ALL 50 - Ray’s Journal Entry for: Day 41, Wednesday, June 5, 2003

Chicago, Illinois to Memphis, Tennessee

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It is a cool gray dreary morning in Chicago as I head south on Lake Shore Drive. The motel clerk has told me how to get to Buckingham Fountain. The traffic is heavy, but moving briskly. Its like a restart of a NASCAR race. I can't get over the number of Police officers directing traffic, even though there are signals.

8am south on Lakeshore Drive, Chicago, IL.

Wrigley Field, Chicago

Buckingham Fountain

Downtown Chicago

Soldier Field

State Capitol, Springfield, Illinois

Bridge over Missippi River, Cairo, Illinois

Bridge over Missippi River, Cairo, Illinois

Missouri (State #3...back again!)

Dead End...Mississippi River (Missouri Road 162)

Tennessee (State #26)

I pass by Wrigley and Soldier Fields and take a moving pictures, there is no place to pull over and I don't want to get in a wreck. OK, sometimes I am one of those 90% doing something else while driving!

In a short distance I am on I-55 heading south. Thank goodness, because traffic is stopped in the other direction. Good Planning!

They might as well have posted a sign, "Road construction next 200 miles." It appeared that traffic was continually being narrowed to one lane. About the time you get back up to speed, another construction zone. Oh well, traffic is moving nicely.

I start to realize and appreciate how much of our goods are moved by truckers. I know we all get pissed at them once in a while, but, if it were not for them, we would not have what we have. After 40 days in the car, I can only imagine what its is like driving a big rig, day after day. My hats off to you guys and gals!

Springfield is the Capitol of Illinois and there are numerous Lincoln sites around, however, I do not have time to stop in trying to make up for yesterday.

I purposely get off the freeway at Cairo, Illinois. This also is the only place I will cross in my travels. I crossed the Mississippi 41 days ago during the same time of day. However, then it was raining so hard, I could barely see. Today the sun is shinning and big billowy clouds. The evidence of past storms is the standing water still in the fields. I doubt some of these farmers are going to get a crop this year. What a way to have to do business.

Crossing the Mississippi into Missouri (State #3), there is no traffic on the bridge and I am in awe of this magnificent river. Looking down river, where the Ohio joins, I can see some barges and river traffic. Oh well, back to the interstate.

I am looking for an alternate route to get into Tennessee and get off the interstate. I have grown to love the secondary roads. Taking 162 east from Portageville, Missouri, it appears that I can get across the river. My first clue that I couldn't, was the stare I received from the state trooper getting off the interstate.  15 miles or so later, it dead ended at the Mississippi River. A couple in their jeep informs me that the ferry has not run for over fifteen years and what in the "H" am I doing here?

"The Card"

I take a few pictures and return to the interstate. They have informed me that it is the only way to Tennessee and that I am not the only one who has ended up here. It was a beautiful drive anyway.

"It's not the destination, but the journey!" favorite saying in life.

Crossing the Mississippi one more time, I'm in Tennessee, State #26!

Heading south towards Memphis from Dyersburg, TN. The sun is setting on my right and it is constantly changing because of the clouds. I only wish I had time to stop to enjoy it, but I need to keep going.

I vowed to myself, when setting this trip up, that I would only drive daylight hours so that I could enjoy the scenery. To date, I have been able to do that. I should have just enough time to get to Memphis.

Its twilight as I pull into Memphis. I follow the trolley and it brings me to downtown. Beale Street is bustling and I find a room only a couple of blocks away. Some dinner and a walk will fit me just fine.

The bartender at Peabody's tells me the best place to eat is between the hotels across the street. Its located in the alley. Rendezvous has a small sign above the door. Entering it is busy. Lots of memorabilia on the walls and attached to the ceiling. There have been lots of famous people here, and now me! The ribs are excellent.

Heading down Beale Street, there is Elvis, BB King’s and other establishments. This place looks like fun! Music, dancing, people having a good time. Listening and watching, I have enjoyed the time walking around. It has been very relaxing and how time gets away. Its Midnight!

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