DAY 84 – MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 30

CLARKSDALE TO DEESON The day started with Bill’s voice bellowing through the doors and walls asking if we were up, around 7:12am. “Yeash,” I screeched back at him with toothpaste in my mouth. “Come see me at the office on your way out of town,” he said. Mental note and plan made, later to be unmade, as you will see… Our breakfast date with Kinchen “Bubba” O’Keefe started just at 8am. We had already entered the establishment—Yazoo Pass—ordered, and seated ourselves, much to Bubba’s alarm as he had hoped to buy us breakfast after forgetting our appointment to meet the …

DAY 83 – SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 29

HELENA-WEST HELENA TO CLARKSDALE We said goodbye to Cathy and spent some time at the Elaine Massacre Memorial. It is beautifully done and the community is looking forward to the event at 2:00 PM. We considered coming back to Helena, Arkansas to be part of the proceedings, but we had some miles to cover and a full day ahead of us in Clarksdale, Mississippi. Tom ran down Cherry Street and continued south on Biscoe Street to the US 49 bridge over the Mississippi River. There’s a nice paved trail most of the way, which was a welcome sight. We’ve been encountering fewer and fewer …

DAY 82 – SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 28

HELENA-WEST HELENA LAYOVER I woke up Saturday morning to the smell of coffee, but as I creeped downstairs in Shannon and Todd’s “project house” I must have missed my opportunity. Todd had to be out the door by 7am for Saturday school at the KIPP Elementary school he runs, and the coffee pot was washed and dried in the sink as if coffee had never existed! I attempted to take it upon myself to make a pot, but soon learned as I wandered back upstairs, that the coffee pot is only good for grinding, not for brewing. Shannon thankfully saved …

DAY 81 – FRIDAY SEPTEMBER 27

MARIANNA TO HELENA-WEST HELENA We arrived for breakfast right at 7:00 AM at the Sweet Temptation restaurant. Nancy and Pat joined us there for some final conversation. Tom fueled up for the run with a bowl full of grits and headed out of town south on Alabama Street, safely escorted by Mayor Jimmy Williams and what felt like the entire squad of Police. Further down Arkansas Highway 1, he got a honk and friendly wave from a passing truck—it looked like Mr. Claude Kennedy heading north from the University Research Station. I drove south down the highway and pulled into …

DAY 80 – THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 26

HUGHES TO MARIANNA Before I left Chicago for Minnesota I had a cat. A petite black cat named Henry, after my grandfather. This morning, a Henry lookalike darted in the front door at the guest house of Sam and Carol Dillahunty. Tom had left the door ajar while going out to get coffee from the van, and the Henry doppelgänger made himself right at home, clawing at every surface, ultimately trying to sneak a slumber on the master bedroom bed as we locked up! We quickly realized the cat was not outside, and sussed him out inside—Tom had to grab …

DAY 79 – WEDNESDAY SEPTEMBER 25

ANTHONYVILLE TO HUGHES/HORSESHOE LAKE I have to take a moment to journey back to last night, as we left out the latter part of our evening following the visit with Mr. Solon. Emily Scarbrough From the West Memphis Chamber of Commerce had made arrangements for us to stay just downriver at the Snowden House on Horseshoe Lake. We were told to get in touch with Martha McKey in advance to plan our stay—well I soon learned that “in advance” should have meant DAYS in advance rather than HOURS in advance. Fail #1. When I did speak to Martha the afternoon of our Anthonyville, Arkansas journey, she …

DAY 78 – TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 24

WEST MEMPHIS TO ANTHONYVILLE We gathered up our things and checked out of the Holiday Inn Express, accommodations generously provided by The City of West Memphis. Our run today started at the Skippy’s gas station where I left off on Sunday. Tom took off on foot, planning to run until the sidewalk ran out on Broadway out past the ASU Mid South campus. I took a detour over to Fred Leonard’s State Farm Agency to pick up a special package being sent for me. His receptionist knew exactly who I was and had it ready. Thanks again, Fred! I caught up …

DAY 77 – MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 23

WEST MEMPHIS LAYOVER It was a soggy start to our second day in West Memphis, Arkansas. Rain moved in early and didn’t let up until afternoon. Thankfully, this was a scheduled rest day we didn’t need to be out running in the rain. Our good luck continues! The schedule was light and we took time in the morning to run a few errands – drug store, grocery, gas, ice and a trip to the post office. The rain was coming down heavy as we made our way around the city, experiencing the rhythms of a Monday morning in West Memphis. We …

DAY 76 – SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 22

MEMPHIS TO WEST MEMPHIS We started our day in Memphis, Tennessee just south of the Great Pyramid. Is this Egypt? No, it’s Tennessee and this Memphis Pyramid houses a Bass Pro Shops superstore… Tom started out on the riverfront, running along the the east side of the Mississippi, heading downstream toward the Harahan Bridge. It’s Sunday morning and people are out traversing the Big River Crossing. Not a few miles in, and we’re in Arkansas now—state number eight out of ten on our Mississippi River journey. Tom met me alongside Hwy 51 at Bridgeport Rd for the exchange, and I started my run …

DAY 75 – SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 21

RANDOLPH TO MEMPHIS We woke up early in Munford, Tennessee at the Go Getaway Bed and Breakfast. I could smell the spinach quiche that Chris was preparing for breakfast, and both Tom and I were eager to get downstairs and try the CBD coffee that Chris had touted last night before we tucked in. Breakfast was slated for 7:30 and we were early to the table. We grabbed some coffee and took a walk outside to explore the “Celebrate Munford” festival that was setting up on the streets just outside. Several rows of pop up tents were already standing and Chris’ husband Isaac …