1700 Miles to Austin – Part 7 – Moonshine, Johnny Cash and the Case of the Moldy Bedroom

Note: I’m lacking pictures because everything was taken on my proper, non cell phone camera. Pics will be added eventually

When you pull up to a hotel after hours on the road, your first thought should not be, “Where the hell are we? I think we’re going to get killed.”

The culmination of miles on the highway, Motel 6’s and fattening road food, the Downtown Memphis Super 8 was the final sucker punch to a tired twosome who just wanted a place to rest. Without the window sills of dead flies and the stench of mold.

Earlier, we were in Nashville, home of the Grand Ol’ Oprey, CMT and Demo’s, a shining example of Tennessee charm and fantastic cookery. Their bacon wrapped steak made Uncle Jack’s look like grade D dog food.

Nashville was cozy, a standard metropolis with the standard sections. Financial buildings, towering condos and a bustling Broadway jammed with day drinking locals and tourists. Music burst from every barroom and the overall atmosphere was one of good natured revelry. They even had a mobile taproom. If you’ve ever wanted to pedal a roving bar down a main thoroughfare whist drinking PBR, this is your town.

We toured the Johnny Cash museum, sipped moonshine to covers of Merle Haggard and walked the city streets with our fuzzy dog in toe. When we jumped into the truck for our three hour zap to Memphis, we felt good about Tennessee.  Slightly rejuvenated.

Until we hit the Super 8.

Situated under the overpass of highway 55, the motel had the bedraggled aura of hookers, filth and Mother’s toasted cheese sandwiches. Ignore the creepy lobby that inexplicably played ominous music as we walked to the elevator. Don’t look at the dead beetles lining the outdoor walkway. Forget dirty walls and the moist, sticky carpet as we walked in. It was the mold. A wet hanging blanket of throat clogging mildew. It smelled like old coffins and rotting wood.

Needless to say, we escaped. Gathered up our stuff, got our money back from the desk manager (who admitted the room had a leak) and, after some frenzied phone calls, found ourselves at a La Quinta. You would have thought we landed at the St. Regis.

Today brings the heart of Memphis. Sum Records and the like. Here’s hoping the rest of the city trumps our first impressions.

About Bill Tucker

Jersey based and New York bred, Bill Tucker is an author of film reviews, short fiction and articles for variety of sites and subjects. He currently blogs for The Austinot (Austin lifestyle), the Entertainment Weekly Blogging Community (TV and film) and SkirmishFrogs.com (retro gaming). He's also contributed articles to Texas Highways magazine. His favorite pastimes include craft beer snobbery, gaming and annoying his friends with random quotes from The King of Comedy. You can check out all of his literary naughty bits at www.thesurrealityproject.com View all posts by Bill Tucker

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