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Old 02-03-2009, 10:48 AM   #1
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Time for a spring break

Our son called from Memphis, and told us he was tired of sleeping on the floor. [He's in grad school at Memphis U, and just back from 2 years in China. He had decided that after China he could handle being a minimalist while in grad school.] I told my wife I was ready for a break, and she asked "A break from what - you're retired." I asked her what her point was, and looked for flying objects!

So, the trailer and I are off to Memphis the first of next month. I'll be staying on the banks of the Mississippi at Tom Sawyer RV Park. We camped there, overnight, several years ago and have always wanted to go back to stay for a longer time. I'll load up some stuff for the boy to justify the trip.

Since he doesn't have any transportation, he hasn't really seen Memphis and neither have I. I'm open for any suggestions y'all may have, especially some good BBQ joints. He's been told we should go to Graceland just to hear how Elvis said Memphis, so that's already on the list. He's got papers to do so I guess we'll have about three days to see the sites. Also, what should I expect as for as weather up there the week of March 8?

Thanks.


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Old 02-03-2009, 01:35 PM   #2
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Check out the visitor's bureau. Check out Mud Island and the history surrounding it. Graceland is a must see when there. Beale Street and the fabulous BBQ rib joints, will keep you well fed-- Enjoy your trip.
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Old 02-03-2009, 01:44 PM   #3
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Memphis...

I was born there, but moved out when I went to college. Still have family there, so I get back a few times every year.

You can't go wrong with Memphis Bar-B-Q

Two of my favorite are below. Neely's is excellent. You may have caught Pat and Gina's Food Network show Down Home With The Neely's... watch for it.

Neely's BBQ The Finest the World Over - Homepage

The Rendezvous is an old favorite and was the first place that I tried dry rub ribs - try them... you may never eat a "wet rib" again.

Charles Vergos' Rendezvous :: The Restaurant

While you are down town, time your visit to catch the marching ducks across the street in the Peabody Hotel Lobby. Spend some time in the lobby people watching... one of my favorite pastimes and a great place to do it.

Downtown Memphis Hotels & Accommodations in Downtown Memphis Tennessee - The Peabody Memphis

You also have Beale Street and all of the clubs there.

Welcome to World Famous Beale Street, Home of the Blues...Birthplace of Rock N' Roll - Homepage

Catch a Memphis Grizzlies game or U of M game (still Memphis State to me) at the FedEx Forum - also downtown. The Conference USA tournament will be held there.

THE OFFICIAL SITE OF THE MEMPHIS GRIZZLIES

FedExForum - Home of the Memphis Grizzlies

If you are a true rock and roll fan, don't miss the Sun Studio.

Welcome. The Official Site for Sun Studio. The Birthplace of Rock N' Roll and Home to the "Million Dollar Quartet" - Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Carl Perkins.

I could go on...

Last one is unusual:

The Metal Museum - it isn’t just a place where art is displayed; it’s a place where art is made

Have fun!
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Old 02-04-2009, 09:47 AM   #4
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Warning!

I almost forgot...

When parking downtown, watch out for a man posing as a parking lot attendant asking for a fee of "Five Dolla Please". Most lots are unattended with a box to deposit your money. You generally find this man standing so that he is blocking your view of the the sign explaining this procedure...

While we are at it, you have probably seen similar lists for other cities, but this one is so true. The list is somewhat dated... it is a shame that you can not see the Pyramid... There is talk of Bass Pro leasing it.

Last, there is an alternate pronunciation for Memphis found below. It is "Mum-fuss".

THE MEMPHIS WE ALL KNOW

1. Downtown Memphis is comprised entirely of one-way streets. The only way to get out of downtown Memphis is to turn around and start over when you reach Arkansas or Mississippi.

2. All directions start with, "Go down I-240..."

3. I-240 has no beginning and no end.

4. Coca-Cola is bottled in Memphis. That's all we drink here, so don't ask for any other soft drink. And, by the way, it's pronounced "Co'Cola".

