We took a two-week road trip prior to departing for PigFish so that we could spend some time with our parents before jetting off to parts unknown. We spent one night in Overland Park, Kansas, one night in Albuquerque, New Mexico, three nights in Apache Junction, Arizona (where Lisa’s parents live), three nights in Green Valley, Arizona (where Robert’s parents live), a night in Eastland, Texas, two nights in Memphis, Tennessee, and two nights in Harrodsburg, Kentucky. We also stopped briefly in Nashville to visit the Johnny Cash museum and have lunch with one of Lisa’s friends. We learned a few things in our 4200 miles of driving:
- Avoiding fast food chains really isn’t that hard, and sometimes the small little cafes in the middle of nowhere can blow your socks off. We are talking about you, AJ’s Eat and Drink (http://ajseatanddrink.com/) in Macon, Missouri.
- Sometimes, even when you really don’t like a place, a little thing can make everything a bit better. For us, driving through Texas was so not fun. But then we found the fried pie. Yum….fried pie.
- The removal of DDT from the environment hasn’t just helped eagles. Hawks are thriving. We counted 300 hawks and then stopped counting. This little guy isn’t one of the wild ones, but we saw him at a raptor show at the very good Desert Museum outside of Tucson.
- Memphis is a strange but cool place. Here is what downtown Memphis looks like in the middle of the day:
Yep, no people. We joked that perhaps the rapture happened and we were left behind. We also joked that they should film the next zombie apocalypse movie in downtown Memphis because they wouldn’t need to keep back the crowds (although finding extras might be hard). That said, we enjoyed our time there very much. The Civil Rights Museum is well worth a visit, as is the Museum of Rock and Soul. We had some good BBQ. And, boy are the people that live in Memphis friendly.
- Billboards are a scourge on the planet. Robert is now calling New Mexico the Billboard State given the excessive number of billboards in that state. Do we really need 10 billboards, one right after the other, for a gas station and gift shop on the side of the road? And, seriously, who paid for the billboard in Tennessee advocating beating your child because the bible says to do so?
- Next time we do a road trip, we are going to stick to back roads. The interstate is faster, but the back roads are far more interesting. And, sometimes you stumble on something cool, like an old civil war battlefield site in the middle of nowhere. (This rule likely won’t apply if we ever have to drive through Texas again….)
- We want to go back to Kentucky. We spent a day touring distilleries, stopping at Willet, Maker’s Mark and Limestone Branch (where they make moonshine that is surprisingly good). The countryside is beautiful even in winter, and we can only imagine what it is like when the grass and trees are green. Plus, who knew that bourbon mash looked liked brains and that at least some distilleries would let you stick your finger in the mash and taste how it changes after 1, 2 or 3 days of fermenting?
Now, only 5 days until PigFish!