“I’m going to Graceland, Graceland, Memphis Tennessee, I’m going to Graceland.” Paul Simon
Now I have context for all of the lyrics to “Walking in Memphis,” by Marc Cohn. I learned many things, not only about Elvis, but about the civil rights history of Memphis. What an amazing place. I will say it was a little stressful driving into town because this is a big city, with big city highways, construction, merging and all of that, but it was a good call to take 70 most of the way there. It’s a flat part of the country, but there are long stretches of tree lined rural areas, which was quite pleasant. The roads were also in very good condition until we approached the border.
Private site near the pool. lol
Arriving at the RV park, it was not unlike a small version of Disneyland. They’ve got it pretty well organized and you can walk through the gates and pass your time looking through the various Elvis museums. They have his cars, plus all their stories, in one place. They’ve got collections of anything having to do with his military service time, and a whole exhibit about other musicians, who were all influenced in one way or another, by the King.
“There’s a pretty little thing, waiting for the King, down in the Jungle Room” Marc Cohn
Once it was time for our scheduled tour, we got to watch a ten minute movie to get us in the mood. Then we boarded a shuttle to take us across the street to the residence. I got a little iPad that guided me through an audio tour while walking through the rooms. That was fun, though always a room behind where I was, because it had a lot to say. Overall it was a fun and interesting tour. We even got to step inside his two airplanes. The guy knew how to travel, that’s for sure. I did not know he was in 31 movies. I’m not sure I’m up for that kind of viewing commitment. We’ve seen six I think so far. I get why people go nuts for him. He had charm and seemed like a decent guy.
“And then I’m walking in Memphis, walking with my feet ten feet off of Beale” Marc Cohn
After touring all the things, we headed into town to hang out on Beale Street. That was an absolute blast. There are countless bars and places to eat, with live music in most of the places. It is closed to cars for many blocks and people just hang out in the streets, drinking, dancing, sometimes doing street performances. We were immediately overwhelmed, but in a good way.
Ida B. Wells memorial
There were way too many choices for dinner, so we settled on Blue’s City Cafe, which had immediate seating and “The Best Meal on Beale” advertised on their menu. It satisfied the desire to both have BBQ ribs, and “catfish on the table.” I’m not sure whether “the beans are so good, they’ll make you want to slap your mama,” as advertised by the guy in the T-shirt store. Then we walked over to catch a glimpse of the great Mississippi River.
I would say the highlight of the day was walking through a photo museum of the work of Dr. Ernest Withers. I was familiar with most of the photos, but not the man behind the camera. I learned how he used his personal courage and talent to document some of the most important people and moments in history. Also the most tragic. I would some day like to come back and spend more time in the Memphis museums. This will have to do for now, and it certainly made an impression. We are entering a part of the country rich with history, too much history to learn in one fell swoop.
The Night Life is just getting going on Beale – these country mice are heading back for Dory time.
Overnight, we were treated to a true southern lightning storm. My weather scanning had indicated that a large storm system was going to pass us by to the south. It clearly changed course and hit Memphis pretty hard. We were fine, but as we pulled out of town in the morning, we could see fallen trees and evidence of widespread power outages. I guess y’all are used to this here, but it is “exciting” for us. We get it with the nonstop lightning and thunder. You can stop with that now, thanks.
Total miles from Maumelle: 161.7, 17.6 mpg, 4 hours 14 min. Parking lot campground with full hookups. Asked for a site away from others and got electric and water site in tent area behind fence. No one else there. Excellent cell service. Dumped in a hookup site, all fine.