5. Memphians only know their way home and their way to work.

6. Gate One at the Airport is 32 miles away from the Main Concourse.

7. It's impossible to go around a block and wind up on the street you started on. The Chamber of Commerce calls it a "scenic drive".

8. The 8 a.m. rush hour is from 6:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. The 5:00 p.m rush hour is from 3:30p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Friday's rush hour starts Thursday morning.

9. Reversible Lanes (for example, Union Avenue) are not understood by anybody.

10. "Sir" and "Ma'am" are used by the person speaking to you if there's a remote possibility that you're at least 30 minutes older than they are.

11. "Sugar" is a more common form of address than "Miss". So is "Honey".

12. "Presley" can only be properly pronounced by a native Memphian, so do not attempt the pronunciation. People will simply tilt their heads to the right and stare at you with their mouths open.

13. The falling of one raindrop causes all traffic to immediately come to a screeching halt. So will Daylight Saving Time, a girl applying eye shadow across the street, or a flat tire three lanes over. Should (God forbid) one snowflake fall in Memphis, all drivers on the roads immediately lose any ability to control a car. Or, if in a pickup truck or SUV, they will drive as though the roads are dry.

14. If you're standing on a corner and a Metro Bus stops, you're expected to get on and go somewhere - although no one actually knows where the buses go.

15. Memphis is pronounced "MEM'-fus".

16. Construction on I-240 is perpetual, a way of life, and a permanent for of entertainment for the road construction companies.

17. Construction crews aren't doing their job properly unless they close down all lanes except one during rush hour.

18. Memphis' traffic is the friendliest around. The commuters spend hours mingling with each other twice a day. In fact, Memphis' traffic is rated number 1 in the country. You will often see people parked beside the road and engaged in lively discussions.

19. I-240 is the southern equivalent of the Autobahn. You will rarely see a semi-truck on I-240, because the truck drivers are intimidated by the oversized SUV-wielding housewives racing home after a grueling day at the salon or the tennis match to meet their children at the school bus.

20. The 95 pound woman driving the Ford Excursion (the largest vehicle ever produced in the world) absolutely MUST come to a complete stop, then proceed at 2.5 mph over any railroad track. Let's face it, this vehicle was built to invade small countries, and she's worried about the darn railroad tracks!!!

21. Hard and fast rule of the road in Memphis: Never use your turn indictor when changing lanes on any freeway. Use it randomly on surface streets.

22. Pedestrians in Memphis have the right-of-way....but it is a driver's duty to take out the pedestrian when crossing the street.

23. The parking lots at all the malls rotate once every hour, thus ensuring that visitors will be unable to find their cars.

24. Most native Memphians do not know how to get around downtown.

25. Even though I-240 is known as a "loop", you cannot drive the entire circumference of the loop without taking several exits.

26. Even though it is the largest indoor arena in the region, there is no easy way to reach The Pyramid. You must drive under a series of interstate off-ramps and through the back of a concrete company in order to park. Once you reach the building, you must climb up dozens of steps, even if your seats
are at floor level, which means you will be climbing back DOWN dozens of steps after entering the arena.

27. A typical set of Midtown directions may include, "take North Parkway East until you reach East Parkway, then take East Parkway South until you reach South Parkway, then take South Parkway West until you reach..."

28. If you drive South from Shady Grove Road, you will end up on Ridgeway Road without taking any turns. If you continue South, you will eventually be on Hickory Hill Blvd, again without taking any turns. However, Ridgeway Road will be parallel to you about a mile to the East. Memphis' street names
change without warning.

Just go to Winchester Road out East, and try to distinguish between the intersections of Germantown Road, Old Germantown Road, and Germantown Road Extended/Riverdale.

29. There is an intersection of two streets near Midtown. The "two" streets are Summer Avenue, North Parkway, Trezevant Blvd., and East Parkway.

Again, names change at random. This situation (two intersecting streets with Four names) is not atypical.

