July Road Notes, Day 23: Heat? What Heat?

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July 27, 2021, Castle Rock, CO- That kind of arrogance would be sure to get me into hot water, with my little family and anyone else who suffer the 100-degree plus days that seem to be in store for nearly the entirety of the Great Plains and South, over the next two weeks.

Elantra’s cooling system certainly worked like a charm today, and work it did-even in Denver, the readings were as high as 102,in late afternoon. The main function of the day was to get as far along as possible. Not before, however, I had a small breakfast at Yorkshire Inn, listening as a teacher of Authentic Bible Studies was explaining why it is important to know the original words of Scripture-to which I say “Amen!”. So much of the division we see in organized religion has stemmed from the personal interpretation of words, and differing from the personal interpretation of words, by others. Baha’u’llah says that every word, in Scripture, has “one and seventy meanings.” The teacher, this morning, gave his students the example of a passage where, in Old Hebrew, it is mentioned that certain people used a “wheeled vehicle”. This passage has been interpreted, by some modern scholars, to mean that certain people used a car!

My remaining stops in Nebraska were at Coffee Cabin, in Lexington, where I needed to sit and tend to a business matter; North Platte, for gas; and Big Springs, where Sam Bass and his gang robbed a Union Pacific train, in 1877, whilst on a foray from Texas. This little village, the last stop, westbound, in Nebraska, before I-76 presents itself as a road to Colorado, has a fine Service Area, with Max’s Diner as an especially fun surprise. The food is excellent, and healthful. There is banter aplenty, between staff members, and it’s obvious the servers and cooks are enjoying themselves.

Denver emerged out of the haze, in time for its rush hour slog. My method of going around it is to exit the freeway at University Avenue, turn on any given side street that is southbound, go east on Evans Avenue, then follow either Yale Avenue or Parker Avenue southbound to I-225, thus getting past the slowdown. From there, the feeder connects to I-25 itself.

Thus, I found the way to Castle Rock, home of Red Rocks Amphitheater. That it also falls along a direct route between Boulder and Colorado Springs is a plus. That the direct route is a toll road, is a minus. Overall, though, the day was a plus-as is being among a very pleasant group of travelers, vacationers and hospitality workers, at Castle Rock’s fairly new Day’s Inn.

Just about everything here is new, at least since I was last in Denver, in 2013. The tiny Castle Rock of that era has grown exponentially. Life sure has a way of keeping us on our toes.

July Road Notes, Day 22: Too Slight a Twist, and then…Sizzle

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July 26, 2021, York, NE- The auto heating and cooling technician took a hard look under Elantra’s hood, then a hard glance at me, and went to work on the grizzled grey one, having set aside a few other projects, that I might go on towards home, by day’s end. It turned out to be a simple matter.

The day started tamely enough, with continental breakfast at the Super 8, Fairmont, MN and a serene drive through the prairie of western Minnesota, to Sioux Falls, with the INTENT of taking in the Queen City’s signature Falls Park, and heading on to Nebraska. Wouldn’t you know, though, that in checking the water level of Elantra’s radiator, I managed to not put it on as tightly as I thought?

The piper came calling, as I drove out of Falls Park, towards I-229. The radiator’s warning signal came dinging (not silently, like the “Check Engine” light, but earnestly. I managed to turn the blower off and found an auto body shop parking lot, let the receptionist know why I was there, and called AAA. An hour later, I had added water to the radiator, determined there were no leaks and Elantra was loaded onto the tow bed. Four hours after that, the good folks at Twelfth Street Auto Care, on the west side of Sioux Falls,had squeezed Elantra into their already impossible schedule, determined that SOMEONE had not tightened the radiator cap properly, and that there were no other problems with the grizz. Properly chagrined, I thanked all concerned, profusely, and headed out.

Now, back to Falls Park. It was discovered by early settlers, in the 1850s, though the Yankton Sioux people had long celebrated the beauty and bounty of the cascades along the Big Sioux River. https://www.siouxfalls.org/parks/parks/locations/falls-park

Here are some scenes of my meanderings that followed a fine picnic lunch.

