Lewis & Clark…Arkansas to Kentucky

The terrain of western and central Arkansas looked a lot like Maryland. Rolling hills, green vegetation and trees over 3 feet tall. The biggest difference was the increase in water supply. Here, river beds actually had water, and the land did not look complete scorched.

Arkansas has discovered the meaning of “multi-use development land”. The nuclear reactor was located in a state park, and the same lake used to cool the nuclear rods, was designated a swim center for the little children. A hospital was located on the premises as well. How convenient.

We buzzed thru Little Rock, and then headed toward Memphis. The central and eastern terrain of Arkansas was noticeably swampy. We crossed the Mississippi River – exited to the Welcome Center in downtown Memphis Tennessee. A very cool “Rock and Roll” egg — identifying the birthplace of various music genres including blues, gospel and rock-n-roll – served as my hula hoop backdrop. Temperatures had dropped back into the 20’s…so hula fun was brief. I have now hooped in 14 states on this roadtrip.

Paddy had googled “Memphis BBQ” – and discovered Corky’s BBQ– located just off of I-40 — advertised as the hottest BBQ joint in town. It was now 1:30PM, well past my feeding time, and way beyond Paddy’s morning coffee. Corky’s had arrived none too soon. As we dragged our weary travel butts thru the door – the staff at Corky’s knew right away that we were “travelers”. OK, maybe Paddy’s humongous Nikon camera gave us away, but after 2 and 1/2 days of driving, it was still obvious we had been in the car too long.

Bernard, our waiter — took one look at us, and immediately knew that Paddy needed coffee…hours ago. “You two have been traveling…and you need your coffee” he knowingly said to Pat in a most delightful down-home Tennessee accent. Within seconds, Paddy had his coffee, complete with cream and sugar…and the refills kept coming.

But, this was just the beginning. Bernard took us under his wing, and showed us a brand new meaning of “southern hospitality”. “You see all of these people in here” – he said as we looked around into the packed restaurant….”they can wait”….”But you, you’ve been traveling…and you need some good food”and he attended to us like a doting parent. At Corky’s – you leave your vegan diet and notion of counting calories at the door. This was Memphis, TN…and it was time to taste some southern cookin’…and not think twice about it.

Paddy and I had to try their highly acclaimed pulled pork, and southern fries. The pulled pork sandwich comes with coleslaw lathered on top…but our all-knowing waiter, Bernard — went light on the BBQ sauce, and put the coleslaw on the side for us. Without having to ask, he knew how to make our food experience just right.

One taste of the BBQ pork, and I have to admit – it simply melted in your mouth. It was soft, moist, hickory flavored, and melted on contact. I’m not a fan of meat – but if I lived next to Corky’s in Memphis Tennessee – I might be convinced. Paddy was in BBQ meat heaven. Our weary travel dispositions had been transformed, by both southern food and southern charm.

We hopped back into the Jeep again, fully re-energized, and headed toward Nashville – where we would exchange I-40 for I-65. Notable Tennessee highlights include:
-Loretta Lynn has a dude ranch
-someone named their town “Bucksnort”
-Nashville has one heckuva rush hour

It was twilight when we crossed the border into Kentucky. Paparazzi Paddy captured my state #15 hula dance in Kentucky on camera….and we had two more hours of driving to go, to make our destination of Louisville. At Louisville, we would be treated to a 2-nite stay and day off from driving- with friend and sculpture artist Tom.

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