Southern Experience #6: Sights Along The Side Roads From Arkansas To Memphis

While engaging in conversations with the locals highlighted my Southern road trip, in between were the jaunts–the cruises from point A to B (or B to C to D to…).

Gliding by the ever-changing terrain, you gain a shallow, though broad, experience of this region–the homes, the signs, the traffic, the lakes, the fields. It’s like the South in fast-forward.

You also get to experience the small towns–at least you do when you take the side road, which is precisely what my Hot Springs host’s boyfriend, Alex from New York, suggested I do. Going through these towns, the fast-forwarding sometimes slowed to a play–and when wanting to go back to see something, even a stop and reverse.

From Hot Springs to Memphis, here is what I captured.

map Hot Springs to Memphis
Today we go from C to D.


We start with a few roadside shots taken over the two days in Hot Springs. Two of several “signs of Arkansas” influenced by the area politics:



Then on the morning of the July 27, I left for Memphis.

As instructed by Alex:


…I took the highway rather than the freeway. Great move. For I was able to move at the pace I wanted, which I tried to align with with rhythm of the life about me. Off the interstate, I enjoyed the inner-state of Arkansas.




Some Southern-friendly locals:


And so many churches:




The gorgeous, hilly terrain of central Arkansas became the serene Grand Prairie region:

Arkansas produces more rice than any other state in the US.

Sometimes this highway was so close to the freeway, I could drive on one while seeing the other.

DSC05646 (1)
Boy, was Alex right about the amount of trucks!

Yet it was a so-close-yet-so-far-away kind of thing; while that world flew by trying to make good time in the pouring rain, I putzed along and then seized an opportunity to experience a moseying river.





I believe these were from silkworms.
See the frog? I had to hurry this photo. They hopped away promptly.



Yet it was mainly the human world that struck me on this journey to Memphis. Here is a video of driving through a small town in Arkansas:

By late afternoon, I had reached the Mississippi River–which meant I had reached Memphis, Tennessee.

Crossing the Mississippi
Crossing the Mississippi

The next day I had an appointment at Belmont Village, a senior living facility, where I sat down and engaged in conversations with the locals–including 98-year-old Margaret. Next time, I share my interview with her.


What say you?