Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Live from Vicksburg

Tonight, I think I'll do a road-by-road synopsis:
  • State highway 78-South, Memphis to Holly Springs, MS. In search of the elusive (at least on the internet) R.L. Burnside Blues Cafe, at the crossroads of Highway 78 and SR 4. It proved to be even more elusive than we thought. It wasn't anywhere near the "crossroads" of the two highways, so we actually drove into Holly Springs. The nice woman at the Chamber of Commerce had no idea what we were talking about, so that was basically that. So we hit a local diner, Beezer's, for breakfast. Conversation was much better than the previous two mornings at Waffle Houses...
  • SR 4-West (with a detour on SR 7-South) to I-55 South, Holly Springs to Senatobia. We drove through 'towns' not even on our map (and it's a map that people in Mississippi gave to me), towns like Harmontown. Harmontown even had a water tower and their own church, so how they're not on the map is a little insulting if you ask me. We saw a few Union Jacks flying, and several yard signs with American flag backgrounds asking us to 'Honor God'. We didn't stop to say 'hello.'
  • I-55 S to Hwy-278 W/SR-6 W, Senatobia to Batesville. Absolutely nothing interesting happened. We were on the Interstate, so we drove like bats out of hell.
  • Hwy-278 W/SR-6 W, Batesville to Clarksdale. Clarksdale is the home of the Delta Blues Museum. Once again, no photography was allowed. Dammit. Definitely worth the trip, though. Unlike the museums we visited in Nashville and Memphis, this was not in some larger metropolitan center of commerce. Clarksdale can best be described as 'easygoing', at worst it can be described as 'depressed' least economically speaking. We saw empty storefront after storefront as we drove into town. The museum was small, but they are trying to expand into a new space. It's very low-key, with lots of guitar displays, photos and album covers, and the best harmonica collection I've ever seen. All of this is viewable while a video of the Muddy Waters story plays in the background. After the museum, we backtracked to Abe's Bar-b-q, a tiny place I noticed on the way in. This was by far the BEST, and I do mean B-E-S-T, barbecue of the trip, hands-down!
  • SR-322 W to Rte 1 S (along the Mississippi River), Clarksdale to Rosedale. This is what I'd been waiting for, a chance to visit the infamous 'crossroads' where legend says Robert Johnson sold his soul to the devil in exchange for playing the guitar like no other blues player. There is some debate as to where the actual crossroad is, but we were able to narrow it down to a spot about 1.6 miles south of Beulah on Rte 1. There's a tiny turn-off, and if you go about 30 yards up the dirt road (it's actually two dirt 'wheel' ruts, like for wagons), there's the cemetary, the tree, the stone that Scratch (aka, the Devil) supposedly was sitting on, and if you look closely, the "crossroads"--four dirt wheel paths leading away from the spot. It's kinda creepy, but it was very cool to see it. You can totally imagine being there at night, walking along what passed for a road back then, with a guitar strapped to your back...and suddenly some guy calls out your name in the moonlight. Again, it's very low-key, no signage or anything.
  • Rte 1 S to St Highway-61 S, Rosedale to Onward. The only exciting thing here was our adventure with a Mississippi highway crew, who closed Rte 1 to just one lane but failed to put a flagger out to control traffic. I guess they figured that so few people were driving on the route that they didn't need one. By the time we got to the end of the construction (didn't see anyone coming the other direction, so I guess it was "our turn"), there was a guy standing behind a truck picking up cones, motioning his fingers at us in a 'go ahead, go ahead' manner...yeah, that works just fine. Thanks for your help, dude.
  • St Hwy-61 S, straight into Vicksburg. Vicksburg was actually my second stop on the road trip last October, described earlier in this blog. We're basically just crashing here, but did go downtown a while ago for dinner and took some cool shots of the Mississippi River sunset, along with storm clouds in the background. Hope they come out (had to use my cell phone)!

Tomorrow, we head back to New Orleans, on I-20 E to Jackson, then dead south on I-55. I might be able to post one, maybe two more times before we leave on Saturday. But just in case, I'll try to put everything out tonight.

1 comment:

R-Mac said...

1.6 miles south of Beulah