Day 56 - New Orleans, LA to Memphis, TN

Today we took a hard left turn and started heading North (shudder).  Yup, our general direction from here on out is towards home, but still a bunch of nifty stops to be had along the way during our last week.

Although we had another 5+ hour drive today, it was smooth sailing all the way to Memphis and we pulled into town mid-afternoon.  

Memphis was one of those cities where the hotel was actually a 'stop' on the trip - we chose The Peabody downtown.  What a classic!  There's a long and interesting history behind the property and it stands the test of time as an old beauty.  If you aren't familiar already, the property has a decades-long tradition of having a group of ducks march from their rooftop home, ride down the elevator and waddle into a fountain in the lobby every morning.  They hang out in the fountain all day and then they then run the parade the other direction in the evening.  We were in the lobby at 5:00 to watch the evening performance.  You know, it's cool.  It's ducks and kids and pomp and ceremony.  One of those things that would be way more corny if it weren't so steeped in tradition.  And the hotel rides the duck wave through every inch of its brand.  Like, a gold duck seal keeps the end of the toilet paper roll fastened down for you. Quack.

We headed out for dinner and of course needed to try the Memphis barbecue scene.  Many choices, but after getting some local tips, we settled on Central BBQ.  We are no experts, but the McNulty family is in agreement that this was some damn fine food, perhaps the best of our trip.  Simple, delicious meats, sauces, sides.  Finished it up with a little peanut butter pie.  We rolled out with smiles on our faces.

The location of the restaurant was also perfect for us to quickly shift gears and visit the National Civil Rights Museum at the Lorraine Motel.  The museum was closed, apparently hosting an evening event, but there were still some great outside exhibits and information walking through the location's significance.  Similar to other sights we have seen on the Trip, you can read, watch video, see pictures, but when you actually stand and look at the spot where Dr, King was shot, and you see the window where the shot came from, it puts historical events into a realistic perspective that just changes how you view things.  Wish we could have seen more, but the walk and conversation on the way back to the hotel with the girls was a good one.

More Memphis and other Tennessee tomorrow. 

- Jim

The Peabody.  A classic.

The lobby fountain where the ducks hang.

There was a huge crowd close to the ducks, so we went up to watch from the balcony overlooking the lobby.  The young lady in her red boots was the honorary duckmaster.

The Lorraine Motel, home of the National Civil Rights Museum.

A wreath is placed on the spot where Dr. King was shot as he stood outside his room.  Cars and other hotel details are preserved as they were April 4, 1968.