30. Native Memphians cannot distinguish between the Mississippi River bridge named "Memphis-Arkansas Bridge" and "Hernando DeSoto Bridge". Nor can they distinguish between the "I-55 Bridge" and the "I-40 Bridge". They are ONLY known locally as the "Old Bridge" and the "New Bridge" (even though the "New Bridge" is almost thirty years old).
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Old 02-04-2009, 11:53 AM   #5
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Central Barbeque

We travel to Memphis frequently and have found one barbeque place that beats the Rendevous, Corkys, and several others. It is Central Barbeque located on Central Avenue--you can google for their street address. Their ribs are better than any we have found anywhere in our travels. If you like fried chicken there is a place downtown near Beale street called Gus's Fried Chicken. Depending what time you go you might have a short wait but I can assure you, it's worth it. Enjoy.
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Old 02-04-2009, 03:55 PM   #6
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Thanks y'all. Yum, ribs, cold beer, and good blues!! I'm in for a great spring break. Our son is majoring in linguistics, and his chair finds Elvis' pronunciation of "Memphis" intriguing enough to tell him we should go to Graceland just for that.

Reday, thanks for the description of the roads and highways. Got quite a grin. The businesses here in San Antonio close down, along with most roads, when there's the least bit of sleet or just a hint of snow. I should feel right at home.

Thanks again everyone.


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Old 02-04-2009, 04:03 PM   #7
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REDAY has it all covered. Do it all if you can and you won't be sorry.
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Old 02-04-2009, 05:32 PM   #8
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Mumfuss in May

Tom,

Mumfuss... You practice saying that by trying to condense it into a single syllable along with minimal movement of your lips.

You may want to consider a return trip in the spring for Memphis in May...
The month includes the Beale Street Music Festival and the World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest.

Welcome to the website of Memphis in May International Festival

A comment on Wolverine' BBQ recommendations. If you do a Google search on places where you can eat it in Memphis, you will get pages... you do not want to be a pig or chicken in that city. They all could not stay in business if they were not good. Central has excellent Q... you can't go wrong there either.

Discussing Bar-B-Q can be like arguing politics or religion - everyone has an opinion and sometimes it can be counter productive to even start. At least we are not dealing with regional differences like between Texas or Carolina.

Rendezvous may not be at the top of everyones list, but it has history and atmosphere as a huge plus. It should be considered a part of the downtown experience... at least once.

Again, have fun, enjoy the food and wash it down with a cold one for me!
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Old 02-04-2009, 08:35 PM   #9
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Rendezvous was quite good, and I liked Corky's too. Next time I go I'll try Central.

Wet vs. Dry in Memphis can start a Holy War. I'll say I like 'em both and leave it at that.

Of course here in Texas, BBQ = Brisket, but like reday said, we probably shouldn't even venture into those regional differences.

Have fun on your trip, it's a great town.

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Old 02-05-2009, 08:03 AM   #10
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Yes, it's going to be a good time. My poor working wife has given me orders to bring some ribs back. If I can get them as far as Texas she'll get some.
I'll be emailing these posts to our son so he can arrange our itinerary around his workload.

Another question. The bus system. How good is it? Since our son has no wheels he's considering a bus card, but he's heard that the routes are confusing with multiple transfers. I told him to just look on it as if he was driving across town during rush hour - if he want's to go somewhere he just adds the trip as part of the adventure. He's trying to limit the amount of student loans he takes out by stretching his savings as far as he can. You just can't find fault with him on this point. We just don't want him to see Memphis as just his apartment and the campus. Maybe after he gets a taste he'll take the plunge and part with some of his hard earned savings a bit.


Once again, a very big thank you to all for the great suggestions.


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Old 02-05-2009, 09:04 AM   #11
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Bus?

Can't help there. Last time I rode one in Memphis, they were powered by overhead wires....
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Old 02-05-2009, 09:56 AM   #12
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Memphis Transit System

See this link for a pdf of the bus routes in Memphis--hope this helps.

MataTransit | Memphis, TN

As far as getting ribs home to your wife, most of the better known restaurants will ship them although that is usually a pricey option. Since they're smoked already you should be able to throw them in the trunk and get them home just fine.
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Old 02-05-2009, 10:37 AM   #13
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Ribs...

