Day 23-28: Hold Outs Head West through South Central (US)

Drawn to the shag and thunder of Elvis Presley’s Graceland home in Memphis, they headed into the okie frontier. Although the kings castle was closed for a synthetic fiber cleanse, the outside remained open. The graffiti wall was slathered in thirty years of names over the top of names. Like Memphis slaw over a pulled pork sandwich, a patina of flavor that only time can achieve.

Well, one doesn’t have to say BBQ twice to this gang, and Memphis is a mecca for tender, spicy,  hog rump.  To their rescue, A&R BBQ was just down the road, and an old favorite from the Grits, Gravy and Graceland Tour.

Just a stones throw down the river was Big Easy’s home town of Little Rock, Arkansas. They visited his childhood home and school along with the infamous Central High.

A not-to-be-missed spot in Little Rock is the Bill Clinton Library & Museum near the Riverfront. A chilly day on the outside, it quickly heated up with Bill’s replica Oval Office and  Madiline Albrights, “Read My Pin” show that displayed her symbolic jewelry. Political bling, you could say. Even Elvis would clammer over this chick’s glitzy collection.

Then they headed west through Texas to duck the storms and cold weather. Little Rock got as low as 23 degrees, and these Californian’s (plus one aclimated Yankee) had their share of the ice.

Off to Abilene, Texas and a yummy cowboy steak bite at Joe Alen’s Steak House. Okay, keep it simple kids, order the steaks ’cause these cowboys have a one track mind and a good handle on their beef. Another good bet is Belle’s, where the biscuits are so fluffy and sweet it’ll knock you off your tootsies.

If one finds oneself in Abilene, there are some real high tech museums and super special taxidermy to be seen. Like “Frontier Texas!” where buffalo come alive along with American Indians and Cowboy trail blazers alike to reveal a story still being told,  of this land and it’s turbulent and triumphant times.

Another slice of American History sets just below Abilene in a place called Buffalo Gap. A re-made town with with plenty of artifacts that give a slice of what life was like during the frontier days.  Primitive as it seemed, in reality,  it happened less than 150 years ago.

With any boom town, it must boom again, and Abilene did again in the 1950’s when neon was first popular. The peeled paint and half-lit neon signs in this now interstate, by-passed town, glowed happily as the Brigade rode off into Texas’ sunset.


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