I told Julie that she could plan the whole trip to California. I was too busy finishing up life in Indiana and a 20-year job. She had help from our Brother Kerry. So when we set out on Sunday, I really only had a rough idea of where we were going.
I drove the whole day and when we left I just told my phone ap Waze that we wanted to go to Memphis, Tennessee and I took directions well. I will admit up front that I really had no idea where Memphis was (except somewhere in the state of Tennessee). I was really surprised to find us in Illinois! We were actually pretty far in to Illinois before I realized it. And THEN we found ourselves in MISSOURI! I mean, I thought we were headed south. And then we were sure we would be in Tennessee soon, but NOOOO, we passed through Arkansas!! We finally made it to Memphis and wended our way downtown where we had booked a cheap hotel.
But let me back up a minute and tell you the highlight of our first day. We saw a sign that said World Largest Wind Chimes…Get off at the next exit! Of course we had to do it! So, this little town, Casey, Illinois, (this is how I found out we were in Illinois) had the world’s largest EVERYTHING!!
Rocking chair, pencil, bird cage, wind chimes, golf tee, mailbox, ruler! Hilarious. So instead of getting back onto I70, we took Highway 40 for a long while just for a change of scenery.
Back to Memphis: We pulled up to the hotel and we realized instantly that we were not going to stay there. You know the kind. It wasn’t completely just the look of the place. Well, maybe, yes it was. But it was also the fact that I had SO MUCH of my stuff in the back of the car and I wanted it to still be there in the morning. So we cancelled the reservation and booked another one that ended up being only a tad bit better than the other. I was never so relieved to see my car AND my belongings still packed in the car in the morning. (Julie wants me to describe the hotel. I refuse.)
When I told my daughter Sierra that we actually drove away from a hotel due to shadiness, she texted back “That says a lot considering I remember staying in one [as a child traveling as a family] with a vibrating bed and swastikas on the walls.” Well, yes, that did happen. We barricaded the door that night. HA.
We spent the entire morning today, Monday, at the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis. It was one of the best museums I’ve ever seen. It is built in and around the Loraine Hotel where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was killed. I mean you get to look out the window of the hotel room at the exact location. You also get to be in the exact room where his killer watched and shot from. Astoundingly amazing and impactful. We rushed through to be able to leave after 3 hours. I could have spent an entire day there. I highly recommend it to everyone!!
We next drove to Little Rock, Arkansas and toured Bill Clinton’s Presidential Library in the afternoon. Again, there was so much fabulous information and interactive exhibits. We loved both museums. We ended up in Hope, Arkansas for the night. Well, actually we are lucky to have ended up in Hope tonight. For a while when we left Little Rock, I had Google Maps and Waze both talking to me at the same time and giving me directions. Before we realized what was going on, we ended up on winding, tree-lined country roads and I could swear I heard some banjos strumming!
At our Best Western motel I started talking to a couple of young men in the outdoor (and very warm) pool. Within one minute of meeting them, I found out that one man is the boss of the girlfriend of my nephew’s son who was killed last summer in Richmond, Indiana. Life is amazing.
Tomorrow we will end up in Austin at Brother Kerry’s house via Waco, Texas. We hope. Stay tuned