Welcome to the official home of the
Mike and Lee Show Great American SUV Tour

Where are Mike and Lee now?
Map from end of Day #15 - 7/6/05
Location: New Orleans, LA


The Funmobile Come with Mike and Lee as they travel accross the great American south. This website will give you exclusive access to their trip, their stories, and their pictures. Follow the fun-mobile on the map above as Mike and Lee drive across the south. Each day we will have a little video recap, a couple choice photos, and the song of the day. Check in daily for updates.

Last updated: 7/10/2005 10:58:52 AM pacific time
Choose a day of our trip
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Pre-Trip Projection

So most people graduate college and take a trip to Europe. We decided to take the route less traveled. We decided to go where no Jew has been before…. The Dirty South. The trip was originally planned as a 30 day RV trip that would take us from LA to Boston. It was planned the southwest airline plane home from Indiana in April.

This is not the typical road trip your mom or dad went on as a kid. This road trip has been planned to the point where we can tell you what time of the day we will be changing highways in any city. A state of the art GPS system will let us know exactly where we are and let us know as soon as we make a wrong turn.

You may still be asking, Why not Europe? My response would be, how can you go see someone else’s country before you have seen your own? I guess it is time to see how the other half of the country, that still thinks they won civil war, lives.

I would guess that we will get lost 12 times.
I would guess that 11 of the times it is Mike’s fault.

I bet we get pulled over 4 times.
I bet we get 0 speeding tickets.

DAY 0 - MILE 0 - 6/21/05 Welcome to New Orleans

In the airport

Lee in New Orleans

The spot Mike lost his camera last
time in New Orleans

We get on the plane
Mike's Log
Lee's Log
Just got in. We'll update our log tomorrow! It’s pretty incredible to think that Lee and I are really doing this little trip. It started out as a joke a while back and now it’s a reality. My sister took us to the airport and we got there right on-time. 1 hour prior to our flight! Wham bam! Perfect. Just my luck, there was a 2 month old child and her mother in the seat right next to me. She kindly moved and let Lee and I sit together. That was nice of her. Some crazy kid sat next to me on the flight to New Orleans. He didn’t say one word on the entire flight. He sat there on his laptop and wrote poetry. Then just as we were getting off the plane he tells Lee and I not to make bets with locals about where we get our shoes… ?!? I still have no idea what the hell he was talking about. It was an interesting start to our trip.

The car rental company upgraded us to a huge Chevy Tahoe. Not exactly the power or prestige of my Rav4, but it is close. We arrived at our beautiful hotel and called it a night.

What would a real trip be with Mike without a mad dash to the airport? We left Agoura at 4PM in an attempt to make our 6:05 flight. With a little help from the traffic gods we made it to the airport by 5PM. Impossible? I know. Lady luck remained on our side on the airplane. First off, we had two middle seats in the same aisle. Within five minutes someone moved so we could sit next to each other, they changed the movie from ‘The Pacifier’ to ‘Hitch’ (which neither of us had seen), and the woman with the baby next to us was moved to another seat. The flight was pretty uneventful until we landed in New Orleans and the guy next to us asked us if we had ever been there before. He then gave us some advice…. “If anyone says he will bet you $50 to guess where you got your shoes, don’t do it. It is one of the biggest scams”. The kid had not said anything to us all flight and then says that. As we got off the plane we were just wondering what the hell he was talking about. At that moment I realized that the trip was going to end with someone offering me a bet as to where I got my shoes. And obviously, I am going to have to accept the bet to see what the hell this kid was talking about.

We then proceeded to the car rental place and the only SUV they had left was a Chevy Tahoe. Haha, so now there are two Jews from LA touring the south in a new Tahoe. We checked into the Best Western at about 1AM. We watched E! True Hollywood Story on Hulk Hogan and then went to sleep with only a small idea of what the next 15 days will have in store.

DAY 1 - MILE 330 - 6/22/05 New Orleans, LA -to- Panama City Beach, FL
Song of the day: Gwen Steffani, "Holla Back Girl"

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VIDEO: Mike recaps Day-1

Alabama Sign

Gulfport Mississippi

Lee takes the first picture

On the car in FL

Our first hotel!

Welcome to Florida!
Mike's Log
Lee's Log
Whoever invented the south definitely liked trees. There are trees everywhere here. Today started off pretty funny. The GPS wasn’t working this morning so we ended up getting lost in a bad neighborhood of New Orleans. That was great. It started working then stopped so we had to do some old school navigation by hand. When we got the GPS back online we discovered that we were about 35 miles off course. We got to see a cool part of Louisiana and Mississippi. We spent the rest of the drive heading east just on top of the Gulf of Mexico and trying to buy a new GPS receiver. It was a long drive… Small country roads and a little traffic. Plenty of Wal Marts, Waffle restaurants, and Winn-Dixie supermarkets. We passed one Office Max (that’s where we bought the GPS receiver).

My favorite city so far has to be Gulfport, Mississippi. There were huge plantation style homes right across the street from the Gulf. The sand is so white and the water is warm and calm… but not too clean.

Panama City Beach is something like a cheaper Acapulco. Families appear to go to the beach during the day and then play mini golf at night. There are tons of mini golf courses and little carnival rides. I thought dinner was just fine. We ate at LEE’S CHOICE on a boardwalk just over the Gulf. Goodnight Florida!

Wake up call at 8:45AM. After our continental breakfast at Dennys we left the hotel at about 10:30. I would say that we were lost by about 10:38. The GPS was not working so I missed a turn. (And Allegro called so I was distracted). We drove for about 20 minutes through a neighborhood where Mike claims to have seen one white person but I did not see any. Then once we got back on the pre-programmed GPS route Mike told me to go the wrong way. Might have been the best detour ever. Drove right along the Gulf of Mexico. It was cool to see how all of the houses were raised so they don’t flood. Southern Mississippi was beautiful. There were huge houses along the gulf and the sand on the beaches was white. We stopped at a Wal-Mart in Waveland, Mississippi to get water and sunscreen. Lunch was at a Subway in Ocean Springs Mississippi.

