East Tennessee and Memphis sights
As previously mentioned in another blog, Cynthia and I spent a week at a Thousand Trails campground -- Cherokee Landing – in west Tennessee and just went on “day trips” from there. One was to Jackson, about 35 miles north where we saw Casey Jones’ old home place and Cynthia took a tour of the museum. Her love of trains is much greater than mine, so I just sat and rested. (we had already walked quite a bit, and my stamina isn’t what it once was). Cynthia told me the story of Casey Jones, who was an engineer on steam locomotive #382 that was involved in a crash with another train. Jones could see it coming, so he instructed the fireman to jump out. Jones, like any good leader, stayed, the two trains collided and he was the only one to die. Sorta, you know, like the captain sinking with the ship.
The next day we went to the site of the Battle of Shiloh, about 35 miles northeast of us. In addition to taking a driving tour of the Shiloh battlefield, which took over an hour, and included sitting in on a short film about the battle of Confederate and Union soldiers, we visited the cemetery of all the union soldiers. The confederates were buried in mass graves in trenches on the battlefield. It was all very interesting. By the time, we had taken the tour, it was time for lunch. We found a place called the Catfish Motel and enjoyed some good fried catfish. It wasn’t really a motel, but the waitress explained that the weary travelers who stopped along side the Tennessee River years ago for some catfish, after all the tales were told and the time had slipped away were invited to spend the night. Hence, the Catfish Motel.
Once we left the catfish restaurant, we went through a small town called Adamsville and discovered it was the home town of Buford Pusser, a late sheriff who carried a big club rather than packing a gun. You may recall the movie Walking Tall, starring Joe Don Baker. It was about Pusser, the legendary sheriff of McNairy County. His home place was there and a museum, though we didn’t go into it. Ironically, Walking Tall comes on television tonight. We plan to tune in.
We visited Graceland the next day in Memphis. Graceland was of course the home of rock n’ roll star Elvis Presley. We toured the home and took in all the sights and sounds of Elvis, including his car museum, the Lisa Marie plane and all the gift shops. It’s a must-see for Elvis fans. The tour doesn’t included the upstairs portion of Graceland. Somebody joked, “Probably because that’s where Elvis is these days …”
Memphis was our next day’s stop, too. We took a bus tour of all the places in and around the city, including a stop at Sun studios where Elvis first recorded his songs, St. Jude Hospital, FedEx Forum and Auto Zone Park, downtown basketball and baseball sports venues. We also ate lunch on famous Beale Street, where the legend of Blues (music) got its start. All in all, our stay in east Tennessee was very relaxing, as well as informative.