Nov
30
2012

Memphis and a visit to the King

We left New Orleans and headed up through Mississippi towards Tennessee. The drive up was very scenic and we took our time and stopped for a night in Hattiesburg. We saw our first real rain for 6 weeks which was quite welcome as it saved me having to wash the car which was filthy at this point.

Memphis for us wasn’t much different from any other city we had been to. The downtown area was in need of restoration, the people were friendly but there were quite a lot of beggars and homeless around. We had a drive around some of the residential areas when going from place to place just so we could see what it was like to live around there. The houses are generally much bigger than ours in the UK and spread out along tree lined roads, very nice.

We went to have a look at the Peabody Hotel which is home to the famous ducks. If you don’t know what the hell I’m talking about (or believe me) you can Google it, but basically this hotel is home to 5 ducks. Each morning at 11am, the ducks are marched from their room down the hallway (along their red carpet) and to the main fountain in the middle of the reception area. They play and swim in the fountain all day and then at 5pm are marched back to their room. This march along the red carpet is orchestrated by the Peabody Duck Master (yes this is an actual position held at the hotel). Also the hotel restaurants do not serve duck on any of their menus out of respect.

So we couldn’t go to Memphis without a visit to Graceland, the home of Elvis. The morning we decided to go and visit the house it was rather cold but we were really lucky as the place was empty. There must have only been a handful of other people there at the same time so we pretty much had the house and grounds to ourselves to walk around.

I didn’t know much about Elvis other than the obvious details. He had a great house which included a cracking basement, a full size squash court (or racquetball court as they call it over here) also a nice bar and a pool table although he never drank, which I didn’t know. I didn’t realise just how much of a druggy he was as well but I suppose that’s what most of the musicians were doing at that time so why not him.

The amount of awards and number 1 records he had was unbelievable and just looking at the things he had in his house and in his garage, it was obvious he had more money than he knew what to do with. There was a whole room in the tour that was dedicated to all the charities and people he gave money to. He did donate a vast amount of money which was amazing to see and the amounts back in the 60’s and 70’s were enormous.

The two major things I didn’t know was Elvis had a twin brother who died during birth. Also I didn’t know that he wasn’t buried at Graceland originally and it was his dad that moved his grave from the local cemetery due to people trying to dig him up.

We went round his garage and saw all his cars, some of which are probably worth 10’s of millions if they were to ever sell. The pink Cadillac being the obvious one which was the first one he bought and still had when he died! Abby has band me making this blog just about cars, so more car pics upon request.

Also wandering round his planes was another example of having too much money as he had all the seat buckles made from solid gold. We watched a video of his plane being moved from the local airport to Graceland as they had to close all the roads. Apart from having to cut 20 foot off each wing and then re-attaching them later on, they had two guys sitting on top of the plane during the move to help lift the traffic lights up over the tail.

While in Memphis we went to a great BBQ place called Corky’s! They specialise in pork ribs and we can see why the place was packed! A massive smoke barn behind the restaurant is where they do all the smoking and the food was fantastic! It was so good we actually went back on our last night in Memphis throught their drive-thru no less!

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