In Alabama we toured the USS Alabama. This ship was a part of two major US wars, WWII and Vietnam. While touring the ship we wondered how someone like Allegro could move around that ship without hitting his head on anything. It takes us another 4 hours to drive 100 miles because Mike has to stop at every electronic store to buy a new GPS even though the GPS works perfectly. We finally make it to Panama City at 9:45 and go to dinner at Pineapple Willy’s. Probably the worst food I have eaten in my life. Is the juice worth the squeeze?

DAY 2 - MILE 880 - 6/23/05 Panama City Beach, FL -to- Charleston, SC
Song of the day: Pussy Cat Dolls, "Don't Cha"

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VIDEO: Charleston street performers sing the Mike and Lee song

Almost died
taking this photo

FSU Film School

FSU Stadium

Gas station hic

Horse eating
at 80mph on highway

Panama City Beach

Road in Florida

Wacky truck
in traffic
Mike's Log
Lee's Log
Okay. This 8:45am thing isn’t rally working out, but I am getting really good at answering the wakeup call. We were put in a smoking room last night because the 90 year old woman who works at the front desk screwed up. Her boss gave us $10 off. I spent it on a margarita last night. Another nice woman at the Travel Lodge continental breakfast (doughnuts and juice) had some good life advice. She suggested a cure to Alzheimer’s Disease… simply use your brain more often. Great, thanks. Women are so weird.

We visited FSU today in Tallahassee, FL. I took a picture in front of the film school here. That was funny. Back in high school they rejected me because I mailed in my application some 3 days late. The picture will go well in a frame next to the letter.

There are some really cool roads in Florida. There are trees and green grass everywhere! We plan on having dinner in Savannah, GA and then getting into our cozy bed and breakfast in Charleston, SC around 11pm local time. I’m looking forward to a day off of driving tomorrow. We will spend the whole day in Charleston. See you at cheese and wine tomorrow afternoon in the lobby. So long from 18.37ft, 30.36degN, 80.24degW, 82mph (I love GPS).

Longest fucking drive ever! Only took about 14 hours. If anyone was going to bet who the morning person would be, I doubt anyone would have bet me. So far I have been the first one up, the first one in the shower, and taken the morning driving shift both days. After taking a picture in the middle of the street (which has been nominated for picture of the trip), we stayed in Tallahassee for about an hour. Nicest football stadium I have ever seen on a college campus. I later found out that it was the largest free standing brick structure. We took some quick pics there and had some lunch.

The only major city between Tallahassee and our dinner stop of Savanna Georgia was Jacksonville Florida. It had some beautiful scenery and we made a quick stop there but it was nothing special. We ate dinner at the Cotton Exchange, a seafood restaurant on the Savanna River. It was definitely better than last night but will not be nominated for dinner of the trip. After leaving Savanna I realized that the famous park bench from Forest Gump was there. Of course it was in Mike’s itinerary that he printed out. No matter what he says, it was his fault we didn’t see it.

Before we left we got the same advice from everyone… Do not take the back roads. Well thanks to Mikes “incredible” navigation skills and our GPS system, we wound up in the back roads on a detour that the GPS must have thought was a shortcut. It was dark with forests and small homes. Mike was quoted saying “If you were navigating we probably would have been able to avoid this”. Just shows who the better navigator is.

DAY 3 - MILE 880 - 6/24/05 Charleston, SC (no driving)
Song of the day: Tick Daddy, "Sugar"

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VIDEO: Lee recaps day 3

Charleston at night

Do it

Fort Sumter cruise

Fort Sumter flags

Hey now Lee!

Lee and Jordan Grossbart
in Charleston bar

Mike is stuck

Nice swamp

Rav4, Mr. Taho,
and Mike

Road to
Charleston Plantation

Stapes making copies
in Mount Pleasant, SC

We spent $150 here
Mike's Log
Lee's Log
Good morning Charleston! We slept in a bit today, not getting started until well after 11am. Lee, of course, woke up first and we got started with a tour of Fort Sumter (the spot where the war of northern aggression (as they jokingly put it here) began. It’s a 30 minute boat ride into the middle of the harbor to get to the fort. We had a nice view of the whole city. We learned about how the civil war affected the Charleston area. It’s wild to think that the United States was fighting itself.

Next Lee and I visited a plantation. It was $14 a person to visit so we decided not to go on the property, but instead took some photos just outside. These things are huge places and obviously still cash cows. It has absolutely beautiful grounds… We’ll have to come back on the 25th anniversary road trip.

Lee wanted to go on a walking ghost tour of the city. I thought it would be really scary, but it wasn’t bad. We got to learn about the ghosts haunting Charleston. One supposedly is just a torso. We walked down so many quaint cobblestone streets. It was perfect. We had a tour guide in training on our tour. He wouldn’t stop talking to Lee and I, but I know he meant well. Nice guy. Plus he was kinda cute.

Nightlife in Charleston is great! All the southern cuties and their retarded looking boyfriends come out to booze it up. Looked like everyone preferred beer. Lee and I did it with Kettle and tonic. Right? Basically made up for the savings at the plantation in about 5 minutes. The fish here is great. I had the grouper and Lee had the Mahi for dinner. We ran into Jordan Grossbart’s lookalike in our first bar. Look how he holds a beer just like Jordan in the photo above. We visited a couple other spots, but my favorite was the Market Pavillion hotel roof bar. Hot! Awesome views of the whole city. Some $200 later Lee and I returned to the hotel, made some good drunk calls and hit the sac.

Not having to drive anywhere this day was great because I was able to sleep in until 9:30. Somehow Mike stayed asleep until 11. As I was getting ready to just leave and go to the Confederate Museum he got up and we went to Fort Sumter. We saw where the first shots of the Civil War were shot. We then went to the Magnolia Plantation, but didn’t go in. We just took some pics as if we were there. Our hotel had a wine and cheese hour from 4-6 that we attended. One thing on the trip that I was really looking forward to was the Ghosts of Charleston Tour. It was a little disappointing. Although the tour mostly had adults on it, it was a little childish

From what we heard, Hank’s was the big hot spot in town. Dinner and drinks there cost a pretty penny, but it was a great dinner. We were then told to go to Henrys for some live music. The live music was a guy with a guitar and harmonica around his neck. It bar seemed to be a local hangout. We left and walked around the city. There were not many people out during the day, but there were a lot out at night. Somehow we wound up at the top of some hotel that had a really nice bar. We had another drink there and then called it a night. Twinkle, twinkle.

