Monday, November 30, 2020

Tennessee Touring: Dining and Drinking in Memphis


(Please read our Covid 19 Statement first - Ed) Now that we're properly settled in to our comfy room at the Springhill Suites in downtown Memphis, it's time to do a little exploring.

Tonight, we're catching the old, wheelchair accessible trolley from the front of our hotel and heading to Beale Street.


Watch the Video!


Actually, we could have walked. It's only six blocks but being after dark in a strange city, it seemed prudent to take transportation instead.



Beale Street is justifiably world famous for all the bars and nightclubs lining a three-block stretch in downtown.  Live music is the norm here and each club has speakers out front so you can hear what the band sounds like before you go in. It's like auditioning each club before you commit.

First, we need to eat. Tim had heard about Dyer's and stipulated we must eat at least one meal there.



Dyer's is your basic diner. Although they sell balogna sandwiches, hot dogs, salads, and more, it's the burgers that are their claim to fame.

Actually, strike that...it's their grease that is their claim to fame.

Open 101 years at the time of this visit in 2013, they have never thrown away the grease and continue to use it each day. At the end of the evening, the grease is filtered, put in a metal can, and locked in a safe. The next day, it is taken out, put in a large frying pan, and put to use frying the different meats here.

The burgers are deep fried in that grease.  Yes, its sounds gross and is not the healthiest thing you can put in your body but this will be a once-in-a-lifetime event for us.  



The patties are small so Tim and I double up and get double cheeseburgers. I opt for some deep-fried onions on mine also.

They are very juicy or greasy, depending on your view, but they are also very delicious.  We have some fries on the side, which are not cooked in the old grease, and they were just mediocre.



Two doors down is Alfred's on Beale where we drink a few brews and listen to some great, classic rock and roll from a duo that is part of a larger group, Freeworld.  I throw some requests and tips their way which they handle with great musical aplomb.

Between sets, one of the musicians...his name is Andy...comes over and sits at our table. We talk Memphis and Los Angeles music with him for the entire break before he goes up for the next set.



Leaving Alfred's and Freeworld, we cross the corner and end up at Rum Boogie, which has hosted the likes of Billy Joel, AC/DC, Kenny Loggins, Marty Stuart, and many more. Tonight, it's Darren Jay and the Delta Souls pumping out some great blues while we sip some more of Beale's finest.

As we watch til the end of the set, it's a great night of greasy burgers, rock 'n roll, and some great Delta blues.

Darryl
Copyright 2013 - Darryl Musick
All Rights Reserved

Sunday, November 29, 2020

The Cocktail Hour: Beale Street Pub Crawl


(Please read our Covid 19 Statement first - Ed) It's time The World on Wheels hit the bluesiest street on earth, Beale Street, in Memphis, Tennessee.

Three blocks of wall-to-wall bars and nightclubs with only the occasional souvenir store to break it up.


Watch the Video!


On this crawl, we hit three of them, starting with the Beale Street Taproom. Upon entering, it becomes immediately obvious that smoking is still allowed in Tennessee bars. As we're just in the beginning stages of a cold, the smoky air grabs at our throats and makes breathing a bit labored.



The taproom boasts 60 taps on the wall and we take advantage of them to try a Schafly Kolsch. Schafly is a St. Louis brewery working in the shadow of the giant Anheiser Busch there.  They are making some inroads, though, as the owner told me in an e-mail that they're available on tap in Busch Stadium there.

It tastes like a good light beer but is still better than the King of Beers that in competes against.

The Beale Street Taproom is also remembered as the place that Letty started her love affair with Fireball Whiskey, a Canadian cinnamon flavored version.



Next was Alfred's on Beale where a nice, rock duo serenaded us as we tried the Ghost River Ale, which turned out to have a bit of a sour taste that Letty really liked.  We also tried the Yazoo Dos Beeros which had a hint of sweetness. Yes, that's right, sweet 'n sour at Alfreds.

Yuengling is also on tap all over Memphis so we tried America's oldest beer here, too. Pretty good.



