Sunday, June 2, 2013

Crosscountry Roadtrip Part 1

After one of the biggest milestones in my life thus far I figured it was the best decision to take the next few weeks exploring my newfound "freedom." I feel like now that Elon is behind me both physically and in spirit I can really make a life for myself by my rules. It was fun growing together with my colleagues at school and I enjoyed experimenting my interests academically and within the community. However, I always said how limiting everything was and now I've discovered how spot-on I was theoretically. So driving cross country with one of my most favorite person and dear friend and family member, my Mom, will give me a change to do something wild, different and true to my soul.

Enough of all the philosophical stuff. Let me tell you how freakin AWESOME the first half of the trip has been. Day 1 we drove to Asheville. First time in four years I got to visit which I feel is sad and depressing but I'm happy I got to do it on my way out of the state (at least for the time being). Asheville is hippieville for those of you that have not been or won't ever get the opportunity to go. Its a mix of culture that is reminisce of San Franscico meets bohemian New York with a flare of Chapel Hill. During the day we ventured out around the downtown area getting the vibe of the place. Had a quick bite for Happy Hour at Scully's which so happens to be (ironically enough) the place the Elon Basketball team and fans hang out during SoCon. People are so mellow which was exactly was we needed. We spent our first night in a Super 8 a few exits away and it was so comfortable there - brand new construction. Late that same night we ate at Olive Garden - after five years since my last experience - down the road and it was so satisfying.

 Cat sculpture for Cat's Alley
 Live cover band at Scully's

The next day we decided to go to the River Arts district. It was such a soothing and interesting day walk through the galleries and art studios in that area. The artists were particularly interesting especially talking to a few that turned out to be from the Northern states. We also went walking around downtown   to eat lunch at this fresh Mediterranean place on College Ave. Later we drove near the Biltmore estates to find the Blue Ridge Pkwy and decided to take a drive. It was the BEST decision ever. The view from the pkwy was spectacular! Unfortunately lacking less than a 1/2 tank of gas permitted us to go a certain (minor) stretch of the way but of what we saw was worth every gallon. Back at normal elevation we stopped at a local brewery for a flight tasting :) That evening we ate at Mayfel's in downtown and almost died during the bread pudding and french press coffee for dessert. 

 River Walk District galleries
 Colorful house in the district
 The Mediterranean place we ate at for lunch

 Up and coming Johnny Cash standing next to a random iron sculpture

 Photo op along the Blue Ridge Pkwy
 French Broad brewery flight tasting 
The best dessert thus far on the trip

That night we packed up and hit the road heading through the night towards NW to St. Louis to visit my friend Jay. After about 12 hrs (2+ hours for a nap) we met up with Jay at Washington University campus near her job site and around the corner from her spacious apartment. Motoring through the day after organizing our stuff and settling in we did the tour/tasting at Anheuser-Busch, walked around the downtown area near he Arch and drove around the city (Forest Park). We treated Jay to dinner at a local joint nearby her apartment/school called Mi Ranchito.  The next day we were up early to head to the Basilica and go up the St. Louis Arch (Nat. Park) before we headed out on the road to Memphis.

 Lobby to Anheuser-Busch

 The Arch

 Inside the Basilica

Outside Jay's apartment

Four hours later we were on Belle St drinking a Blue Moon listening to a great band in downtown Memphis TN. Fortunately for us it was also bike night so the street was full of activity the whole time we were there. We ate at a semi-sketch place but had an awesome-ly delicious meal (BBQ with cheese fries). We hopped a few more places to listen to some local music before we drove to the hotel for the night. The next morning we were out the door and stopped for a quick bite at Bluff Cafe across the street from the National Civil Rights Museum. We did go through the museum including the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial - outside room 306 where he was shot and killed - and the Freedom Sisters exhibit honoring all the brave and amazing black American women of our time.

 Local band lets some of the tourists play with them
 Ben from Daytona Beach FL
Ms. Blues from Norway
 The biker's alley on Belle St
Delicious meal on Belle St. in Memphis 

Later we went to Graceland - needed a little light-hearted fun after the serious tour of the National Civil Rights Museum. I was reminded how retro Elvis' house and belongings were from my last visit in 2009. Although I must say he was a humble man who did not live too much above his means - maybe in automobiles :) Afterwards we went back into town to find one of Guy Fieri's Triple D hotspots Alcenia's on the uptown district of Memphis. I feel in love with the place as soon as I entered the restaurant. We were both kindly greeted by Ms. Alcenia's herself and welcomed to find was comfort foods we wanted to indulge in. The food was so delicious and the juxbox in the place wasn't half bad either so I recommend it two thumbs up!!! *Recommend the catfish and cornbread YUMYUMYUM!!!

 MJK Memorial
 One of many women represented at the Freedom Sisters Exhibit

 Entrance to Graceland
 Lifetime of achievements
 Car used in Blue Hawaii Movie
 Elvis painted this custom purple...he had me in mind
 Private Jet 

 Alcenia's - best soul food in town!!!
Her version of my favorite fried pickles - these are fried cukes

Stay tuned for Part 2....craziness in Oklahoma, empty streets of Dallas and the young culture in Austin. 

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