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Monday, May 14, 2007

Big Sis in a Small World
800 miles down and only 11,500 to go! If I could keep this up, I'd be finished in a fortnight. I’m now in Kentucky which isn’t the most exciting state I have ever visited, possibly because I don't eat fried chicken, but I’m sure things will improve when I visit the Shaker Museum this morning. I'm more of a mover than a shaker, but the gift shop sells brooms, baskets and bonnets, so it looks well worth a visit.

My first stop on leaving Texas was Arkansas, which was intended to be no more than a quick overnight stay. However, that was before I noticed the signs to Little Rock National Park. Being the holder of a National Park annual pass, I naturally felt the need to exercise this privelege and promptly took a 70 mile detour, a decision which might have made more sense had the place not turned out to be so small that I managed to drive past it three times. After which I stumbled upon the entrance and discovered that entry is free, with or without a pass.

Spot the SnakesBut on the bright side the views were quite nice and I found some fellow Brits who were more than happy to take this pic. Probably because there was nothing else to do. I then went for a cycle ride through locations straight out of a 'Visit Arkansas' advert. Of course, the one thing they don't mention on the adverts is the large number of black snakes which spring out of the grass and attack your legs. If I could have been assured they weren’t poisonous, they might have been quite cute, but having already experienced my fair share of Yosemite bears, Texan black widows and poisonous Las Vegan spiders who bite me, I decided to keep the snakes at arm's length. Well, leg's length.

Having reached the end of my ride, I noticed that the name of the reptile-infested street I'd been cycling down was 'Black Snake Road'. I've made a mental note to read more of the signs around me in future.

Who's Grace?Leaving behind the snakes in the grass, I made my way to Memphis in Tennessee where I discovered that no one could understand my accent and I had to resort to using pen and paper to ask where the nearest Circuit City was located. It's just as well I'm good at Pictionary. Not being a fan of Elvis, I wasn't sure what I would make of
Graceland, but felt the need to go. The house was interesting, although I missed the crucial two seconds of the tour where they explained who Grace was.

Fly Me to the Moon. Or was that Sinatra?The highlight for me was Elvis' private jet which was a converted airliner featuring a bed with FAA approved seat belts (thankfully). By the end of the tour, I did feel a certain amount of empathy with the old guy though. His love of partying without drinking alcohol, and insistence on painting his house blue wherever possible reminded me of my own experience at
Seagull Cottage. I might have to start doing daily tours.

Last night I made it all the way to Kentucky where there seems to be some kind of special deal on sex changes. From gas stations to hotels, everyone I meet seems to be halfway through gender reassignment. I feel quite out of place. Hence my decision to take refuge with the Shakers.