Chasing the Sun–East to West Cross-Country Road Trip, Day 3

We got up a little after 8 AM this morning, and headed out of Memphis on our way to Oklahoma City. We knew we were going to have a full day of driving ahead, so we planned to skip lunch and basically just push through. Before leaving Memphis, however, we had to stop by legendary Sun Studios and snap a few pics.

I’m not a very big Elvis fan, but I did want to see the place, since it was so iconic. However, even at 10 AM on a nondescript Monday, the place was packed, with a mass of bodies blocking off all but the entry room. Since we were pressed for time, we just took what shots we could get and hit the road.








I do have a few things to say about Memphis before moving on. First, the big impression I got of the city is one of overwhelming poverty. I’m not sure if that’s the actuality or an effect of the small sample size (since I only saw a tiny portion of the city), but everywhere I looked there were boarded up shops and graffiti.

Second, the roads are a mess. Not only are they in poor repair, but they would only make sense to Sarah Winchester. There are road intersections at weird angles, none of the blocks seem to have been planned, and the whole thing seems like it just grew up organically. It gave me a newfound respect for well-gridded cities.

Anyhow, we then made the long trek from Memphis to first of only two stops in Arkansas: Christ of the Ozarks. Since I am not religious at all (see this post if you really want to know my views), this trip was mostly just to see and appreciate it as a big statue. However, it goes to show just how boring Arkansas is: I drove pretty far out into nowhere to see something I wasn’t even interested in just to be able to say I saw something in Arkansas.

Before I’m inundated with complaints from Arkansonians, let me say that if you live there and know of something super interesting and unique to see in your state, please write in and let me know and I will amend the previous statement.






Beth says Arkansas version of Jesus looks ‘pissed off’, and I kind of agree. Oh, and to make things worse, this statue is in what seems to be a failed Christian theme park in a tourist-trap mountain town.

Anyhow, on leaving the theme park, we did see a slightly creepy abandoned hotel, and stopped to get some shots of the car (of course).




We then made our way to the second and last stop in Arkansas, the Crescent Hotel and Spa, which is supposed to be the most haunted hotel in the US.





I’m not sure how haunted it is, but the ghosts certainly aren’t hurting the hotel’s profit margins. I originally wanted to stay here if time permitted, but after looking up the prices (the AAA rate for the night was $457), no amount of mysticism could convince me to stay. So we hit the road and headed toward Oklahoma.

We ended up stopping for the night in Tulsa instead of Oklahoma City. This puts us a hair behind my original schedule, but shouldn’t really impact anything, as we should have a day or so to spare. We decided to eat at a local Irish joint, Kilkenny’s Irish Pub.

The atmosphere at Kilkenny’s was a little more subdued and ‘theatrical’ than at McGuire’s. For example, lots of Irish props littered every surface, where McGuire’s has dollar bills stapled to the walls and ceiling, custom, silly signs, and moose heads everywhere.

As far as the food was concerned, we saw three appetizers that looked interestingly unique: The Ballyragget Brie in Pastry, Tullamore Dew Cheese Torte, and Shamrock Spuds.




The brie dish was kind of disappointing. Though good, it was very simplistic, with only a slight hint of honey followed by the overwhelming taste of the brie.

The Torte, however, really surprised me, and may have been the best thing we ate. It has a surprisingly complex flavor with many elements that took some time to get a handle on.

The spuds were basically bite-sized loaded potato skins. They were good, but not very interesting overall.

After the appetizers, Beth got a small filet and I got a larger bone-in ribeye steak.



The steaks were good, but not exceptional. One thing to mention is that the onion rings here were definitely homemade, and use a thicker cut of onion than most places. This led to them still being crunchy, even after deep frying.

Unfortunately, I can’t stand crunchy onions, so I gave them to Beth, who gabbled them up and had nothing but good things to say about them.

After the meal, we had desert (of course). Beth was getting full, so she ate about half of an order of Irish Balloons (basically, chewy doughnut holes), while I had all of the following:

  • Guinness Chocolate Cake
  • Bailey’s Irish Cream Cheesecake
  • Sticky Toffee Pudding
  • Banana’s O’Foster






All of the deserts had alcohol in them, which leads me to believe the Irish are a bunch of really fat, drunk people. But they were all very good, and the alcohol gave them interesting flavors. The waiter also told me how impressed he was after I finished, lol.

Tomorrow we head back out, and hope to make it at least halfway to Denver, CO.

  1. #1 by J.D. on August 5, 2014 - 11:54 am

    Interesting to see what you have to say about Denver since I live there. Wonder what you’ll be doing on the way. I just made that drive from Tulsa last month and it was BORING! Unfortunately this day looks like a huge letdown from the day before. All except those deserts. MMMMMMMM

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