I Want Beer, And I Want It NOW!!!

Great choice for dinner!

Great choice for dinner!

Day 111            September 28, 2014

Little Rock, Arkansas  to  Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

For a minute, I thought we’d time travelled back to the dark ages. We tried to buy a 6-pack of beer to restock our little fridge. But guess what?! The great state of Arkansas doesn’t sell alcohol on Sundays. WTF??? And so, we left Arkansas.

Leaving Arkansas. No beer, no stay.

Leaving Arkansas. No beer, no stay.

There seemed to be an unusually large number of motorcycles also heading west on I-40. I talked to a couple of the bikers at a rest stop, and found out they were all driving home after attending a huge bike rally in Fayetteville, Arkansas. And I’m guessing they were leaving on a Sunday ‘cause they couldn’t buy any freakin’ beer!

All the bikers leaving Arkansas, in search of beer..

All the bikers leaving Arkansas, in search of beer..

Onward to Oklahoma City. There’s a funny story about Oklahoma City. A story that happened many years ago when we were driving across the country to move to California. I’m not gonna tell you the story, as it’s quite long, but it involved Mark getting locked outside our friend’s house in the middle of the night. Just a little story that we laugh about to this day…..well, I laugh about it.

Oklahoma City

Oklahoma City

I knew it’d be depressing, but, we went to see the Oklahoma City National Memorial. You know, the one that honors the victims of the 1995 bombing of the Alfred P Murrah Federal Building. It was depressing to see, but it was also very beautiful, and I’m glad we went to see it.

Oklahoma City National Memorial

Oklahoma City National Memorial

Oklahoma City National Memorial

Oklahoma City National Memorial

Oklahoma City National Memorial

Oklahoma City National Memorial

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Oklahoma City National Memorial

Oklahoma City National Memorial

Oklahoma City National Memorial

Oklahoma City National Memorial

Oklahoma City National Memorial

Oklahoma City National Memorial

Oklahoma City National Memorial

Oklahoma City National Memorial

Oklahoma City National Memorial

Oklahoma City National Memorial

Oklahoma City National Memorial

The museum @ Oklahoma City National Memorial

Oklahoma City National Memorial

Oklahoma City National Memorial

Oklahoma City National Memorial

Oklahoma City National Memorial

Personal mementos on the fence @ Oklahoma City National Memorial

Personal mementos on the fence @ Oklahoma City National Memorial

IMG_6658

After the somberness of the memorial, we needed a little pick-me-up, so we headed to the Bricktown district for some margaritas and beers. We had the most delicious dinner at Bricktown Brewery…meatloaf, fried okra and black eyed peas…totally gourmet…totally yummy!! And did I mention the awesome stout that went along with it?

Looking for margaritas in Bricktown

Looking for margaritas in Bricktown

Bricktown district

Bricktown district

Great choice for dinner!

Great choice for dinner!

Photo does not do this justice. It tasted freakin' awesomely gourmet!!

Photo does not do this justice. It tasted freakin’ awesomely gourmet!!

We docked for the night at Council Road RV Park.

Leaving the city...

Leaving the city…

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It’s Just The Big Dam Bridge….Get Over It!!!

Clinton Presidential Library

Clinton Presidential Library

Day 110        September 27, 2014

Little Rock, Arkansas

A successful start to the day can often be measured by how quickly one’s dogs do their business. This was a very successful morning! And good thing, ‘cause we had to get to the start line of the Big Dam Bridge Cycling Tour.

The bikes are ready to roll. Heading out in the early morning for the Big Dam Bridge ride.

The bikes are ready to roll. Heading out in the early morning for the Big Dam Bridge ride.

The official t-shirt

The official t-shirt

While I walked the dogs, Mark tore the Space Shuttle apart to look for our bike helmets. Found ‘em! We were good to go!

Ready to rock 'n roll

Ready to rock ‘n roll

Waiting for the ride to begin

Waiting for the ride to begin

Lots of friendly folks waiting to start the ride

Lots of friendly folks waiting to start the ride

The entire ride was amazingly scenic and fun! And yes, we did actually ride over the Big Dam Bridge. I love that the Arkansasians have a sense of humor, and actually gave that exact name to their beloved bridge!

Mark's mid-ride selfie

Mark’s mid-ride selfie

Quick stop to take in the view

Quick stop to take in the view

Random scenery along the way

Random scenery along the way

The ride ended in the cool little neighborhood of Argentia, with free hot dogs and soda, and a live band. We got a couple beers from a little coffee shop/bar, and sat outside with some nice locals to listen to the band. (don’t judge…it was at least noon by time we started drinking beer)

Post-ride, a great local band playing in the street near the finish line

Post-ride, a great local band playing in the street near the finish line

@ The Joint for post-ride coffee and beer

@ The Joint for post-ride coffee and beer

I got the coffee

I got the coffee

Mark got the beer

Mark got the beer

Eventually, we headed back to the Space Shuttle. It was time to check on the doggies, take a shower, and go out exploring on foot.

