We officially started the UT road trip this morning in Knoxville and drove six hours to Memphis. In between, we stopped first just west of Nashville to try to eat lunch at the Loveless Café. But there was a two-hour wait. So on we went to Hurricane Mills and the Log Cabin restaurant off Exit 143 on I-40. What a country meal spread! I think maybe I should have packed some elastic pants for this trip if our meals are going to be like that. As we got closer to Memphis, we passed the West Tennessee Solar Farm, which is located in Haywood County off I-40. It is an impressive sight to see all the solar panels, and it was good to see bulldozers and other equipment in place to work on an exit and visitors center at the site.
We arrived in rainy Memphis in the late afternoon and had time before dinner to drive around downtown and the UT Health Science Center campus to get our bearings. For dinner, we met Jeff and Denise Kerlan at Frank Grisanti’s, an old Memphis restaurant dating to 1909 that now is located in an Embassy Suites hotel off Poplar Avenue. Jeff, a cardiologist, is a graduate of the College of Medicine, and Denise graduated from UT Knoxville. They have been involved as UTHSC alumni leaders for many years, and they visit Knoxville two or three times a year for football games. They are enthusiastic about UT. We’re UT employees, obviously, but also UT alumni. It is nice to see interest and dedication and pride for UT outside the confines of the university. Our road trip is off to a great start!