Mississippi River Day Trip – Sept 2019

Last Saturday, Nathan and I embarked on a 13 hour trip that took us to the NW corner of Tennessee, across the Mississippi into Missouri, down to Arkansas, and then back. As usual, we discovered some hidden gems away from the main interstates, as well as stopped at a couple of more well known places.

Discovery Park of America – 830 Everett Blvd, Union City, TN 38261

First stop was the Discovery Center of America. I have so much to say about this place. This is the kind of quality attraction you would expect to find in a highly-populated area such as Nashville, however it is tucked away in the NW corner of the state. Possibly, no one could afford to build such a facility in a more urban setting, as the land cost alone for the 50 acre complex would be too high. In addition to a fascinating museum, within the grounds they have many elaborate areas to explore, a frontier town, an example of farms in Japan, Europe, and America, a train depo with trains, an old church facility, a large play area for children, and a rocket and airplane area. The only warning I will give you about the facility is that the town of Union City has a reputation as quite possibly the worst speed trap area in America. They prey on unsuspecting visitors with their speed and red light cameras, I have read many stories about people receiving tickets for a single MPH over the limit. Their green lights do not hold long, and their yellows are very short. Luckily, we knew going in, and I don’t anticipate any issues. But, be careful! And don’t let it spoil your time, as the museum actively campaigns to have the cameras removed. Note the tower in the picture below, you can buy tickets to go to the top, and get breathtaking views of the grounds and surrounding areas.

Inside, there are three floors of exhibits, covering all types of history. Below are some of our favorite pictures, the entrance to the exhibit halls on the lower level look like a giant bookcase, which is quite neat. They had examples of different video cameras through time, which Nathan found interesting as he is working in A/V studies in school. They had examples of different human skulls through time, and even a Dale Jr. race car!

After taking in the three floors, we went up into the tower. The first picture shows about 1/3 of the museum grounds, with the church, a covered bridge, and the train depot among other places. The second picture is the road bed of the future Interstate 69 that will run from Michigan to Texas, and is slated to go right behind the museum grounds.

The last great part of this experience was the price. Only $14.95 per person to get in, which is a steal for this much to see. The tower was an added $4.95 per person, which I also thought was justified. If you are ever within a two hour drive of NW Tennessee, check this place out. Their website can be found here.

Full Throttle S’loonshine Distillery – 45 Gin St, Trimble, TN 38259

A few years ago, I became addicted to the reality show, Full Throttle Saloon, which was on-air for 6 seasons. The show followed Michael Ballard, his wife Angie, and his best friend, Jackyl front man Jesse James Dupree each year as they would manage the Full Throttle Saloon during Sturgis Bike Week. To me it was interesting to see how they would run a business model that required 51 weeks of planning with a 7 day chance of paying off. Michael is originally from Trimble, TN and continues to live there most of the year. In an effort to bring jobs and to boost the local economy, Michael opened a moonshine distillery a few years ago. We stopped and took a couple of pictures, and were on our way across the Mississippi.

US 61 State Line Archway – 6878 US-61, Steele, MO 63877

Next up was the Missouri and Arkansas line, which is marked with an archway over US 61. The archway was erected in 1924.

Blytheville Air Force Base – Blytheville, AR

Blytheville Air Force Base, known in later years as Eaker Air Force Base, closed down in 1992. Through most of the Cold War, this base was on active alert status as a Strategic Air Command station, and the alert pad and building are still in place. In the first picture below, you can see the main gate for the alert pad area, as well as the alert readiness building, which was largely underground. The second picture is of one of the many Delta airplanes on the ground that are being mothballed at the facility. The run way is still actively used to fly in planes to be stripped, so you can not access the property grounds. There are plans in place to build a Cold War Museum utilizing the base, you can read about those here.

Historic Blytheville Greyhound Bus Depot – 109 US-61, Blytheville, AR 72315

Our last stop was in downtown Blytheville at their historic Greyhound Bus Depot. It also just happened to be the weekend of their Antique Bus Homecoming, so there were several vintage vehicles on hand. Read more about the depot museum here.

It was another great road trip in the books. Check back next week, where we’ll be blogging about a trip we are taking north to Cincinnati, Ohio to visit the Museum Center. We’ll be leaving tomorrow and visiting the complex on Monday. It continues to be a busy fall and we’re having fun!