Last was Rum Boogie where Darren Jay and the Delta Souls pumped out some great blues while we tried Sam Adams...a decent lager we've had many times before...and Batch 19, a pre-prohibition style lager made by Coors that is actually pretty darn decent, better than the Sam Adams that we're drinking against it.

Watch the video for the complete story and come along to one of the most musical places you'll ever see.

Cheers!

Darryl

Friday, November 27, 2020

On the Elvis Trail: A Day Trip to Tupelo


(Please read our Covid 19 Statement first - Ed) It’s an easy, almost 4 hour flight on Southwest nonstop from LAX to Nashville. Baggage is waiting at the carousel and we actually got the minivan we reserved from Dollar Rent a Car. Tim says it’s one of the easiest travel days we’ve ever had.

He’s right.


It’s a pleasant, 3 hour or so drive from there to Memphis, the first leg of this trip. Downtown is easy to find, as is our hotel…the Springhill Suites…located in the heart of this city.

By the time we unpack, it’s a bit late for dinner as a Justin Timberlake concert has overwhelmed most of the restaurants in the area. We get some serviceable food at the snack bar of the Courtyard hotel next door.
Watch the Video!

In the morning, it’s time for our first adventure. Among other things we want to accomplish during this trip, we want to take the Elvis Trail. Into the van and 100 miles later, we’re in the very pretty town of Tupelo, Mississippi.

First things first…we want to eat.


In downtown, we smell some good smoke and spy a handicapped parking spot in front of an open restaurant.

This building used to be Kermit’s Bakery and in its day, the Presley family would buy birthday cakes here for their not-yet-famous son. Today, it’s Kermit’s Outlaw Kitchen.

We grab a table in the middle of the room and the cook comes over to tell us about his braised pork, persimmon burrito and explains that everything they serve comes from local farmers.

Looking at the menu, nothing inspires us as much as the special, so we order two burritos to split between the three of us.


It is very good, with the sweetness of the persimmon setting off the smoky flavor of the pork just so. The owner chats with us, asking us where we’re from. We see the bottles of Sriracha on the shelf and tell him that we live about a mile from that factory.

(Come along on our tour of the Sriracha factory here)


This leads to a chat about the factory’s recent problems with local residents complaining about the smell. Others in the restaurant come up and introduce themselves and start talking. Pretty soon, we’ve met just about everybody in the place.

Tupelo is a very friendly town.

Asked why we’re there, we tell them about the Elvis Trail theme. We’re told to check out the adjacent hardware store, where Gladys Presley bought her son his first guitar, and the Lyric theater around the corner where he played his first show.


Visiting the hardware store and taking a little tour around downtown gets us ready for our next stop, Elvis’ birthplace located in a park on the other side of town.

The chapel, visitor’s center, a church, and a large visitor’s center surround the tiny little house…maybe 500 square feet…that launched Elvis into our world.


We visit the trail markers…Elvis is on both the Country and Blues trails…and even see the outhouse where the future king had his throne.

It’s a neat stop to see where this history took place but I’ll also remember the friendly locals and good food in the pretty town of Elvis’ birth. We’ll also remember the cold that one of those locals passed onto us that would haunt us for the rest of this trip.


Our day trip to Tupelo over, we head back to Memphis to see what we can find there.

Darryl
Copyright 2013 – Darryl Musick

All Rights Reserved

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Soups On! Spicy Asian Style Pork Udon Noodle Soup


Now that the cool nights of fall are here, it's one of my favorite seasons...soup season! I am a big fan of Asian soups...pho, ramen, dan dan noodles...you name it, they're hearty and delicious.

It's not easy finding good quality Asian food products up in the hills where we live but we can still make a good soup with what we can find locally, just have to be a little creative. The hardest ingredient to find on this list is the shabu shabu, thin sliced pork, but you can probably get your local butcher to thinly slice some pork butt or maybe even do it yourself. We got ours at a Korean market near Sacramento, which is about an hour from home. 