The link to the Rendezvous website above, it will take you to their "hogsfly" site where you can have their ribs shipped to you by FedEx... I can understand the problem of driving back to Texas and smelling those ribs every time you opened the fridge. They probably wouldn't make it past Little Rock with me.

Another thing to consider is buying some of the dry rub and smoking your own when you get back. Just about every shack that cooks dry ribs sells their rub to go as well (including Rendezvous).

I was given the "recipe" for Rendezvous rub several years ago. It had some credibility since the person that gave it to me was a member of the family that supplied the restaurant with its chickens. It was very good, but a lot of trouble - part of which was paring it down from restaurant size to kitchen size. I now just buy their rub from the grocery.

You can find the rub from several sources on line, or you can make up your own from different recipes found on the net. If it has celery seed, powder or flakes you have found one that might approximate the real thing. I would always cook as much as I could get in the smoker. They freeze well and taste great warmed up in the microwave.

Looks like we are going to have a break in this cold weather over the next few days... I am going to have to cook up a batch after all this talk!
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Old 02-06-2009, 07:48 AM   #14
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That's the trouble with talking about food. I try very hard to not talk, or even think, about Mexican food or Ice Cream. Two very major weaknesses that I have.

I've had my fill of winter; it's dropped below freezing here about 5 times so far. Living the major part of my life in South Central Texas has managed to keep me from appreciating snow - unless it's on TV. Just hoping for good weather in Memphis.

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Old 03-07-2009, 04:37 PM   #15
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Made it to Memphis

I had a wonderful trip getting here. I had the normal aggravations, but saw some neat stuff and no flats or other mishaps.

Thanks to everyone who recommended Central BBQ. Not only was it not far from my son's apartment, but the food was delicious. Last night we had the ribs, and today had the pork sandwich for lunch. My son doesn't have a car so he walks everywhere, and he said it would be worth the walk to get some more ribs after I leave. Really good.

The Tom Sawyer RV park in West Memphis is just as nice as I remembered. The rig is about 20 yards from the Mississippi. I can sit outside with my cold beer, and watch the barges go up and down stream. Too bad it's supposed to rain every day through Friday. But that won't keep us from continuing on our BBQ eating, and seeing other sites.

I've posted the first leg of my trip to my blog, see the link in my sig. I'll post more on Tuesday, which is a designated day of rest.


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Old 03-07-2009, 06:20 PM   #16
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Good start...

Enjoy the 'Q and have fun. Your weather should be warm, but sorry about the rain. At least you did not arrive for the snow last week! Tell Elvis & the ducks I said Hi.
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Old 03-07-2009, 10:17 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by reday View Post
I almost forgot...

When parking downtown, watch out for a man posing as a parking lot attendant asking for a fee of "Five Dolla Please". Most lots are unattended with a box to deposit your money. You generally find this man standing so that he is blocking your view of the the sign explaining this procedure...

While we are at it, you have probably seen similar lists for other cities, but this one is so true. The list is somewhat dated... it is a shame that you can not see the Pyramid... There is talk of Bass Pro leasing it.

Last, there is an alternate pronunciation for Memphis found below. It is "Mum-fuss".

THE MEMPHIS WE ALL KNOW

1. Downtown Memphis is comprised entirely of one-way streets. The only way to get out of downtown Memphis is to turn around and start over when you reach Arkansas or Mississippi.

2. All directions start with, "Go down I-240..."

3. I-240 has no beginning and no end.

4. Coca-Cola is bottled in Memphis. That's all we drink here, so don't ask for any other soft drink. And, by the way, it's pronounced "Co'Cola".

5. Memphians only know their way home and their way to work.

6. Gate One at the Airport is 32 miles away from the Main Concourse.

7. It's impossible to go around a block and wind up on the street you started on. The Chamber of Commerce calls it a "scenic drive".

8. The 8 a.m. rush hour is from 6:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. The 5:00 p.m rush hour is from 3:30p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Friday's rush hour starts Thursday morning.

