The breakfast choices around Greenville, MS were pretty limited – at least close to our hotel. From our parking lot we could see a Shoney’s sign. That seemed like a pretty safe bet. We headed down the block only to find that this particular Shoney’s had not fared very well with the locals. It was permanently closed. That left us with the Huddle House. This was a functional choice, if not a very exciting one.
Jana and I debated for a while trying to figure out if we would make the choice to backtrack to the BB King Museum or head due south to Natchez, MS. BB was one of the primary motivations for my interest in Blues music so it seemed logical that we just head back the 30 miles to Indianola to see the museum. The sign we saw yesterday was confirmed by the website that the museum didn’t open until noon on Monday. Jana called them about 10:00 just to see what happened. They had opened at 9:30. Crazy hours at the museum. We got there around 11:00 and paid our admission.
The ticket taker and the museum guide were very friendly and got us started of on the self guided tour. We were only allowed to take pictures in the entry area and outside. They asked us not to take pictures inside the exhibit hall. This time we followed the rules.
The first place we saw was an event center that began life as the site of a cotton gin where BB worked as a young man. It is have been nicely redone but in my mind I can picture it filled with the old belt driven equipment while the air is thick with the dust from the cotton being ginned.
The exhibit area was set up to chronicle not only BB’s life through the years but also the world in which he lived. It was an incredible history lesson for me since I had limited knowledge of the world of a sharecropper’s son in the 1920’s and beyond. As we worked our way through the museum we followed BB’s life from “Indianola to Icon” which is the theme of the facility. It was only fitting that the tour ends at his gravesite.
The facility is planning to expand with more exhibits and an education center. I look forward to coming back when that is finished.
By the time we were finished – about 1:30, the temperature had soared into the mid 90’s. I must be getting soft because I was already wilting. We decided to give one more shot at finding the site of BB’s birth. We headed down the road hoping to find some signage. We even used Google and followed those directions. When the paved road narrowed and turned into a soft sand / gravel roadway, I waved the white flag. It should have been marked somehow. We made a big U turn. We decided to abandon our planned route to Natchez and use an alternative.
We ran as far as a tank of gas would take us and stopped to refill. We had no real reason to get to Natchez and discussing it with Jana (over cold cokes) confirmed that our best bet was to cancel the hotel in Natchez and find one closer to where we had stopped (Yazoo, MS). We found a spot in Canton, MS.
The road we chose to get to Canton was MS – 16. It was one of my favorite types of roads with gentle sweeping curves and enough trees to shade us part of the time. I almost turned around just to ride it again.
The “welcome to Canton” sign declares it to be the home of Nissan. That might be a slight exaggeration. The hotel was easy to find. It was only a couple of blocks off of 16. It was situated in a row of brand new hotels. It is obviously new and sparkling clean. We asked the usual question regarding dinner recommendations and got a surprising answer. “The only restaurant in the area that is not fast food is a Mexican restaurant you passed just down the street. Everything else is fast food. We just don’t have choices here in Canton.” The desk clerk was as helpful as she could be. We headed down the street to El Sombrero. It was clean and the food was plentiful. Google says they even have karaoke. Sounds interesting.
Two things became clear tonight. First, it is laundry day – 5 days is our limit. Second, I am over the heat so we will make the big “U” turn and head for the ranch (with clean clothes). We looked at the weather and by this weekend, the high will be in the mid 50’s. That somehow sounds OK with me right now. I’ve got to get busy folding clothes and planning the route home.