July 13, 2021, Crossville, TN- Some places are easy to get in, and rather a stretch to exit. I-40, in the Memphis area is one such.
I woke fairly early, at the Super 8, near the National Museum of Metal and the Old French Fort, in Memphis’ Riverside District. Despite the rough and tumble veneer of the area, the place was actually quite safe. I had managed to get to this crowded and lively motel, last night, by taking the circuitous I-55 south-Riverside Drive detour, made necessary by the collapse of I-40’s bridge over the Mississippi River, between Memphis and West Memphis, earlier this year. The bridge is due to re-open around July 30, but here we are. The view of Old French Fort, from my balcony, was at least rather enchanting.
Wanting to locate a comfortable coffee house in Memphis, to get at least a small bite of breakfast and some good java, I came upon a place listed as Bluff City Coffee and Bakery, diagonally across from the National Civil Rights Museum. It turns out to now be called Hustle & Dough– on the first floor of ARRIVE Boutique Hotel, serving Vice and Virtue Coffee. The vice is the delectable coffee-and maybe one or two of the shop’s richer pastries. The virtue is its line of teas, or so the story goes. “Hustle & Dough” is a play on the name of the 2005 film on Memphis life: Hustle and Flow.
After breakfast came the fun part: Getting to I-40, headed east. It took about 45 minutes, through not-unreasonable traffic, to find an entry ramp to the eastbound 240, via U.S. Routes 78 and 72, and the business district of Memphis’ east side. The long and winding road set me eastward, finally and along with a front of storm clouds, producing a healthy amount of rain, I drove over to Wildersville, and Patty’s Southern Eatery. Ginger tried to get me to go with their mixed plate of the day which, as scrumptious as it looked, would have been much more than my capacity allowed-so Classic Southern Burger, it was. The lovely lady knew better than to even breathe the word “Cobbler”, and after a leisurely hour at Patty’s, I was headed back towards my friends’ place in this Appalachian foothills town, almost equidistant from Nashville, Knoxville and Chattanooga.
It is not a hard route, though, with I-840 as a wide by-pass of Nashville, or the main road through the state capital, with all of Music City’s diversions. I got in to Crossville, shot past the driveway to R and C’s place, opted not to try and turn around at a horseshoe drive, a bit further-as a sign said “No Trespassing” and the look on the face of the teenaged girl watching me underscored that warning. Rather than incur the mouthful of sass and vinegar that would surely have followed, I simply turned around in a nearby cul-de-sac. My friends, their three cats, rooster and Muscovy duck were waiting. Homemade pizza was not far behind. (I will take Miss Ginger up on the Plate of the Day, another time.)