Post-ride, back at the Space Shuttle, we were greeted by Trixie and Tiny

Post-ride, back at the Space Shuttle, we were greeted by Trixie and Tiny

We went back to the Clinton Presidential library to walk around and take more photos. And this time, we went inside. Besides the Presidential stuff in there, there was also a nice Dale Chihuly glass exhibit.

Clinton Presidential Library

Clinton Presidential Library

Clinton Presidential Library

Clinton Presidential Library

Clinton Presidential Library

Clinton Presidential Library

Wedding reception @ the Clinton Presidential Library. Should we crash it?

Wedding reception @ the Clinton Presidential Library. Should we crash it?

Chihuly glass art @ the Clinton Presidential Library.

Chihuly exhibit @ the Clinton Presidential Library.

Chihuly glass art @ the Clinton Presidential Library.

Chihuly exhibit @ the Clinton Presidential Library.

Chihuly glass art @ the Clinton Presidential Library.

Chihuly exhibit @ the Clinton Presidential Library.

@ the Clinton Presidential Library

Mark @ the Clinton Presidential Library

View of the pedestrian bridge, from the Clinton Presidential Library

View of the pedestrian bridge, from the Clinton Presidential Library

Lunch break beer

Lunch break beer @ Boscos

Tired from the day’s activities, we spent the evening back at the RV park. We took a walk along the river, then settled in to cook dinner and do our laundry.

Evening walk along the river

Evening walk along the river

And once again, we met some fellow RV-ers who were amazed that all four of us had been living in the small Space Shuttle for so long!! We were getting close to the four-month point of our trip, and even we were amazed at how well we were all doing!

Is “The South” Making Me Fat?! I’ve Yet To Meet A Food I Didn’t Like!

Just like the sign says, it's "World Famous"

Memphis, Tennessee

Day 109      September 26, 2014

West Memphis, Arkansas   to   Little Rock, Arkansas

As soon as the sun rose, we got out of bed to watch the barges navigate up and down the Mississippi River. It was a classic American scene, and amused us for over an hour. But we couldn’t just sit there all day, ‘cause we were going to Memphis. The real Memphis. Memphis, Tennessee. Not the fake Memphis, West Memphis, Arkansas, where the RV park was.

Sunrise, as seen through the condensation on the Space Shuttle windshield

Sunrise, as seen through the condensation on the Space Shuttle windshield

River barges!

River barges!

Morning on the river

Morning on the river

Sun coming up on the river

And…here comes another barge

Such a great location for an RV park!

Such a great location for an RV park!

Graphic detail of concrete

Graphic detail of concrete

Memphis, well, especially the Beale Street area, was touristy, but fun!  And the people there were so nice. Trixie and Dax were especially popular with the peeps in Memphis, and were lavished with attention everywhere we went.

Beale Street

Beale Street

Beale Street

Beale Street

Photo excursion on Beale Street

Photo excursion on Beale Street

Just like the sign says, it's "World Famous"

Just like the sign says, it’s “World Famous”

Fun streetscape and signage

Fun streetscape and signage

Fun streetscape and signage

Fun streetscape and signage

Colorful buildings and signs

Colorful buildings and signs

Tribute to W.C. Handy

Tribute to W.C. Handy

Just like the Hollywood Walk of Fame, but different

Just like the Hollywood Walk of Fame, but different

We walked around and took lots of photos, bought a couple more t-shirts, and had lunch at the Majestic Grille. Yet another awesome meal. We were gonna be so spoiled by all the great food we’d been eating.

More fun with neon signs

More fun with neon signs

The colors and architecture of Beale Street

The colors and architecture of Beale Street

Beale Street

Beale Street

Always look up....the ceiling in the Majestic Grille restaurant

Always look up….the ceiling in the Majestic Grille restaurant

Amazing ahi salad!!

Amazing ahi salad!!

Streetscape detail

Streetscape detail

Love these flags!

Love these flags!

Things we did NOT do in Memphis:  We didn’t go to Graceland ‘cause we’ve been there before. And we didn’t go on a tour of the Gibson Guitar factory ‘cause we didn’t have time to stick around town. If I owned a Gibson, we’d have made the time, but, I own a Martin, so we skipped it.

Tempting....the Gibson guitar factory

Tempting….the Gibson guitar factory

Our next stop would be Little Rock, Arkansas, where we checked into the Downtown Riverside RV Park. The place was full, but they gave us a spot in the overflow section. Perfect! You couldn’t beat the location of this place. It really pretty much was “downtown.”

Hello again, Arkansas

Hello again, Arkansas

As soon as we were settled into our spot, we leashed up the dogs and went on a big outing. We walked across the pedestrian bridge, which was right next to the RV park, and which landed us right at the Clinton Library. The library was even more beautiful and cool looking in person!