9. Reversible Lanes (for example, Union Avenue) are not understood by anybody.

10. "Sir" and "Ma'am" are used by the person speaking to you if there's a remote possibility that you're at least 30 minutes older than they are.

11. "Sugar" is a more common form of address than "Miss". So is "Honey".

12. "Presley" can only be properly pronounced by a native Memphian, so do not attempt the pronunciation. People will simply tilt their heads to the right and stare at you with their mouths open.

13. The falling of one raindrop causes all traffic to immediately come to a screeching halt. So will Daylight Saving Time, a girl applying eye shadow across the street, or a flat tire three lanes over. Should (God forbid) one snowflake fall in Memphis, all drivers on the roads immediately lose any ability to control a car. Or, if in a pickup truck or SUV, they will drive as though the roads are dry.

14. If you're standing on a corner and a Metro Bus stops, you're expected to get on and go somewhere - although no one actually knows where the buses go.

15. Memphis is pronounced "MEM'-fus".

16. Construction on I-240 is perpetual, a way of life, and a permanent for of entertainment for the road construction companies.

17. Construction crews aren't doing their job properly unless they close down all lanes except one during rush hour.

18. Memphis' traffic is the friendliest around. The commuters spend hours mingling with each other twice a day. In fact, Memphis' traffic is rated number 1 in the country. You will often see people parked beside the road and engaged in lively discussions.

19. I-240 is the southern equivalent of the Autobahn. You will rarely see a semi-truck on I-240, because the truck drivers are intimidated by the oversized SUV-wielding housewives racing home after a grueling day at the salon or the tennis match to meet their children at the school bus.

20. The 95 pound woman driving the Ford Excursion (the largest vehicle ever produced in the world) absolutely MUST come to a complete stop, then proceed at 2.5 mph over any railroad track. Let's face it, this vehicle was built to invade small countries, and she's worried about the darn railroad tracks!!!

21. Hard and fast rule of the road in Memphis: Never use your turn indictor when changing lanes on any freeway. Use it randomly on surface streets.

22. Pedestrians in Memphis have the right-of-way....but it is a driver's duty to take out the pedestrian when crossing the street.

23. The parking lots at all the malls rotate once every hour, thus ensuring that visitors will be unable to find their cars.

24. Most native Memphians do not know how to get around downtown.

25. Even though I-240 is known as a "loop", you cannot drive the entire circumference of the loop without taking several exits.

26. Even though it is the largest indoor arena in the region, there is no easy way to reach The Pyramid. You must drive under a series of interstate off-ramps and through the back of a concrete company in order to park. Once you reach the building, you must climb up dozens of steps, even if your seats
are at floor level, which means you will be climbing back DOWN dozens of steps after entering the arena.

27. A typical set of Midtown directions may include, "take North Parkway East until you reach East Parkway, then take East Parkway South until you reach South Parkway, then take South Parkway West until you reach..."

28. If you drive South from Shady Grove Road, you will end up on Ridgeway Road without taking any turns. If you continue South, you will eventually be on Hickory Hill Blvd, again without taking any turns. However, Ridgeway Road will be parallel to you about a mile to the East. Memphis' street names
change without warning.

Just go to Winchester Road out East, and try to distinguish between the intersections of Germantown Road, Old Germantown Road, and Germantown Road Extended/Riverdale.

29. There is an intersection of two streets near Midtown. The "two" streets are Summer Avenue, North Parkway, Trezevant Blvd., and East Parkway.

Again, names change at random. This situation (two intersecting streets with Four names) is not atypical.

30. Native Memphians cannot distinguish between the Mississippi River bridge named "Memphis-Arkansas Bridge" and "Hernando DeSoto Bridge". Nor can they distinguish between the "I-55 Bridge" and the "I-40 Bridge". They are ONLY known locally as the "Old Bridge" and the "New Bridge" (even though the "New Bridge" is almost thirty years old).


