24-27 January 2015 Virginia, Tennessee & Arkansas

Saturday 24th Jan

We're delighted with our new car, a 1997 White Toyata Celica. We were doubtful that we would get six large bags and a dog box in the car, but we did and left Washington early to start our trip down to Texas. Initially we lost our way trying to find the Interstate 66, the signage was minimal, however, we finally got on our way west through Virginia towards Tennessee, picking up the I-I81 near Front Royal passing by the Appalachian Mountains on one side and the Blue Ridge on the other. Our lunch stop was at Roanoke for Pizza and chocolate chip cookie - it could have fed a family of six, then onwards to Knoxville in Tennessee. We stayed just off the Interstate at a Red Roof Inn, it had been a long day, nearly 7 hours driving. On leaving Washington the weather was cold with lying snow on fields and low cloud which limited our view of the mountains. As the day progressed the sun came out and we then had a good view of the Smokey Mountains as we approached Knoxville. After unloading the car and taking the dog for a walk we found a nice bar called Arby's. There was an outside patio for us to sit with Sandy. For dinner we finished off the Pizza and chocolate chip cookie.

Sunday 25th Jan

Sandy went for a run over the fields at the back of the hotel then we were off to Nashville.

We're now on the I-40 and arrived early afternoon at the La Quinta hotel. Stayed outside of town near the Grand ole Opry theatre. Unfortunately, as it was Sunday there was no show. We missed lunch so went out early for dinner, our first steak in the US at the Longhorn Restaurant and it was all delicious, including the salad and baked potato.

Monday 26th Jan

On to Memphis today and Graceland. Checked into the Days Inn opposite Graceland with the sounds of Elvis in the background. The Elvis exhibitions were down the road next to the hotel. We had a look outside but didn't go in. There were two aircraft on view one called the Lisa Marie. Graceland, the house and surrounding land looked lovely but unfortunately it was closed on Tuesday's. Therefore, we decided to move on the next day and head for Texarkana on the Arkansas/Texas border. Before we left we did a bit of shopping at Walmart and bought a phone so that we could have an American number.

Tuesday 27th Jan

The weather has changed from winter to summer. We crossed the Mississippi into Arkansas and as we progressed west the weather changed, in three days we had come from freezing temperatures in Washington to 21 degrees and sunny. We arrived in Texarkana and booked into a La Quinta Hotel. After unloading all the bags we rested up before going out to dinner. We found a place called the Cattleman which was a good old fashioned steak house type restaurant with wood panelled walls and dim lighting, a bit like a gentleman's club. The food was good and plentiful. Homemade beef stew to start with fresh corn bread, Tony said it tasted just like his Mum' s stew. Next came the steak, Tony had Rib Eye and I had sliced sirloin with baked potato. All lovely but far too much, I asked for a doggy bag to take home. Sandy had a nice super that evening.