Friday morning my Dad and I walked around downtown Memphis and let my brothers sleep in. They were always less ambitous than I, (J/K). We saw the mighty Mississippi River, Mud Island, and the beautiful historical buildings of downtown.
|A bad picture of myself on a very chilly morning by the Mighty Mississippi River|
Back at the hotel, we had a great breakfast. Complimentary breakfast at the Marriot Springhill Suites is not just juice and a donut. There are eggs, bacon, sausage, biscuts, cereal, oatmeal, yogurt and juice. It was delicious. They really want you to return; and return I will. After breakfast, we hit the road.
Another benefit of this trip is that I would get to go to three new states. I have a goal of visiting all 50 states and I don’t count airport layovers. We drove west on 1-40 across the Hernando De Soto bridge into Arkansas. A few minutes later we headed south on State Highway 131/Mound City Rd. to I-55. We then headed southeast on 1-55 back into Tennessee. During our 15 minute tour of Arkansas, I told my brothers and dad about my goal to go to all 50 states, not counting airports. My brother Mike criticized me for not counting airport layovers but counting Arkansas as “visited” after spending only 15 minutes there. He always was a critic. Despite Mike’s protests, I checked it off my list as state #39.
While I am speaking about Mike, let me say that as we re-entered Tennessee, he cut in front of a semi truck attempting to make an interchange. We were only about 15 feet in front of the semi and this is where our obituaries could have been written. Or they could have been written a few minutes later on the route we took into Mississippi.
Our plan was to exit at Highway 78 and head south into Mississippi. In Holly Springs, Ms, we took Highway 7 south to Oxford. While still in Memphis proper, we were grateful we didn’t have to get out of the car. Have you seen the move “Blindside?” The rough neigborhood that he grew up in seemed to be our route. Every gas station, office building, apartment house and store looked like a place that you wouldn’t dare enter. Thankfully we arrived in Mississippi, state #40 for me, and it morphed into verdant countryside.
The scenic byways that I was hoping for on this trip began to take shape. It was truly spectacular. We arrived in Oxford Mississippi and made our way to Ole Miss University. There is something unique about a college campus. For the most part they are beautiful with stately buildings; especially in this part of the country. We parked right by “The Grove” where some of the best tailgating in the country happens. “Ole Miss might not win the game but we will always win the party” is what one fan shared with us. We happened to be there at noon on a Friday; no tailgating for us. We then made our way to Vaught-Hemingway Stadium to see where the Rebels play. They aren’t much of a team this year but the stadium is quite a sight. Something about being in SEC country. College Football is almost religion down here.
|Stately Building on Beautiful Ole Miss Campus|
|Ole Miss Campus|
After making our way back to the car by way of the Rebel Gift Shop and the main campus courtyard, we drove to the Historic Oxford Town Square. If you have ever seen a movie about the South or pictured a quaint southern town, this was it. You feel like you are in a novel. The Square surrounds the courthouse and has the likes of cafes, bookstores, antique shops, law offices, and a Rebel fan shop. While strolling arond the square, my Brother Mike decided to get under my Dad’s skin when we happened upon a statue of William Faulkner. My Dad was elated and exclaimed “Oh, William Faulkner.” To which Mike replied, “Wasn’t he the first in flight?”
|Walking around Historic Oxford Town Square|
|Oxford Town Square
For lunch we came upon the Soulshine Pizza Factory. This place looked like it’s quite the weekend hangout. Since it was noon, the restaurant performance stage was empty, but the food was great. I ordered the caesar salad for an appetizer and it was delicious. Not sure if it had real anchovies, but it tasted so. Their draft root beer was wonderful and sweet. For an entree I had the carnivore pizza. It’s definitely for the meat lover: Marinara sauce, mozzarella, Canadian bacon, ground beef, Italian sausage, pepperoni. It was a medium thick crust with a crispy finish. The array of meats added a spicy bite. With the caesar salad and late breakfast in Memphis, I could barely get through half the pizza. No problem, cold pizza on the road is a delicious treat.
|Soulshine Pizza Factory
|Soulshine Root Beer|
|“The Carnivore” Pizza|
Although only an hour from Memphis, Oxford is a quiet, quaint, laid-back town in the Mississippi hill country. I would have loved to spend more time there; especially after we made it to the town 50 miles further east on Highway 6: Tupelo. Something about Elvis’s birth town really didn’t call to me; but that is for another post.
|The gate was open & we walked right onto the field.|
|Ole Miss Rebel Shop|
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