DAY 4 - MILE 1195 - 6/25/05 Charleston, SC -to- Atlanta, GA
Song of the day: Will Smith, "Switch"

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VIDEO: Lee recaps day 4

A plantation road

A town down

Atlanta at night

Charleston hotel

Cotton is
king house

Dinner in Atlanta

Lee took this
photo behind a couple

Mile 1000

Road in
South Carolina

Slave house

A covered bridge

Stone Mountain

Again, we spent
too much money

They wanted us to
take their picture
We're still not
sure why

Top of
Stone Mountain
Mike's Log
Lee's Log
Not going to lie. It was pretty hard to wake up today. Lee again got rolling first and around 10am we began to make our way to Atlanta, GA. We drove some back roads and got to see some small towns like Whitepond and Blacksville. That was interesting. The GPS alerted us to a plantation just before Agusta, GA. It happened to be the plantation of the guy who coined the phrase in the Senate “Cotton is king.” Pretty wild to see his house and his HUUUUUGE piece of land.

We drove past the Agusta National Golf Course and had lunch on a cool country main street in a pizza place. On the way into Atlanta, Lee thought it would be fun to see Stone Mountain. All we knew about the place was that there was a monument carved to the leaders of the Confederacy and that the town was the birthplace of the KKK. Turns out that Stone Mountain is a huge modern amusement park renovated for the 1996 Olympics. 1,000’s of families were taking boat rides, camping, and picnicking. Stone Mountain is amazing. It’s a 1,500ft rock in the middle of nowhere. We took the ride to the top and got a great view of Atlanta (too bad for the fog, the view could have been better).

Night in Atown was fun. We met up with AHS alum Cori Diamond and her girlfriend who are out here interning at CNN. We had dinner and drinks and then headed to the club to dance to the tunes of the Atown rappers. My dance moves were crazy! Again I passed out in my clothes and I’m not entirely sure how the night ended. All I do know is Lee and I are for sure tearing up the south!

The ride started off in the rain. Of course mike is working on something in the car and then decides to check the GPS and we are not on the right road. As soon as we get to the right road it was an incredible road. The smaller highways off of the main highways are the way to go. Seeing small-town America is interesting. People are wearing overalls and just sitting on their front porches. Some had confederate flags in front of their houses. I don’t really understand what that means? Are they saying they are not American? Do they want to bring back slavery? We passed through a town called Lee, but there was no sign. We had lunch at an alternative rock pizza joint in Augusta Georgia (Home of the PGA Masters).

On the way to Atlanta I kinda remembered from my history class that Stone Mountain was just outside of Georgia. I know as the place of the re-birth of the KKK. Well so far it has been one of the best stops of the trip. It is a huge campground/lake/amusement park. It was pretty wild that we have driven for 4 days and not seen any hills then all of a sudden there is just this big rock that comes out of nowhere. Our GPS told us we would be in Atlanta by 3:30, but we didn’t make it in until 9. Definitely wanted to nap before we went out, but that didn’t happen.

We had dinner at Vickery’s Bar and Grill. Best dinner of the trip! I had the almond crusted salmon with a soy based spicy bbq sauce. It was definitely the best meal so far, even though we have had some good ones. Cori Diamond and her intern from CNN met us toward the end of dinner for some cocktails. From there we went to the Sutra Lounge. Great times, lots of jokes, lots of fun.

DAY 5 - MILE 1195 - 6/26/05 Atlanta, GA (no driving)
Song of the day: Take me out to the ballgame

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VIDEO: A southern Braves usher dancing

A jewish guy
asked us for directions
at a light.

Took us 1 hour
to find this spot
at the game

Centenial Olympic Park

Look... we're
Coke people

Found UofA's Coronado
dorm in Atlanta

Lee eating at
the Varsity drive in

Lees family

Rapper Little John

The Varsity

The World
of Coke

Turner Field
Mike's Log
Lee's Log
What a day in beautiful Atlanta. I’d have to say that the highlight today was the Braves game. We had nice seats way above home plate. The only problem was that parking sucks at the stadium. We arrived late in the 1st and didn’t get in until the top of the 6th. But we did get a really cool parking spot, check it out.

The budget got a big save today because Lee’s family kindly took us out to dinner. It was a great meal and it helped us recover from the last 2 nights of partying.

Finally we had our first night of just relaxing. We took a Jacuzzi and then I passed out in bed while Lee was up typing his log. It was a nice day to catch up on some rest and see the last bit of Atlanta.

When the phone rang at 10:15 to wake us up I thought that there was no way in hell that we would make it to lunch or the baseball game. But, like always, I got up first, took a shower, and was ready to go before Mike even woke up. We had lunch at The Varsity, it is the biggest drive-in restaurant in the country. It also serves more coke than anywhere else in the country. The Varsity parking lot was the site of the first car accident of the trip! Mike was driving down a one-way, narrow two lane road and scrapped our side mirror against another car. The guy didn’t follow us, so I guess he did not care. The baseball game was great. The only thing that sucked was that it took 45 minutes to park the car from the time we got off the freeway. So we sat down kinda late. Either way the game was fun, I am pretty sure the stadium is fairly new. After the game came the most random part of the trip. We were driving to Coca-Cola World and are stopped at a red light when all of a sudden my cousin and uncle from L.A. crossed the street. I have not seen them since his bar mitzvah in april, and then I just see them crossing the street in Atlanta.

Next, Mike and I toured Coca-Cola world and got to drink coke from all over the world. It was also interesting to see all the coke commercials over the past 50 years. I just realized that coke tries to brainwash everyone into thinking coke is the most refreshing drink. From there we went to dinner with my aunt and uncle. It was nice to have a dinner under budget for once ;-). After dinner we drove around the city and checked out Centennial Olympic Park. To be honest, it wasn’t that great. It was fairly small, I am sure it was real cool during the Olympics, but it wasn’t that great now. After a relaxing Jacuzzi session it was an early night.