Here's the recipe...


INGREDIENTS

½ pound thinly sliced shabu shabu pork

Handful of loose spinach leaves

1 bundle udon noodles

½ teaspoon paprika

2 oz (1 packet) dried oyster mushrooms

1 can chicken broth

1 liter water

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1 teaspoon rice vinegar

3 packets Kikkoman instant miso tofu soup

¼ teaspoon hot chile pepper sauce

2 stalks green onion, sliced

1 tablespoon salt


Boil a quart of water with tablespoon of salt. Put Udon noodles in and boil for 13 minutes.


Put liter of water and can of chicken broth into a stock pot and set on high until boiling. Once boiling, turn heat down to medium. Put miso soup mix and dried mushrooms in and boil for five minutes, stirring occasionally.



Put in Rice vinegar, paprika, soy sauce, chile pepper sauce, spinach, and pork. Boil for another 5 minutes.


Once noodles are done, strain and drain. Put a couple of scoops of noodles into an empty bowl. Ladle soup on top. Sprinkle green onions on top and serve.


Darryl Musick

Copyright 2020 - All Rights Reserved

Monday, November 23, 2020

L.A.'s Day of the Dead


It's Halloween and all the ghouls and goblins will be on the prowl for sweets tonight. In Los Angeles, with it's large Hispanic population, it's also time for Dia de Los Muertos or Day of the Dead. It's a day for families to get together and remember family members who have pas sed on.


This holiday has been gaining traction over the last couple of decades and you can now visit some very beautiful and complex altars that are built to honor the dead. 


Over the last 20 years or so, I used to walk daily in Downtown Los Angeles. Each year at this time, I'd wander over to Grand Park or Olvera Street and take in some of these displays.


Here is a gallery of some of them that I've come across on my walks.


Grand Park


Olvera Street


Olvera Street (Old Plaza)


Olvera Street


The Music Center


The Music Center


Grand Park


Grand Park


The Music Center

Grand Park is located on the west side of City Hall and runs three blocks to the Music Center on Grand Avenue. Accessible subway transportation is available via the Red and Purple Metro Lines, exit Grand Park/Civic Center station.  Olvera Street is located directly across the street from Union Station on its west side main entrance. Many accessible rail lines, the Gold, Red, Purple, and Metrolink trains, all serve this station.

Darryl Musick
Copyright 2018 - All Rights Reserved

Sunday, November 22, 2020

THE COCKTAIL HOUR: Moscow Mule


I have a theory...that my wife likes Moscow mules so much not because they taste good (they do!) and have a good kick but that it gives her a reason to go shopping for the copper mugs used for the drink.


Watch the Video!

After being very picky about it, I just went ahead and ordered a set on Amazon. They came in last week so, already having the ginger beer and vodka in stock, Tim and I set out to try our hand at it.

The results can be seen in the video, above.

INGREDIENTS - (1 drink)

2-oz vodka
6-oz ginger beer
juice of one lime
sprig of mint

Pour the vodka into the mug. Cut off a few leaves of mint from the sprig and put into the mug. Muddle the mint in the vodka.  Put in the lime juice, fill cup with ice, fill with ginger beer and stir.

Garnish with the rest of the mint sprig and a slice of lime.

Option 2 is to add a splash of Cointreau or Grand Marnier to the drink

Option 3 is to add a splash of sweet and sour

If you want it sweeter, you can also add a splash of grenadine.

Postcript: my wife returned the mugs and will buy a set she likes better.

Cheers!

Darryl

Friday, November 20, 2020

A Day in the Pass - Grants Pass, Oregon


(Please read our Covid 19 Statement first - Ed) 

NOTE: As this is going live on November 20, 2020, the governor of Oregon has imposed a new lockdown of at least two weeks. Indoor dining, like in the story below, is not allowed for at least another week. 

It's time to do a little exploring of our base camp here in Southern Oregon. We've got a basically decent room with a million dollar view of the Rogue River and the Caveman Bridge. It's only a few blocks from the historic downtown of Grants Pass so we'll do that today.

