Saturday after I blogged, Travalon and I went to the Florida State History Museum in Tallahassee, which was really cool, and I tried to get a shot of their capital building, but it was hard because we were driving. Then we went into Alabama and stopped for lunch in Dothan at a place called Hunt's Seafood Restaurant, which was really Southern. The food was so good - we had shrimp and oysters with hush puppies, and Travalon had cheesy grits for his side while I had seafood gumbo. We also stopped at a stained glass shop that advertised boiled "p-nuts," so we got some, along with some chocolate-covered pecans and deep fried peanuts and half-day suckers. We passed the time by playing a silly game in which we competed to see what typical Alabama thing we would see first: a Baptist church or a fireworks stand? An Alabama sticker or an Auburn one? Etc. For some reason I was a lot luckier at this game. We stopped in another tiny town and had some amazing peach pecan ice cream. I know it's Lent, but it was the Feast of St. Patrick and also the anniversary of my baptism, so I felt like I should indulge in some treats to mark the occasion. We drove by Montgomery, and I could see the domed capital building downtown, but I couldn't get a picture of it. Outside of Birmingham we took a hike along a lake in Oak Mountain State Park. Then we entered Mississippi, and outside of Tupelo we had really good fried chicken at a place called Chicken King, and we also had moon pies. We finally got to Memphis and arrived at the pyramid around midnight. It was originally built as a basketball stadium, but the NBA said it didn't meet their standards so now it is the biggest Bass Pro Shop you have ever seen. For some reason it was open, so we went inside and discovered there was a hotel there as well, but they were booked up so we crossed a very cool bridge to Arkansas and stayed at a more sketchy motel than we were used to, but it was fine. We ended the evening with a shot of Sheridan; I bought some on the ship since you can no longer get it in this country. We were too tired to check out the St. Patrick's Day insanity on Beale Street.
The next morning we went to Mass at St. Patrick's in Memphis with a very diverse congregation, and then we went to Beale Street. It had clearly been an insane scene the night before because there were pineapples and broken green bead strands as well as cups everywhere. We drove through Arkansas and came across Johnny Cash's boyhood home in Dyess. In Portageville, Missouri we had a wonderful buffet lunch at a place called Mary Ada's that seemed to be the big gathering spot in town. We drove to Cairo, Illinois, a very historic town where the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers come together. It used to be an important steamboat stop, but now it is very rundown. We went back into Missouri, and the landscape became beautiful and hilly as we drove toward St. Louis. I was driving as we passed through the city, so I was unable to get a picture of the arch as we passed it. Just east of the city we took a hike in Cahokia Mounds State Park (Illinois), and that was extremely cool. It has the largest mound in North America, Monk's Mound. Travalon's oldest brother is the one who told us about it. A thousand years ago it was a huge city, the biggest in North America. By then darkness was starting to fall, so Travalon and I kept ourselves awake by singing show tunes and every Steely Dan song we could think of. Finally we were back home, driving toward our own capital building. We got in very late and went right to bed without unpacking.
Today I had a very easy day. Travalon and I slept in, then he went into work late and I went to Adoration. I was supposed to have the day off because a coworker is taking Friday off so I have to work for her, but I had a staff congress meeting so my workday was two hours long. Then I went to Mass in honor of St. Joseph's feast day. What a great way to ease back into regular life!
Here are some photos from this weekend. First are some shots from the museum in Tallahassee: a collection of orange crates, and an old-fashioned bicycle.
This is the best shot I got of the Tallahassee Capital Building. It's still not very good.
Oak Mountain State Park in Alabama was beautiful and reminded us of Governor Dodge State Park here in Wisconsin.
The Pyramid in Memphis changes color from indigo to turquoise.
Here are exterior and interior shots of St. Patrick's in Memphis.
Here are a couple of shots of Beale Street in Memphis.
This is Johnny Cash's boyhood home.
Finally, a couple of shots of Cahokia Mounds State Park: Monk's Mound and some reconstructed wooden walls.