DAY 6 - MILE 1500 - 6/27/05 Atlanta, GA -to- Montgomery, AL
Song of the day: Kelly Clarkson, "We don't know the title, but it was on at least 4 times"

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VIDEO: Mike recaps day 6

Tuskegee Airmen

Auburn University

Civil rights

CNN Center

Lee can't get
on his mini CNN
ID badge

Gay street Auburn

MLK lived here
& Montgomery bus
boycott lauched here

It's pouring at
dinner... we're up
the creek!
Mike's Log
Lee's Log
I woke up this morning with a great feeling for the day. First off, I was up first and had a chance to do Yoga while Lee was in the shower. We headed off to CNN and got a cool behind the scenes tour of their studios. From behind glass we could see the anchors broadcast the news. That was fun.

Like I mentioned, it felt like luck was on our side. So, at the gas station I bought a lottery ticket… of course… we won nothing.

The drive today was shorter than we’re used to. We had a chance to see Auburn University and the site where the Tuskegee Airmen trained. That was interesting especially after hearing about these black pilots on TV documentaries. We got in around 4pm but decided to take a quick nap. Then we drove by MLK’s house, the White House of the Confederacy, the Civil Rights Memorial, and got to see some other parts of the city we may not have thought to see. Montgomery is a great city. A calm center where the AL state capital is, the north (lower income) and the south part (higher income). You get the picture.

It was another complete day, despite the lottery loss we had a good day!

8:15 wake up call! Earliest of the trip. I realized that as far as time management goes, it is more beneficial to have Mike shower first so that I do not have to wait around as much in the morning. By 10:15am we were at CNN’s headquarters. It was an awesome tour. We were able to watch the news live from behind the anchors. At school I would wake up everyday and watch Kathleen Kennedy and Renee San Miguel broadcast the headline news in the morning. Today I was able to watch Kathleen Kennedy broadcast the news live just a few feet away.

On the way to Montgomery, Alabama we made a few stops. First, we stopped in Tuskegee. This is where they trained the African American pilots for WWII. It wasn’t my favorite stop but it was kind of interesting. We also drove through Auburn where the University of Auburn is. It was a huge campus. Their football stadium looked very similar to Arizona’s. When we got into Montgomery I just passed out for an hour. I definitely have not been getting anywhere near the amount of sleep I have been used to after taking three classes last semester and then having the last 2 months off (Except for when Allegro’s dad made us wake up at 5AM to go to his commissioning ceremony). After my quick nap we drove around for a bit and then got some dinner. While we were at dinner it rained harder than I have ever seen it rain before. But by the time we left, it was fine out. It is 9PM now, 7PM Pacific and I am about to go to sleep the earliest I have gone since probably 2nd grade. Booyaa

DAY 7 - MILE 1800 - 6/28/05 Montgomery, AL -to- Nashville, TN
Song of the day: Howie Day, "Collide"

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VIDEO: We drive in a huge Birmingham thunderstorm

ATM in middle
of nowhere

Monument in Kelly
Ingrahm Park

Downtown Birmingham

Nashville Grand
Ole Opry

At Hard Rock dinner
Lee sat in Hulk
Hogan's seat!

Nashville at night

Montgomery hotel

Spot where Rosa
Parks was arrested

Sloss Furnaces in
a thunderstorm

Welcome to
Mike's Log
Lee's Log
Today was probably the most prolific of the trip. We began early this morning in Montgomery with a tour of the Rosa Parks Museum. I highly recommend this site to anyone visiting Montgomery, AL. The museum was very high tech and included a full size bus with large video monitors in the windows. We stood outside the bus and watched a reenactment of Rosa’s now famous moment. It looked like we were watching real people on the bus. It’s incredible to go through these very normal towns/cities and learn about their very dark histories. Things used to be very different out here and I’m starting to grasp what things must have been like for blacks just some 40 years ago.

The afternoon took us to Birmingham, AL where we toured Vulcan Park which is a huge monument and statue dedicated to the iron works which virtually made the city. We learned that Birmingham didn’t really exist until just after the Civil War when people learned that they could mine iron here. Then we left for Kelly Ingram Park (the site where the famous pictures of blacks being attacked by police dogs and high power water hoses were taken). It’s right across the street from the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church (where 4 black girls were killed in a bombing). This city has a troubled past.

We got caught in a huge thunderstorm leaving Birmingham. I think it was the worst weather I’ve ever driven in. Tonight we will see the Grand Ole Opry country show in Nashville. It’s supposed to be very exciting. Lee will be able to talk more about it in his log. He’s driving now as I type. It’s been another great day!

Wow, what a long day. We woke up at 8:15 to go see the Rosa Parks museum that is a black away from where Rosa Parks was arrested for not moving to the back of da bus. The tour had a simulation of the actual event. There was a real bus in the museum with video screens to allow you to see inside the bus as they re-enacted it. From there we drove to Birmingham, AL. Our first stop there was at Vulcan Park. It is a huge statue of a Greek god that has represented Birmingham since the city began just after the Civil War. Next we went to see some of the sites from the civil rights movement, such as the site where the police and firefighters were hosing down protestors. We drove by the Sloss Furnaces but by this point it was raining way too hard to get out of the car. As we were trying to leave the city it rained harder than any rain I have ever been in. You know how when you see lightning you hear thunder a few seconds later? Well we were so close to the lightning that there was no delay in sound. You can watch the video of the day for more details.

After eating a quick lunch at Sonic Burger in Gardendale, AL we continued to Nashville, TN. We went to a country music concert at the historic Grand Ole Opry. It was a great show even though I have no interest in country music. The only song I recognized was the one from the beginning of the movie ‘The Big Lebowski’. The highlight of the show was a good old fashioned “Cheek Off”. Two of the members of a band tried to out do each other by playing beats on their cheeks. It was pretty funny. After the show we went to dinner at the Hard Rock Café in downtown Nashville. It was one of the nicest ones I have been to and had a lot of country music memorabilia in it. After dinner we took a lot of nice scenery shots. I have taken some amazing night shots on this trip thanks to everything Ken Neely taught me (High School Photo Teacher). Haha. I would say that between Mike and I we have taken about 500 pictures so far this trip. Clickity Clank.

