It was an 8-day vacation filled with museums and bike riding.
It began Saturday morning in Springfield, IL at the Abraham Lincoln Museum. Abe's Presidential Library across the street is closed - a victim of the current pandemic - but the library offered interesting exhibits about the life and times of our 16th President.
From Springfield, I drove to St. Louis, where we met my college friend Darlene, her husband Kevin, and their son Henry at Fitz's in University City. I love this place - mostly for their homemade root beer. Dar and Kevin were kind enough to let us stay at their B&B for 2 days. Sunday, we met my friend Jeff and his family for lunch and biked around Forest Park before watching a star show at the Planetarium at the St. Louis Science Center.
Monday, I drove to Memphis via Arkansas (it was my first time in Arkansas), and I stayed in Memphis until Thursday morning. A long bike ride on Tuesday left me exhausted and I drove around the area Wednesday morning, including a trip into Mississippi (it was my first time in Mississippi) for lunch; a walk by some of the city's mansions; a guided tour of Sun Studio; a drive past Graceland; and an afternoon at the National Civil Rights Museum. This museum was built in the Lorraine Hotel, where Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated in 1968.
I saw some very good live music each night I was in Memphis. The pandemic kept Beale Street more quiet than usual, but there were still some good venues with some good blues. Wednesday evening, we had a chance to see the famous ducks of the Peabody hotel. Each day at 5PM, this avian family is escorted to the hotel penthouse by a bellman in full uniform.
I drove to Nashville Thursday for some more bike riding and some more live music. Friday morning was a visit to Andrew Jackson's Heritage - the 7th President's plantation outside Nashville. I learned a lot about this complex man. Friday afternoon was spent walking around downtown Nashville and touring the Johnny Cash Museum. Friday evening, I visited my friends Gaines and Mary at their home south of Nashville, where we enjoyed some hot chicken by the bonfire in their backyard.
It was a near-perfect vacation, despite a few setbacks that included a lost credit card and a flat tire on the way home.
I rode about 50 miles, visited 3 museums, saw many live bands, visited some old friends, ate lots of good southern food, gained 2 pounds, and had a great time!
The challenge now is to remain isolated and schedule a COVID test, since Tennessee is a state with a spiking Coronavirus count.