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2/23/23 Memphis to Hot Springs

There's always something on my mind while I'm driving. It's a good time to sort things out, though I confess that today, my goal was to figure out a structure to each day that includes roaming aimlessly, driving, exercising and working, and I've still not figured out the right rhythm. There are things I love about arriving somewhere new around 5. It's a time of expectation and often nice light. There's an opportunity to have a poke around without committing to a full tour. The issue, though, is that it means I'm driving during the day which continues to feel wasteful. So, still working on that. Because I'm not in a rhythm, I've not been paying enough attention to work and have not been as diligent as I could, which then rankles me for the rest of the day.

The hotel in Memphis was a 3.5 star, so on a downward trend. As mentioned, the room smelled awful and then, the lock on the gym broke and I was locked in there, first alone, and then again, when the hotel worker came inside to show me what I was doing wrong, and locked both of us in. Had I been more virtuous, I would have jumped back on the treadmill and run until the key man came and busted us out, but it didn't seem sociable. These southerners really are warm and friendly. I was called honey and darlin' at dinner tonight.

Beale Street is fun, charming, has a nice history that is taken seriously with the many historic signs. But it's a couple of blocks long and the rest of the Memphis I saw was both deserted and I full of blight. When trips to Mud Island (which is exactly that visually), are one of the top 5 suggestions of ways to be entertained in Memphis, it's a sign that all is concentrated on music. The starting price to get inside Graceland is $79.50, and goes up from there, if you want to see his airplane fleet! When I google imaged the interior, it looked like my aunt and uncle's when I was growing up, which I got to see for free (well, sometimes I was forced to eat dried out timpana, which was no party). So I passed on that.

I'm in Hot Springs, Arkansas now, home to Bill Clinton when he was a boy, and a funny mixture of Palm Springs, some town I went to in the Adirondacks and probably somewhere else. Back when professional baseball was fun, the players would drink too much and then come to Hot Springs to detox. It's a pretty place, in the more hilly (western) part of the state, the eastern being really the Mississippi River bank (much was flooded and brown). I have taken the plunge into the 2.5 star hotel for $63 a night and I'm trying to be a big girl about it. I see guests for whom it's apparent that they're on a special trip, which is a good reminder to me of lots of things. I had dinner at a local pizza place and all the tables were filled with 6, 8 or 10 people who came in together, mostly families. Virtually no couples and I was certainly the only person alone. Of course I tried to eavesdrop and heard only conversations about baseball and horse racing, but I'm sure there was more. There was a warmth and connection at these tables that I don't see much on the east coast. Arkansas seems a happier state than the others.

Things I saw or was thinking about:

  • Real farmers in real overalls

  • Scott Hamilton Drive

  • A sign for Texarkana

  • A sign saying "Our jerky is made in the USA"

  • Not one coffee shop in downtown Hot Springs (maybe I missed it)

  • The eastern part of Arkansas is so flat and there's really nothing. It made me think of all the distractions we have in Boston and I wondered what people, especially kids, do there.

Love this sign on Beale St.

And this

Didn't see any people who looked like them, but nice idea.

For some kind of BBQ ribs cookof

I guess

Love this freshly painted building on Beale Street

Sadly, there was more of this in Memphis, than anything else.

One of many interesting breakfast spots

Hot Springs bathhouse, now a national monument

Another Hot Springs bath house

And another

This was the vibe

Intended to come back the next morning, but didn't want to fall asleep at the wheel.

Old and new in Hot Springs

View I saw many times in many different locales. This one in Eastern Arkansas.


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