Monday, June 22, 2009

Stax, Sun, Graceland, BBQ and Elvis! Memphis, TN!!!

Well… we were so busy in Memphis that we didn’t have time to write the blog as a step by step blog like we usually do, but here goes!

Friday- We left around 12:20 to drop Sassy off with a friend and get on the road to Memphis. We drove down the 71 highway towards Little Rock, Arkansas and it was a pretty dull drive. Once we got towards the MO/ARK border, we started seeing some real beauty. Arkansas was lovely, lots of green and trees. We drove past a ton of stuff we want to eventually check out and we’re looking forward to a camping trip down there. Totally worth the 4 hour drive. We arrived in Little Rock pretty late in the evening, but luckily it was still light enough out to see the beautiful city. We went straight down to the Clinton Park and Presidential Library and took a couple pics. We drove past the cool area on the water with all of the restaurants. We decided to eat at a little sandwich shop and get going.

We arrived in West Memphis around 9:00 PM. It was a total dump. The city itself was really poor, and it was a little sketchy. We had some trouble finding our hotel, and drove through some scary neighborhoods in which we saw a pretty obvious drug deal. Once we found the hotel, we cleaned up and headed to Beale Street.

Beale Street was INSANE! They close off the street and ID people who come in. It was like an urban spring break. Urban being that nobody was dressed for the beach, but it was party central. There were a of couples, people, bachelorettes, and musicians just wandering around. We walked up and down the street a few times, bought a beer, and watched a band. We were so tired that we just went back to our hotel and slept.
We woke up EARLY the next morning and headed to Graceland. We thought that if we got there early, we would be in and our faster… NOT THE CASE! We got there at 9 am, and our tour started around 10:40 am. It was okay though. Did I mention that Memphis is HOT! Not KC hot, but down south HOT! I have never been as hot in my life as I was that day at Graceland.

The tour was great, we saw his house, his plane, his cars, his clothes, his military uniforms. I feel like we got to know the King. I can’t really describe it, but I am truly glad I went. His tiki room, or Jungle Room was just crazy. I loved all the 70’s stuff. He had a really eclectic taste!

We then checked into our better hotel on Elvis Presley Blvd. It was cute and the pool was shaped like a guitar.

After Graceland, we headed on over to Mississippi to eat lunch at Jim Neely’s Interstate Bar Be Que. It was so good! I ordered turkey, Mark got the pork. I have to say this was the best Memphis BBQ we ate. The sauce was great and the meat was tender. Good fries too- Oh and slaw on the sandwiches is common there… who knew?

From there went to the Stax Soul Museum. I cannot even begin to tell you how amazing this place was. This was my place. Mark knows so much about all the Sun Studios and stuff like that, but the soul stuff was the stuff I grew up with, and it really resonated with me. We saw a great documentary on the music, then wandered through looking at all of the stuff. Shaft was playing in the background in almost every room, and Isaac Hayes pimped out caddy was there all restored and spinning in its superfly glory. We saw Otis Redding’s suede jacket, tons of records, and they had addresses listed for so many people’s houses near by. We did some drive bys- but the neighborhood had gone to hell and we didn’t want to find a stray dog, so we moved on. Anyway, this was a great museum, maybe the best music museum I have ever been to.

From there we went to Sun… This was Mark’s moment. You know the picture of the Million Dollar Quartet? Look closely in the background, you can see the weird texture on the walls… we were standing in those walls. Mark got excited. I liked it. Our tour guide was funny, and played good songs for us… I can’t believe the people who have been in that studio- Very worth the trip!

We went to a place called Central BBQ for dinner. Yes, BBQ twice in one day… it was good, not the best, but good. I got the half chicken, Mark got the pork. Great coleslaw. Mediocre sauce. Made me miss OK Joes!

We drove around checking out the city, we saw the hotel where Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated. We wanted to go to the museum but it was closing. It was surreal, and it felt dead. My stomach hurt looking at it because the image of him laying there and all the people pointing is just burned into my brain. I felt weird being there…

We went to a few record shops, and Walgreens so Mark could get a razor… he forgot his razor and I forgot shoes… terrible. I wore flip flops all weekend, which got a little old.

We got to the show around 10:15 p.m. The band was not starting until close to 11, so we got a beer and hung out. We ended up seeing Mark’s friend from his high school days Tom and his wife Katie at the club because they were moving home to Michigan. It was great hanging out with them. The bands rocked, the place was about 110 degrees inside and about 105 outside. I was so sweaty and gross, that I couldn’t help but have a blast. I ended up meeting like 10 people standing in lines, including an attorney from Oakland who practices in Martinez, a girl from St. Louis, Nashville, Austin, and other places. It was great. We had a lofty bar tab, but it was entirely worth it.

We got home after 2 a.m. after searching unsuccessfully for a place to get a waffle. We woke up around 9 and got breakfast at the hotel… they had waffles! We got on the road around 10 a.m. and headed home.

We stopped only twice on this trip home, once in Cape Girardeau, MO and it was great. We got to walk along the shore of the Mississippi River… which was neat. It moves FAST and we saw logs and other things just flying down it. We ate at a great little brewery overlooking the river, and stumbled into an antique store.
Mark ended up with $55 worth of records, including 4 Stax records and 1 Buddy Holly. He also found some other great stuff, but ill let him talk about that.

We hit Trader Joe's on our way home and then booked it home as fast as possible to see our beloved puppies! Ill add the pictures once we get them uploaded!

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