Thank You, Thank You Very Much!
How many of you instantly knew what this post was going to be about, just from the title? We guessed it would be about half of you.
Due to the delays we experienced in Red Bay, we decided to shorten our time in Memphis, TN. We are trying to get back on schedule to meet our friends in Las Vegas in just over three weeks. Yet, there were two things we did not want to miss so we packed them both into a one-night visit.
Memphis is renowned for its blues scene and we had to get to Beale Street to check it out. More on that in just a minute. The other attraction in town that we had to see was Graceland, the home of Elvis Presley, the King of Rock & Roll.
We decided to stay at the Graceland RV Park & Campground right in the city of Memphis. Interesting experience maneuvering Our Way through the city streets but worth it once we arrived. This RV Park was adequate but its location was outstanding. We literally walked through a gate in their fence directly into the massive parking lot for Graceland. It’s a huge complex consisting of a ticket office (what a deal at only about $50pp), screening rooms, restaurants, recording studio, film studio, memorabilia displays and museums to separately house Elvis’ gold records, outfits, cars, motorcycles, airplanes, you name it. That was all separate from the mansion that he and his family occupied, right across the street and surrounded by a five foot high stone wall.
The southern-style mansion is located on a beautifully landscaped 13 acre estate. On the grounds here you will find another recording studio, a racquet ball court, a gym, a smoke house, an in-ground pool and pool house, a meditation garden where he and his parents are enshrined, barns for their many horses with lush green paddocks for them to roam freely, and golf carts for everyone in the family as they enjoyed racing around the estate with them whenever they could.
Inside the mansion, we toured the main level and the lower level. The bedroom area upstairs was off limits as the family does still occasionally use this home when they are in town. The house is full of Elvis’ memorabilia like his favorite piano in the living room, favorite table in the dining room for large family meals, family pictures (especially of his wife, Priscilla and his daughter, Lisa Marie) and heirlooms throughout, guitars in the “Jungle Room” where he and his musician friends would spontaneously write new music, the Yellow Room (or bar) where the guys would just hang out and the billiard room where they would hold friendly competitions.
This entire place is preserved as it was back in the mid to late 1970s. Do you remember the most popular colors for decorating back then? Come on, most of you probably had some of this in your own or at least in your parents home. That’s right, avocado green shag carpet and harvest gold appliances, too. Remember, the kind of carpet you would rake? He also had most of the home custom-decorated. As an example, the Jungle Room included an indoor waterfall and was oh-so-tastefully decorated with dark wood paneling and that green shag carpet, not only on the floor, but, the ceiling too. Better acoustics.
Back outside, while driving back to the complex we started from, we saw the famous gates to the mansion with a silhouette of Elvis playing guitar and notes on sheet music….cool. Then, on to tour his two jets (not sure how they got these things to this location…). More seventies decor but all about traveling in style on a moments notice. He once loaded up the plane to take Priscilla, Lisa Marie and his entourage to Colorado so his daughter could play in the snow. Life was good. Unfortunately, like so many other superstars, Elvis’ candle went out far too soon. He died of heart failure related to his drug addiction on August 16, 1977 at only 42 years old. He was an amazingly talented person.
Just think of this. His Dad, Vernon, once told Elvis he should stop fooling around with music and pursue a real trade like becoming an electrician. Just imagine how things would be so very different had Elvis heeded that advice. You just never know…
Here are twelve of the best pictures we got while at the estate:
Now, back to the blues in Memphis, the other reason we just had to keep this stop on our agenda. Our three hour trip from Red Bay got us into Memphis around 6PM. We quickly set up camp, cleaned up, got dressed and headed out on the town for an exciting night on Beale Street!
Since we were going to be back on the road right after our scheduled visit to Graceland the next morning, we didn’t even disconnect the Jeep from the MH. That created an opportunity for us to try something new (for us, anyway). We actually tried Uber for the first time. Yeah, we both worked in IT for our entire careers and yeah, we admit it, we had to call our daughter and ask her how to use the app. Anyway, it was pretty cool. Someone picked us up within four minutes of our request and the ride back happened just as quickly. We will definitely use this service more in the future.
We got to Beale Street about 8:30 PM, just in time for the house band to go onstage at B.B. King’s. Wow, these guys were really tight! So much fun. Grabbed a pretty good meal while we were there and a few beers too since neither of us had to drive, yea!
During the set break, we strolled down Beale Street, checking out the other clubs and bands. Most of them are “open-air” with doors and windows wide open. This gave us a chance to flavor everything else going on that night. It didn’t take long to recognize we started in the best place, for this night, anyway. We got back to B.B. King’s just as the band returned for their second set. What a blast! Well worth the effort to get there.
Next day, immediately after the Elvis tour, we broke camp and got on the rode to Hot Springs, Arkansas. What an incredible view as we drove over the Mississippi from TN into AR. We had the pleasure of seeing this same bridge the night before, all lite up, it’s two arches stretching from one state to the other. Memorable, but, sorry, didn’t get a picture of this site.