Page 23 of Roosta Travel Blog Posts

North America » United States » Louisiana » New Orleans April 22nd 2011

Today is my first day in New Orleans. Until 2005, the city was probably best known as a party town, a place where people drank in the streets and anything went. After Katrina, the city was probably known mostly as a flood zone. The reality is now somewhere in between. The oldest neighborhoods, the ones that tourists mostly stick to, were above sea level and have mostly recovered. The newer, and poorer, neighborhoods were below sea level, and are still far from normal. New Orleans is a vital place, a mixture of French, Spanish, Caribbean, and Anglo cultures seen nowhere else on earth. I couldn’t do this trip and miss it. Thanks to other events on the schedule, I ended up having to see it as one concentrated blitz. I didn’t mind much, because I figured ... read more
Decaying tombs
Archie Manning's House
Cast Iron in the Garden District

North America » United States » Tennessee » Memphis April 21st 2011

Peabody Ducks Today is my last day in Memphis. I squeezed in a grab bag of different things. The first was arguably the best, and certainly the most bizarre, free show in town. The Peabody Hotel was built to be the grandest hotel in the entire South. It certainly holds that title for Memphis. In the early 1930s, hotel manager Frank Schutt came back from a hunting trip rather tipsy. He had heard about the alligators living in the fountains at the Jefferson (see March 13th) and thought it would be really hilarious to have ducks living in the fountain of his hotel instead. He proceeded to put some in the fountain. Unbelievably, those ducks were popular with hotel guests. The bellman at the time, Edward Pembroke, a former circus trainer, convinced his boss he could ... read more
Memphis hotel fountain
Memphis Brooks Museum of Art
Memphis art museum sculpture

North America » United States » Tennessee » Memphis April 20th 2011

National Civil Rights Museum Today, I visit one of the most important museums of the entire trip The National Civil Rights Museum opened twenty years ago to document a truly traumatic time in US history. Ironically, Memphis had less activity than most cities in the South. The museum is here because Martin Luther King was killed by a sniper here in 1968. The museum is located in the former Loraine Hotel, where he died. In many ways, it’s a monument to his legacy. The first thing visitors see is the hotel façade. Part of the hotel has been torn down, but the remainder has been incorporated into the museum. It looks like just another classic 1950... read more
Martin Luther King memorial
Martin Luther King memorial

North America » United States » Tennessee » Memphis April 19th 2011

Graceland Today is my first day in Memphis, Tennessee. The Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame may be in Cleveland, but the music was born here. Before exploring that history, I had to make a call at one of the essential road trip sites. Graceland is the former home of Elvis Presley, the first major rock star. Decades after his death, it still attracts fans by the thousands. The welcome signs in the ticket building are in a dozen languages. The place has become unbearably commercialized, but it’s still essential. If nothing else, the place is one of the few rock star homes (dead or otherwise) open to the public, and Elvis set the pattern for all those that followed. The house itself is almos... read more
Fan tributes to Elvis
The Heartbreak Hotel
Sun Studios

North America » United States » Kentucky » Cave City April 18th 2011

Mammoth Cave I spent most of today in central Kentucky. This part of Appalachia has unusual geology. The consequence of this geology on the surface is subtle but unmistakable. There is no visible water! Except for the Green River at the center of the region, it has no major streams or lakes. There are plenty of rolling hills with great views, but no water at all. The reason lies under the surface. Central Kentucky contains what geologists call karst terrain. Millions of years ago, the area was a shallow ocean. Layers and layers of sea creatures and coral were deposited, which hardened into limestone. An ancient river then dumped tons of sediment into the ocean, which hardened into a layer of shale over the top. When the land uplifted into the Appalachian Moun... read more
Final pit crossing
Grand Central Station
Hanging Rock

North America » United States » Kentucky » Louisville April 17th 2011

My main purpose of today is to recover from yesterday. I knew when I booked my room that I would need time off after Thunder; I had no idea I would need this much time off. I ended up sleeping ten hours, waking for breakfast, and then napping for four more. The rest of the day was spent doing laundry and other errands. I had dinner at a nice coffee shop near the University of Louisville. Tomorrow the road calls again.... read more

North America » United States » Kentucky » Louisville April 16th 2011

Thunder over Louisville My intention today was to attend Thunder Over Louisville. This event is one of the largest air shows in the US, followed by one of the largest fireworks displays in the world. The website warns people to be prepared for the weather, which has ranged from sunny and warm to freezing rain in past years. The warning was an understatement. The event is held on the Ohio River waterfront. An elevated expressway runs along the river. In front of this is a large lawn usually used for sports events. Entry to the lawn requires ad... read more
Thunder fans in the rain
Flag Ceremony
Thunder opening

North America » United States » Tennessee » Nashville April 15th 2011

Country Hall of Fame Today I explore an aspect of the American experience I know little about, country music. A place to do so is the Country Hall of Fame in Nashville. The Hall has been around since the 1960s, but the building is quite new. One warning: if one is allergic to tour buses, this may not be the place. The hall traces the history of the country music industry, rather than country music as a whole. I found this a little disappointing. It starts roughly at the period when country radio started. Country music grew out of English and Scotts-Irish folk songs played by rural farmers and miners in Appalachia. The exhibit opens... read more
Jimmy Rogers Memorbelia
Conrad Twitty
Hatch Show Print posters

North America » United States » Tennessee » Nashville April 14th 2011

Cheekwood Today is another day for art. I found it in a rather unexpected place. In the early 1900s, one William Cheek was invited to invest in a url= coffee company his friend was starting. (It was named after the old Maxwell Hotel in Nashville). He made quite a lot of money, and spent a good portion on a grand estate and gardens. When the Nashville Art Museum needed a new home, his daughter offered them the old estate, which was renamed Cheekwood. Like several other southern art museums, it now combines a museum in the old mansion with surrounding gardens (see the Cummer, and Reynola, ). Cheekwood was a surprise in that the artistry of the url= read more
Color Garden Arborway
Pond and riprarian garden

North America » United States » Tennessee » Crossvillle April 13th 2011

I-40 Pigeon River Gorge Today I drove into Tennessee. It involved mountains. Lots and lots of mountains. The first part was the scariest drive I have ever had on an interstate, url= River Gorge. The Pigeon River cut the gorge through the Blue Ridge. It’s the most convenient crossing for hundreds of miles. Settlers pushed through a wagon road in the 1800s, which became a real road, which became Interstate 40. Convenient does not mean that the crossing is easy. The road features narrow lanes, sharp curves, and constant hills. In a few spots, dirt roads merge directly onto the highway. Now, imagine driving this with a concrete barrier three feet to the left and a convoy of large tr... read more
Falls Creek Falls
Gorge Trail
Pine tree on gorge wall

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