travel Time: ~7 hours.

Exhausted doesn’t even begin to describe how I’m feeling tonight. I’m a block away from Beale Street, the nightlife center of Memphis and I’m back in my hotel. Texas is draining. The drive today was very difficult and tiring. I think I went through 2 cups of coffee, a five hour energy, and two redbulls all before noon.

Before I left Dallas, I wanted to find a good place to get a real “Texan Breakfast.” After asking three different people, all of them recommended IHOP. Really? IHOP? Texas. So, I go to IHOP and the waitress asks me “Smoking or Non?” Really? That’s gross. Texas. I order some ridiculous meat-laden omelette and have to specify that I want my omelete made with real eggs rather than buttermilk pancake batter. Really? IHOP. Texas. I don’t even know.

As soon as I get back to my car, it starts pouring. Thunder. Lightning. Hail. You name it.. I got my storm. As I was leaving Dallas, I kept looking along side the highway for signs of Tornados, but fortunately I saw none. I made it just about to the Arkansas border when it cleared up. Texas.

My original plan was to stop in Little Rock for lunch, but it was too far and I was too tired and hungry to make it there. I ended up stopping at the birthplace of William Jefferson Clinton, Hope Arkansas. It was very unexciting and I ended up having lunch at Wendy’s. I broke my streak of non-chain restaurants. Sigh.

I make it through Little Rock and get back onto Highway I-40. I was very relieved to make it back onto 40. I had been on 40 from Bakersfield to Amarillo and will be on it pretty much all the way to Virginia. I feel as though the driving got very challenging when I was off of highway 40, so it was comforting to be back on my main route. That was until I hit the Wattansaw State Game Area. There was a sign that said “Construction ahead, expect delays.” I had seen this multiple times in the past and didn’t expect any issue. I was wrong.

I was at a dead stop for over 30 minutes and didn’t get out of traffic for over an hour. It was unbearable. This was really the first traffic I had hit since my first day on the road, so I’m considering myself lucky. I’m also very fortunate that I wasn’t going westbound, because as I was stopped I had noticed that there was NO traffic going west. Not a single car the entire time I was stopped. Strange. I realized that both East and Westbound of 40 had construction down to one lane, but still, why wasn’t there cars?

After a while, when we started moving I noticed there was a Red PT Cruiser on the other side of the highway parked with all four doors open. The family that owned the car was sitting outside of it, eating and talking to some policemen. Behind them sat 20 miles of traffic at a dead stop. Everyone was out of their cars hanging out. Nobody had a clue as to what was going on — not even me. I felt bad for all these people. 40 West was a parking lot. It still is, according to Google Maps. I wonder if those people are all still there.

I was expecting to get to Memphis by 5:30. I ended up getting to my hotel just before 8pm. I blame Texas.

If you’ve never been to Memphis, I highly recommend it. Beale Street is a very happenin’ place. I wish I had more energy to go and enjoy it. I’ve never seen so many tricked-out motorcycles. I guess it’s what you’re supposed to do if you live here — get on your hog and drive it down to Beale Street.

The street smells like Barbecue and has music coming out of every store/bar/restaurant/club. It reminds me a lot of New Orleans, actually.

Of course, I had to have some Memphis BBQ while I was here and I ended up going to an amazing place called Charles Vergos’ Rendezvous. Unbelieveable. Some of the best ribs and brisket I’ve ever eaten.

After dinner, I walk down the street and notice some sort of stadium-type place. At first, I thought it was a horse track because there were no turnstiles to get in and there were people cheering. Upon closer inspection, I realized that it was a baseball stadium for the Memphis Redbirds. Apparently, they take down the turnstiles after the 7th inning and let anyone into the park. Lucky for me!

I walk in and it’s 2-2 in the top of the 8th, the Redbirds (AAA St. Louis) are playing the Round Rock Express (AAA Texas!).  Ryan Spilboughs was the only player I recognized. He played in Colorado for 7 seasons including the 2007 World Series against the Red Sox (0-10, 2BB, 2 SO). The Express went up 3-2 in the top of the 8th and the Redbirds answered right back in the bottom. Bottom of the 9th, two on, two out, a ground ball single to the right fielder scores the run from second. It was almost a close play at the plate, but the Redbirds rallied to win the game. All things considered it was a pretty exciting two innings. I even got to see some guy by the name of Hamburger pitch.

After the game I walked around Beale street for a little bit to see if there was something that caught my ear. Unfortunately, I was just too tired to deal with it. So, here I am. I hadn’t planned to write much this evening — I thought it was a pretty uneventful day. But, turns out I had plenty to say.

Tomorrow, I am planning on checking out Graceland while I’m here.  I’m not an Elvis fan, but why not, right? After that, I head to Nashville to see my sister, her husband,  and my nephew Henry. It’s only a 3.5 hour drive it’s going to be a much-needed day of rest. Good night, Etherwebs.

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