36 Hours in Memphis

May 6, 2010

New Orleans may be the “Big Easy” and the home of jazz, but you can have it; I’ll take Memphis.  Just as the pulse of New Orleans is centered on Bourbon Street, Memphis occurs within a mile radius of Beale Street.  Within that mile you’ll find Sun Studios, the record label that made such legends as Elvis Presley and Jonny Cash famous.  You’ll also find the National Civil Rights museum, which is located at the Lorraine Motel, where Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated.  The museum offers a powerful movie called “The Witness” that discusses the events leading up to Dr. King’s death. The FedEx Center is home to the new Memphis Grizzlies, and the Red Birds are a minor league baseball team that feeds the St. Louis Cardinals franchise.  And then there is the Beale itself: two blocks of the world’s best Blues, with an atmosphere that makes it feel like a carnival, even on a Tuesday night!

The Lorraine Hotel, where Martin Luther King, Jr. was shot.

Our hosts for the weekend were Barry and Will, officers of the local cycling club.  They took us out to the Historic Rendezvous for dinner, where we ate ribs.  Then they gave us tickets for free access to all the places on Beale Street.  The best place that night was the Blues Hall and Juke Joint.  Justin and I sat at one of their street windows, absorbing the music while watching the action on the street.  The night ended in a Karaoke joint, where some great eighties ballads were belted out by the team.

The Blues Hall on historic Beale Street.

In the morning I was off with Bryce, Maggie, Jeff and Adam to go to one of the local greasy spoons for some breakfast.  Refueled, we headed down to UT-Memphis medical school to do what we do best: talk about global health.  Then it was time to check out Memphis before meeting up with Barry and some of his physician friends at the Red Bird’s game.  It was perfect weather to be in Memphis.  The days were warm, but the nights were cool and clear.  Sitting on the lawn at a minor league baseball game was the perfect way to end our stay in this majestic town.

In the morning, Barry and Will were back to bring us a breakfast of fruit and Duncan Donuts.  They gave us some helpful hints about directions out of town, and one of their teammates even biked with us for the first section.  In terms of hospitality, Memphis blew away any location we’ve been thus far.  This is real Southern hospitality.  It is definitely a great addition to our new route, and definitely on my list of places to visit again.

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One Response to “36 Hours in Memphis”

  1. David Bayly said

    Andy,

    I’m really enjoying your blogging. Keep up the good work. You made me want to visit Texas with your posts from there.

    I’m off to Florida in a week. Cheryl leaves for Switzerland with Aleaha Monday. We all get back in about a month from Monday.

    Returned the bike I wrote about several weeks ago. It had a large bash in the front of the carbon frame I didn’t see upon buying–and wasn’t informed of. Have bought, via Ebay, a 2009 Cannondale Six Carbon 3 which I will pick up in Florida.

    Keep safe. I’ll be praying for you.

    David

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