DAY 8 - MILE 2100 - 6/29/05 Nashville, TN -to- Memphis, TN
Song of the day: Fat Joe (feat. Nelly) "Get It Poppin'"

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VIDEO: On Beale St., Lee recaps Day 8

2000 miles!

President Andrew
Jackson's grave

Beale St.
Memphis, TN

Mike & Lee
reinact the battle
of Shiloh

Nashville hotel

We felt bad
so we went to
Europe today
outside Nashville

Shiloh, TN

Sun sets
on day 8

This held up
the highway for
30 minutes

A wild turkey
at Shiloh
Mike's Log
Lee's Log
Today we embarked on another US history day. The morning took us to the home of President and General Andrew Jackson. His grave says General I guess he was more proud of that? Lee and I couldn’t figure that part out. He owned a huge plantation and we got to see the insides of his home. He had it pretty good.

The afternoon brought us to Shiloh, TN home of a great Civil War Battle. As we got there the Park Ranger was shutting down the cash register so we didn’t have to pay a thing! Mark that one in the budget Lee! Shiloh is gigantic. I can’t believe these people marched and lugged cannons around this place. For history’s sake, Lee and I reenacted a battle. I portrayed the North and was victorious pushing Lee into a retreat. In the morning we’ll bury the dead.

In the evening I enjoyed some good BBQ ribs on the famous Beale Street. Our hotel is right on the Mississippi river. Tomorrow we’ll need to find some Indians to help us caulk the car and float over to Arkansas on our continuing journey out west on the Oregon Trail.

Well it was another extremely busy day. We got up and went to the Hermitage, Andrew Jackson’s plantation. I feel like this would be a good ‘Who wants to be a Millionaire’ question. It was kind of weird that the tour guides kept referring to him as General Jackson, not President Jackson. It was an interesting plantation and the biggest one we have seen yet, but I think I am all plantationed out. There is only so many times you can see a huge plot of land and imagine the days when cotton grew everywhere. From The Hermitage, we drove to Memphis and stopped at Shiloh Military Park on the way there. I remembered reading Shiloh for my DCE (Huge project Sr. year of HS). It was the bloodiest battle of the Civil War. After that fact I really don’t remember anything else about it. To be honest, I am not even sure if I read the book, but I pretended I did.

We arrived in Memphis at about 9pm. Beale Street is the big street in this city. They compare it to Burbon Street in New Orleans but only smaller. I guess in 4 days I can let you know how it compares. Wednesday night must have been biker night because the whole street was filled up and down with bikers. I don’t know anything about bikes but some of them were pretty cool looking. There is a perpendicular street that runs through Beale Street, on the far side of the street were all the Black bikers. Kind of odd. We ate at the Blues City Café for a traditional southern meal. We hung out on Beale Street for a bit and then got some sleep.

DAY 9 - MILE 2300 - 6/30/05 Memphis, TN -to- Little Rock, AR
Song of the day: Black Eyed Peas, "Don't Funk With My Heart"

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VIDEO: Mike and Lee cross the Mississippi!

Best Roast Beef
of the trip!

AR Capitol
looks like DC

Arkansas state
sign on bridge

Clinton Library

Doesn't get much
more classic
than this @ Graceland

Elvis' Plane
not too bad

A truck towing
a truck, towing
a truck, towing
a truck

Elvis' living room

Lee and Elvis

Lorraine Motel

Our Memphis hotel

Site of
MLK's assassination
Mike's Log
Lee's Log
Quite an interesting day... We began things in the morning at Elvis’s Graceland Mansion. Boy did he know how to live. Racquetball courts, horses, pool, shag carpet walls and ceilings, full service kitchen… the man really had a blast up to the end. We got to see his 1,000’s of awards and gold records, private huge jet, toured his home, and paid our respects at his gravesite.

Before we left Memphis we possibly had the best sandwich of the trip at a place called Alice’s Urban Market. I took a picture of it for you. See above. Next we visited the Lorraine Motel which was the site of MLK’s assignation. The motel front is built into the National Civil Rights museum. It’s crazy looking. Lee and I felt like we had enough civil rights education thus far so we snapped some photos and headed over to Arkansas!

The start of the drive into Arkansas reminded me of Camarillo, CA. It looked similar. We got into Arkansas in the early evening and had a chance to snap a photo in front of Clinton’s Presidential Museum (which we plan on visiting tomorrow) and by the Arkansas State Capitol Building. It looks very similar to DC’s Capitol Building.

Dinner was great in Little Rock’s Rivermarket District. The idea was to do laundry after dinner, but Lee and I just passed out. An hour later we woke up and headed over to the laundry room. Both machines were taken so we headed back to the room. On the way back down the hall a woman opened a door to tell something to her boyfriend who had just left for ice. She was in a t-shirt and her underwear. She saw me, screamed, and closed the door quickly. An odd end to a busy day and I only have 1 more pair of clean underwear…Thank you, thank you very much.

The first stop of the day was Graceland. Elvis had one of the most remarkable lives and one of the most interesting stories to go with it. First off, Elvis Enterprises, Inc., the company that runs everything now must be one of the most profitable businesses in the world. They charge so much money and there were hundreds and hundreds of people there. His house was amazing for the time period in which it was occupied. We have some pretty good pictures of it. From there we went to the site where Martin Luther King was shot. Although we did not go in, we were able to see the hotel room that he stayed in the balcony area where he was shot. Outside was some crazy woman who has been protesting the museum which is connected to the hotel. She has been protesting for 17 years. So I guess she has just been sitting there for 17 years.