It's remarkable how many of these are really quite true. I've lived in Memphis and its surrounding environs for 25 years now and it can be a quite eccentric place. Try solving the riddle of the Parkways. None of them travel int he direction they are named for. I'll tell why they are named the way they are. Future city planning was very short sighted. East Parkway marked the eastern boundary of the city and so on for the rest of the Parkways.

On the barbeque front the places mentioned are all good. Rendesvous has history and great atmosphere worth going once and not at night on a weekend(the wait could be 1-2 hours) although there is better barbeque for less money and wait time. Neelys is good so is Central, Leonards is also excellent Que. Gus's Chicken downtown is very good fried chicken. There are tons of great Mom and Pop hole in the walls that serve up some ambrosia simply out of this world.

As noted above Memphis can be a very easy place to get lost for out of towners and there are parts of town you simply don't want to get lost in. Memphis is one of the top three most dangerous cities to live in for a reason. Your son should be careful riding the city bus and know his route very well (easy to get on the wrong transfer).

As someone noted the Ornamental Metal Museum is a cool place to visit so is the Center for Southern Folklore, the Civil Rights Museum and Gibson Guitar factory. Tons of cool places on Beale, get you a Diver at Silkys and plan not to drive.....or walk much. Ernestine and Hazels is a cool local dive/club it used to be a brothel. Lot of good Blues joints on Beale and vicinity. Martyr Park at the top of Channel three drive is a nice place to view the Mississippi from ( the park memorializes the yellow fever epidemic in Memphis).

I'll probably think of some more places later.

It has been my experience that most people pronounce Memphis as MEM fus or MEM fis. It is said kinda blurred together as 1& 1/2 syllables (MEmfus) with kinda of a deep tone like Elvis would say it.
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Old 03-08-2009, 05:45 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by reday View Post
Enjoy the 'Q and have fun. Your weather should be warm, but sorry about the rain. At least you did not arrive for the snow last week! Tell Elvis & the ducks I said Hi.
The weather report last night was worrying. Winds up to 40mph heavy thunderstorms, and [gasp] large hail. Makes us guys with tin trailers shiver. I'm off to Bloomington with my Son this morning to get his sister's furniture out of storage. So I get to hit the road, towing a uhaul, in some wind that is pretty strong at 6AM.

My DW should have been a psychologist instead of a history professor. I told her of the weather, and was told "We've got insurance. Your just a worry wart." Well she's right on both counts, but still hail hitting the trailer gives me cause to worry.

__________Tom
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Old 03-08-2009, 02:57 PM   #19
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Glad you enjoyed Central Barbeque. That's are favorite barbeque. That's are favorite pork bque in the US--so good.
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Old 03-10-2009, 07:40 AM   #20
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Thanks Heinlein for the tip on riding the bus. My son's students had already convinced him to be selective about riding the bus. He's pretty much established a territory around his apartment that he can walk, about a three mile radius. If he really wants to go somewhere, or has to buy some large item, chair or mattress, he takes a cab. After driving through town, Watkins from one of the parkways past I-40, I agree he needs to be careful. After living in China for two years, he came home with both feet on the ground. So, I am more hopeful that he won't make any rash decisions.

Sunday morning we headed up to Bloomington, IN to empty a storage space our daughter had. There was some trepidation as to what shape the trailer would be in when we returned, because of the severe storm warnings. We also expected severe weather all the way up as well. The skies didn't open up until just South of our exit onto I-64 off of I-55. We skirted under the rest of the storm, and wound up with a nice drive up US 237 into Bedford and then to Oolitic. Spent the night and did the reverse back to Memphis. Boy was I relieved to see that the Memphis weathermen are no more accurate than anywhere else. No storms, or rain of any kind, had hit Memphis and the trailer was safe and dry. Yea!

Just kicking back today getting the kinks out of my back. Except for grocery shopping, I plan to just sit by the river and read a book. It appears that this may be my only chance since winter is supposed to return for the rest of the week. I'll put my tourist hat back on, and a coat, the rest of the week.


____________Tom
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'05 Excursion 4x4, 6.0 PSD, magnaflow, helwig anti-sway, air lift springs.
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