Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Another day, 2 more states (nearly 3)

I love all the travel advice in the comments. Thank you, M&M-ers.

Despite the apparent consensus, though, we decided to continue heading east out of Oklahoma City on Interstate 40, into Arkansas and toward Memphis, at which point our plan is to turn south on I-55 and make a straight shot to New Orleans.

Other than extremely strong southerly winds throughout Oklahoma, today was a beautiful day for driving, with clear skies and surprisingly (to me) pretty country in Oklahoma and Arkansas. We're both amazed at how much the landscape changes from day to day. Yesterday we saw hour after hour of high-mesa and red-rock desert; today we drove through the gentle hills of the Texas Panhandle, the wavy grass fields and red dirt of Oklahoma and the lush woods and horse country of Arkansas. Not a mesa in sight.

We thought we'd pull up somewhere around Little Rock for the night, but Michelle had an adrenaline rush and we kept on going -- almost all the way to the Tennessee state line. I don't know how she did it; I'm exhausted, and all I did was sit there. We're now tucked into a nice little EconoLodge in West Memphis, Ark., across the river from Memphis, and we hope to visit the Stax Records museum or maybe Graceland in the morning before we shoot south.

I keep meaning to post accounts of our poker adventures, or pics of lunch with Terry at Manhattan Beach and Miriam in South Pasadena, or our bitter riff on Starbucks' bungled marketing plan, or our cool new blog feature -- an "overheard" category -- but by the time we settle in for the night it's too late. That stuff will have to wait.

Here are a couple of quick pics from today's travels:

One of the first things you see when you cross from Texas into Oklahoma on this route is a sign advertising the largest cross in the Western Hemisphere. ("Exit for a spiritual experience you'll never forget.") Well, we got lucky. You could see the cross from the freeway, no exit required. I'm not sure how long I'll remember the spiritual experience, but I do recall that the actual cross, the one in the Bible, was in the Eastern Hemisphere, for whatever that's worth.

Oklahoma City. These are the bastards who are stealing the Seattle SuperSonics basketball team, and this Ford Center, on I-40, is where they'll play. I say "bastards" because people in Seattle are all upset about the team's moving. I couldn't care less, honestly. Good luck to the team and the OKC. I'm personally fine without either of them. The Oklahoman newspaper today was promoting a sports columnist who was taking great pleasure in poking the Pacific Northwest.

You're driving through Oklahoma, surrounded by cows, you ought to have a steak, is what I say. We finally found the perfect-looking joint, Big Jake's Cattle Co., although it was actually two miles inside the Arkansas state line. Sure enough, the menu featured a vast array of beef meals. Michelle ordered The Big Jake, a center-cut steak that the menu promised to be "the best eatin' of your life." I wasn't all that hungry. In fact I was going to order the "petite steak" but since they described it as "perfect for the ladies or the little fellas" I decided to go with a top sirloin instead.

They accidentally gave me Michelle's order, and I have to say that was one pretty tasty steak. But the best eatin' of my life? I don't know. I can think of quite a bit of eatin' this good or better on this very trip: the feast at Kaye & Val's, dinner at the awesome Bellagio buffet in Las Vegas, the Pete's turkey sandwich and Trieste cappuccino and Mama Matassa's manicotti ... and that's without even getting to the best Harley Dog in Kingman, Arizona.

More meals, wheels and photos tomorrow.


kateco said...

I am in accord with the route, of course -- you probably won't read this before you get there, but you are right on schedule for dinner at middendorf's -- it is on your way into New Orleans, just off the 55! Check the map. I hope you can make it. Missing you and the old home turf -- K

PS: If you get rained out or parked out, don't forget Libby B.

kateco said...

And I have a picture of that crazy huge cross too. Small world, big cross

freda said...

the whole point of this trip is to go where you want, to see what you want, not to take the shortest easiest route but the one with things you want to see or eat. I hope you make it to the resturant Kateco recommended. see you this evening.

Rita said...

I feel like I'm taking a glorious trip. I can't wait to get up in the mornings and find out where I've been and where I'm going.

I'll be thinking of you at the Jazz Fest.

Mark said...

I forgot to mention the kicker at Big Jake's. When the waitress asked what we would like to drink, I asked what beers they had on tap.

"Uh," she said, using the voice she saves for children and dimwits, "this is a dry county?"

Ok, then, I said, I don't want a beer. How bout a Diet Coke?