First, we need some breakfast. The hotel is serving a basic Continental breakfast that you need to reserve the night before, pick up in the morning, and take back to your room. We did that the first couple of days and, while there's nothing wrong with it, we want a full breakfast experience this morning.

Across the street from the hotel is the massive, three story Taprock restaurant. I see they serve breakfast so off we go. 


The street, 6th Street, is a very busy one and a direct crossing just seems too dangerous. Our choices are to walk two blocks east and cross at a signal or walk over the bridge and cross over to the other side via an underpass. We choose the bridge route.


It's a fairly empty restaurant this morning, so we get a table with a view.


Tim and I have a hearty pancake breakfast...


...while Letty goes with the eggs Benedict.

Letty had seen a shopping center with a Marshall's and a Joann Fabrics with a pub between the two of them. Tim and I could wait in the pub while she shopped. Sounded good to us so we go and let her run free. At the pub, Tim and I find it's no longer in business so we walk around bored for awhile until Letty quenches her shopping urge.

Back in downtown, we start at the center where a few thrift shops abound on H Street. Again, Letty goes to town shopping while Tim and I explore.


This time, we have better luck as we roam the streets of downtown Grants Pass. Eventually, we find the Wonder Bur bar and knock back a glass.

Letty's still shopping when we get out so we wander down 6th Street a bit, past the busy cannabis store, on to the Cowboy Store, a music shop, and end up at Grants Pass Pharmacy where an old soda fountain sits.


The young lady behind the counter makes a Coke for us the old fashioned way, by pouring syrup and carbonated water into the glass separately and stirring. Tim enjoys this authentic soda jerk mixed beverage.

When we're all back together, we head back to the hotel, about a 3 block walk. Along the way, we find an alehouse where you pick your choice of tap and they'll fill a growler for you to go. 


Next, we find a distillery next to our hotel.



It's a few sips of whiskey and moonshine. I couldn't resist taking home a bottle of my namesake 'shine.

After a rest at the hotel, it's time for dinner. We choose to go back to Taprock but will take a tour of Riverside Park, on the opposite bank of the river, first.


There's a nice splash pad for the kids to play in...


...but the park is a bit of a magnet for the homeless and drug users.


It's a nice steak dinner to end our day out.


Back at the hotel, we break into a bottle of whiskey from the distillery next door and have a toast to this pretty little town. Tomorrow, we head home.

Darryl Musick
Copyright 2020 - All Rights Reserved

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Retooling for the Road Ahead



Technically, this blog has always been about the special needs/caregiving lifestyle but has always really been about 95% travel and maybe 5% something else. We also have some other blogs but they've kind of gone into hibernation over the years, mainly due to low readership...it's kind of disheartening to pour all the hours needed into writing, formatting, and posting when you end up with only 3 or 4 views.

We don't have that problem here at The World on Wheels, thanks to our wonderful followers and fans, we get plenty of traffic. A problem is here, however, and...like everything else this year...is Covid 19 related: travelling is very limited right now and we need to expand our horizons.

There have been times in the last few years, also, where the hassle of traveling gets in the way. Resort fees, crowded airport with security line nightmares, expensive hotels, service cuts, and bad customer service have had us asking if it was all worth the expense and effort. I have to admit that I've often wondered what it would be like if we just stopped traveling.

With the virus pandemic and it's attending shutdown orders, I no longer have to wonder. It really hasn't been bad and I haven't missed it.

Does that mean I'm ready to hang up my passport and stay home? Not on your life but I am dialing it back quite a bit. From now on, I really don't want to waste a lot of money, effort, and time on a trip that is lackluster. 

What does that mean for the blog? 

To freshen things up, we're going to expand on our original plans to be more of a lifestyle blog...those stories from our other blogs about cooking, gardening, entertainment, etc., will be run on this blog, too, on the days we usually don't post travel stories. The World on Wheels will become more of a world and not just about traveling.

