Take a break from aesthetic pursuits and try out the traditional southern sporting life. Rise early and grab a sackful of breakfast treats at Gibson Donuts, where the blackberry-jelly-filled doughnuts are particularly tasty (from 69 cents). Drive 15 minutes north on I-40 to the 24-hour Walmart to purchase a couple of discount fishing rods (starting at $15). Head west on Frayser Raleigh Road and north on Watkins Street to the Shelby Forest General Store by 7 a.m., in time to pick up your fishing license ($8), some bait (minnows are $2/dozen), and fresh-from-the-oven biscuits (from $1.29) from owners Doug and Kristin Ammons. Pull onto the winding roads of Shelby Forest State Park and park at the banks of Piersol Lake. Fish for bass and catfish where they feed—in the crevices and folds of the shoreline—until about 9 a.m., when they retreat to the middle of the lake to keep cool. Once you’ve filled your bucket, stop back at the general store for fried bologna sandwiches ($4) and sweet corn fritters ($3), and take home some deep-fried cherry pies made by the nearby Amish community ($1.99). Pay close attention to posted catch-and-release rules—you’ll get nabbed for taking out too-small specimens. If you’re feeling particularly proud of your catch (and flush), stop down the road at Shelby Forest Taxidermy, where Chris Knight will stuff and mount your most impressive fish (from $250). Travel northeast into Millington and learn to safely fire a hunting rifle at Top Brass, where the staff will patiently guide you through the shooting-range lanes (from $20 per hour). Cruise down Route 51 back to town and make a beeline for the midtown location of Soul Fish Café, where the catfish will be nearly as fresh as the ones you caught earlier ($13.75). Wind down your day with some blues at Wild Bill’s—an urban take on the juke joints that once populated the South. Order a 40-ounce Bud or Bud Light (your only options) and settle in for a night of wailing guitars and vocals from a roster of megatalented bands, but most often the uproarious sounds of Ms. Nikki and the Memphis Soul Survivors.
The Five-Point Weekend Escape Plan
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5. Oddball Day
Published on Apr 10, 2014 as a web exclusive.