Last time on our Austin bound blog, we had escaped the dingy confines of a Bates Motel style Super 8. While we didnt have the forethought to take pics, we did snap a picture of one of the many abandoned buildings surrounding it. Look closely, and you may catch the ghostly blur of a long dead specter hovering in the darkness. Not really, but it’s fun to pretend.
In a word, Memphis is no Nashville. Full of history, most of it seeped in the struggle of civil rights, the city has seen better days. The abandoned buildings and wandering homeless of the Arkansas border town give the area an arua of sadness and want. We actually rearranged our schedule to spend more time walking around but quickly discovered there wasn’t much to see. If you don’t love Elvis (we don’t), Memphis has little to offer. Aside from a gibberish spewing homeless man trying to hustle tourists into paying for free parking and the solem yet beautiful Loranie Hotel.
There were some bright spots. The Peabody Hotel is an oasis of high luxury and old fashioned Southern gentility. As the Old Man from Pawn Stars would say, “Now, this is class.” Complete with a special Jack Daniels blend for cocktails, beautiful vaulted ceilings and a flock of mallards swimming in the fountain, the Peabody was a lovely break from the dingy depression of downtown Memphis.
We also had some of the best fried chicken on the planet at Gus’s. Crispy, spicy and tender, the food made me forget we had to walk through the set of I Am Legend to get there. So yummy, I wrote an entire paragraph in their out of town guest book.
Sun Records and Graceland were no shows due to a lack of safe parking and our giant truck but by then, we’d had enough. Memphis wasn’t gross. It was sad. A dried out flowerbed with a few gastropubs and boutiques trying to sprout from the dust. Problem is, without a water source of economic growth to clear out the weeds, it’ll be a challenge for Memphis to reclaim Southwest Tennessee.
Right now, we’re southbound on US 79, two hours from Austin. Essentially, we’re over the trek. Over the noisy truck cab, over $100 fill ups at the gas pump, over the steady stream of suicidal insects splattering against the windshield. It’s been an adventure but we’re ready for it to end. We’re ready to go home. Our new home.