So Kelly, this girl I’ve been pal’n around with a lot lately, was up for an award from the Missouri Broadcaster’s Association. And since the banquet was in Lake of the Ozarks (just below the center of Missouri), we figured we’d make a trip of it. After Kelly (and Truman in general) robbed them of all the most important awards, we were off.
Branson, Missouri is billed as the heartland’s answer to Las Vegas. It isn’t. We spent the first night in that love-it-or-hate-it town and hated it. It’s about the most gaudy, hillybilly-entertainment thing I’ve ever seen. I’d wanted to stop in and catch a Ray Stevens show, because A) he’s sort of a childhood icon to me, right up there with Darkwing Duck and B) I heard he had a regular show down there. But when we got there, they told us that he’d retired last year. A bit nonplussed (I don’t think I’m using that word properly), we got some snaps in front of his theater and tore out of there like something really fast.
The next stop was Little Rock, AR, billed by Josh Fenton as “a fun mid-sized town.” I wouldn’t want to settle down there, but I sure wouldn’t mind living there for a few years. It’s relaxed, the weather’s warm, the people are friendly. Since my Australian travel guide served me so well Down Under, I grabbed an American travel guide at the local mall. The funny thing was that the travel guide didn’t really list much to do in Little Rock, except soak up the gee-are-8 atmosphere.
We stopped into the Clinton Memorial Library, which really wasn’t that exciting, then hit up the local Flying Saucer – a fairly well-respected chain of restaurants that specialize in serving excellent food and diverse brews. It thus occurred to me, whilst I was sipping one of them, that one of my life goals is to be one day referred to as a “beer enthusiast by someone who knows what they’re talking about.” I shared this revelation with Kelly and she laughed, then saw that I was serious and laughed some more.
But that’s the future and this is now; we were off to Memphis, Tennessee. For a while, we thought that we’d been in 3 state capitols over the weekend (driving through Springfield, MO and Little Rock), but it turns out that Nashville is the capitol of TN, not Memphis. It’s a mistake anyone would make, though – Memphis itself was named after the ancient Egyptian capitol on the Nile. See? Already my travel guide pays off.
So we hit up Beale Street, Memphis’s answer to the Strip, ate our fill of Huey’s Hamburgers and toured the night life a bit. I feel it’s important to mention the symbolic Mai Tai I had with dinner. Ever since watching Con Air, I’ve equated the south with Mai Tais and Yahtzee. And since Memphis is the furthest south I’ve ever been (I only ever just skimmed the top of Georgia), I couldn’t resist.
Graceland, by the way, sucked. They charge $25 per tour of the Presley house and you can’t turn around with seeing some over-merchandised Elvis crap. We had what fun we could and then struck out for the last stop before Kirksville – St. Louis. And we weren’t even in STL that long – just long enough to grab a few White Castle sliders, lose $20 (well, I did. Kelly’s a lot smarter than me) on the riverboat casino, gas up and skee-dattle.
It was a whirlwind trip, resulting in only 19 pics, but I’ll take what I can get.
the D.W.A. (Dane With Attitude)