Unexpectedly in Arkansa

Trip Start Sep 16, 2011
Trip End Nov 20, 2011

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Flag of United States  , Arkansas
Thursday, September 29, 2011

Well, fabulous friends and family- what a journey today. And, what a brilliant, brilliant day.

So the day begins in Nashville at 6am.  Noah and I (well Noah really) start packing the car with the intention of carrying a sleeping Elwood to the car for a relaxing journey.

However, Elwood awoke with a start before we left the hotel but was in the most charming mood.  Big tick – for a good start to the day.

We were on our way to Memphis – so life was very good.  A quick McDonalds on the way saw as into Memphis around 11am.

Now, we went to Memphis last year – it is an amazing city.  There is magic in the air. 

Elwood had been such a super fabulous traveller our first stop was the Fire Museum of Memphis.  We went there last year and it was one of the highlights of our trip so we popped in for some more fire station based fun. Because we are parents, and feel we should, we made Elwood spend a token amount of time looking at the exhibits.  And then we let him spend loads of time on the real fire engines, fireman's pole, cherry picker, ambulance- all in costume!- he loved it.  We reinacted all sorts of rescues involving Brian the Lion and Elwood was the happiest kid in Memphis.

We then took a trolley ride into town.  This short ride in itself was just brilliant.

Next stop, we popped into the Peabody Hotel to see the ducks.  If you have a moment, read about them here http://www.peabodymemphis.com/peabody-ducks/.  Basically they live in the fountain in the hotel foyer and live in the penthouse and there is a procession to and from the fountain every day.  It is sweet.

It was a super hot day, and Elwood almost had a meltdown – Noah heroically saved the day by finding an emergency ice lolly just in time.  Phew.

We wandered around Beale Street.  This is so much more than it sounds.  This street is fabulous.  Gorgeous, lots to look at and an atmosphere you can breathe... We watched some music in WC Handy Park – but really too hot for the little one.  So we went back to the Peabody as Elwood allegedly fancied a ham sandwich.  Folks, get this, $9 for a ham sandwich.  And then Elwood wanted the ham taken out and had a crisp sandwich instead.  That $9 is coming out of his bank account – and that’s not even a joke!

After this, Noah and Elwood headed back to the Museum of Fire (the super lovely people said we could come back again later in the day) and I headed off to the Civil Rights Museum (which I had not got to see last time we were in Memphis).  Well, this was amazing.  The quotes and photos tell the story so vividly.  It is located at the hotel where Martin Luther King was shot, and the facade of the hotel has been kept exactly the same as it was on the day he was killed.  It is still and eerie and very moving.  Inside the Museum was also very moving and I felt very embarrassed about all the things I did not know.  I am definitely going to read something on the Civil Rights Movement whilst we are travelling.  The actual exhibits were brilliant, a bus you could walk through depicting what it was like during segregation, a diner set up showing video footage of passive protests against segregation and showing activists being beaten up. Almost unwatchable, but it feels too lame to turn away.  There was also a small bit of street front set up, and a life size projection of riots.  When you looked at yourself in the opposite mirror, you saw yourself in the scene of the riots.  Again, this literally took your breath away.  There was also a replica solitary cell where Martin Luther King was imprisoned, and a transcript of conversations from prison with him and his wife.  There was also a telephone recording of JFK and the then Mississippi Governor about the blocking of the university enrolment of a black student.  There were lots of other amazing exhibits that I can just not do justice to describe.

And then you round a corner, and there is video commentary from witnesses of Martin Luther Kings’ assassination, and then his hotel room (and the room next door) have been recreated as they were on the day of the assassination.  And the music is playing which Martin Luther King had requested be played at the demonstration later that evening.   This takes your breath away.

The museum tells a story which is very difficult to hear, but none the less, needs to be heard.

I then headed back downtown, taking a million of sign photos for Noah, to meet up with the fellas at the Peabody to watch the march of the Peabody Ducks.  Elwood loved it.  It is hysterical watching the ducks on the red carpet, getting into the lift, and heading off to their pent house.  Lots of pomp and circumstance for ducks!

We then hit the road, not knowing where we might end up! (Vanessa – that’s for you!).  All we knew was that tomorrow evening we plan to be back on the Mother Road in Missouri.

So, imagine our surprise when we end up in Arkansa.  Admittedly, this would not have been a surprise had we looked at the map, as it is en route.  But we had not looked at a map and it was a lovely surprise.

Bit of a crazy drive.  But the most amazing sunset ever.  We were captivated and it was easy to feel like the luckiest people in the land just to witness it.

We listened to our new Levi Lowrey CD all day –it is the perfect road trip companion.

And now we find ourselves in Hardy, Arkansa.  We have only driven though the town to our hotel in the dark so far, but we are already hooked.  Looks amazing and Noah got that crazy 'I’m going to take shed loads of photos’ look in his eyes.  They have even got a shop called Goths R Us. 

Out little fella is tucked up in bed, and we are going in pretty hard on the snacks.

We are so excited about the road ahead.

It’s all good.  Good night, sleep tight.  x
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Helen on

I am addicted to your blog! Australia awaits you!

noah_and_bree on

I am addicted to your nachos - do you think we can make an arrangement? bx

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