Week 1 – first destinations: Memphis,TN, Tahlequah, OK, Rt. 66

After a good night’s sleep, we pushed on, I-81 and I-40 stopping to stretch our legs and backs, refueling and lunch break, day 2 found us pitching our tent and setting up camp at Cumberland State Park in TN for an overnight stay,  Then onward to Memphis (we stayed there on our last road trip but didn’t arrive til nightfall and left in the morning)  this time we wanted to experience the home of the blues.  We checked into a Comfort Inn across from the Mississippi River and a short walk to Beale Street.  We happened upon a local band “New Era” at Handy Park belting out some blues and soul, strolled along Beale Street and although it was biker night, the streets were relatively empty.  We listened to the Memphis Jones band and Preston Shannon wail as we dined on dry rubbed baby back ribs and pulled pork at BB King’s blues club.

The next day we took the monorail to Mud Island and in the heat of day took a a paddle wheel steam boat ride up the mighty, muddy Mississppi.  My husband indulged me on this while he let the roll of the boat lull him to sleep (which was what a lot of men were doing).

IMG_8876After 2 96 degree days in Memphis, we forged onward.  Hitting a deluge of torrential Arkansas rains staying at the Muskogee Inn & Suites in Oklahoma.   Meeting Jene’s friend at  Tahlequah, OK for the annual Labor Day weekend Native American Pow Wow.   A bit of a disappointment as the various venues were scattered across the town.  With cameras in hand, we roamed around clicking our shutters.  I was asked if I was an authorized photographer.  Umm, no and was told that these were sacred dances and not to be photographed.  Annoyed because most of the audience were snapping away on their iPhones and point and shoot cameras from the stands.  I wanted to both comply (out of respect for their culture) and gripe about the others but I just went back to our shady spot under the tree and inwardly sulked.  The vendors were the most disappointing.  Mary Kay, Avon, window and door replacements, a missionary trying to enlist people into his religion.  We found only a handful of native American arts and crafts tables.  With oppressive heat and threatening thunder clouds, we only stayed a couple of hours.  Bummer.  This reknown Pow-wow was the initial impetus for the road trip.

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We drove along Rt 66 and happened upon John Hargrove’s place in Arcadia (roadside America’s pick of interesting sites).  What an interesting man and Jene was locked in conversation with John for quite a while while I roamed around.

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We laid our heads down for the night in Yukon, OK claimed to be the home town of Garth Brooks. Off to Amarillo, and riding along Route 66 again. Stopping at the famed Phillips 66, Lucille’s gas station, old hotels and motels and excited just to ride the road.

Week one was just so-so – some interesting places but nothing mind blowing. Traveling through middle America’s wheat, corn fields, ranches and flat lands was tedious but we were on our way to the land of enchantment – New Mexico.





About maryduranteyoutt

Necessity is the mother of invention... I parlayed my work experience into my personal endeavors of photography and print- making. At the age of 56, I retired and pursued my dreams once again. Photography is my passion; I want you, the viewer to come into my world. My images will connect to you and touch each of you differently and they will have you walk away with your own version of the story I started…I try to capture the feel, the essence - the very being of my subject, whether it's a portrait of a child, a friend or a stranger. In my cityscapes, I want you to hear the footsteps on a quiet street or to look closely at the ordinary moments that we all tend to rush past without stopping to notice. This is how I look at life, at the intimate details that sometimes go unnoticed: the bright smile of a child, the hardships that some people have witnessed, the sheer joy of a dancer or the beauty of nature when you take a closer look. This is what I want to share and that is why I will continue on my path.
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