Foreground, Falls Park, Sioux Falls
A view of the lower Falls, from an observation deck
Local volunteers clean up algae and debris
The upper Falls
Ruins of the Queen Bee Flour Mill, destroyed by fire, in 1956.
The bed of Big Sioux River

It is not the Big Sioux at its fullest flow, which suited the many families who came to visit, just fine. Falls Park is a marvelous place for whiling away hot summer days-at it is expected to hit 102, in Sioux Falls, on Wednesday.

Thanks to Alex and Josh, I won’t be there. Instead, on towards Nebraska I rolled, through Elk Point and Jefferson, taking care to give a little girl on her bike, a slow and wide berth. (Jefferson is still the type of town that many of us knew, growing up, where such activities were the norm.) Sioux City came next, along with a casino town, to tis south. In both cases, restaurants were shuttered, due to lack of staff ( a temporary, but still nettlesome issue). I finally hit upon an Applebee’s, in Fremont, NE, getting a satisfying meal, despite the laconic and distracted bar tender/server.

Yorkshire Inn, in this I-80 town, became my resting place for the evening. Tomorrow, it’s on to North Platte, Sterling, Denver and as far beyond as I can get by 7 p.m. MDT.

July Road Notes, Day 21: What Matters Most

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July 25, 2021, Fairmont, MN- The passing driver fairly screamed at me, through a closed car window, as I stood on the grassy median of the quiet secondary road, waiting for the traffic light to turn in my favour, as I brought breakfast back to my motel room. I could see his scrunched up face, long after his car had passed by. An old veteran, sitting outside the motel, witnessed the whole thing and muttered something about some people not having enough to do with themselves. Such was the morning in Hudson, Wisconsin, where “morning people” seemed to consist of the energetic truck stop counterman, the cheerful motel owners, said old veteran and yours truly. Everyone else I met was either strung out about something, or just not ready to wake up fully.

Once I got on the road again, it was with a plan to visit the Minnesota State Capitol, in St. Paul, then go to George Floyd Square, in Minneapolis, and connect with a second cousin who lives in the area. I drove to the Capitol area, finding Minnesota has kept pace with its eastern neighbour, in terms of the majesty of its seat of government.

The Minnesota State Capitol, St. Paul
The Quadriga, or Progress of the State

https://www.mnhs.org/capitol/learn/art/8857

The above link describes the gilded copper figures shown above, and called The Quadriga. The four-horse chariot is driven by the male figure, who represents the State. The female figures represent Minnesota’s agriculture and industry. The four horses represent earth, fire, water and wind.

“Winter” garden, east side of Minnesota State Capitol
Minnesota State Capitol, viewed from State Veteran’s Memorial
Cathedral of St. Paul

It was upon driving to the majestic Cathedral of St. Paul, some six blocks southeast of the Capitol, that I got a call from my cousin. She and family live on the St. Paul side of the Twin Cities, so my visit with them was moved up. What a delightful group! They met me at an area coffee house and spent about thirty-five minutes, before we all had to move on with our days. I’m ever grateful to be able to connect with far-flung family. D and her mate have each done well in life. Their daughters will follow suit, from all I noted this morning. Teenagers often go through periods of self-doubt (as do the rest of us), and their feelings deserve to be taken seriously, yet I see a very solid drive in both girls. This little unit is going to be just fine.

Gathering at a Caribou Coffee Shop (above and below)

From family reunion of sorts to honouring sacrifice, I drove to George Floyd Square, on Minneapolis’ south side. Parking well away from the square, I spent about an hour in prayer, listening and carefully contemplating the faces and descriptions of each shooting victim whose death is commemorated there. There was only concern and compassion being shown, by both those visiting and those who are tending the site.

The late John Lewis called for “Good trouble”.
Amanda Gorman had it nailed.

George Floyd Square, Minneapolis

Call it untidy, messy, or even inconvenient, if you will. I would say the events that led to this site’s establishment were very untidy, extremely messy and most inconvenient-for the people who have suffered, and, ultimately, for those who brought about their suffering.

