Traveling through Tennessee to Maryland and Washington, DC – Beale Street, the Memphis Pyramid, Nashville’s Bluebird Cafe and the National Mall
By law, a travel article about Memphis must reference the Marc Cohn song, so bear with me.
The Sweep, Part 2, Tennessee to Maryland
Leaving Little Rock, I headed to the land of the delta blues, staying in a state park just three miles from Graceland and six from downtown.
Walking down Beale street, I didn’t feel the need to keep my feet ten feet off. There was live music everywhere, drinking in the street, smoking and pot in the bars, and historic spots like Sun Records just around the corner. A happy, energetic party every night, and yes, there was catfish on the table and gospel in the air too.
The Memphis Pyramid, originally a 20,000 seat basketball arena, now a gigantic Bass Pro Shop, on the banks of the Mississippi river, is completely insane. There’s lakes, rivers, shooting range, archery range, hotel and more inside the pyramid. I took the 28 story free standing glass elevator inside to the apex for lunch and the observation deck. A must see in town.
The most moving outing, however, was the National Civil Rights Museum at the site of the former Lorraine Motel. The massive museum covers everything from the start of slave trade through the present day, with special emphasis, of course, on the assassination of Martin Luther King.
Moving on to Nashville, my main goal was to get into the Bluebird Cafe, which I wasn’t able to do the last time I was in town. Reservations are all but impossible to get and only 10-12 seats are available for walk ups. It took three tries but I did make it in.
College Park, Maryland – Washington, D.C.
To visit Washington, DC, I camped at the Greenbelt National Park in College Park, MD. Pro tip – if you are driving through Maryland without an EZ Pass you need a wad of cash. I spent $70 in tolls from Petersburg, VA to College Park.
I was last in DC about 54 years ago. All I can remember from that family trip was the Lincoln Memorial.
Since I may not remember anything at all in a few years, here are a few pictures.
Next Up: The Sweep Part 3 – West Virginia, Delaware and New Jersey