Pedestrian bridge by our RV park

Pedestrian bridge by our RV park

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Not just any old pedestrian bridge....the Clinton Presidential Park Bridge!

Not just any old pedestrian bridge….the Clinton Presidential Park Bridge!

Downtown Little Rock in the distance

Downtown Little Rock in the distance

Our first look at the Clinton Presidential Library!

Our first look at the Clinton Presidential Library!

Clinton Presidential Library

Clinton Presidential Library

Clinton Presidential Library

Weird red things in the fountain…??? Chihuly’s??

Clinton Presidential Library

Clinton Presidential Library

Clinton Presidential Library

Clinton Presidential Library

Clinton Presidential Library

Clinton Presidential Library

Clinton Presidential Library

So many graphic angles to shoot!

Clinton Presidential Library

Clinton Presidential Library

Clinton Presidential Library

Clinton Presidential Library

Clinton Presidential Library

Clinton Presidential Library

Clinton Presidential Library

Mark and Dax, sniffing around the Clinton Presidential Library

Clinton Presidential Library

Clinton Presidential Library

Clinton Presidential Library

Clinton Presidential Library

Near the Clinton Presidential Library, beautiful public art

Near the Clinton Presidential Library, beautiful public art

We continued our walk into town, and settled on having dinner at Cache, where we filled up on delicious tuna tacos and topped that off with whiskey bread pudding. The pups weren’t allowed on the outdoor patio, so we had to tie them to the railing next to us and keep our eyes on them to keep ‘em from getting into scuffles with other doggies walking by.

Part of our dinner discussion surrounded one topic. We’d found out that there was a big charity cycling tour the next day, The Big Dam Bridge ride. And even though we were still on deadline to get to Albuquerque, it was just so tempting to stay in Little Rock and do this ride in the morning.

After dinner, we walked all the way down to the convention center, where the cycling tour registration and registration packet pick-up was being held…just to check it out. And, of course, we ended up signing up for the ride! Our timing was just too perfect to pass up the opportunity!

By time we walked all the way back to the Space Shuttle, it was late and dark out. We were tired too, but instead of going to sleep, we spent the next hour scrambling to find where we’d packed our cycling clothes and helmets. Couldn’t find the helmets, and finally gave up looking and just went to bed. We’d have to wait until the morning to continue our search.

Random Advice From A Random Guy At A Gas Station

Brick and wires. Downtown Birmingham, Alabama

Brick and wires. Downtown Birmingham, Alabama

Day 108     September 25, 2014

Gadsden, Alabama  to  West Memphis, Arkansas

On the road again…this time, to Birmingham, Alabama…partially out of respect for its place in the history of the civil rights movement (which, by the way, could still stand to keep on moving forward), and partially just out of curiosity, since we were driving right by it anyways. Even if we just did a drive through, we were curious to see what Birmingham looked like.

Downtown Birmingham, Alabama

Downtown Birmingham, Alabama

Brick and wires. Downtown Birmingham, Alabama

Brick and wires. Downtown Birmingham, Alabama

Back alley. Downtown Birmingham, Alabama

Back alley. Downtown Birmingham, Alabama

Photogenic downtown Birmingham, Alabama

Photogenic downtown Birmingham, Alabama

Lots of brick buildings in downtown Birmingham, Alabama

Lots of brick buildings in downtown Birmingham, Alabama

Downtown Birmingham, Alabama

Downtown Birmingham, Alabama

A random guy we met at the gas station near downtown, recommended that we eat lunch at El Barrio. We did. And we thank “Random Guy at Gas Station” for turning us onto this place. El Barrio was jam packed, and no wonder, due to its fun decor and vibe and its delicious food! I had one of the best quesadillas I’ve ever had. This seemed to be a theme with us as we travelled across the south…the theme of amazing food!

El Barrio

El Barrio

Trying to blend in with the crazy murals at El Barrio

Trying to blend in with the crazy murals at El Barrio

One of our favorites! Coffee oatmeal stout

One of our favorites! Coffee oatmeal stout

The rest of the drive across Alabama was uneventful. The only thing I noticed that was remotely remarkable, was the overabundance of shredded tire tread on the highways. I don’t know what’s going on in that state, but when dead tires outnumber regular roadkill…hmm…things that make you go “hmmm.”

We continued our drive west on Rt 78, briefly crossing into Mississippi before crossing back into Tennessee. And then we drove briefly through Tennessee, across the river, to Tom Sawyer’s Mississippi River RV Park in West Memphis, Arkansas.

Hello, Mississippi

Hello, Mississippi

Hello, Tennessee

Hello, Tennessee

Crossing the bridge into Arkansas

Crossing the bridge into Arkansas

Hello, Arkansas

Hello, Arkansas

Tom Sawyer’s Mississippi River RV Park was right on the river, which was uber cool, ‘cause we got to watch the river barges going up and down the river all evening long. Barge-watching proved to be quite a relaxing and hypnotic way to end the day.