Rockabilly Road Trip: Memphis Part I

Like Nashville, we had no idea what to expect in Memphis but we ended up loving it! You’d think I’d hate the crowds, litter and spilled booze permeating Beale Street but even that was fun: we drank beer on a patio with actual goats and window-shopped for fancy toilet seats painted with rock-and-roll scenes. I took so many photos, I haveta break this up into two posts. First chunk of pictures:arcadeBreakfast at The Arcade Restaurant. “Memphis Oldest Cafe, Since 1919,” or as Dean and I know it, the diner in Mystery Train. arcade

crystal shrine grottoThe Crystal Shrine Grotto. I cannot recommend Memphis’ Memorial Park Cemetery highly enough. The grotto is a rainbow quartz cave of wonder! The outside has fake trees and a dreamy, dyed pool. Bonus: Isaac Hayes’ grave is close by.

bealeBlues records sidewalk, awesome.

lorraine motelThe iconic Lorraine Motel, commemorating Martin Luther King Jr. as the Civil Rights Museum. Right in front is a woman camped out in protest of the museum.

sun studioMum & Dean napped at the AirBNB while Cliff and I went on a tour of Sun Studio. It was as charming as it was informative and, not gonna lie, the studio did feel a bit magical.

billy bass adoption centerOk, this is a chain but it is still delightful. So many Billy Bass!

staxThe Stax Museum!staxAll the memorabilia was cool but nothing was cooler than Isaac Hayes’ custom, gold-trimmed Cadillac, spinning in a frankly glorious display. stax


jerry's sno conesThese were the greatest sno cones of my life and I swear they possess restorative properties! They sure hit the spot on this particularly muggy afternoon. jerry's sno cones


Rockabilly Road Trip: Billy Tripp’s Mindfield

An hour or so outside of Memphis, we stopped in Brownsville to see the Mindfield. Photos can’t quite capture the scope of this thing– it’s a giant, fantastic bricolage of metal. The highest points are over 100 feet tall and there are hundreds of details nestled into every possible nook. Billy Tripp started working on it in 1989 and apparently plans to continue until his death when it will become his grave. Places like this give me life!

Rockabilly Road Trip: Jackson

We raced outta Nashville toward Jackson Tennessee to get to the Rockabilly Hall of Fame an hour before it closed. Rockabilly may not be my thing but meeting Henry Harrison was one of the trip highlights. What a charmer! He grew up in Johnny Cash’s neighborhood in Arkansas then Elvis Presley’s neighborhood in Memphis. The stories and his continued fandom made me really happy.

We all loved Rusty’s TV & Movie Car Museum. I am clearly about to pee my pants here cuz I’m so psyched to see Brian’s Eclipse. Someone gimme a Corona!
Mum & Cliff walked right up and knocked on the door of Carl Perkins former house. No answer but I guess they’ve got a guitar-shaped pool? We stopped by the graves so they could pay respects before hitting the road again.

Oh! No photos but this is also the town with Casey Jones Village where we played the worst round of mini golf. Haha. The course was roughed up and filled with debris but I laugh-cried when Cliff stepped in some muck and said, “I’ve just got a wonky footfull!” Haha, wonky footfull!

Rockabilly Road Trip: Nashville

When Mum visited the states for the first time, she came with her rock-n-roll friends to see Nashville and Memphis. Over 20 years later, she made her second trip to the US to see Nashville and Memphis again. Hahaaa! Dean and I drove in with no concept of how big Nashville was or if there was anything beyond the Broadway bars (which are overwhelmingly sloshed with expensive drinks and cowboys covering Green Day)… but we saw lotsa cool stuff sticking to the touristy spots:
This public library is top-notch. A beautiful building and courtyard and sweet staff! I went back to Nashville with Lane and Erin a few months later and stopped in again. Love it!
Dogs of the Nashville Flea Market: Sweet Pea in the tub, Dolly the poofy pup, Madden by the clothing rack. Don’t ask me to remember your name but I will remember your dog’s.
In terms of deals, I’d say the prices are a little higher at Nashville’s Flea than, say, Chattanooga or Athens but the selection is incredible. There was a rainbow sea of Pyrex and Fire King dishes, plenty of boxes of 45s for Cliff to paw through, and I developed this fantasy of buying a ton of Pachinko machines to cover our hall walls at home… mmmm Pachinko.

