Sunday, August 02, 2009


Jeff met us at the house Wednesday morning and we headed out for Memphis. We made four stops on the way down, making the trip in about five and half hours of actual driving time.

The first stop was for a Hardee’s biscuit, the second stop was a “pause for a cause”, and the fourth was for gas. The third? Well, the third had my butt clinched while I watched a local cop talking to Jeff in my rearview mirror. Jeff had apparently cut in front of an 18-wheeler a little closer than the officer liked, so he pulled him over. I pulled over about 50 yards in front of them and sat there watching, waiting for the cop to discover Jeff’s M-16 in the trunk!

Fortunately the cop only wanted to warn him about cutting over in front of folks, and jaw about Jeff’s “Proud to be and asshole” bumper sticker, and about the flavor of his cigar! I had noticed big white clouds of cigar smoke bellowing from his sun-roof on occasion, so I knew he was puffing away, probably “toking” away from a butt at the end of his Texas size toothpick!

Soon we were on our way and talking about what was said on our cellphones.

We both stayed at the Westin Beale Street, so we checked in and headed for “the street”!

The first order of business was to get something great to eat, and we knew it had to be barbeque ribs! We ate at the famous Charles Vergos’ Rendezvous located in the “Downtown Alley”, which is across the street from the Peabody Hotel. The Rendezvous does a “dry rub” finish on their ribs and, man, they were delicious! However, it turned out that Judy is fond of “dry rub”, but she did finish her half slab, while Jeff and I polished off full racks with Yuenglings!

We were then ready for the strip, and we headed for BB King’s for some blues/jazz music and more Yuenglings!

It wasn’t long before Chuck Atkinson, another long time blogger and Facebook buddy buzzed Jeff, and was soon on his way down from the Doubletree on Union Street. Chuck used to post regularly on What’s ‘Up Chuck”, but is so busy with his traveling job that he mostly post on Facebook these days. Anyway, Jeff and I both had wanted to meet him for some time. Chuck, and his wife, is from Tennessee, and he is almost always seen wearing a UT hat, but he now lives near Birmingham, AL. Since his sales job requires he travel to many large cities, he drove up explicitly to meet us, but, he did have a client meeting scheduled on Thursday morning.

We recognized each other instantly and greeted each other with warm handshakes and hugs. I think Judy was a little nervous meeting Chuck for the first time, but within the next hour she grew to like him very much. Since the music was too loud for us to talk, we left BB’s and went across the street to the Beale Street Tap Room.

The Tap Room has 27 beers on tap, but I settled on Fat Tire for the evening, while Jeff and Judy stayed with Yuengling. Chuck, well Chuck tried several things, including buying a round of Jim Beam shooters for us.

We had a good time talking and bringing each other up on our lives, beginning with the log-cabin where we were all born! I’m not sure what beer number I was up to by then, but whatever the count was, it was just enough to get me into Coyote Ugly just about block down the street! Luckily for me, I did not get involved in any of the “belly shots” the gals were selling, but most of the rest of us did, and I have photos to prove it, but you’ll not see them here!

My thanks to Chuck (especially Chuck), Jelvis (yes, Jelvis, a stage name for sure), and Lolo for the great time we had there.

Judy, bless her heart, had as big a time as any of us guys. I’m blessed with a great lady who enjoys live and hasn’t got a jealous bone in her body. She is great, and I’m just the same with her as I am without her along. We have no secrets and take the greatest pleasure in seeing the other have a great time.

Some time way past my bedtime, we all parted company and went back to our respective hotels. I found it hard to go to sleep, with all the excitement from that evening dancing in my head. However, I was soon asleep and feeling fine!

The next morning Judy and I met Jeff and we had breakfast at the Hard Rock Café on Beale…it was actually our lunch, and the burgers were perfect!

We three then headed out for Sun Records, which turned out to be at least a mile walk, and by the time we arrived the humidity had beaten us down pretty good. We cooled off in the café there and bought tickets to the museum and studio. The tour was great and we all enjoyed the memorabilia, history, and music. It was kind of good to stand where Elvis, Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins, Jerry Lee Lewis, and other modern day acts had stood while making their recordings. I know I’m no Elvis, but it felt good standing there, and it was all I could do NOT to break out in “Hound Dog”!

Check out all my Memphis photos on Flickr by clicking HERE!

The way back was just a far as it was there! We finally made the hotel for a quick cool shower and about an hour’s down time. We then met in the lobby where I called for my car.

I popped in the GPS and we were off to Stax Records, a museum for SOUL music! I didn’t take any photos there, mostly because you have to check your camera before you’re allowed inside!

The museum there is quite large and full of clothes, records, recordings, photos, and Isaac Hayes’ “Gold Cadillac”! We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves, right up until the tornado sirens went off!

The staff hustled us inside a long inside hallway, where we stood until the all clear. It turned out that a tornado touched down about 2 miles away, tearing up a shopping mall where the stone exterior of Kohl’s Department Store was torn away. The rain came down in buckets and the sky was very dark outside the Stax building, but finally the rain broke enough that we made our way to the car and left the area.

