American Road Trip: Memphis to New Orleans

By CrustyCanucks - April 05, 2018

Earlier in the year, as we were coming to the end of our wonderful housesitting adventure in the rolling hills of Kentucky, we decided we should say farewell to the USA in style by taking a big road trip across a section of the South. 

We always love a good road trip at home in Canada, but these Canadians have to admit that no other country makes it as easy and as fun to take a road trip than the USA. And there were two cities that we were just obsessed with seeing as we love music and we hadn't visited them yet and those two cities were Memphis and New Orleans.

After the happy homeowners came home and they filled us in on how their trip was and we told them all about the dogs and how they were doing, we had spent a long night drinking wine and eating a fried Kentucky feast. So it should come as no surprise that the next morning we were awakened by the gentleman of the house knocking (good looking out, buddy) at our door to wake us up. We quickly got stylish suitcases in the car and set off southbound just before sunrise and immediately settled into our roles.

My role was of designated driver and Jon's was of the designated food and roadside attraction looker-upper. Although our phones are not the top-of-the-line specimens they used to be. In Memphis, we stopped for breakfast where we feasted on country ham, huge homemade biscuits, and scrambled eggs. Four hours into our road trip and with our engines full of biscuits, we pulled into our Memphis hotel. We then spent the next two nights going to all the big sights (Hello, Graceland! Hi Sun Records! What's up, Beale Street!!!) and having more than our share of fantastic Memphis barbecue.

It must be said that Beale Street was so much more than I ever imagined it to be. People had told us that it was a bit too touristy and maybe even a little tacky but we found it to be stimulating and fun and we met so many cool people from all over the world there. In fact, one night we struck up a conversation with a British couple who were on a musical tour of the USA. We kept running into them at different bars and we exchanged e-mails and Facebook accounts and vowed to meet up again in the future. Little did we know that they were heading to New Orleans next, too!

Then it was on to the city that care forgot: New Orleans. We had been watching so many documentaries that talked about New Orleans and the unique culture so when we arrived it was like walking into a dream.

We rolled into town on fumes but then were filled up with a famous New Orleans Po’ Boy at the Domilise’s which we had seen on Anthony Bourdain.  Then, we brought my travel luggage into our fabulous hotel before riding the streetcar up stately Saint Charles Avenue. We were blanketed there in warm breezes as we sat al fresco at the famous Columns Hotel enjoying one of New Orleans’ signature cocktails: the Ramo’s Gin Fizz and a glass or two of bubbles. Rickety streetcars clinked and clanked their way by as we sipped, and let me tell you,  it was totally New Orleans. 

Over the next few days, we strolled around the Garden District, took an exciting Swamp Tour and even toured the French Quarter's most haunted places. Oh, and of course there was way more signature NOLA food to be eaten. We had oysters, gumbo, crawfish and even sampled some red beans and rice (which is a tradition in these parts). But let's talk about the beignets.

OMG, these little, fried pillows of tastiness at the world famous Cafe Du Monde had us smitten and we even went back nearly every single day of our trip. I had heard so much about them, but they lived up to all of the hype.

Of course, we also went and saw the Preservation Hall Jazz band and while we may have had a few extra drinks afterward, the music will stay with us forever. Unfortunately, we were never able to meet up with our new British friends but we will hopefully see them when we visit Europe this Spring.

When we headed for the exits on Wednesday morning and began our long drive north we knew we had done these two musical cities right and we listened to Blues and Jazz the whole way home! 

Photo Credits: 1,2,3,4,5

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