Road Trip 2014 – Nashville & Memphis, TN & Little Rock, AR

In my last post, Road Trip 2014 – Mammoth Cave, KY, I mentioned a few friends and I set out on a road trip to New Mexico in December 2014. By the end of our first full day of driving (almost 24 LONG hours), our goal was to make it as close to Oklahoma City, OK as we could.

We chose a few cities to drive through on our way from Mammoth Cave, KY to Oklahoma City, OK. How did we pick these cities? We looked at the route between the two cities on Google Maps and saw which cities the route would take us through. We picked 3 cities and researched some things to do in each. As we got closer to each city, we would talk in the car about what we had time to do and what the weather permitted. Oftentimes we had some things we wanted to do, but we got to the city when it was too dark or it was raining and we decided to do something else.

We made it to Nashville, TN after driving 1.5 hours from Mammoth Cave, KY. Since we still had quite a drive ahead of us to get to Oklahoma, we only had time to check out the Parthenon at Centennial Park, shown in the picture at the top. The Parthenon is a full-scale replica of the original Parthenon in Athens, Greece. It’s pretty incredible to see how huge the original really was! We didn’t go inside, but the Parthenon is also an art museum.

We hopped back in the car and after a quick McDonald’s bathroom break, we drove the next 3 hours to Memphis, TN. We got to Memphis around dinner time and headed to Beale Street. The next day was a Bowl game between WVU and Texas A&M, so we got to see fans from both colleges and heard the bands playing. Beale Street was closed off to traffic so people were able to walk around with open containers and there were stands selling beer in the street. The whole experience reminded me of South Street in Philadelphia, but with a bigger focus on music. We ended up eating at The Pig On Beale and got some tasty pulled pork sandwiches. The service was pretty quick considering the place was packed and the food was good!! The bathroom was pretty disgusting, but I wouldn’t expect anything less from a bar/restaurant on this street.

IMG_6724
Beale Street in Memphis, TN

After dinner, we drove another 2.25 hours to Little Rock, AR to check out the Big Dam Bridge (yes, that’s really its name!!!), the longest pedestrian and bicycle bridge in the world. I have to admit, I mostly wanted to go because of the name, but online reviews said it was pretty neat. The bridge actually spans the entire length of the dam. It was super dark when we got there and you couldn’t see much, but the bridge did have some lights on it. Apparently when it’s daytime, you can see Pinnacle Mountain from the bridge.

Big Dam Bridge
Big Dam Bridge

After Little Rock, we set out for the Arkansas/Oklahoma border. We ended up finding a hotel in Checotah, OK for the night. Side note – with a little research, we found out Checotah is the Steerwrestling Capital of the World AND the home of Carrie Underwood. Go figure!

The next morning, we woke up and began our drive through Oklahoma along Route 66. You can read more about that in my next post!

Recommendations:

  • The Parthenon – I’d consider this a “must see” in TN, even if it’s a short stop.
  • Beale Street – If you’re into music and some BBQ, it’s definitely worth checking out.
  • Big Dam Bridge – If you happen to be in Little Rock, AR and it’s nice out, it’s worth the short drive. You could even walk across the bridge! If you’re there at night, I wouldn’t bother since there wasn’t much to see.

Resources: Google, The Pig on Beale, Beale Street, Big Dam Bridge

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