From there it was a quick shot to Little Rock, Arkansas. I would have to say that of all the cities we have been to so far the one that I would definitely not go back to is Little Rock. It just did not have much going on except for the Bill Clinton Museum. On the way to dinner we stopped at the state capital which is an exact replica of the nation’s capital. We ate dinner at Bosco’s which was right on the water. After dinner we were planning on doing laundry. We got back to the room and both just fell asleep. Then Mike woke up and hour later and woke me up to go do laundry. We were both so tired but walked down to do laundry. It took forever find the laundry room and once we did, it was being used. We were over it and just went to sleep.

DAY 10 - MILE 2700 - 7/1/05 Little Rock, AR -to Oklahoma City, OK
Song of the day: Mariah Carey, "We belong together"

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VIDEO: SPECIAL (from May 2005 Washington DC trip) Lee impersonates Adam Allegro. Check it out!

Thank God we
made it to
this gas station!

Arkansas sign

Mike atop
hot springs AR

OK Bomb
memorial at night

day 10

Hot Springs, AR

Hot water!

Our laundry room

Lee's in the
Oval Office

Oklahoma sign

Planters plant

We missed the Spiro Mounds
Mike's Log
Lee's Log
The day began with Bill Clinton’s Presidential Library. Very cool. Very modern. Worth the trip for sure. It provided a very personal look into the President’s personal and professional life. After the library we had what Lee claims was the best sandwich of the trip. I respectfully disagree, but he is welcome to that opinion.

The drive from Little Rock to Hot Springs was very nice. Hot Springs, AR is a city and US National Park built on top of natural hot springs. Water leaks down into the earth is heated and then comes back up. Before the invention of modern medicine the city served as a medicinal retreat where people were treated with steam and hot mineral waters. We touched and drank the water. Very hot, the cool water was good tasting.

The drive from Hot Springs to Oklahoma City, OK was a long one. We nearly ran out of gas along the way and some 30 miles after the empty light found a small station to refill. You filled up then paid. That was odd to see.

Oklahoma City seems nice. We had dinner in a nice neighborhood called The Brickyard which surrounds a nice baseball stadium. Before bed we walked through the Oklahoma City Bombing Memorial. It was very touching at night. We will visit the museum tomorrow. We stayed up very late doing laundry, but at least I have clean socks now. Time to catch up on some sleep.

Wow, well I just finished driving the whole way from Little Rock to Oklahoma City. The day started off at the Clinton’s Presidential Library. It was a very nice building and had basically everything that ever had to do with Bill Clinton’s presidency and life. My favorite part was the picture of him in college with a full beard. Another cool part was that it had his schedule from everyday of his presidency. So you could see what he was doing at every minute. It is pretty crazy how was life is planned to the minute. From there we went to the Hot Springs about an hour outside of Little Rock. It wasn’t the best stop of the trip, but it wasn’t the worst. Natural water was coming out of the ground at 140 degrees, which is really hot!

Then I drove all the way to Oklahoma City. I was just on a driving high and didn’t want to stop. We had our first gas scare of the trip. Our gas light went on for the first time and then it took about 30 miles for us to find a gas station. The GPS bailed us out of that one. There was a bank with a confederate flag hanging right across the street from the gas station. We attempted to stop and the Spiro Mound State Park, which contains ancient Indian Burial Mounds, but they were closed when we got there. We got into Oklahoma City around 10PM, just as the minor league baseball game was getting out at Bricktown Ballpark. It is definitely the hot thing to do in this city on a Friday night. There is a lot of nice bars and restaurants right around the park. We ate dinner in the area then went to the site of the Oklahoma City bombing. It was good thing I talked to H (my college professor / Chapter Advisor) because he told me to go to the memorial at night. It was very moving and nice to see it all lit up at night. We are going back in the morning to tour the inside of the memorial. And after 10 days we finally get some laundry done.

DAY 11 - MILE 3100 - 7/2/05 Oklahoma City, OK -to- Longview, TX
Song of the day: Papa Roach, "Scars"
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VIDEO 1: We turn the wrong way on a 1 was street trying to recreate the path of the Presidential motorcade
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VIDEO 2: Mike and Lee drive Elm St. reinacting JFK's path in Dallas

3100 miles

50's drive in

Dallas Elm St.
Grassy Knoll to left
6th floor to right

Mike reflecting
on the grassy knoll

Our OK hotel

The OK Bombing
Memorial during Day

Sixth floor

OU Sooner stadium

That car is in
the exact spot
the President died

An interesting

Texas sign

Thunder storm
Mike's Log
Lee's Log
This morning we had the chance to see the Oklahoma City Bombing Memorial. It’s very beautiful with the big reflecting pool, although I preferred the night visit. We also walked through the museum. It was very touching to hear the stories of survivors and rescue workers. The museum started with an audio tape recording from a OK Water Board meeting which was occurring just across the street from the Federal Building. 2 minutes into the meeting (at 9:02am) you hear a huge explosion and people screaming. It’s spooky to think of how normally the say started and how horrifying it ended.

We stopped in Norman, OK for lunch and briefly drove through the University of Oklahoma. Lunch was at a classic 50’s drive in. That was cool. Then in the late afternoon we arrived in Dallas to see the sight of JKF’s assassination. The museum is on the same 6th floor where Oswald pulled the trigger (3 times… maybe). We sat on the grassy knoll and drove the same course the Presidential motorcade did. Check out the video. We ran into a little problem the first try. There’s a red “X” on Elm Street where the fatal shot was fired. It’s crazy to think that at that spot, a little X, our country was forever changed.

Our hotel is in Longview, TX about 2 hours outside Dallas. On the way there was a gigantic thunderstorm off to the south. It provided a nice lightshow on the night time drive. I tried to take a photo of the cloud while driving and nearly killed us. I better get my eyes back on the road and stop typing. See you tomorrow.

Well last night was pretty funny. We were exhausted and tried to stay up and do laundry. Last thing I remember is watching Howard Stern and Mike saying that he was going to get the last load in about 15 min. Next thing I know it is 5am, all the lights are still on, the tv is still on, Mike is passed out and there is no laundry. Luckily our clothes were still in the dryer down the hall. We got to sleep in until 10am today, so that was nice. We went back to the Oklahoma City Memorial to tour the inside of it. It was pretty amazing listening to the stories of the survivors and the families of those who were killed. One really interesting thing they had was a recording from a courthouse that was across the street. You hear them talking about things as if everything is normal, then all of a sudden you hear a big bang. From there we drove to Dallas. On the way we stopped by the University of Oklahoma for lunch and gas. As I was pumping gas Mike asked the guy inside where the best place for lunch was. Mike came out and said “some place called Bisonwitches”. Haha (A Tucson favorite). It would have taken too long to eat there so we settled for a 50’s drive-in restaurant.

