Friday, July 8, 2011

Four states in 24 hours: an unexpected adventure

Earlier this week, Mom and I took a little 5 hour road trip to Tunica, Mississippi for a doctor's appointment. I didn't have high expectations for the journey. I figured we'd drive there, eat some drive-thru food, and drive back home. The trip ended up being one of the best trips in my recent memory. What a surprise!

The drive into Tunica was beautiful and pastoral, nothing but fields for miles and miles and miles. We even saw some rice Mississippi! I had never heard of such. There is nothing (literally, almost nothing) in Tunica except cotton fields and casinos. That's it. We learned that Tunica is the 3rd largest gaming center in the United States. I'd like to meet the person who looked at Tunica and said, "Yes. This is where I shall build my casinos. I can't think of a more ideal location!" Homeboy had some serious vision.

We stayed in nearby Robinsonville, which is where the casinos are actually located, and were struck by the total absence of people. It was a bit creepy. I began to wonder if the Rapture actually did occur back in May, hitting Robinsonville, MS especially hard. I did a little research when I got home and found out that Robinsonville (which has "officially" been renamed Tunica Resorts) has very few permanent residents. Most of the people who live there are casino employees. Ah. Makes sense now.

Mom and I decided to hit up the casinos, since neither of us had ever been to one. Harrah's was our first stop.

We figured out why there were nearly zero people in town...they were all at the casinos. The inside was smoky and loud, just like I'd expected. It was fun to visit a casino for the first time but much less lively than I expected. Many of the people were just plopped down in front of the slot machines, piddling away what little money they seemed to have. Kind of sad. Mom and I were going to play, but we figured we'd get laughed out of the joint by playing $0.50 each. We stopped to feed the fish in the "moat" on the way out.

{They were literally fighting over the food. I'm not convinced that they weren't piranhas.}

Next, we set out in search of the Mississippi River. Mom had never seen it and I never get tired of seeing it. We found it right behind Fitzgerald's casino.

{"I shall build a castle in Mississippi." Serious vision.}

There's something really spectacular about the Mississippi River. Knowing that the water we were seeing had flowed all the way from Minnesota, marvelling that people used to sail down it using's pretty amazing.

We had asked at the hotel what restaurants were nearby. I didn't have to worry about eating nothing but fast food; there were no fast food places to be seen for miles. We had only two choices: casino buffets or The Hollywood Cafe. Having already been to the casinos, we opted for The Hollywood. That ended up being the best decision we made on this trip. We pulled up and were the only ones there (in keeping with the Rapture theme and all). The inside is delightfully old and decorated very eclectically. Loved it. Since we had the place all to ourselves, we went into total tourist mode...roaming all over, exploring, taking obscene numbers of pictures. All we were missing was a pair of fanny packs.

{One lone sunflower growing by the side of the restaurant. Poor little guy...the Rapture must've left him behind, too.}

{We had to squeeze our pins into a very crowded Alabama.}

Mom was in the midst of exploring when I heard her squeal. She had stumbled upon this:

We were eating at THE Hollywood. It took me a second to make the connection, but then I remembered. "Muriel played piano every Friday at The Hollywood, and they brought me down to see her..."

Take a minute, listen, pretend like you're still at Auburn and it's Tim Tyler Tuesday at SkyBar and Tim bangs the first few notes of this on his piano and everybody goes absolutely nuts and you throw your head back and sway with your friends and screech along at the top of your lungs and all is right with the world. Sigh.

The Hollywood took on a whole new level of cool once we realized it was THE Hollywood. You  know, THE Hollywood from the song and where some of the music video was filmed. In fact, I may have squealed, too.

{Marc and Muriel}

{me playing THE was too dadgum hot to wear makeup that day}

{Mom on THE piano}

We settled down long enough to feast on fried green tomatoes, fried pickles, and hamburgers. Delicious.

