Rocking With The King


That’s all right, Mamma, that’s all right with me…Elvis music played in my head for the next two days after our arrival in Memphis on Monday. We were able to snag a campsite at Graceland RV Park, situated right behind Heart Break Hotel, at the end of Lonely Street. The start of the Graceland Tour is just a short walk through the parking lot next door. Because of that, the RV Park is well secured 24/7 and everything is very well organized. Since it was mid-afternoon when we arrived, we opted to take the Boulevard into downtown Memphis, just twenty-minutes away, to check out the action and have dinner.

Downtown

Downtown

Being a Monday night, things were rather quiet. Some of the restaurants had entertainment, and staff on the street urging us in. We decided on the Jerry Lee Lewis Cafe where we stuffed ourselves with southern-style BBQ ribs, baked potatoes, coleslaw, and beans while enjoying the performance of an Elvis impersonator. He was one of the best we’d ever seen, sounding very much like the King. He switched gears for one song and brought Johnny Cash to life.

Jerry Lee Lewis Grill

Jerry Lee Lewis Cafe

Yummy Ribs

Yummy Ribs

 

"Elvis"

“Elvis”

At intermission we wandered down the street and poked into a couple of shops then headed back to camp. I wanted to take advantage of the good WiFi connection to get some blogging done.

Tuesday morning was devoted to the mundane domestic tasks that we could put off no longer, such as laundry, but the afternoon was spent doing the Graceland Tour. It’s pricey, and the last part of it, the little museums on a strip across the road from Graceland, all led us through gift shops, but Graceland itself was far from the tacky display that I’d envisioned. The house is grand, but not huge. It displays a simpler side of Elvis than the flashy one that appeared on stage. The main floor is tastefully decorated in the era of Elvis’s life and death, including dark wooden cupboards and harvest gold appliances in the kitchen. The lower level is, well, maybe a little eclectic.

Graceland

Graceland

Media Room

Lower level Media Room

Pool Room Ceiling

Pool Room Ceiling, folded fabric

Some things I learned about Elvis that I didn’t know before:

  1. He loved horses as much as he loved his cars. A couple of horses still graze in the pasture.
  2. He had quietly donated several million dollars to a large number of charities over the years, many of which helped improve the lives of his friends and family in his home town of Tupelo, Mississippi.
  3. He loved to play racquet ball.
  4. He had a beautiful Meditation Garden built at Graceland in 1960. It has since become the burial site for his mother, father, grandmother and himself, and a memorial for his twin brother who died at birth.
Meditation Garden

Meditation Garden

We walked away without souvenirs, not being Elvis fanatics, but we enjoyed the visit. It’s worth seeing once.

More excellent ribs for dinner at Marlowe’s down Elvis Presley Drive brought our stay in Tennessee to an end. The next morning we were back on I-55 in the direction of New Orleans.

Days 4 and 5 – Nashville Tennessee


Saturday morning was cloudy and cool again, a good day to be on the road again, heading towards Nashville. At the Tennessee Welcome Center we thought we should call to book a campsite. It’s a good thing we did. Our first two choices, the ones nearest the Grand Ole Opry, were already booked solid. Fortunately, KOA Nashville North had a spot with electric and water, but no sewer. It was twelve miles away from the Opry, but the shuttle bus was available. Jim had already purchased tickets for that night, so we took the site.

We arrived late afternoon (we were in a new time zone), giving us just enough time to hook up, make and eat a quick super and catch the shuttle bus. It cost us $35.00 and it took over an hour to get to our destination because there were other pickups along the way, but it was worth it to not have to navigate heavy traffic on the motorcycle. We had a bit of a walk from the drop-off point to the theatre, and our seats were way up in the nose-bleed section, which meant a few flights of stairs to navigate. After a day of sitting, it felt good to get some exercise and it was a beautiful night. I was glad that I had on comfortable shoes though, unlike one young woman on the bus who chose to wear five-inch heels, because they were “cute.” We had to wait for her to walk to the bus both going and coming.

Despite the distance from the stage, we enjoyed the evening. Large screens gave us a view of what we couldn’t see on the stage. It was mostly a night of old-timers, like 94 year old Little Jimmy Dickens, and 80 years old Jean Shepard. A few newer upcoming stars included Jon Pardi, One More Girl, and Charles Esten. I have to admit that while I enjoy all sorts of music, I am not a follower of Country Music Stars, so the names meant nothing to me. As long as I can tap my toes and clap my hands, I’m happy, and I did plenty of that. We almost missed the shuttle back because we got turned around when we got back outside and headed for the wrong parking lot! But the girl with the shoes saved us.