This whole trip has been quite remarkable when you think about what we have been able to do in the amount of time we have had. Our luck continued when we got to Dallas. We arrived at 5pm and even though everywhere we have gone has closed at 5, the JFK memorial museum was open until 6. We took the audio tour and my tape ended as they turned off the lights. Wow, what timing! The museum was on the sixth floor of the School Book Depository where Lee Harvey Oswald shot him from. It was very interesting to hear all the facts leading up to assassination and then the conspiracy theory that followed. We then walked around the grassy knoll where the supposed ‘second shooter’ was. There were a lot of people trying to sell newspapers and pamphlets with their theories in it. After that we drove around Dallas but the city was dead. People were saying that everyone left for the holiday weekend but nobody goes there for the weekend. We then had a 2 hour drive to Longview, Texas. We crashed there for the night. One more day of driving tomorrow! Can not wait to just sleep in tomorrow night in the Big Easy.

DAY 12 - MILE 3600 - 7/3/05 Longview, TX -to- New Orleans, LA
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VIDEO: Lee lost $500 gambling

First drink
back in New Orleans

Can't pick
your pizza slice!

The first
Coke store


Goodnight Lee

Lee and his

Can't do without
the radio

Longview, TX

Mile 3333.3

Our last
state sign

Vicksburg park

A crazy
Viksburg monument

This is why
we did this trip
Mike's Log
Lee's Log
Today we took the last big final drive of the trip. In some 500 miles we will be back in New Orleans. We had another late morning and a nice breakfast at the Waffle House. I had a great Waffle, Lee had some weird looking egg wrap, but said it was good. Just before noon we got underway. We weren’t too sure about what we’d stop and see on the drive. From what we could gather there wasn’t too much to do in Shreveport, LA or Jackson, MS. But just leave it to Mike and GPS! A little research on the map directed us to Vicksburg, MS home of the battle which gave the north the “Key to the war”. I nominate this as best last minute GPS re-route. We toured the battlefield and saw some unbelievable monuments which the states dedicated to the park. Lunch was McAlsters Deli… a great sandwich! We then began the long drive back to New Orleans. On the way we drove through Jackson, MS, the state capital. I was somewhat disturbed driving though the city. The surrounding neighborhoods were in horrible shape. The capital building was in an oasis in the middle. It’s too bad the government doesn’t make a better effort to fix up the rest of the city beyond the 5 blocks around the capital building. We made a grand entrance into New Orleans over the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway. It’s a 15 mile bridge over a huge lake. The perfect entrance. We got in late and headed right for Burbon Street. Lee and I celebrated the 3600 miles with a couple drinks and some pizza. A great end to a great drive. Tomorrow we’ll spend the day in the Big Easy! We spent the night in Long View, Texas. It is about 40 miles from the Texas-Louisiana border. Since we didn’t make it down for the continental breakfast, we ate at a Waffle House. We have seen these things everywhere since we got here. It was actually really good. From breakfast we drove through Shreveport to Vicksburg, Mississippi. We spent some time at the Civil War site of the Battle of Vicksburg. It was one of the most important battles of the Civil War and a huge momentum shift for the Union. Also, in Vicksburg was an Ice Cream parlor that was the first to bottle Coca-Cola. Vicksburg was an interesting city and it would have been nice to spend a little more time there. From there we went to Jackson, Mississippi, the capital of Mississippi. We got a pretty run down and beat up view of the city. The whole thing looked like a beat up ghetto. After that we drove the home stretch to New Orleans! On the final stretch of the drive we drove over an 18 mile bridge. I am sure it would have been really nice during the day, but since it was dark we couldn’t really see anything. At this point in the trip I think I know the words to every top 40 song in the country. Gwen Steffani’s ‘Hollaback Girl’ has played about 4 times a day. Kelly Clarkson and 50 cent are on all the time also. New Orleans was a little awkward. We got into down on the last night of the essence festival. I am not sure how to put this politically correct, but Mike and I were definitely the minority. I would say we saw about 5-10 other white people on Bourbon Street the whole night. We still had a blast.

DAY 13 - MILE 3600 - 7/4/05 New Orleans, LA (no driving)
Bruce Springsteen, "Born in the USA"

The green

Happy 4th!

What a sign!


Made a mess
at Cafe Dumonde

New Orleans

Is there something
on Mike's shonze?

Lee and his
Mike's Log
Lee's Log
Probably the best sleep yet. We finally got a well deserved rest! Other than a quick lunch at Harrah’s Casino and a brief walk through the Riverwalk which is essentially just a mall on the Mississippi River. Nothing special, but it was a nice walk. The rest of the day we just SLEPT!

Dinner was just perfect tonight. We ate on the top of the Wyndham Hotel in the River 127 restaurant. Best meal of the trip. Hands down. The restaurant provided an unbelievable view of the river fireworks show. One of the best fireworks shows I’ve seen. After some cocktails and a great bottle of wine, Lee and I hit the town. It was pretty quiet despite the holiday. We hit up a cool Jazz bar and had a Green Monster. It was the strongest most disgusting thing I’ve ever drank, but it messed us up pretty good. Good enough to really enjoy late night doughnuts from the world famous Café Du Monde. Lee and I came back to the hotel and passed out. 1 more day in New Orleans. Goodnight.

