Sprinkles were coming down as we set out this morning. Our first stop was a combination charging stop and touristy stop. Jackson, TN was home to Casey Jones, made famous for dying while working on a train. Conveniently, there is a Tesla Supercharger in the parking lot of the Casey Jones Museum and General Store. We weren’t interested in the museum (all about train stuff and Casey Jones), but we did spend a little time in the general store while the car charged. It had a cool, old-fashioned feel, with items imported from other old ice cream parlors and stores. The entry had an old set of mail boxes. The ice cream parlor section had a fancy stained glass lamp with a different ice cream parlor name on it. And there was a really ornate soda fountain behind the counter from the 1890s. I got a picture of that, it was so cool. The shop/ice cream parlor/restaurant was much smaller than we were anticipating, so we finished checking it out long before Tessie was charged enough to hit the road. We ended up wandering around outside for a bit. We almost got popped on by a bird in a tree as we walked. It was like he wanted to get our attention so that we’d stop and listen to his song. We listened for probably a full minute. We don’t know what kind of bird he was, but his song was so beautiful and varied. The different sounds that came out of one bird had us enthralled (for at least a minute, anyway).
Once Tessie had enough charge, we headed further into Jackson, TN to check out Rusty’s TV and Movie Car Museum. Our route took us through a rough part of town, with plenty of run down apartment buildings, a couple that even had all their windows boarded up. It’s run by a guy who collected about 20 cars (either original or re-creations) of cars from tv shows and movies. Rob’s favorite was the original Batmobile from the Michael Keaton Batman movies. I think my favorite was the Delorean from Back to the Future. Or maybe the actual car driving by Paul Walker in Fast & the Furious. It wasn’t a big museum, so we didn’t spend much time there.
As this trip approached, I have been watching lots of flooding coverage on the Weather Channel. Most of their coverage has been in Nebraska, but they often mentioned how the rivers, specifically the Mississippi further down river was also flooding, so I asked Rob to find us a way to visit the Mississippi as we cross, not just cross on some giant Interstate bridge that we wouldn’t be able to see anything from. So, he planned out a route through rural TN to the river, north of Memphis. Well, we got to within about 5 miles from the river when we hit a “road closed” barrier and figured we’d better turn around (even though the SUV in front of us just drove around the barrier). We tried another route to get close to the river. It took us down a secluded country road, and past lots of somewhat scary signs that we were entered a state penitentiary. The map clearly showed that we weren’t really entering, just driving by, so we kept going. It was probably minimum security. It looked like they had inmates work the fields around the prison and had buildings labeled for training, so we weren’t too scared of being accosted by an escapee murder. But isn’t there a Johnny Cash song about Fulton Prison? Fulton was the name of the “town” we were headed toward. Well, when we reached Fulton, it was really just a collection of about 5 houses and the ubiquitous Baptist church. And the road just ended. We drove to the barrier, which also had a Stop sign, somewhat weirdly, since after the barrier, the road had disintegrated and was covered in trees. We parked and walked along a small path through the woods toward the river. It was only about 20-30 feet. That’s where we discovered that the road used to continue right up to the river. We walked nearly to the edge of the old, weathered pavement. You could still see some of the yellow line painted in the middle. The river had recently eroded quite a bit more of the end away, so we didn’t want to get too close, in case the ground underneath us, which we couldn’t see, had eroded away, too. We had 2 theories: the first was that there used to be a bridge across the Mississippi River here. This theory seemed less likely since there didn’t seem to be a cleared space on the other side for the other end of the bridge. Our second theory was that there used to be at least one more house closer to the river and that frequent flooding from the river had washed it and the end of the road away. Further investigation done this evening in the hotel supports the second theory. We also found that just a week ago a good portion of what we drove today was actually underwater. We were a week late to see what I’d been hoping to see. But it was still fun to discover the road to nowhere.
A side note, the route to Fulton passed through the hamlet of Fort Pillow. I thought it was an interesting name and looked it up: turns out the most controversial battle of the Civil War was fought here. In it, the Confederate soldiers massacred the surrendering Union soldiers, who were former slaves fighting for the Union. There was some dispute whether the Union soldiers had actually surrendered. But, either way, many men lost their lives in horrific ways, not just by being shot, but through more tortuous methods, as well. The Confederate General in charge was named Nathan Bedford Forrest. Tonight we are staying not far away in Forrest City, AR. Seems by the unusual spelling, that the city might be named for the General, but that’s just a guess.
Along the way from our river excursion to charge in Memphis, we passed an industrial area, home to factories for Unilever, and Charms (makers of Tootsie Rolls). We had to pull over and take a picture of Rob with a Tootsie Roll semi truck in the background. Too cute.
As we drove through rural TN today, I picked up on what seems to be a TN tradition. Flowers (I think most were fake) adorning mailboxes. I’m not talking flowers planted around the base of the mailbox. I’m talking colorful flowers in full bloom (or fake) arranged around the back of the box itself. I think it might be an Easter thing, as a celebration of Easter to come. I got a good shot of the best example we saw. Most were simpler arrangements than this one.
The most excitement we had all day happened as we drove along the Interstate in Memphis. Rob was just about to merge left when a steel pallet thing (about 3ft by 3ft) flew off the top of a truck hauling a roll-off dumpster with no cover on it. Rob tried to slow fast enough to avoid it, but it nailed us right in the front end. It’s probably a really good thing that it didn’t hit much higher, or it probably would have smashed into our windshield. As it is, there a good dent and a long scratch across the front of poor Tessie. Since were were merging onto one interstate from another as the incident happened, there wasn’t any place to pull over right away. The car seemed to drive just fine and gave us no indicator lights that anything was amiss, so we kept going. We quickly passed the truck, since it still had other debris bouncing around in the top that looked like it, too, could bounce out and onto the road at any bump in the road. As we passed, I looked up at the driver and he very clearly gave me a shrug, like “oh, whoops.” And just kept driving. What?!?!?