Published: August 29th 2009August 28th 2009
Home of Elvis Presley
Southaven is where we stayed the night. It's just outside Memphis Tennessee. We left the hotel about 10am and arrived at Graceland at 10:30.
The 14-acre estate features the mansion that was home to Elvis from 1957 until his death in 1977, as well as an Elvis Presley Museum, stables, and Elvis’ final resting place in the Meditation Garden..
The white columned mansion seems almost modest from the outside but you can see that it was far from modest inside. Of course it's been years since Elvis's death so the decor was of the time when he was alive. More than 30 years after his death, Graceland has been preserved as a kind of time capsule to give visitors an insight into what life was like when Elvis was King.
The upstairs level is closed to tourists, just as it was out of bounds for anyone who visited Elvis when he was alive. Elvis insisted on keeping the rooms upstairs private, so when Graceland opened to the public Priscilla and Lisa Marie Presley decided it would be disrespectful to allow anyone to go upstairs.
The ground floor and basement level and many of the out buildings were open to the public.
The ground floor features Elvis’ music room and living room, with its colourful peacock stained glass windows. From there visitors can see Elvis’ parents’ bedroom, then the dining room and kitchen. The studio and business office area was also open.
The estate covered 14 acres and there were horses wandering in a lovely fenced area with huge trees and the barn. There were several areas where all of his gold records were displayed. His racquetball court and fitness center were full of more of the gold records. Across the road from Graceland was a car and motorcycle museum and his two airplanes. All of his cars (and he had a lot over the years) and his motorcycles were there. All cycles but one were Harley Davidsons and impressive as you can well imagine.
There was also access to his planes. The big plane "Lisa Marie" as it was named was completely fitted inside like a luxury travel trailer. Bedroom bathroom living room etc.
It was all very well done and I have to say that I really enjoyed my visit to Graceland.
Frank had seen Graceland a few years ago so didn't go with me. I was done by 12:30pm
Sunset over the Mississippi River
and it was lunch time. The area around Graceland is not the best part of Memphis so we drove out to I 40 and went a few exits to a Subway sandwich shop. Afterward, it was back to Route 51 The Great River Road. The day was hot and hazy with temps in the 90's. The route once again was miles and miles of farm lands and we joked about the scenery.
We decided it did vary somewhat in that the sorghum was on the right and the soy beans on the left but occasionally they switched sides for a little change of scene. Oh and they were interspersed with the occasional field of corn. We didn't see much cotton at all. It was in Mississippi yesterday.
There were many small towns along the way which were pretty unremarkable with the exception of Ridgley. Ridgley's main street was beautiful. The houses were a fair size, beautifully maintained and the lawns were manicured to perfection. The power poles that lined the street and each side had a US flag and a welcome sign. What a lovely little town.
It was now about 4pm and I was wanting my afternoon tea. Of course I knew that wasn't going to happen but we found a Baskin Robins ice cream shop where I got some pralines and cream ice cream (my favourite) and a powerball lottery ticket. I have to stop here and think what state we were in.......oh yes, Tennessee.
At 4:45pm we crossed into Kentucky and the terrain became quite hilly at a town named Hickman. The road was very winding and hilly and picturesque.
By now the skies had clouded over and we could see the predicted weather front approaching us. The temp had dropped to 72 but it was still quite humid.
At one point just along this area, we drove through what we thought at first were falling leaves but it became apparent that it was some sort of debris. We could smell something burning. There was a huge amount of it just as if something had exploded and showered the debris down onto the road. It made quite a noise as it slapped the windshield. We never found out what it was.
Just before the rain started we found a scenic overlook above the Mississippi. It was lovely and we could see across to whatever state was on the other side. Can't remember which it was right now.
We finally met up with the approaching weather front and there was a very heavy rain for a few miles just outside a town named Cairo. It didn't last long and the skies began to clear. The bad weather was behind us and left us with a gorgeous looking sky as the sun began to get lower in the sky. It was 7:10pm when we found another scenic overlook. We were on Illinois side of the river looking across at Missouri and the setting sun. The air was coolish compared to earlier in the day when it had been up to 94. As we stood watching the sunset the silence was broken by the rumble of a freight train in the distance as it crossed a bridge over the river and the occasional voice from a house further downstream. What a lovely peaceful scene and a nice end to another great day.
We had passed through Kentucky into Illinois and by now it was getting late. Time to find a place to stay for the night so we crossed over the state line from Illinois into Missouri toward the interstate to find a hotel and restaurant. There was definitely nothing along Route 51 but more soy, sorghum and corn.
We stayed for the night at Cape Girardeau. The Drury suites was our choice and it was just gorgeous. It's a suite with separate living room and bedroom. Can't beat the price for $69 a night. (our handy little coupon booklet scored again). Those little booklets are found at restaurants and gas stations along the interstate as well as the welcome centers and rest areas. They have discount hotel coupons for various hotels along the interstates. It saves quite a bit of money. So that was our day.
Tomorrow we head for St Louis and "The Gateway Arch". I've seen it before but Frank has not.
More to follow tomorrow..........