Stay tuned for more as we expand our world and, as always, you're welcome to follow along and let us know how we're doing.

Darryl Musick
Copyright 2020 - All Rights Reserved

Monday, November 16, 2020

High Times at a Deep Lake: Crater Lake National Park, Oregon



(Please read our Covid 19 Statement first - Ed) 

NOTE: As this is going live on November 16, 2020, the governor of Oregon has imposed a new lockdown of at least two weeks. 

The highlight of this trip to Southern Oregon is on tap for today. At least we hope it is.

We already delayed this trip by a week because of extremely heavy smoke. Although it rained a couple of days, the fires are still burning. We're heading to Crater Lake but hoping we'll be able to see it once we get there.

Our worries are for naught, however, as this is the first truly clear day in weeks.

It's a two hour drive from our hotel in Grants Pass to the edge of the lake. Although it climbs up 7,000 feet, it's an easy drive with little traffic and lots of long stretches of straight road. Unfortunately, there's no public transportation up to the park, so you'll need your own car to get there.

We flash our Access Pass at the entrance and cruise on in, saving a nice thirty dollars on the entrance fee (make sure you get an Access Pass if you qualify...it's free and gets you into our National Parks for free. You can get one at the entrance station at most National Parks. They're good for life. Click on the link for more information - Ed)

Our destination is the Rim Village Visitor's Center on the south edge of the lake. There is a large lodge here with a cafeteria, gift shop, and restrooms. If there's no parking, continue east through the parking lot to the road that continues and you'll find more parking.

We wander over to the rim and are just blown away by the view. Bright blue skies and a very glassy, deep blue lake that reflected everything like a mirror.

Crater Lake, at almost 2,000 feet deep, is the deepest lake in the United States. There is no wind rippling the water, no boats creating wakes, and it is just breathtaking.

After enjoying the view, we head back over to the gift shop, pick up a few souvenirs, and buy some lunch. Covid 19 has eliminated any tables to sit at so we head back over to the rim, sit on the wall, and have a picnic with quite a view.

It's nice to get these views but we'd like a more inclusive, all-encompassing experience. Before we came up, I checked the park's website for accessible features and found there were a few accessible trails. We decide on the Sun Notch Trail because it's not too long and would allow us to do it without taking a lot of time from our day.

It's about a 20 mile drive from the visitor center to the trailhead. Blink and you'll miss it so pay attention. The trail is hard-pack but smooth dirt. There is some elevation to it. A good power chair should have no problem, manual users need to be strong or have a strong pusher available.

It's a nice trail that leads up to an overhead view of the Phantom Ship, a small island just offshore. Keep going and the views only get better.

Here is the view of the Phantom Ship.


Here is a view across the lake to Diamond Peak, way in the distance.

There is a spot, maybe 10 feet long, that goes along an exposed cliff so be very careful on that spot. If you only go to the first viewpoint, you won't go by that part so you can stop your hike there and return to the parking lot if it bothers you.

It's a very nice hike, just right for exercise and scenery. My phone's pedometer says we did 2 miles when we get back to the car.

On the way up, I saw a sign for the Rogue River Gorge. It sounded neat so on the way down, I make sure we stop.



The Rogue River rushes down from springs on the side of the mountain that contains Crater Lake. It has scoured a small section of rock and forms some spectacular cataracts. Viewing platforms get you very close to the rushing waters.

The paved, accessible trails takes you along a quarter mile of this narrow gorge and to four view points. It's quite a sight to see that rush of water going through. According to an sign at the site, enough water to fill an Olympic sized pool goes through every second.

Back in Grants Pass, this same river placidly and widely flows by our hotel room.

One more stop on the way down, Phil's Frosty in Shady Cove. It's sunny, clear and warm so some ice cream is in order. I get a cone of soft serve while Tim and Letty share a bowl of regular ice cream. It's delicious.


After that day, we're a bit tuckered out so we just relax in our room, enjoying some drinks on our balcony, watching the river flow by.


Darryl Musick
Copyright 2020 - All Rights Reserved