Monday, July 11, 2011

Day 17: Come Hell or High Water

Thursday, May 12

After a long day on the road yesterday, and two more long driving days ahead of us, we took our sweet time at the hotel this morning. The Jedi took Toa of Boy swimming in the hotel's indoor pool while Sweetling got a shower and hung out in the room and I uploaded ever more photos to my blog. It felt so good not to be on a time table this morning.

Even though the morning was leisurely, we were still out the door and leaving Oklahoma City by 9:33....further proof that we have this whole hotel/travel thing down to a science. It was 69 degrees, with a slight chance of rain, and an expected high of 88.

Once again, our plan was to eat up the miles. We didn't have many stops scheduled for the day. We grabbed lunch at Arby's and ate in the car....and I got my second turn behind the wheel for the entire trip.

(On a side note, I don't know what the bunny did to deserve this fate....)

The one stop we did make was a slight side trip to DeValles Bluff, a small family run pie shop. We drove back and forth on what I guess was a main street to this small little town before we found it. The pie shop is a small cinderblock building behind a residence. I personally didn't take any photos while we were there, because I didn't want to risk being rude. But, here's a photo from Road Food.

Because its run by a sweet grandmotherly woman named Mary, it is hit or miss as to what types of pie she felt like baking that day and when she sells out. Today's pies were chocolate cream, with a homemade meringue, or coconut cream. Which means, we bought a chocolate cream pie which I was tasked with eating ALL BY MYSELF. What a darn shame that was for me ;)

Mary gave us some styrofoam containers so that we could cut the pie up and fit it in our little refrigerated cooler in the van. She said she had made some turnovers earlier that morning, but that they sold out very quickly, since the National Guard was stationed nearby and they had been coming in to buy treats from her.

Back outside, I chatted with one of Mary's neighbors. I told her how excited I was to have a real meringue on my pie. I don't think I've had that since Mammaw was alive. Oh sure, Mammaw showed me how to make a meringue. And when Mammaw was standing right beside me in the kitchen, my meringue turned out "right fine". But when I try to make it on my own, it flops, melts, becomes rubbery, and generally inedible.

We also went across the street to a bbq joint, where the Jedi got a pulled pork sandwich to snack on. Sadly for the Jedi, they had put coleslaw on the guess who scored herself a pulled pork sandwich too?

Driving out of town, following the little state route 33 north or east or something to get back to the interstate, we came across the National Guard. There they were, with a barricade across the road, some military vehicle parked beside it, and soldiers in fatigues hanging out in lawn chairs. The area to the north and the west of us was completely flooded. So, we turned around, and backtracked back to the west to get back to the interstate the way we had come. Again, I didn't snap a photo. My hands were too covered in bbq to work the camera.

For miles as we headed east towards the river, we would pass one field where a farmer was out plowing his field, then several that were completely flooded, then a field where the farmer was out plowing, then more flooding. Sometimes roofs of houses were just visible above the waters.
The picture is deceptive, because it looks just like a lake. It isn't a lake. The line of trees marks the edge of someone's crop field. See how close the water comes to the highway embankment?

As we drew closer to the river, the land was just completely underwater for a good two to three miles.

Our destination was Memphis, Tennessee, where we were planning to spend the night and attend Memphis in May in the morning. The traditional location for the BBQ festival was a park next to the river. Since the park was completely flooded out, they had moved the location to the local fairgrounds, several miles further inland.

The motto for this years Memphis in May had become "Come Hell or High Water." You can see why.

Because we knew some roads downtown were closed due to flooding, and because the site of the festival had been changed, the Jedi had canceled our reservation at a down town hotel and moved it to a motel much closer to the festival.

We drove in to downtown Memphis, found a reasonably priced parking lot, and walked over to Rendezvous for dinner. It was good, but different. The rib rub seemed pretty heavy on the chili powder. Not too heavy, mind, but just a lot different than what we are used too. The place was totally packed out, and the bulk of the seating was in this underground labyrinth of rooms with distressed brick walls and small round wood tables. So, I felt a little claustrophobic, but it was still a nice restaurant and I'm glad we went.

After dinner, we climbed back in our van and headed out to find our motel. Once we did, we sat in the tiny, barely off the street parking lot trying to decide what to do. It was too late to cancel our reservation, and yet it was clear that this little "Roadway Inn" was not in a fairly rough neighborhood. With our van just feet off the sidewalk and our big car top luggage carrier, we just didn't feel like the van was safe where it was. There was a hospital nearby, and the hospital's secure parking garage and its big fenced gated parking lot was right across from the motel. So, the Jedi suggested that we drive over and ask about parking there for a nightly rate or whatever. The attendants in the parking lot totally understood our situation, and told us where we could park in the lot and not to worry about it.

So that's what we did. We parked in the secure, fenced, well lit lot, grabbed what we needed from the van for the night, and walked back to the motel. Inside, the room was one of the biggest we stayed in. It was clean, and everything was in good condition. We hung out for the evening, and I had a, um, few, pieces of my delicious chocolate pie.

Read from Day One
Back to Day 16
On to Day 18

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