Rollin’ up the River Road

Thursday, Sept 24, 2009

We weren’t in a big rush this morning, since we didn’t have far to go today.  On the agenda – breakfast, a visit to Graceland Too in Holly Springs (allegedly open 24/7, in the home of an eccentric Elvis-loving man), a stop at Kim’s house in Memphis, and ending up in Paducah in time to eat at Doe’s (we were already craving chocolate cobbler…)  It was a little drizzly and foggy – the perfect weather for dawdling.  We weren’t sure where to eat, but since Oxford is a college town, we knew there would be some great breakfast places nearby.  Sure enough, a little research on the iphone took us straight to Big Bad Breakfast, which was tucked away in a little strip shopping center.  I was pretty sure I would like it just from the name, but when we walked through the front door, which was clearly recycled from a college classroom and bore the label “Organic Chemistry” I knew we had come to the right place!

The menu looked great – obviously lots of dishes were prepared with locally grown and/or fresh ingredients, although you can probably guess that there weren’t many ‘heart-healthy’ items on the list.  Kim chose the Big Bad Breakfast, which was scrambled eggs, bacon, home fries, and toast.  I got the Secret History, which was fantastic!  It was a huge omelet, made with shallots, fresh herbs, tomatoes, and Swiss cheese, and it was served with home fries and a big biscuit.  Best part about the biscuit (which I couldn’t finish) was the homemade raspberry jam.  Great way to start the day!  Read more about this yummy place at – oh, and another thing we loved about it was the light fixtures over each booth.  All different and all made from recycled items – see for yourself!

Holly Springs and Graceland Too are just up the road from Oxford, so off we went.  Kim’s daughter, Kerry, has visited GT many times, so we had an idea what to expect.  It would be a little hard to describe, and many others have tried, so let me give you this website so you can be prepared –  Sadly, there were two things that we weren’t prepared for – first, the house is not pink and second, contrary to ALL published accounts and first-hand reports, NO ONE CAME TO THE DOOR!  We rang the bell, we knocked, we honked, we yelled, we circled the property, we attempted to agitate the dog, we stood around for much longer than we should have, and we DIDN’T GET IN!!  Bummer.

Spurned by the host who is always home, we dejectedly got back in the car and headed for Memphis.  We arrived just about the time we knew that Jim would be on his lunch break, and sure enough, we tracked him down.  Since we were still stuffed from breakfast and Jim had finished lunch, we just settled for hugs in the parking lot.  We stopped by Kim’s house just long enough for her to gather up some things she needed, clean out the car a little bit, off-load some things we wouldn’t need any more, and to give Kim some time to take care of a little business since she’d been gone for a couple of weeks.

In one of our less than stellar moves, we decided to take the “scenic” route to Paducah, and rather than taking the normal, albeit boring route up the parkway from Fulton, we got back on the Great River Road and toured rural (very rural) western Kentucky.  There had been so much rain lately that the road itself looked like a river in places!  There was not much to see, although we did see a magnificent heron taking flight.


We had some fond memories of family outings and picnics at Columbus-Belmont State Park, so we set our sights for it.  To give you a little background – Columbus Belmont is right on the Mississippi River, and it’s where Confederate troops got the bright idea to stretch a giant chain across the river in an attempt to stop the advancing Union troops.  You get a gold star if you figured out that the plan didn’t work.  But here’s a piece of the chain and a look at the river!

Columbus was called the “Gibraltar of the West” by the Confederates, and was considered by them the key to their defense of the upper Mississippi River valley.  The anchor weighs six tons…

It was dreary and raining a little bit while we were here, and it probably goes without saying that we were the only ones visiting this out of the way state park today.  I’m not even sure if the rangers were there!  We are impressed by the Kentucky State Park system, though.  Many of the parks have gorgeous and challenging golf courses, and most of them have pretty decent lodging and camping facilities.  Much better than the NC state parks I’ve seen!  As we left the park, we just decided to make a beeline for Paducah (not that there is a very direct route from here to anywhere…) but we got stopped by a commotion in the middle of the road.

It was almost dark by the time we got to town, so we checked into our new home away from home (it’s really strange to stay in a hotel room in the town you grew up in) and then we went straight downtown to Doe’s.  The Barbeque on the River fest was in full swing, although given the lateness of the hour and the rain that was starting to fall, we were able to get a parking place without too much trouble.  The lower blocks of Broadway and Jefferson were closed to vehicles, and there were still LOTS of people downtown.  Thankfully, most of them were eating barbeque, so we got a great table right in front of the Ole Miss – South Carolina football game on the big screen.  Gotta love Thursday night football!  Doe’s was worth the wait – man, is their food good!  Kim opted for their famous tamales and chili, but I splurged on a nice big rare filet and a perfect baked potato.  Good eats!  But the best was yet to come – the main reason we came was for the chocolate cobbler, and we were not disappointed!  Don’t miss Doe’s when you come to Paducah!

 We were excited to be back in our hometown and were looking forward to reconnecting with our high school classmates over the next few days.  But for now, stuffed and sated and sleepy, it was dreamtime!

Dreaming of chocolate…


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