Say Their Names Memorial Cemetery, 37th Street, south of Chicago Avenue, Minneapolis

A dedicated crew of volunteers was busy, at this collective memorial for African-American people of colour killed, under questionable or objectionable circumstances, over the past sixty-six years. One of the earliest such victims, Emmett Till, would have turned eighty years of age today. When he was killed, I was four years old, and he was fourteen. I barely remember, the very next day, one of my cousins mentioned that a “coloured boy”, not much older than he, had been killed by “some crazy people” in a place called Mississippi. I didn’t know who coloured people were, nor where Mississippi even was, but I knew it was wrong for one person to kill another. It was also strange to me that a child should have died. Death was for old people, like my paternal grandfather, who had recently passed away-and he was not all that old.

It is still strange, and I still regard such atrocities as crazy. It would be the same, were any group of people to be subjected to such treatment-regardless of age, or of “race”.

July Road Notes, Day 20: Majestic

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July 24, 2021, Hudson, WI- The clerk sighed as she noted that the bar code on the tag of the book had faded. The bookstore had been physically closed for nearly fifteen months, before the Baha’i House of Worship, Wilmette, re-opened on July 1. The staff are re-tagging items, as time allows, but I was buying one of the outliers.

I could have sat and talked with my friend, Val, and her husband, Mark, had he returned from his morning exercise, but there was the re-visit to the House of Worship, and crossing the city of Chicago en route, so I left Mishawaka around 9 a.m., crossed into Central Time, and found that, mostly, Chicago had relatively light traffic. In the Windy City, that means the traffic flows at 15 MPH, there are few horns blaring and any complete stops are limited to twenty seconds or less.

I got to Wilmette at 11 a.m., a first! That left time for lunch, in the village center, for which I chose a lovely little brunch establishment called Hot Cakes Cafe. Many stand alone eateries in Wilmette are cash-only, as is Hot Cakes, so I stopped at an ATM first.

The House of Worship and Visitor Center were very popular, as usual, and there was a wedding photo shoot in progress, outside, which is not uncommon. I had to wait a bit for the bookstore to open, as it was still lunchtime when I arrived. Then came the finding, regarding the bar code, which simply led to the clerk punching in the number manually. That would not be a sustainable practice, over time, so the staff will have their work cut out for them, over the next few weeks.

The Temple, or Mashriqu’l-adhkar, as it is properly called, remains as stately as ever, and is increasingly a place of pride for the North Shore of Chicagoland. I have posted many photos of this sublime treasure, in the past, but here are a few from today’s pilgrimage.

Baha’i House of Worship, Wilmette, South Face
Courtyard, outside Visitor Center, Baha’i House of Worship, Wilmette (above and below)

After praying a while, in the temple itself, it was time to head north and west, into and across Wisconsin. The rolling hills and glacial moraines of the “Dairy State” passed easily by, until I came to the state capital, Madison. There are several people, in Wisconsin and across the Midwest, whom I could call on and see if they are up for a visit-and that was the original plan. Then came my medical appointment on July 29, and thus, the week shaved off this jaunt. The Wisconsin State Capitol, though, is majestic in its way. So, when I stopped at a convenient Panera Bread, for dinner, and saw the edifice shimmering in the late afternoon glow, it was time for another walkaround.

Wisconsin State Capitol, Madison, north view
Wisconsin State Capitol, Madison, east view

I walked completely around the structure and its grounds, then determined it was time to head as far west as possible, before calling it a night. As it is a Saturday night in July, I found motels were booked pretty solidly-until I got here, on the Minnesota state line, and at Regency Inn and Suites was the perfect room.

Sunday’s business is to pay my respects to those who were killed in confrontations between police and civilians, over the past several years. In my case, I include both parties-as whoever misuses firepower, to get their own way, is at fault. Law and order are important-and being necessary for a society to function, must be based on equanimity of justice. So, I will go to the George Floyd Global Memorial-not because George lived a saintly life (he didn’t), but because his transgressions did not warrant his death.

I saw majestic sights today- the Chicago skyline, the Baha’i House of Worship and the Wisconsin State Capitol. Can we not strive towards being majestic in character?

