Sunday, October 12, 2008

Walking in Memphis

We have not figured out how to communicate the concept of time zones to our cats, so they’re awake at 5 a.m., pulling on the bed covers. If they’re awake, I’m awake, so I get to see some beautiful sunrises. This one over the Mississippi had quite a range of colors associated with it.

One of the advantages of traveling as we are is that we do not have to rush around to see many things in a short time. Today we wanted to walk around a portion of Memphis. We have found it very easy to get around this city—drive to the Welcome Center, park the truck there for the day, walk across the street to pick up the Riverfront Trolley with our 3-day pass, and stop at any of a number of stops along Main Street.

As we walked along Main Street, often in the middle of the street, we had our eyes aimed upward to observe the architecture along a stretch of eight blocks. Fortunately, this portion is a pedestrian mall, so we just had to listen for the trolley bell to change our position.

This stretch of buildings included galleries, restaurants, and retail shops.

Even though Main Street is about three blocks west of several hotels, AutoZone Park (home of the AAA minor league affiliate of the St. Louis Cardinals), FedExForum (home of the NBA Grizzlies and the University of Memphis men's basketball), and many retail stores, there is a leisurely quality to the pace of activity here.

Despite a population of nearly 700,000, Memphis seems to have the qualities of a smaller, walkable, "just-the-right-size" town. At least this portion of the city has those qualities.

It must be the season or the time of day, because even Beale Street was easily navigable on foot. (More on Beale Street in a later entry.)

And it was on Beale Street that we saw this encouraging sign. It would seem that the facade of an old building was being preserved. If we are correct, maybe progress can hang onto some of the old structures.

Later, back home, we watched another load of goods heading up the Mississippi under a nearly-full moon.

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