Monday, May 23, 2011

Day 2; Jackson TN to Sallisaw OK

5/23/11  Well, today was another good one.  The weather was overcast all day, and we had some showers on and off, but it did not interfere with our travels.  There were strong thunderstorms to our north that generated strong winds, but they weren't a problem.

Mostly, today was a travel day, except for a few stops in Memphis this morning.  Bar somehow remembers the address of the house she and my parents lived in while she was a very small girl in Memphis.  She says that Mother and Daddy drilled the address into her brain so that she could tell strangers where she lived if she wandered away from the house.  She's not clear as to the exact date they moved from Memphis back into North Carolina, but it is entirely possible that I was conceived in that house.  So, I had an interest in seeing it, too.

Using the GPS, it took us to Adams Avenue to see what was there now.  Looking at the addresses of the big buildings there are now there, we could envision the area, and it has definitely changed since then.  Instead of houses, there are large apartment or condominium buildings there now.  Nothing to give a hint of what the house might have looked like.  But neat, anyway, to know that you might have started your very life there.

From there, we rode by the Peabody Hotel, where the ducks walk through the lobby daily.  We didn't stop; she just wanted to see where it was and what it looked like.  We saw no ducks wandering around...

Finally, in Memphis, we rode by Graceland.  The front lawn has grown up more than it was about 15 years ago; you can hardly see the home from the street now.  She was not interested in doing a tour on this trip, so we kept moving.

Back on I-40, we drove over the mighty Mississippi River, swollen over its banks in some places.  We saw a lot of low-lying areas that obviously were still flooded, but where the water had dropped about 4 feet since the highest part of the flood.

Into Arkansas we drove, gazing out the windows at low lying areas with standing water.  We saw many rice fields, some with what we both believed were rice plants growing, and some with visible levees to retain water for growing.  All of the fields looked very wet.

I remembered riding through Arkansas several years ago on my motorcycle, sick as a dog.  I'm not sure what I had, but I was very ill with a stomach disorder that, at one point, left me lying on the side of the road, hoping I could recover enough to ride further.  Just before stopping, I was blacking out, with my sight fading to black and then back into focus, so it was pretty scary getting stopped, getting off the bike, and over to the side of the road.  After about 30 minutes of resting, I felt better, and we rode on to Oklahoma City.  Today, I felt great, and that was a good feeling compared to the earlier trip.

On to Sallissaw, OK, where we stopped for the night.  It's a little town just west of the Arkansas state line, actually on US Hwy 64 (the same 64 that goes within about 15 miles of home!  This is a part of the area where the Cherokee tribe ended up on the Trail of Tears when they were removed from North Carolina.  We tried to visit Sequoia Cabin, where indian Sequoia settled when he arrived here, but it was closed.  The compound where the Cabin is located is neat; we may go back tomorrow.  Sequoia was the creator of the Cherokee alphabet and is considered the second most important person in Oklahoma history.

We had dinner at Maria's Mexican restaurant on the main street through town.  It was pretty good, but not incredible.  Then back to the hotel.

Since then, we've been sheltered in the room, watching TV warnings for severe thunderstorms and tornadoes.  Last night, Joplin MO was devastated by a category 4 tornado that killed at least 116 people.  With the severe weather continuing in the area, and some areas reporting 9-10 inches of rain today, we're concerned about flooding or really rough weather.  I believe most of tonight's storm is now east of our area, but it is pouring rain, blowing hard, and lots of lightning as I write this.  I am going to believe we'll be okay.

Oh, an update on the missing pillow--I called my friend, Clay, who had been to the coast fishing with some buddies over the weekend and was returning to his home in the western part of the state, to ask if he could stop by our hotel to pick up my pillow.  He agreed.  He called me late in the day to report that he has my pillow and it's safe at his home.  So, although the pillow is not making the trip with me, at least it will work its way back home sometime in the future.  Thanks, Clay!!

More tomorrow....

1 comment:

  1. Nice picture and interesting account of Cherokee Indian, Sequoia. I remember learning about him in school. Hopefully the storms will be over by morning. Be safe.