Memphis is smack dab in the lower corner of TN and the sub-burbs south of the city actually spill over into the sate of Mississippi. Highway 61 follows the river south out of town on the way to Clarksdale MS. Memphis has a long history with the Blues (Delta Blues as the Mississippi Delta reaches from New Orleans to Memphis). In a general sense you can call Memphis the birthplace of the Blues but to be more specific the birthplace of the Blues is south of Memphis just above Clarksdale MS. Right here as a matter of fact:http://maps.google.com/maps?hl=en&ie=UT ... 18697&z=12
at the intersection of highways 49 and 61. The Blues was born when Robert Johnson made a rather infamous deal at this crossroads. There is some debate as to the exact location of the crossroads but most agree it's the spot on the map above. Here's a youtube link:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yd60nI4s ... re=related
Robert is paddling into Blues country for sure. Maybe he can write us the Ibuprophen Blues. He'll be passing Helena Arkansas in the next day or two and then a paradox of sorts: From Helena to Greenville he'll pass through the most uninhabited section of the entire river. You'd think the real river wilderness would be in northern Minnesota but its not, It's here. For 120 miles (at least three days) Bob will have Arkansas swamp on one side and Mississippi levee on the other. At most he'll see an occasional grain elevator along the shore until he reaches Greenville.
At Helena Bob will meet the southern end of Crowley's Ridge. He passed the northern end just after he left Cape in Missouri at the little town of Commerce. Crowley's Ridge is worth learning about.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crowley%27s_Ridge