Have you ever just done nothing all day and felt completely satisfied with it? That is basically what happened. We woke up around 11 (latest all trip), got lunch and then took naps. After 12 days of travel it was nice to just sleep. Around 5 I got up from the nap, got ready for the night and headed over the casino to play some pokes (poker) before dinner. It was fun; I made 30 bucks and had 5 drinks comped, so it worked out alright. I was sitting next to some guy from Oxnard (pretty random). From there we went to dinner at the top of the Wyndham hotel for dinner and a fireworks show. I will go out in a limb and say that the show was better than the Janes Mall show. Well after finishing the most expensive dinner on the trip we hung out on Bourbon Street for a couple hours. We had another great time and some interesting drinks. From there we went to Café Du Monde. We had those donut things that they are famous for. Wasn’t the best thing I have ever had, but it was good.

DAY 14 - MILE 3653.3 - 7/5/05 New Orleans, LA (we return the car)
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VIDEO: Farewell from the Great American SUV Roadtrip

New Orleans
Garden District

infamy speech

Downtown New Orleans

The last
car photo

CINDY heads

The final
mile 3653.3

Mr. OKG913

The last hotel
(same as the first)

The TSA hard
at work stopping
Mike's Log
Lee's Log
Good morning. This morning we woke up to the noise of construction in the hallway. Turns out the Doubletree is renovating our floor! I think they forgot we were still in our room. After we called the front desk the stopped and kindly removed the charge for the night. The savings will help pay for last nights dinner.

In the afternoon we had yet another McAlsister’s sandwich and headed for the National World War II Museum. It’s full of incredible videos and war memorabilia. I really didn’t know too much about the war, but left with the feeling that I could teach a history class on the war. We spent 3+ hours at the museum. I recommend the museum to anyone in the New Orleans area.

The rain has started to fall! Tropical Storm Cindy is just off the coast and heading for New Orleans. In the drizzle, we decided to take a cab back to the hotel. We then drove through the Garden District and got to see some incredible homes draped by the most interesting trees I’ve ever seen. We had a nice BBQ dinner and headed for the airport hotel.

It’s starting to rain heavier now. The TV says that 70mph winds and 10 inches of rain are on the way. I don’t think we’re leaving for a while. United Airlines’ website says our fight is delayed 4 hours. We may be in New Orleans longer than we thought. Only Cindy the storm knows… Time to return our car Mr. OKG 913.

Somehow we woke up in a construction zone. We woke up to the sound of drills and workers peeling off the walls. We ate lunch at McAlister’s Deli for the third time in three days. I ordered some sweet tea because I have been attempting to try all the southern foods while I am out here. It tasted exactly how it sounds, sweet tea. We then walked over to the WWII Museum. It was a huge museum. I couldn’t really figure out why it was in New Orleans except for the fact that those boats they used to invade Normandy were made in New Orleans. It was a massive museum with some great films. We were there from 1:30 until it closed at 5. After that the rain started getting a little heavier so we took a cab back. Little did we know at the time, the storm would take a turn for the worse. From the museum we drove around the Garden District to see all the nice homes, including the Real World house. We had a traditional Louisiana BBQ dinner at Voodoo BBQ. It might have had the best barbecue sauce I have ever had. After dinner the storm started picking up just a bit. Next, we checked into our hotel by the airport and found out that our flight had been delayed 5 hours because of the storm. Around 8pm the storm had got really bad. Winds have been blowing at up to 70 MPH. The news says that the force at times is as strong as a Hurricane but it is still being called Tropical Storm Cindy. And the power just went out, haha. The rain is coming down from left to right and it is coming down hard. Something tells me we might not be flying out tomorrow. It is only fitting that we have done everything southern on this trip and now it ends with a good old southern hurricane. Well I guess I will just be lying in bed and staring at a dark ceiling.

DAY 15 - MILE 3653.3 - 7/6/05 THE CONCLUSION
Mike's Summary
What a blast! We did so much in so little time. We traveled 3653.3 miles across 9 states and countless cities, we saw so many sights, met so many different people, enjoyed different types of food, and did it all in 15 short days. I never thought I’d see so many gas stations and sleep in so many hotels in two short weeks. We got a pretty intimate look at a part of our country that we previously misunderstood. No longer. We’re experts now. So ya all get a life and stop reading this website. So, as they say in the south: “Go put another shrimp on the bobby!”

A couple things Mike learned…
1. Lee can’t drive for more than 10 seconds without music playing… loudly.
2. I have no ability to wake up early.
3. Grits aren’t bad… if grits are toast and that’s what came with my eggs…
4. Lee doesn’t like action photos when he’s not prepared, but let’s be honest... those shots may be the best of the trip.
5. The bug spray was a good purchase, we should have used it.
6. The location of every CompUSA, Wal-Mart, Office Max, and Office Depot in the gulf states who sell Microsoft Streets and Trips 2005 with GPS.
7. Whoever invented the south really had a thing for the color green.
8. New Orleans has zero laws, cops on mean horses, and great doughnuts.
9. With GPS, no plan can be a good plan. Just test the GPS before you drive 3600 miles.
10. Europe clearly sucks.

Mike: Gwen Stefani, “Holla Back Girl”
Lee: Gwen Stefani, “Holla Back Girl”

Mike: Rosa Parks Museum, Montgomery AL
Lee: CNN Center, Atlanta, GA

Mike: New Orleans, LA to Panama City, FL
Lee: Charleston, SC to Atlanta, GA

Mike: Indigo Inn, Charleston, SC
Lee: Indigo Inn, Charleston, SC

Mike: Indigo Inn, Charleston, SC
Lee: Holiday Inn Express, Little Rock, AR

Mike: Nearly running out of gas just outside of Hot Springs, AR
Lee: Same

Mike: River 127, New Orleans, LA
Lee: Vickery’s, Atlanta, GA

Mike: Roast beef at Alice’s Urban Market, Memphis, TN
Lee: Same

Mike: Borrowing the street sign in Charleston, SC
Lee: The countless 9/11 multiplication jokes. (From Team America)

Mike: Tuskgee, AL home of the Tuskgee Airmen and birthplace of Rosa Parks. Ya it was pretty cool. You should have been there.
Lee: Stone Mountain, GA

Mike: Charleston, SC
Lee: Charleston, SC

Mike: Panama City Beach, FL
Lee: Little Rock, AR

Mike: Charleston, SC although Jackson, MS is a close 2nd…
Lee: Charleston, SC