Thursday, April 23, 2009

Memphis -- Day Four

Before I get into Day Four, please note that I added a couple of things to Day Three this morning because I ran out of time yesterday. So take a look at a more expansive restaurant review (at Mike's request), including a link to Interstate's website, plus the nightly movie on the all-Elvis-all-the-time channel.

OK, so here's a rundown of yesterday's adventure!

Here's a hint:

Take me out to the ballgame
Take me out to the crowd;
Buy me some peanuts and Cracker Jack
I don't care if I ever get back...

We went to Autozone Park to see the hometown Memphis Redbirds against the Nashville Sounds.

The Redbirds are a AAA affiliate of the St. Louis Cardinals (I still don't quite get how that works).

It was a gorgeous day, about 74 degrees -- a great day for a ballgame. We had ideal seats on the second level, right behind home plate.

I don't know much about baseball, so thank goodness Tom was there.

He clued me in on the secret strategies he saw the coaches working out with the hitters, the signals between the pitchers and the catchers, what's happening during a pow-wow on the pitcher's mound, what to discern from the goings on in the bullpen, all that sporty "guy" stuff. It was fascinating and I learned a lot.

Our Redbirds won the game with a score of 3-1.

I thought my daily ceiling shot looked pretty good in the viewfinder, but now that I see it full size it leaves a lot to be desired. It's the overhang that we were under at the stadium

After the game, we drove around the area known as mid-town, where we came across something that made us practically jump for joy:

There was a questionable-looking woman under the sign, clearly waiting for some business to come along (if you know what I mean), and I think she thought I was trying to take a photo of her. She approached our car and asked what we were doing. When I explained that I was only taking a photo of the sign and that we were really excited about it, she said, "Y'all must not be from around here" and walked away.

Here's the side of the market.

We did a little more exploring around Memphis, just driving around.

Here's one of their ancient electric trolley cars that seem to be everywhere, each in a different color. I guess this one is their version of the Blue Line.

Memphis City Hall. It was somewhat disappointing because we were expecting a beautiful historic building.

Next we decided to take a drive over the Memphis to Arkansas Bridge (the one the locals call the Dolly Parton Bridge) and do a little exploring on the other side in rural northeastern Arkansas.

The bridge crosses over the mighty Mississippi, which in these parts the people pronounce Miz-Sippy. In fact, the state line goes right through the middle of the river.

Once we arrived on terra firma, we were on I-55 and took the Highway 61 exit toward Osceola, which sounded to us like it would be an interesting little Arkansas town. Highway 61 is really just a back country road -- exactly what we hoped we would find. We headed deep into the countryside.

We saw a lot of these:

And these:

Welcome to Frenchman's Bayou, Arkansas, which is deserted now. It's right next to the railroad tracks. We decided that after the Interstate was built a few miles away, a lot of these little villages dried up and were abandoned.

We got a little nervous because we kept kept going deeper and deeper into the countryside and it was getting later and later in the day, and still no Osceola. So first chance we got, we hooked around onto another route and got back on the I-55, which led us to...Osceola!

Trust the car; the car knows.

A few photos from Osceola, which is a lovely town in the absolute middle of nowhere:

This is definitely old-time religion country. These signs were everywhere in front yards, and there seemed to be a church on every corner.

There are stately homes in lush neighborhoods.

Osceola City Hall:

The courthouse:

And the old courthouse, which is all boarded up. I don't know what the plan is for this property.

It was getting dark, so we wanted to get some dinner before heading back to Memphis. On the way out of Osceola, we came across this simple little restaurant called the Sandbar Grille. What a find! It's family-friendly and it was packed. Surprisingly, the menu was chock full of interesting choices at reasonably cheap prices.

I had succulent, classic chicken piccata with angel hair pasta (my mouth is watering as I write this!) and Tom had a chopped steak with a baked potato. We each had salad, a glass of wine, and for dessert we shared a piece of chocolate pound cake that was out of this world. We both said that if we had ordered this food in Pasadena, this would have been a $100 meal. Total price, including wine, dessert and coffee: $40.

We finally got back to Memphis and headed back to the hotel, AKA Elvis Central. I keep forgetting to show you the exteriors:

Last night's feature on the all-Elvis-all-the-time channel: A compilation of TV specials that he did in the late 1960s.

More tomorrow!


Cafe Pasadena said...

Day 4. Things just get better with each day. How many Days are there in Memphis??

Please bring back some take-out menus if they deliver. That is, if you guys R ever coming back!

MG said...

Does the Dolly Parton bridge have large speed bumps?

ben wideman said...

I think you got to see future Hall of Famer, and all-time save leader, Trevor Hoffman on a rehabilitation assignment. He was pitching for the Sounds on his way back up to the bigs.

AAA is one level below the major leagues. There are several levels of minor league baseball, you got to see the cream of the crop!

I love minor league baseball. This summer I'm planning a trip to several of the California League stadiums.