I'm back from my first real trip as a grown-up. I've vacationed by myself before, but that usually meant staying on a friend's couch and hanging out. This was a full-blown trip that Diana and I conspired together on, and I must say it was a wonderful time.
Aside from reservations at a bed and breakfast in Little Rock on Friday and lunch plans with Donna and Noel on Saturday, we really made everything up as we went along. Doing that was probably the best kind of trip we could have done.
We explored some of north Little Rock on our first night and ate dinner at a place that served pizza, salad, wine, and gelato. Went with just the pizza and gelato and we were good.
The following day, after a few years of trading e-mails and reading each others' writing, I finally met the fine folks that are Donna and Noel, as well as their two very well-behaved children. Archer was fascinated by the World Cup while Cady Gray read a Pokemon book diligently while us grown-ups talked about various things like Tom Petty, grad school, and The Walking Dead. Afterwords, Noel gave us a nice little tour around Conway. Many aspects of the town reminded me of Selma, Alabama, a place I spent a lot of time vacationing with my parents. Lots of good memories came back to me. This wasn't the only time during this trip that I thought about vacations from the past.
After we parted company, Diana and I decided to hit up Memphis. We didn't know Memphis was so close to where we were staying, so we went there for the afternoon and evening. We roamed around Beale Street, saw the Civil Rights Museum, the Orpheum, the FedEx Forum, and Gibson guitar factory before deciding to try to find Graceland.
Make no mistake, Memphis is in a transition period in many of its areas. From what I know about the town, there's a lot of poverty and it was very obvious near Graceland. We only drove by the place and ate some barbeque at a local place down the street. Not the safest part of town, but it was nice to see such a landmark.
While we ate dinner, I had forgotten that Sun Studios was in Memphis as well as where Stax Records started. We easily found the places off of the highway and we took some pics. While shooting some shots at Sun, a couple from Pennsylvania took pictures of us sitting right in front of the place. Hearing a tom-tom be tuned right inside the studio was a good sound to complement what we saw.
On our last day to sight-see, we opted to hit up Hot Springs. We mostly hung around the main street and walked around. We didn't hit up any bathhouses, but we saw plenty. I felt some of the water at a nearby waterfall and it was indeed very hot.
Now we're back home safe and sound. I'm happy to say that the trip went went even though we got lost a few times. Once again, I found myself relieved to think about the future beyond the following week. To more vacations together!