Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Bed rest

The most stressful part of each day is finding a place to stay. It's got to have high-speed Internet access, it's got to be safe.

I've mostly been using the AAA website (I'm a member) to find lodgings, but even with mapping software online and GPS in the car, it's sometimes difficult to determine what kind of neighborhood you're stepping into.

My rule: Find a place before sundown. Today I almost blew it, due to long visits with artists Joe Minter and Chris Clark. When evening approached, I went for safety over budget, and booked into the Pickwick Hotel in the trendy Five Points South neighborhood. At $88, certainly reasonable, but enough to wreck today's budget.

Total miles: 73 miles

Expenses:
- Lunch: $12
- Dinner: $19
- Gas: $18.25
- Hotel: $88 plus tax
- Civil Rights Institute entry: $9
- Joe Minter's book: $28
- Art purchases: We're not telling.

Total: $194

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

Between Memphis and St. Louis are two historic towns that we have discovered a few years ago. They are Cape Girardeau and Ste. Genevieve, MO. I would also recommend the B&B's where we stay. The Bellevue in Cape Girardeau and The Southern Hotel in Ste. Genevieve. The hosts are wonderful and very happy to share the history of their towns.

Adventurewriter said...

Jane,

I hope that your trip has been rewarding so far! I have had the good fortune to make several winding coast to coast trips, one of which lasted over six months, and still left me wanting for more. There's just so much to see out there, that you just can't see it all in a month or two!

A few suggestions to make your trip more enjoyable:

1) Stay away from the chain hotels, and motels as much as possible. Stay at Hostels as often as possible! Instead of sitting in a hotel room all by yourself, you could stay at a Hostel and meet a wealth of interesting people. Every time that I have traveled alone and stayed in a hotel or motel, I was disappointed. When I stayed in a Hostel I thoroughly enjoyed the experience, and met people from all over the world that I continue to correspond with to this day. In many cases the Hostels have high speed internet, or there is a internet cafe nearby. I never heard of a security issue, and they also have private rooms if desired, at very reasonable costs.

Hostels are usually former large homes or small hotels with big living rooms and kitchens that are maintained very well. Hostelling is like having a big extended family everywhere you go. Check out http://www.hostelz.com/hostels-in/North-America,
http://www.hostelhandbook.com/ http://www.hostels.com/en/index.html and http://www.hihostels.com/

2) High Speed Internet Access - Both Sprint/Nextel and Verizon offer WIMAX service nationwide. I recently sat in my room across from Lake Champlain in VT while using my Sprint/Nextel card to access the internet. The download speeds are normally around 50kbps and many times faster. There are some occasional areas that are slow due to lack of infrastructure. I am using that card right now as I type this in my Condo. I use these cards every day, and my car becomes my portable office as I stop by the beach, a restaurant, a library, etc. No need to be tethered by ethernet cables or WI-FI at cafes.

Finally, as you head to or from Nashville, I would suggest/vote that you head east young girl, head east! Well just a little bit east, just enough so that you can check out the Biltmore Estate and Winery in Asheville, NC, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and nearby attractions in Gatlinburg, TN and at Dolly Parton's "Dollywood" in Pigeon Forge, TN. You could even stop in Atlanta on the way there! I set up a web page with a map and driving directions for you, in case you are so inclined. Good Luck!

C:\Documents and Settings\smaxwell.UESORL\My Documents\Birmingham to Mammoth Cave National Park_files\Birmingham to Mammoth Cave National Park.htm

Anonymous said...

Jane,

Adventurewriter has some good points, but I have to disagree with Smoky Mountains as a destination. On my adventure, I had a National Park Passport book which you get stamped at each park you visit, so one stop was Smoky Mountain Nat'l Park. It was congested with traffic. Motorcycles reving their engines made wildlife scarce. Sorry, but it's a place I will never visit again.

Barry

Debbie Kowalsky said...

Hi Jane! If you haven't already hit Nashville, check out Demos, a steak and Spaghetti restaurant. Yes! It sounds strange, but it's delicious and inexpensive. It's a local chain of 5 restaurants. For your first visit, they will bring a sampler tray so you can try all 8 sauces. Also, I think Hostels can be a good idea, but we tried a chain called Best Value Inn this summer. They had great rates and hot breakfasts. One morning we had waffles and one morning biscuits and gravy.

Patrick F said...

Hi Jane
An iteresting exhibit in St Louis will be the world record setting display of 2-headed animals.
see this link for more info.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/14391706/

Exhibit eyes record for 2-headed animals
St. Louis aquarium officials hope to set new Guinness World Record

It will be at the World Aquarium in the CITY MUSEUM www.citymuseum.org

also a great place to stay in the heart of the downtown loft district is the Renaissance Grand Hotel
Renaissance Grand Hotel
http://www.google.com/maps?hl=en&lr=&q=renaissance+grand&near=Saint+Louis,+MO&radius=0.0&latlng=38627222,-90197778,2731968411903801991&sa=X&oi=local&ct=result&cd=1

Anonymous said...

Jane,
Like adventurewriter, found that there was simply not enough time for everything on my coast-to-coast ramble, though I allowed two months.

In Memphis, skip BB King's (no disrespect) and Rendezvous, head to Blues City Cafe for BBQ and as they say, "put some South in your mouth".

Everyone may go to Graceland, but the Civil Rights Museum that incorporates the Lorraine Motel was infinitely more interesting.

Brian said...

Jane,

I am from Nashville and have a few suggestions for you. As for dining, Demos', suggested by Debbie, is good, but I have other dining options that better capture the local flavor. For breakfast, you should go to the Pancake Pantry in Hillsboro Village (near Vanderbilt campus). It is very popular with both locals and tourists. For lunch, I would suggest going to Arnold's, a "meat and three." It's cafeteria style and you get one entree (usually four or five each day) and the price of your meal depends on how many side vegetables you get. It is true southern cooking, most of the ingredients are bought fresh daily at the local farmer's market and is one of my favorite places to eat in Nashville. You really should visit the Opryland hotel and stroll through the lobbies. It is very beautiful at day or night. While in Middle Tennessee, you should also consider taking a drive on the Natchez Trace Parkway ( http://www.nps.gov/natr/) for a really interesting drive (isn't that the point of this whole adventure?).

My wife and I honeymooned in St. Louis and you should consider staying at Napoleon's Retreat bed and breakfast. It is a charming house near Lafayette park and has wonderful breakfast. You should visit the City Museum in St. Louis (http://www.citymuseum.org/home.asp) for an offbeat, intersting experience.

Enjoy your trip...sure sounds like fun.

michaelmclane said...

Jane -

I am following your trip with avid interest and am amazed at your being able to accomplish so much and still have the energy to sit down and recount it all in writing! Your sleep time must be sadly cut down on this already-tiring trip. I can only imagine that the range of sights that you are seeing is ennervating enough to keep you going despite fatigue! Keep up the good travels and hunt for safe and secure and budget-friendly eveing lodgings.

michaelmclane said...

Jane -

I am following your trip with avid interest and am amazed at your being able to accomplish so much and still have the energy to sit down and recount it all in writing! Your sleep time must be sadly cut down on this already-tiring trip. I can only imagine that the range of sights that you are seeing is ennervating enough to keep you going despite fatigue! Keep up the good travels and hunt for safe and secure and budget-friendly eveing lodgings!
- Michael

Curryshores1 said...

Me again. I just voted on your travel directions. Problem is I would like to have you see ALL of those places. This was a tough one. If you head towards Badlands, etc., make sure you stop at the SPAM Museum and Wall Drug. Two truly funky places.

Barry