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50 States, Day 226

  Little Rock to West Memphis, 150 miles
 
"Dost thou love life?  Then do not squander time, for that is the stuff life is made of."
~Benjamin Franklin



 
What she said: "We have no non-smoking rooms available at the coupon rate. I can upgrade you for five dollars more." (There is one (1) vehicle in the parking lot) What she meant: "You and your coupon are going to pay more."
What we said: "Then we'll take the smoking room at the coupon rate."
What we meant: "We're not letting you screw us over."
What we should have said. "That's too bad. We'll stay somewhere else. 'Bye."
 
She just grated me wrong. Other things she said: "You must use that back door." And, "You must park out there, by that truck." Almost as far as possible from our room. And the room reeks. Why must people behave this way? I should identify them but I'll refrain, and the West Memphis Best Western will-Oops.
I left to buy a pack of cigarettes and QG stopped me. Apparently you don't HAVE to smoke.



Today, with temperatures quite low, but sunshine (a nice break from pounding rain and thunderstorms yesterday), we headed to the Capitol. What a nice tour, as children sang Christmas carols in the center, and the place was laden with Christmas decorations. Every time a choral group stepped off the risers, another took their place.  

We parked in Capitol visitor's parking and the beautiful gold front doors were closed-we went in the servant's entrance. The strip search was waived, as the security people probably wearied of x-raying eight year olds. We missed the nine o'clock tour and the next would launch at one. Dangit. We wandered around and QG read the brochure, telling us about its history and construction.



One hall featured the building's history, and what a mess. The state lawmakers wanted a new building, as the State House ceiling was literally falling onto their desks as they made the big decisions.
"And how do you vote, sir?"
"Hang on. Let me clear the plaster off this bill so I can read it."

They decided to build it, not to exceed one milion dollars. Fifteen years, two architects, two contractors and four Capitol Commissions later, they finished it for $2,205,779. It was fraught with corruption, shoddy construction, good old boy deals, and lawsuits. No wonder the entry to the Capitol is crooked.



Next we visited the Bill Clinton Presidential Library. We found this to be interesting, as most tours we've done are historical and we lived during the Clinton years. I really enjoyed the movie, a twenty-five minute film starring Bill himself, narrating his experiences from growing up in Hope, Arkansas to the end of his second term as President. Great job. Clinton always was a good communicator and could connect with people. And for the record, I'm a conservative, but credit where credit is due.


This was my first Presidential Library and no surprise, a tribute to oneself. I lived those years and didn't realize they were the best eight years of my life. Seriously, it was interesting, and I was drawn to the binders that showed his schedules for every day in office. They are scheduled to the minute, like 'Fly to New York on Marine One, eight minutes.' Even though a lot of it is posing with the Boy Scouts and other photo ops, the President is one busy guy. Clinton must have drove them crazy because he was perennially late. He probably got behind at the first meeting and it got worse all day. A very interesting and beautiful library. We wondered if the natives were angry when the Clintons left for New York the minute his term ended.

We rode to West Memphis today on I-40, as time marched onward. While temps in the low forties, we rode in comfort, the (PP!) Gerbings doing their job well. When we stopped for the night, however, the fifteen minutes of shifting luggage made us realize we rode in freaking cold weather. Wow! After our not so friendly check-in we trotted over to Denny's and were treated to more mediocre service:
What I said: "I'd like the senior turkey dinner."
What I meant: "I'd like the senior turkey dinner."
What she said: "Ain't got no stuffin'."
What she meant: "I don't care."
Jeez. Come on people! I try to be nice; you could too.

And now, smelling like smoke, but pleasant anyway, Quilter Girl!
 

The capitol was decorated for Christmas, including a two story tree in the rotunda.  It was very pretty with huge Christmas balls embedded in greenery climbing the marble staircases.  We wandered around on our own listening to the singing and saw the House Chamber, the Senate Chamber, Governors Reception room and the old Supreme Court Chambers.  There were not as many curlicues in this capitol as it was decorated in the Arts & Crafts style which is one of my favorites.  
 
It was a cold ride to Memphis, but the gear kept me warm.  It is so flat east of Little Rock, and what I will remember about this area is all the standing water.  I understand that the state grain is rice; it must grow really well with all this water!  
Some of the standing water may have come from the thunderstorms that passed through the area yesterday.  There were tornado warnings broadcast on during the football yesterday, but it wasn't much more than just cloudy until 5:30 when the skies darkened and rain pounded on the window.  Then came some really impressive thunder and lightning.  There is nothing like midwestern storms.  It continued for an hour or so, then quieted down and finally stopped.  We were really glad to be in a nice motel!

QG

Tomorrow, Graceland. D'oh! Closed on Tuesdays. You've got to be kidding! We'll ride on past, headed for Nashville.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

13 comments:

Mel said...

It sounds like Memphis will not make your 'Highlights of the Tour' List. They even closed Graceland while you were in town? How rude!
You must have been 'All Shook Up' and in "Heartbreak Hotel' when you heard the news. Deciding that 'It's Now or Never', and with 'Suspicious Minds', you probably thought about telling them to go to uh, well... to 'Return to Sender'!
I'm sure the whole experience made you appreciate your own hometown, and had both of you singing 'Viva Las Vegas' at the top of your lungs as you scooted down the road!

................................ Kevin Parsons said...

Yeah found out in church. I was 'Crying in the Chapel.'
KP

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