clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Travelogue: Memphis

Seven hours of driving and no clean water

Memphis. Photo by: Dukas/Christian Heeb/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Note: This is the first of two posts regarding the Liberty Bowl. This post is strictly a summary of my travel and relaying of what I did leading up to going to the game. Tomorrow I will follow up with my normal ‘View from the Stands’ post.


My son and I head to Memphis around 8:00 and see a lot of Jayhawk fans on the road who decided to leave at the same time. The trip is largely uneventful. I see only one speeding ticket being written on the drive down and one lonely Jayhawk car flag on the road. The most excitement on the trip is when everyone stops in West Plains, Mo. for gas at Casey’s and lunch at Sonic. The residents that normally visit those locations on a Tuesday must have been very frustrated by the extra traffic. To get a spot at Sonic you have to circle the lot a couple of times while waiting for someone to leave.

When we get to Memphis getting to the hotel is easy. What I had missed having not paid much attention to the news over the holiday weekend is the city water supply has been compromised by numerous water main breaks due to the extreme cold over the previous week and there is no drinking nor hot water in all of downtown. Looks like either very cold showers or none at all for the next couple of days.

Besides the game on Wednesday, my son and I are going to the Grizzles game tonight. So I rest up for about an hour and then we walk a couple of blocks to Beale Street to see what is happening. We arrived too late for the parade and pep rally, but there are still a lot of KU fans milling about as the sun goes down. Thinking we would get dinner before the game, but forgetting the water issues and a large number of KU fans make this difficult. We walk up and down Beale a couple of times. Establishments are either already packed or closed due to the bad water supply. We decide to go to the FedEx Forum early. The gates are open and a lot of people had the same idea. If you do not know, the arena is one block off of Beale St. There is another game here on New Year’s eve. It will be a zoo here that night.

Beale St, Memphis, TN
Timothy Reddin

Water issues plague the arena also. No souvenir soft drinks tonight, they are just selling bottles. We take a pass on food for now. My son is not hungry and the diet Pepsi, ugh, will hold me over for a while. We hit the souvenir store and my son is one Ja Morant jersey richer and my wallet is a lot lighter.

Memphis Grizzles FedEx Forum
Timothy Reddin

The game is fun we see Ja do Ja things, but the Grizzles get blown out. Their shooting percentage is awful. They shot 33% from the field for the first half and 22% from 3. A rapper, NLE Choppa, my son knows is sitting courtside at mid-court. My son mentions this to me and 4 different people around us hear him and immediately ask him who it is.

Something that bugs me about all referees/officials of games is when they anticipate an infraction/foul/penalty and do not actually see it. The most egregious example of this may have happened during this game. The Grizzlies have the ball and the time on the shot clock is running down. Suddenly the baseline official blows his whistle and indicates a shot clock violation has occurred. One problem. When he blew his whistle and the clock stopped there are still 0.3 seconds left on the shot clock. No explanation give. The ball is given to the Suns. No one except the Suns is happy about this development. Things went downhill from there for the Grizzles.

A second annoying thing from the game is a direct result of watching a lot of Boston Bruins hockey this season. At an NHL game and for that matter an NFL game the head official is mic’ed up. When something happens everyone in the area/stadium and on TV is informed about what is happening. Not so for the NBA. Several times during the game, the play is stopped, and the head official goes to the scorer’s table, talks into a camera, and begins to review a play. The review is completed. The official goes back and announces the decision to the camera at the scorer’s table. But none of what the official says is broadcast within the arena. Why do the in-arena patrons not get to hear any of that? During this process, the PA announcer has to come on and tell us what is happening. I do not get it. Very annoying.

After the game ends we pour out onto Beale St. with many of the other people from the game. I am now very hungry. I have not eaten since Sonic at 12:30 and it is now 9:30. We find a place called the Flying Saucer a few blocks from Beale and on the way to our hotel. I think it is related to a place of the same name that used to be in the Power And Light District in KC, but when we go in I am not so sure. But there is no wait and there are burgers and beer on the menu so this is our dinner spot. We seat ourselves and listen to the last few questions for the trivia night contest while the only server on duty hustles about. When the food has been consumed, we head back to the hotel and go to bed.


We sleep in. We have no desire to go to Graceland or any other touristy place. So we do not roll out until noon. The tourist spot we decide to hit is Rendezvous for some BBQ. It is in the alley behind our hotel so this is an easy choice. Of course, there are a large number of people waiting to do the same thing. We are in no hurry since the only other item on the agenda is the game at 4:30 so we put our name in and begin the hour wait for a spot. While we stand in the alley, waiting and watching people come and go, we observe something that makes us laugh. There are two vents for the kitchen that empty into the alley. As one would expect the is a lot of smoke being vented from the kitchen of a restaurant. The funny part is the number of people just standing in the vent exhaust. Just standing there letting smoke, grease, and whatever blow on them. There is plenty of room to stand somewhere else. Gross but funny since it is not us.

Rendezvous, Memphis, TN
Timothy Reddin

Finally, our name is called and we join a group of others following the man in charge of seating people. It is a little different process. Everyone follows him walking around the dining room while he asks for the number of people for each party and he points at a table for you to sit at. The water problem persists, so canned soda all around is ordered. My son orders a sandwich, and I order a combo plate so I can try the famous ribs and beef brisket. It is a long wait for the food, so we pass the time looking at the pictures in the cabinet next to us. We see pictures of Alex Rodriguez, Dick Vitale, John Daily, Scottie Pippen (we think), Blake Griffin, and others we do not recognize. All the pictures were taken long ago. Blake Griffin’s picture has to be early in his OU career. He looks like he is still in high school.

Rendezvous, Memphis, TN

When our food arrives we are both hungry and ready to dig in. My review of Memphis BBQ as represented by Rendezvous is, in a word, overrated. The famous ribs are pork ribs, meaning you get short thick bones with almost zero meat. The rub on the meat is fine, but I have done better in my backyard and I am not a great grill master. The beef brisket is really good. If I ever go back, I will take a pass on the ribs and go solely with the brisket. But it is no better than what several different restaurants in Kansas City serve. I am glad we went and would go back, my recommendation to anyone going is to skip the ribs and go with the brisket. With the food finished it is now almost 3:20 and it is time to get to the game.