The Ryman Auditorium!
Prince died the day we got to town and I thought it was incredibly sweet that this 90s country cover band played a cover of “Purple Rain.” Also, Tootsie’s orchid-purple walls are lovely.
Hatch Show Print

The mister and I chased down the last light of sunset on the way to Mas Tacos. It was worth it.

Rockabilly Road Trip: Chattanooga

Rolled over the state line into Chattanooga– where Dean and I had just been a few months earlier for our anniversary. Clearly, we can’t get enough. This time, we had a lotta fun shopping at East Town Antiques. It was the start of Cliff’s tireless quest for rock-n-roll 45s (he ended up with over 50). Other things:
The walls at Aretha Frankenstein’s! Trip secret: we didn’t eat at too many cool spots; almost every breakfast on this trip was Waffle House. Don’t ask me why but Mum and Cliff are Waffle House’s #1 fans.

Back to the Choo Choo!

Ping pong at Clyde’s aka Murder Ball if I’ve had a few drinks. I think this was also the point where we found out Mum and Cliff have actually partied to the point where they’ve drunk out of shoes. Haha, wut!

Rockabilly Road Trip: Helen

Holy Helen! It’s been over a year since we took my British in-laws on a road trip through the south but better late than never to reminisce. I am completely smitten with the town of Helen. It’s got North Georgia’s natural beauty with the mountains and Chattahoochee River; then it’s got the kitsch factor of resembling a Bavarian Alpine town. If you’ve ever wanted to see a main street of Swiss chalets AND college football flags or, say, a Wendy’s with the gabled roof suited for a rustic Mittelgebirge, look no further. Helen’s got it all– even Alpine Mini Golf.

I am 100% serious going to do this with our AC box.

Cheers for 10 Years!

Dean and I celebrated our anniversary this past Friday: we met 10 years ago and got married 5 years after that! All committed relationships take work but I think ours has been a little easier than most. Maybe it’s a testament to how well we complement one another… but I think most of our success comes down to Dean being the chillest dude to ever live. He’s suffered through my worst, brought out my best, and NEVER gets tired of cracking dad jokes. Love you, Mr. Rivers!
10 year anniversary

Life Lately

Life lately, speaking just of my own tiny sphere, has been very full but mostly with good things.
1. I’ve seen a lot of family including my mom who is back from India for a little bit
2. Agent Cooper had a urinary blockage and ended up essentially getting a sex change operation… which after all the vet visits, medicine, change of food and diet came to $4k. Daaaaamn.
3. Directly related: I started a second part-time job at a movie theater kitchen which was humbling at first but now great. My co-workers are so sweet and I really like rolling sushi??
4. I’ve developed puppy fever the way other women develop baby fever.
5. Mom, Dean and I went to my cousin’s wedding in North Carolina. Stopped into Asheville on the way there and back. Smiley face fields and alpaca!
6. We terror-hiked to a magical rainbow waterfall and have kinda been chickens about taking on another “challenging” hike since.
7. Carey and I started co-hosting a podcast about horror movies
8. I chopped off my hair and found a cool hair stylist. (Old photo, pre-cut below)
9. My Flagpole co-workers and I dressed up like Stranger Things characters for a one-night-only band, Stranger Danger. I was the carnivorous flower-faced demogorgon.
10. Erin and I tagged dumb shit by the train tracks
11. Kitten cuddles!
12. I lost at trivia but made a new friend.
13. Me ‘n’ Dean are about to visit Seattle for our friends’ wedding then we’re heading to Buffalo a few days later for a family wedding. Love is in the air, coast to coast.
14. My lady Kriss is getting married NEXT year and I’m a bridesmaid! So psyched.
15. Twin Peaks. OMG, Twin Peaks.
16. I turned 32 on March 20th. My favorite cake is the The Grit’s birthday cake. :)