July Road Notes, Day 19: Slow Slogs and A Road Mis-taken

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July 23, 2021, Mishawaka- There is something about ending up in a state that was not on the itinerary. One learns, anew, that basic goodness transcends any physical boundary. Another lesson is that, by turning off and restarting one’s phone, the annoying “You’re offline!” message from GPS disappears, and the more sensible Google map (or WAZE) pops up and gets the job done.

I enjoyed a comfortable shower, at Du Bois Manor, then a simple, delightful breakfast at the Hitching Post, one of two dining establishments on Du Bois’ east side. It is comforting to be among locals, at a morning meal in a small city.

The road west, through Ohio, was fairly straightforward, but very slow in places. One Service Area, just west of the Pennsylvania state line, appeared to be a work in progress. There were none of the usual restaurants, and no WiFi. I kept on going, and thankfully did not run into REALLY slow traffic, until just shy of the Indiana state line. We sat, about 200 in number, for almost an hour, though we did inch forward-usually at about the time my GPS tried to kick in, for directions to my friends’ house in Mishawaka.

By the time I reached the Mishawaka exit, the GPS had decided to call it a day. Heading somewhat blindly north, it was not long before I found myself at a corner gas station-in Niles, Michigan. As that little town was not on the itinerary, I got re-oriented southbound, with help from a very detail-oriented local resident. Calling my friends, the rest of the route came through, very clearly. By now, though, I was in downtown South Bend, and was not accepting the “You’re offline!” nonsense- in a Free WiFi zone, no less. So, restart the phone, it was- and a scant two minutes later, I was en route, directly, to Mishawaka.

Val and Sparky are always gracious hosts, cordially waiting for my arrival, before dinner became a fait accompli. A summer salad is always welcome, even at a later hour than usual. So, here I am, enjoying the last scheduled visit with friends, as my trip westward will gear towards the Baha’i House of Worship, in Wilmette, newly re-opened, after a year’s pandemic protocol.

There is always a positive lesson, even when it looks as if misfortune chuckles.

July Road Notes, Day 15: Reckonings

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July 19, 2021, Saugus- It was bound to happen-after 1 1/2 long journeys, my sad old tires had to be turned into road filler. I purchased four new replacements. The days when retreads or used tires sufficed are long gone. So are the days when I took a chance, and dealt with blowouts.

Laundry got done today, also. The small local laundromat was different. A single, harried attendant mans a cramped facility, with good machines-but unlike the coin laundries in the west and south, this one had no waiting area for patrons, save a couple of chairs outside. That said, it is an agreeable place, and the attendant has plenty of regulars who offer kind words and help him-and each other.

A maternal aunt-by-marriage passed away, late last week. She was a paragon of elegance, and one of the kindest people I’ve ever known. If I were to follow the example set by Sabina LaSala Kusch, a lot of the now occasional conflict in my life would be expunged. We didn’t see much of Aunt Sabina, growing up, but her demeanor was always pleasant.

There remain the constant appeals for money, from Africa. I know that others have life far tougher than I do, but what if a large number of people were to band together and offer small donations, instead of assuming that one person can take on a project, start to finish, by self? As it is, my own debts are coming due-and I intend to meet these, honourably-even if a few people regard my refusal to keep donating to THEM-as treachery.

Reckonings are tricky. Karma may strike, even when one sees self as justified in one’s actions. I will take whatever consequences come about, but will not put energy into attracting negativity. I only wish for the best for others, even if I cannot provide it by myself.

July Road Notes, Day 14: Drizzle and Sizzle

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July 18, 2021, Saugus- I woke, surprisingly refreshed, at the Econolodge, in Sharon, MA, this morning. With a clearer sense of location, the route was south to Red, White and Brew Coffee House, which shares a space with a local artists’ venue, called The Budding Violet, in North Smithfield, R.I.. A young Exceptional Abilities man, and his parents, are the driving force behind RWB. I first learned of this establishment in 2019, and planned to visit it last summer, but we know how things went.