It was late when we got back to the RV, and cold. We had to turn the furnace on for a bit before climbing into bed.

In the morning my body was protesting the physical exertion and late night (arthritis has become a frequent companion) so it took some time for me to get going. Eventually I felt able to ride on the motorcycle. We ventured into downtown Nashville, which took us only about twenty minutes.

Jimmy Buffet's Margaritaville

One of the many bars/restaurants in the downtown

Waiting for the Trolly Tour

Waiting for the Trolly Tour

The sun was hot and we soon had to strip off our extra layers of clothing. We bought tickets for the Trolley Tour and then walked up Broadway Ave and bought hot dogs from a street vendor while we waited the hour for our turn. We got off the trolley only once, to take a look in the shop of the Antique Archaeologists. I was interested to learn that the historic Fisk University was founded in 1865 exclusively for the education of Blacks. We roamed some more on Broadway Avenue, poking around in shops and listening to performers through the open windows of Honky-tonks before getting back onto the bike to return to the Opry House area for dinner at the Aquarium Restaurant where we ate sea food while watching all sorts of exotic fish swim by in the enormous round fish tank in the centre of the room. That felt a little weird, but the fish were friendly and fascinating to watch.

 

An hour later we were once again ready to call it a day.

Through Rain and Sun, Arizona Bound, 2014


On the Road

On the Road

We finally got on our way mid-afternoon on Wednesday, October 15th. I was struck by the bright colours of Mother Nature’s paint brush along the roads of our exodus. They seemed even more vibrant this year. We witnessed more of the glory for many miles, through New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio and into Kentucky. The unpredictable weather of Ontario also continued, with sun one minute and torrential rain the next.

It occurred to me that, although we’d driven through Kentucky many times on the way to Florida, we’d never stopped. So we added a stop at the Kentucky Horse Farm at Lexington to our agenda. It would be too late to check in there on Thursday night so we detoured into Georgetown for dinner at the Cracker Barrel and an overnight stay in the parking lot, with the manger’s permission.

Friday morning we were up bright and early to arrive at the Farm in lots of time to see everything. Although a heavy fog blanketed our surroundings when we awoke, by the time we were ready to go the sun had broken through and cleared away the mist. We first entered the Horse Farm Campground, registered at the office and found our spot for the night. There was a big riding event happening on the weekend, so the choice was limited. We had electricity, but no water or sewage on site, and we were too far away from the office to get the Wi-Fi connection, but the good news was that there was a free shuttle to the Farm.

We got there just in time to find the “Horses of the World” Show Ring and grab seats on the bleachers before the first horse, a beautiful tan coloured Kentucky Quarter Horse, was introduced. It was amazing to see how much the horses enjoyed performing, and the respectful connection between horse and trainer. We met a Gypsy horse, an Arabian horse and a Run-Walker.  I guess that was our favourite part, because after a delicious lunch at the Farm House Café, where we enjoyed the company of Larry and Mary Ann, who were also enjoying retirement, we went back to see the second show featuring a new round of horses. Unfortunately, I got so caught up in taking pictures that I failed to take notes. If you are ever in the area, be sure to schedule time to see for yourself.

Taking a Bow

Taking a Bow

Gypsy Horse

Gypsy Horse

An Affectionate Mustang

An Affectionate Mustang

Dark streak

This interesting mane cut accents the black streak that runs through it and straight down the back to the end of the tail

Clydesdale getting ready to pull the tram

Clydesdale getting ready to pull the tram

IMG_3984 IMG_3995 IMG_3996 IMG_4026

The day remained sunny and very warm, perfect for wandering through the barns and the Quarter Horse Museum, taking a tour on the tram, and visiting the Heavy Breed horses, and the retired race Champions. By then it was time for us to retire to the RV as our feet were beginning to protest. A walk back to the store to connect to the WiFi long enough to check emails and post our whereabouts on Facebook was enough for one day.

Load It Up, Move It Out, Arizona Bound


Well, that last adventure was a lot of hard work! We are mostly settled in our new little condo and we are pleased with it. What isn’t settled can wait until spring. Now we’re ready for a holiday. I never did get to post the Bikers Reunion article, but it will come.

Tomorrow, once we finish loading up the RV and deliver the car for storage, we will be hitting the road again for our next adventure. The final destination is again Mesa Arizona, but this time we hope we are leaving early enough that we won’t be chased by snow so we can take our time. We want to fill in on our map some of the states that we haven’t been with the motor home. Our sights are set on Memphis Tennessee, New Orleans, and Houston.

Hope you’ll join us on this new journey.