A photo of Ainsley, Dillon, Grayson, and Rayleigh on a giant Memphis sign with the city of Memphis in the background

32 Days in America, Day 23


  • Miles traveled: 171.4
  • Miles traveled to date: 4290.3
  • States visited today: 2 – Tennessee, Arkansas
  • States visited to date: 13
  • Tanks of gas pumped to date: 14
  • Meltdowns: 15
  • Loads of Laundry: 17
  • Illness: 4

Daily recap

Today, we explored Memphis by seeing the Peabody Hotel Ducks walk the red carpet from the elevator to the fountain, taking the trolley, visiting the Bass Pro Shops pyramid, eating BBQ while listening to live music on Beale Street, and walking the half mile replica of the Mississippi River at Mud Island park, then drove to Little Rock for the night.


  • Getting some delicious breakfast at a local doughnut and pastry shop
A photo of a doughnut with Bavarian creme, strawberries, and blueberries
After a rather terrible breakfast experience at the hotel, we had an absolutely wonderful breakfast experience at a local donut and pastry shop.
  • Seeing the Peabody Hotel Ducks walk the red carpet
  • Riding the trolley
A photo of Grayson, Ainsley, Rayleigh, and Dillon sitting on the trolley
We used the trolley to get around Memphis. It had a beautiful wood interior and everyone we met was really friendly.
  • Visiting the Bass Pro Shops Pyramid
A photo of a gigantic pyramid-shaped building with the Bass Pro Shops logo on it, along with the text Ducks Unlimited Waterfowling Heritage Center
This is a photo of the Bass Pro Shops Pyramid, which was formerly an arena, but was converted into a combination retail store and hotel.
A photo of Ainsley, Dillon, and Rayleigh standing in front of an indoor pond and fake tree with retail space in the background
The inside of the pyramid was a mix of the giant fish-filled pond, fake trees, a real dock traversing the pond, retail space on the first and second floors, and a hotel on the third floor.
  • Eating lunch and listening to live music at a BBQ & blues joint on Beale Street
A photo of Rayleigh in a hoodie with her hood up eating an alligator bite in a restaurant
Rayleigh tried alligator for the first time and liked it.
  • Exploring the Mississippi River replica on Mud Island
An aerial photo of part of the Mississippi River replica with a bridge across the middle
This was just a small part of the Mississippi River replica. It stretched for half a mile.
  • Collapsing in a heap at the end of a long day
A photo of Rayleigh, Grayson, Kelsey, Dillon, and Ainsley all smushed together in a queen bed
At the end of a long day, the kids needed mommy snuggles.

Other photos from today

A photo of Grayson in a hoodie standing on a plaque in the sidewalk with duck feet on it
Grayson was excited to go see the ducks.
A photo of five ducks in a fountain in a hotel
The Peabody Hotel Ducks, on the job swimming in the fountain from 11-5 daily.
A photo of Kelsey and Rayleigh giving each other a hug while waiting for the trolley
She’s never too old to hug her mama.
A photo of two dozen large fish in a shallow indoor pool made to look like a natural environment
The Bass Pro Shops giant pyramid had these artificial ponds in it stocked with huge fish. Most were this size, which were over a foot each, and there were a few monsters swimming around that were over three feet long.
A photo of two alligators in an indoor pool made to look like a natural environment
In a (thankfully separate) tank they had alligators.
A photo of Kelsey with giant pool noodles on her hands getting ready to battle inside the Bass Pro Shops store, with Grayson and Ainsley preparing to do the same
Kelsey found some giant pool noodles and immediately turned them into weapons. Being good students, the kids followed suit.
A photo of Grayson pretending to drive a white ATV with a price tag of $7,174
“Can I get this, mom? I think it will fit in the trunk.” When Kelsey said no, he asked for a pontoon boat. When she said no to that, he asked for an airplane. Maybe we should have said yes to the ATV?
A photo of Grayson sitting in the hollow of a fake tree making a silly face and sticking out his tongue
This was a pretty realistic fake tree inside the pyramid.
A photo of Dillon standing in front of a display of duck calls through the years
Dillon got a duck call from Grandpa for his birthday, so he was interested in the duck call display.
A photo of Grayson twirling Ainsley while dancing to live music in a restaurant
Ainsley and Grayson dancing to the music in King’s Palace on Beale Street in Memphis.
A photo of Grayson, Ainsley, Dillon, Rayleigh, Kelsey, and Kevin's feet next to Johnny Cash's brass note embedded in Beale Street
We found Johnny Cash’s bronze note on Beale Street.
A photo of Grayson, Rayleigh, Dillon, and Ainsley in a pyramid-shaped sculpture in a park
We found this mini-pyramid in a park.
A photo of Kevin and Dillon walking along the skywalk
The monorails were unfortunately out of commission, so we walked the skywalk from Memphis to Mud Island to see the Mississippi River replica.
A photo of Kelsey, Rayleigh, Dillon, Ainsley, and Grayson running along a twisting line painted on the ground
Both sides of the skywalk had this design painted on them, so we played “follow the yellow brick road.”
A photo of Rayleigh and Ainsley standing in front of a wall with the Mississippi River watershed on it, including areas of Michigan, Indiana, Kentucky, and Ohio
In warmer months, this wall is a fountain that fills the replica of the Mississippi River, which flows down to the replica of the Gulf of Mexico.
A photo of Ainsley with her hands over her head standing at the end of the Mississippi River replica
Ainsley walked the entire length of the Mississippi River replica, which is half a mile long.
A photo of Kelsey standing next to a giant egg with a mosaic pattern that features music notes and says "Memphis: Home of the blues, birthplace of rock and roll"
A giant egg! Because, why not?

And now for your moment of zen…

A photo of a drink dispenser that says "Water: No High Fructose Corn Syrup"
At last, some low-cal water!





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