The family was pleased that their shop was included on this itinerary, but I can’t envision not going there, and certainly will do so, in subsequent trips to New England. I will be more careful to make reservations at a reputable place of accommodations, next time.

Red, White and Brew Coffee House/The Budding Violet Gallery, North Smithfield, R.I.
A planter, offered by The Budding Violet
Words of Wisdom

The weather here has been rainy, over the past few days and will remain so, tomorrow, it is forecast. I should like to move some of the rain that both the Northeast and the Southwest have been receiving lately, and share it with the sizzling, burning Northwest. The heartbreak is palpable, as some are going through their third and fourth summers, in a row, of being on Ready, Set, Go status.

I will be here in Saugus, for another two days, and am pleased that Mom appears well, is asserting her independence and has adopted a “Don’t worry, be happy” outlook. Being a nonagenarian does allow for such liberties. She was the consummate social conscience for a great many years. That social conscience was transferred to me, early on, and so it continues.

July Road Notes, Day 12: One Home after Another

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July 16, 2021, Oley- One of the things Penny used to say was that, wherever we went, someone would “adopt” me. This has been a nice feature of travel, all along, especially since I’ve been back on my own. Most people who befriend me in that way have been sincere. Of course, there are those with a “victim” mentality, who couple their expressions of “brotherhood” with pleas for money, but that is a story best set aside, for now.

The Village Inn, where I stayed last night, is a gem on Harrisonburg’s southern edge. A full breakfast buffet awaited, this morning. I brought my face mask, just in case, and there were gloves to use, but few people took the hint. The meal was hearty, and the grandmotherly attendant kept everyone well-supplied with coffee, tea, juice and cool water. I was barely out the door to my room by check-out time.

My downtown visit took in several areas on the Near South Side that had gone overlooked in the past-as my earlier focuses were Artful Dodger Café (now defunct) and James Madison University. The cafe’s site is now occupied by a similarly-themed Duke’s Restaurant and Bar. The place is every bit as welcoming as Artful was, and it is nice to have new friends as my northwest Virginia “anchor”.

Here are some scenes of this Harrisonburg stopover.

Harrisonburg City Hall, on the east entrance
Same building, on the south entrance
Even the local Parts Association has a festive mien!
Pendleton Community Bank has inherited quite a fortress.
Here is Duke’s, where Artful’s friendly people have been succeeded by new friendly people. It still feels like home.
As with any community, all has not been fun and games in Harrisonburg. The people here own up to the truth, though, and this dark incident in “H’burg’s” past will never be swept under the rug.

I left Harrisonburg, after getting a takeout lunch item, to be savoured at my next stop up the Spine of Virginia: Winchester. My first stop there was at a city park, to enjoy lunch in the shade.

Jim Barnett Park, Winchester, VA

Old Town Winchester is a marvel of a place, including a Pedestrian Mall along Loudoun Street. It has plenty of shops and historical markers, and a spacious Splash Pad for kids of all ages to enjoy.

This law office building is an example of mid-Nineteenth Century Winchester’s edifices.
Grace Evangelical Lutheran Church added to its property, as the congregation grew. Thus, it is a “two-tone” parish.
The Handley Library affirms Winchester’s commitment to learning for all. The South has come a long way out of the darkness, and there will, in the long term, be no going back, in any real sense.
Winchester’s Civil War Museum places the full story in an institution of learning, where it belongs.
Winchester’s Rouss City Hall is named for Charles Broadway Rouss, an entrepreneur who donated half of the funds needed to build the edifice. https://www.winchesterva.gov/rouss-city-hall-history

After passing the delightful Splash Pad (not shown here, as there were several children at play in the spot), I headed out of Winchester and up through West Virginia’s “Pot Handle”, a small nub of central Maryland and across Pennsylvania, to yet another home: Glick’s Greenhouse, which is in the process of getting newer and better. More on that, in the next post.

Unicorns will always have a place in my heart, and I’m not concerned about the colours. Rainbows belong to everyone,

July Road Notes, Day 11: Alone in A Small Fort

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July 15, 2021, Harrisonburg- Every so often, I encounter a soul who tosses out a corner of the truth, even as the greater arc of history escapes him. Such was my visit to James White’s Fort, in Knoxville, this afternoon.

