The journey started yesterday from Stillmore, GA. I left home a little after three and headed up I-16 towards Macon. My first night on the road was with family, AT, his mother Beth and their dogs Becky, Jodaco and Tococoa, in Cumming, GA. AT made a fabulous dinner that consisted of a Caesar salad served before cheese ravioli with a pesto sauce topped with fresh cooked spinach and garlic. Conversation ran late into the night (as well as Cesar the Dog Whisperer). Up early, they took me out for breakfast at The Biscuit Place. A wonderful diner serving home cooked food that’ll remind you of what your Granny used to make. Thank y’all for the hospitatlity.
I left Cumming early and made my way west across Georgia and into Alabama. In the middle of Alabama I got sidetracked by the Natural Bridge of Alabama on US 278. (Side Note: This is the longest natural bridge east of the Rockies and the park itself has been open since 1954.) The young lady who took my $3.50 at the front desk was courteous and informative. And the fact that it was raining meant that the trail was empty and the arch sat vacant of spectators. Having only seen the dot on the map before coming I had no idea what to expect. I was shocked when I turned the corner in the trail and was met with a natural amphitheater carved by water beneath a double span sandstone arch towering overhead. It was awesome. The pamphlet let me know the area was first occupied by Creek Indians and then received a good deal of traffic by both the North and the South during the Civil War. I could easily identify the attraction to this natural wonder. Rain overhead, surrounded by sandstone arches, walls covered in rich, velvety green moss and the slow trickle of water running down the sides of this stone nest. It was certainly worth the trip. I made some images and then headed back towards the road.
Tupelo was the next adventure of the day. The birthplace of the King. I pulled over to gas up and get directions to the house where Elvis was born. It was interesting driving through this neighborhood as a stranger to see a house that was no longer occupied but still sat on the corner (a museum is now in place that maintains the grounds and offers a variety of sights for the tourist/passerby) of a quite street and welcomed visitors from around the globe on a daily basis. I thought of everyone that lived next door, the church across the street and the constant flow of fans to pay homage at this space. I popped out and sat on the curb for sometime waiting on the porch to empty. I made some images of the church across the street and then the house itself. Having made several trips to Graceland I thought about the contrast between these two spaces. This small, quite abode in comparison to the opulent mansion 90 some odd miles away.
I eventually arrived and spent a good deal of time turned around in Memphis, TN. After some time making several wrong turns I was guided onto Highway 51 by a friendly Memphis officer. I obviously need to invest in an updated atlas for the car. I now sit in the Shelby forest, camp set up and the Mississippi River not far away. I drove down to the banks to watch the sun and clouds over the water and I had the chance to speak with a few boaters as well (one who warned me that his wife was about to “cop a squat” behind me so I wouldn’t point the camera that way) before heading up the hill back to camp. Lightening bugs float around this quite, shady forest as the dappled sunlight on the forest floor is overcome by soft shadows. I had a chance to meet and speak with a lovely young couple camping near by; Christian, Emilia and their cute puppy Sweets. They offered some great advice on navigating Memphis as well as some spots to find coffee and food tomorrow morning (The Arcade). I suppose I’ll call it an early night and make for an early morning.