August 11, 2007

Here I am, back in Phoenix, Arizona after an early flight out from Memphis. A little tired and road-weary, perhaps, but no less the worse for wear. The final day of my road trip yesterday was yet another one of those examples of reality not meeting expectations – at least a little. Let me explain:

I had been driving all week and was REALLY looking forward to my visit to my friend Pat’s house for a day where someone else would do all the driving and I could play the role of passenger for a change. No deal – turns out Pat had his license suspended when he got a ticket last month in Tennessee for not driving with his seatbelt on. Whether he forgot or neglected to pay his fine on time (you be the judge), he didn’t, and he soon got a letter from the Mississippi DMV that his license to operate had been suspended. He finally paid his fine to get his license to operate in Tennessee restored, but hadn’t gotten confirmation from Mississippi that he was good to go there. So, as it turns out, I’m driving – again.

Pat had also said not to even bother bringing my wallet – the trip to Memphis was going to be his treat. Well, it’s a damned good thing I brought it with me, because we spent half the day trying to get a check for work he had performed (he does stained concrete work for developers of subdivisions) but to no avail. Seems Pat had put his 21-year old son who works for him in charge of submitting invoices for work performed to the builders while he had been on a recent vacation, and, 21 year olds being what they are when it comes to: a) responsibility, and b) managing finances, well, something got screwed up. You know how it works – the check is either supposed to be in the mail or at the bank, or the invoices never got submitted in time – one of those he said/she said things. At any rate, there were no checks were to be had – meaning no checks to be cashed, meaning that if we were going to go to Memphis for dinner, blues, and some beer it was going to have to be on my tab.

Which is what we did. We first went to Fitzgerald’s Casino in Tunica (where all the Mississippi River casinos are located), a place where Pat used to work. It had a great view of the River, and Pat took my picture in front of it for me. Then, he showed me some more of the Delta, with time for a few more pictures as well. After spending the next 3 hours trying to track down a check he could cash, we gave up and drove to Memphis. To be honest, Memphis has its share of poor, primarily African-American sections and is not the greatest of places you want to go to unless you know EXACTLY where to go and how to get there – especially if you’ll be out after dark. But, the city has done a great job rehabbing the Beale Street area and its blues bars and restaurants with new, expanded shopping areas and a minor-league ballpark that attacts a lot of pedestrian traffic to the area.

We had a wonderful plate of barbecue pork ribs at a place called Silky O’Sullivans – it was, I have to admit, the best barbecue I have ever tasted, and then checked out a few blues bars, including Run Boogie and B.B. King’s. A few beers and then it was an early night – we were back to Pat’s at 11, just about the time Beale Street would be truly livening up. It would have been nice to stay a little later, but I had to be up at 5 AM so I could drop my road-weary Ford Taurus rental (which, BTW, was a pleasure to drive the whole week) off at the Hertz rental place in time for my morning flight back to Phoenix.

So there you have it: 6 days and 2,700 miles traveled across Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Louisiana, and Misissippi, with a little Arkansas and Tennessee tossed in for good measure. It didn’t end up being the relaxing road trip I had envisioned it to be, but it was still worth doing – I think – and I saw lots of places I had always dreamed of seeing. The fact that some of them never quite lived up to my expectations and imagination was still OK – by and large, I had a lot of fun doing it. Now it’s back to reality and – thankfully – more reasonable road trips, like to the store and the bank, and the task of cleaning out my work e-mail inbox in front of me. I hope you enjoyed taking this trip along with me, it was great having y’all along for the ride.

It’s good to be back in Phoenix.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 12:06 | Comments Off on Home, James
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