Not good things but not exactly bad things:
1. My awesome friend had some major health scares recently. He’s in Seattle and it’s one of those things where no matter how much you try to stay in touch, you can never be quite as present and supportive as someone who is actually… present. I got a call from Gavin when things were looking really bad and have gotten somewhat positive updates from him and Kristy ever since. I think my friend is out of the woods… or at least out of the hospital. Can’t wait to see him this summer!
2. My ex-bestie asked to meet up awhile back. I believe he wanted to let me know he was doing much better mentally tho he no longer sees us being friends. I’m not ready to write details here but I’ve reached an ok level of acceptance with this. I had to get out there and rebuild my social life… it was hard but I did it and am doing pretty good too. I miss having him in my life but the most important thing is that he’s not as stressed and depressed… and he knows I’m still here if he does need my support.
3. A few years ago, my amazing former boss died from cancer. I didn’t visit him as much as others and when I finally went to see him, I had to rush out of there and cry because the physical toll his treatments and illness had taken were unbearably sad. I still think of myself as a cry-baby but honestly, the last time I cried about anything in real life was years ago at his memorial. ANYWAY. The past few months, I’ve had a recurring dream where I’m in my boss’s cinema basement watching cool, fucked-up movies, then I’ve woken up with puffy, cried-out eyes. I don’t wanna read too much into that but it’s been weirdly cathartic… just generally. Sometimes you just gotta cry I guess.

Prince Party

Last night, Erin and I went to Kate’s Prince-themed birthday party at Flicker Bar. I honestly can’t think of a better way to celebrate life– your own, Prince’s, or just generally– than dancing with Purple Rain projected on loop and a steady stream of glittery cocktails. This might be the only Prince party in history to serve southern biscuits and mac n cheese. It was perfect. The Kate/Klon crew are new friends who I don’t actually know well but everyone was very kind, fun and funny. Also, Carey came by late to witness my drunken clownishness. Erin hit the dance floor, sober as a priest, and didn’t stop start-to-finish. I danced too but terribly and after four cocktails (plus spilling a drink on my co-worker’s wife…). We stopped by Go Bar on the way home, capping the night off with ODB and a final Prince jam.

Arizona Road Trip Leftovers

Bits and bobs from our trip that didn’t quite “fit” anywhere else. 
Woohoo! It’s officially vacation time and we’re in the air!

Landing for our first desert sunset. In real life, the colors looked neon and electric.

We terror drove through the mountains in the darkneess. It was icy and, at one point, there was a boulder in the road. In the best circumstances, I’m a bad driver so I was driving white-knuckled about 20mph here. We arrived in Flagstaff super late and almost immediately crashed at our AirBnB.

It was a really cool AirBnB though! Decked out in ’60s/’70s decor and surrounded by snowy mountains. Sorry we only got to see it for a few minutes the next morning when we left early.

Loooong day of checking out Bedrock, walking the rim path of the Grand Canyon and swinging through Twin Arrows and Two Guns.

Another desert sunset. I couldn’t get enough!

Our cute AirBnB camper in Phoenix was in the back of an artist collective with studios, shops, a gallery, and a zine distro. Bonus tour guide: Abby the dog!

Nami was sooo delicious. I think this was a sort of vegetarian McGriddle but I really went nuts over their apple fritters. Yummmmm.

The trees in Phoenix bear some interesting fruit.

Met up with Ted and Susan at Ocotillo. I already posted about that but it was wonderful catching up with them. And this restaurant is lovely. The most beautiful salad I’ve ever eaten.

Dean: Another selfie? Me: Yep!

The Phoenix Art Museum has an incredible collection of contemporary art but our favorite, hands down, was Yayoi Kusama’s “You Who Are Getting Obliterated in the Dancing Swarm of Fireflies.” It was like stepping into a living fairy tale and we went through three times.

An abandoned high school designed to look like our solar system. A fitting sight to drive by before flying home. Arizona’s beautiful landscape– from Flagstaff’s mountains and forests, to the Canyon, to the desert and Phoenix, was very beautiful and alien to us.