With the GPS guiding us (what a wonderful invention they are), we arrived at our next adventure…more BBQ! This time we tried Neely’s Bar-B-Que on the West side. Jeff got the beef ribs, Judy got BBQ spaghetti, and settled on pulled pork! Man, it was all terrific and beat the Rendezvous’ hands down! It had that sweet BBQ taste!

In 1997 a local media TV station held a BBQ contest for the best ribs, along with other local top BBQ restaurants in Memphis, which was featured on “The Today Show” with Al Roker, Neely's won hands-down! We found out why!

Chuck had by then called to say his meeting had been canceled and he was on his way home. Home time is important to a man that spends most of his work time on the road, so we understood.

Back at the hotel, the rain was still coming down. By 8 o’clock, I called Jeff and told him I was staying in for the rest of the evening, so we said good night. However, Jeff later went out and bought up half of Beale Streets’ t-shirts and CDs! I regret not going with him, but I really didn’t know his intentions, but Judy and I were pretty tired after the day’s activities anyway.

So, we got up Friday morning and found the nearest Cracker Barrel, which turned out to be across the Mississippi on the Arkansas side. We had a great breakfast and last few minutes together, reminiscing about the week’s events. We hugged and parted, knowing that there would be another time to come.

Thanks Jeff…and Chuck…for a great week!

Jeff went on to visit our friend Bruno in Missouri, and Judy and I made it home in another 5 and ½ hours, but only after stopping at Cancun’s on Peavine Road near Crossville, Tennessee. Our last great road-trip meal for awhile!


Chuck said...

What a great time we had! Twas wonderful meeting you all. Can't wait to hook up again!

Mushy said...

It was wonderful...and so nice meeting you my friend. We'll do it anytime you want.

FHB said...

I look so forlorn in that shot. I guess I was thinkin' about stuff. Needed more porch time. But I wouldn't change anything about the trip, other than to make it last longer. But life goes on, and work... for some of us. We'll do it again. Thanks for havin' me man. Love ya.

Sandi McBride said...

I always enjoy these trips Mushy, the lowlights are as exciting as the highlights...the food is always fact yours is the only blog that I get heartburn from...and Jeff's encounter had me rolling on the floor! Put me in mind of a traffic stop I once made...but that's another story for another day...thanks for the ride!
Looking for my rolaids now...

BRUNO said...

Nope, you'll not make Mayor Of Harriman anymore---your social-life has smudged you for life!

But, you MIGHT still qualify for a congressional rep, or maybe "higher"...???

Sarge Charlie said...

that jeff is badder than a junkyard dog, I like my ribs wet, not dry rub, CORKEYS in memphis is a good feed.

Suldog said...

"I’m blessed with a great lady who enjoys live and hasn’t got a jealous bone in her body."

Blessed indeed! Love reading about your adventures together.

Mushy said...

Yes, and that's life!

PRH....... said...

Outstanding...and I love the photo of FHB "pretending" not to look at the girls with the belly ring. Nice move, Jeff, trying to keep Denise happy I see. :)

Grandpa-Old Soldier said...

Good trip, good friends, good time now what more could a man want.Except me I want some of those ribs. No comment on that first picture. Glad ya'll had a good time.

Buck said...

I'll just quote John Hiatt ("Memphis in the Meantime"):

If we could just get off-a that beat little girl
Maybe we could find the groove
At least we can get a decent meal
Down at the Rendezvous

'Cause one more heartfelt steel guitar chord
Girl, it's gonna do me in
I need to hear some trumpet and saxophone
You know sound as sweet as sin

And after we get good and greasy
Baby we can come back home
Put the cowhorns back on the cadillac
And change the message on the code-a-phone

Ain't it like that? :D

Mushy said...

Good comment Buck!

*Goddess* said...

And NOT ONE picture of the cop! What kind of post is this?!

Ranger Tom said...

Looks like a great time was had by all!

Oh, and by the way, I stopped using MSIE & switched to Mozilla Firefox browser and I'm able to report that I'm no longer having problems with viewing your blog!

Mushy said...

Goddess - That was Jeff's job!

Ranger Tom - Good move!

reojames said...

Memphis ROCKS!!!
Hey, thanks for leaving me the nice comment about my Natalie Wood art.

Shrinky said...

My goodness, the size of these portions could feed a family of six for up to a week! (I'm jealous.) What a wonderful way to spend a week, Mushy, thanks for the tour, I almost feel I was right there with you.

Lee Ann aka Dixie said...

Did you have to go through the metal detectors on Beale? ;-)) I thought I heard something speed by on I-40... now I know it was you.. ;-))

Lee Ann aka Dixie said...

Oh I could have told you a thing or two about the Rendevous and saved you some money... I don't like that place either... way too overated, in humble opinon!

Mushy said...

Thanks Dixie for you comments!

I didn't carry on Beale because I was afraid some of the bars did have detectors, but I didn't see anything on the street except beer being carried around freely!

Becky said...

I've only been to Memphis for a few hours, as a stop on a drive from Dallas to St. Louis (or a detour, I guess b/c I wanted to see Graceland). I would love to go back and try some of that BBQ. I think I saw Rendezvous on The Food Network recently.