 The next day, after the doctor visit, we decided to drive to Memphis, which is less than 20 miles away. We crossed over into Tennessee and drove straight to Graceland. We didn't want to go in; we just wanted to see what we could see. After realizing that parking was $10 (egads), we acknowledged that we'd seen the gate and that was close enough to Elvis for us, and drove on through downtown Memphis. We somewhat accidentally found the bridge over the Mississippi River and drove into Arkansas. As you drive over the bridge leaving Memphis, you're surrounded by buildings, city streets, and the hustle and bustle of downtown. Literally just yards away, in Arkansas, there are nothing but fields and tractors as far as the eye can see. Such a huge difference in such a short distance. We turned around, drove back across the bridge to Tennessee, on into Mississippi, and headed back to Alabama. All without a GPS...I was pretty proud. I wish I had pictures of all of this, but that's what happens when the photographer moonlights as the driver.

This journey turned out to be so much more fun than I expected. Have yourself a random little adventure sometime soon. It's good for the soul.


  1. OMG. I love everything about this post!! The purple tree, the hollywood cafe, the FRIED GREEN TOMATOES! YUM! I may have to make a trip to mississippi. (I just sang in my head.... 'm, i, crooked letter crooked letter, I.. haha!)
    Sounds like you had a ball! :)
    I may need to get some fried green tomatoes somewhere too. hmm.
    Have a good weekend! :)

  2. That does sound fun! And I LOVE the pic of the of my favorite colors is purple. The food looked yummy too! And I loved the lonely little sunflower.

    To answer your question, my camera is a Nikon does look similar to yours but not as fancy & I can't seem to take good looking pics like you! I need to practice on outdoor things.

  3. Molly, I'm glad you liked it! It was one of those trips where my expectations were nonexistent and it just kept getting better and better. It was so much fun. I bet you can find somewhere in your neck of the woods with some good fried green tomatoes. Let me know if you find some!

    Thanks for stopping by, and enjoy your weekend!


  4. Kristi, the flowers on the tree were actually more reddish/magenta, but for some reason it didn't translate when I took the picture. The lighting was weird at that moment so maybe that was why. It still looks pretty, though!

    I'm excited about your new camera! My advice is to practice a little bit every day. I haven't read any books or taken classes, but I do try to take pictures every day. Most of them aren't amazing, so I just share the good ones :) Congrats on your new purchase, and thanks for dropping in!


  5. Julie,
    One of the best trips I ever took was with my dad and mom and my two girls and we went to Memphis...we did pay the parking and entrance fee to see Graceland. My dad was the president of the Elvis fan club..hehehe!! Seriously had a wonderful time and love the Mississippi river. My aunt (dad's only sister) lived in Muscatine Ioha and I loved seeing the Mississippi there, too.
    Loved this post with all the are really a great photographer.
    enjoy your weekend

  6. Annesta, what fun that must've been! I'm glad you have that sweet memory of a trip with your parents and your girls. My mom and I would both like very much to see Graceland know, past the parking lot :) Since it was after 2:00 when we arrived, and we had a 5 hour drive back, we decided to pass. Maybe one day, though! I've never heard of Muscatine...I'm off to look it up! Thanks for the compliment. I try to practice every day, and most of the shots I take aren't blog-worthy. I usually only share the good ones :)

    Thanks for your comment, friend! Happy weekend!


  7. Sounds like y'all had a wonderful adventure - and your pictures are beautiful! I literally got chills when reading about The Hollywood and remembering those Tim Tyler nights :) Sometime during football season we may have to pretend we're young and up for fighting crowds again just to relive that experience!

  8. LA, I thought about you when I realized we were at THE Hollywood. Oh, what fun nights those were! You think SkyBar would even let us in? We're just a few years shy of a decade older than everyone else in there :) If Tim Tyler is on the schedule for football season, I don't care how out of place we feel...We. Are. There!

    I hope you have a lovely week, friend!


  9. So glad you had such a fine time. I love your picture of the tree by the river. Beautiful!

  10. Sarah Barry, it was such a fun little getaway. I just marveled at the fact that we had almost no plans and rock bottom expectations, and we ended up having the best time. I also love the picture of the tree by the river. That may be a framer! Glad to hear from you; hope all is well with you and yours!


  11. You better have been thinking about me when you went into Memphis =) I am so jealous! Wish I could have visited THE hollywood cafe!! So glad you got to visit my neck of the woods....and even more glad you made it out of there safely! Its always questionable there! - Rachel


Comments delight me! Thanks for stopping by.