I bid farewell to my stalwart friends in Crossville, around 10:30 CDT, then headed to northeast Tennessee’s cultural and commercial hub, with the intent of getting Elantra serviced, though nothing is amiss with my trusted steed, at this point. A pair of slowdowns, which were mainly pre-emptive reactions by a few commercial rigs to warnings about “construction”, (there was none in progress), added nearly an hour to the fifty-minute drive. Thus, the decision was made to wait until I get to Saugus, to have the oil & lube done. Friends in Knoxville were also not available to visit, so my stop there consisted of lunch, a walk around the Court District and a visit to the above- mentioned fort.

The Court District includes, among its amenities, a fine little establishment called Yasmin’s Kitchen. It’s a Kosher Moroccan restaurant, and the “plates” are filled with delectable Mediterranean staples, sufficient for two meals. The cheerful young ladies running the place made everyone in the busy lunch crowd feel at home. Yes, that’s what cheerful people tend to do, and it was a much-needed break from the late morning’s road grind. It also saved me from a dinner stop, as plenty was left over, in the falafel plate.

The Knox County Courthouse includes a spacious yard, where a few people were whiling away their lunch hour. Here are a few scenes of the Court District.

Knox County Courthouse
Courthouse Garden
“Beloved Woman of Justice”, by Audrey Flack

The area also has a couple of churches, of architectural note.

First Baptist Church, downtown Knoxville
St. John’s Cathedral, downtown Knoxville

Then, there is this memento of the 1982 Knoxville World’s Fair (Knoxville International Energy Exposition).

Knoxville Sunsphere

Whilst looking for a Riverwalk, of sorts, I found the Holston River was fairly surrounded by private enterprise: A well-guarded Marina, a branch of Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse and an outfitter called Outdoor Knoxville Adventure Center. Giving up, at least for now, on the riverbank hike, I spotted James White’s Fort.

The docent was chatty, if flinty-eyed, and gave me a well-practiced primer on early Knoxville. He then sent me off, on the short but jam-packed walk around the compound. It is quite similar, in terms of household goods and furniture, to other historical sites of the late Eighteenth Century, particularly those of the Appalachian frontier. Nonetheless, this is the beginning of Knoxville’s story. https://knoxheritage.org/our-work/neighborhood-tours/historic-downtown-knoxville-walking-tour/james-whites-fort/

James White’s Fort-Courtyard, Main House (left) and kitchen (right)
Outside storage, kitchen area

As an indication of my mildly fatigued state, I was puzzled by this sight. It looked, to my mind’s eye, like the cover of a land mine. I later showed the photo to the docent, whose flinty eyes just got a bit flintier. “That is an upside-down kitchen pot”, though he acknowledged the land mine cover as a possible interpretation.

Dogtrot, so named because it was a place to sit, during the Dog Days of summer.
Main kitchen
Hearth and study, Main House
Sleeping area, Main House
Salt bin, outdoor grill and secondary pantry
Loom, in artifacts building
Mr. White’s tool room (I’ll bet he wished for such relief, as the modern air conditioner shown above!)
Forge and bellows, Blacksmith Shop
Courtyard, James White’s Fort

After my walk-around, the docent asked me a rather simple question: “Since you’re from Massachusetts originally, where was the first per European settlement, in these United States?” My overloaded, foggy brain heard “Massachusetts” and replied, “Plymouth”. AAAIIT! Wrong answer! “Nope, it was Jamestown, 1607”. Turns out, though, we were both wrong, at that point. I remembered, later, about St. Augustine (1565), the real first permanent European settlement in what is now the United States. He then made other comments, that suggested he may be in for some surprises, in the months and years ahead.

No harm, no foul-and on I went on my way- up the road to this Shenandoah

July Road Notes, Day 9: Windy Road Out of Town

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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.

Old French Fort, near President’s Island, Memphis

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.

Entrance to Hustle & Dough Coffee House/ARRIVE Hotel, Memphis

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.)