Monday, 5 January 2015

DAY 26 - Taking Care Of Business...In A Flash

Hi again y'all, welcome back to the Blog coming to you live from Memphis, Tennessee.

Yesterday I posed the question; 'what is there to do in Memphis?' Well there is really only one thing that you HAVE to do in Memphis, and that my friends is to head to Graceland. For some reason, overtime I say the word, Paul Simon's title track and hit from the album 'Graceland' immediately infiltrates my mind.

Graceland is obviously the home of Elvis Presley from 1957 until his death on 16 August 1977 and incidentally is the most visited home in the US with in excess of 600 000 visitors walking through the home (or 599 995 if you don't count the Plekkers). However, it seems that all of those 599 995 visitors all seemed to have turned up on the same day as we did. This required lots of standing around waiting to proceed to the next thing, that's okay except that whilst standing outside, the temperature in Memphis reached a maximum of three degrees celsius but was below zero for most of the day. I'm sure our friends in Australia will appreciate what we are currently experiencing...not.

The tour we took was the Platinum tour plus aircraft. Did someone say, 'aircraft'? The Platinum tour includes access to walk through the mansion 'Graceland' plus visit Elvis' car collection and his two aircraft. Touring the house was really informative with the aid of iPads for everyone and a helpful narration by John Stamos who is apparently a huge Elvis fan. The house is (let's just say)...very '70s. The coordination of the public moving through the house and other exhibits seemed a little disorganised, which seems strange because I figured that after having this mansion open to the public for the past 32 years, they would have this down pat.

There was much to learn about Elvis including that he was the first artist to achieve one billion record sales and that he was the first Hollywood actor to receive more than a Million dollars to star in a movie. I also never knew that his personal logo as seen on the tail of his Convair 880 private jet:

Elvis' private Convair 880 was actually ex-Delta Airlines N8809E

'TCB' followed by a lightning bolt, which stands for; 'Taking Care of Business - In a flash' and it was apparently something the King (no I'm not talking about Lebron James) was famous for. The mansion was not as large as we were expecting, but I assume that largesse in 2014 is quite different to largesse back in the 1970s.

Do we look cold? Because we were

I'm going to Graceland, Graceland, Memphis, Tennessee...

Everywhere you look there are Oak trees


Maureen and Schuyler in the Living Room at Graceland

Elvis' Parents Bedroom

The Dining Room. Apparently it is still used from time-to-time

Graceland's Kitchen

The Television Room with three TVs to enable Elvis to watch the three major networks at the same time

The Pool Room. Check out the funky ceiling

The famous Jungle Room...I think it hurt my eyes

Some more Jungle Room...

and again

Graceland from the back

The Trophy Room

This is actually the Racquet Ball Court that has been converted to a Museum Display Room

The King died at aged 42, way too young for the King of Rock and Roll

Graceland from the front

More Oak Trees

Thank you very much...Ray has left the building

After touring Graceland, we checked out Elvis' two private jets, a Convair 880 called 'Lisa Marie' (named for his Daughter) and a Lockheed JetStar called 'Hound Dog II'. Interestingly, Elvis had actually tried to purchase a Boeing 707 and paid a deposit, but the deal fell through. Both aircraft are currently being offered for sale.

Elvis' Convair 880 ' Lisa Marie'

Me in front of Elvis' Convair 880 ' Lisa Marie'

Schuyler about to enter Elvis' Convair 880 ' Lisa Marie'

The Convair 880's Cockpit

Stepping out the back of Elvis' Convair 880 ' Lisa Marie'

General Electric CJ-805-3B turbojet

Engines One and Two of Elvis' Lockheed JetStar 'Hound Dog II'

 Lockheed JetStar 'Hound Dog II' Cockpit

 Lockheed JetStar 'Hound Dog II'

 We then toured Elvis' car collection which was interesting, but I felt the display area was way too dark. This was particularly difficult as I was not allowed to take my tripod into either Graceland or the other Museum areas.

Elvis' pink Jeep DJ-3A

This car, a 1973 Stutz Blackhawk 3 was actually driven by Elvis into Graceland on the day he died
After this we had lunch and then headed to check out the sites around Memphis.

Best Coffee in Memphis? Debatable

Downtown Memphis

The Memphis-Arkansas Memorial Bridge which crosses the Mighty Mississippi River which divides Tennessee and Arkansas

The Memphis-Arkansas Memorial Bridge is a cantilevered through truss bridge

Downtown Memphis

Schuyler stands in front of the Memphis Suspension Railway Bridge which takes passengers between Memphis and Mud Island

The Plekkers on the banks of the Mississippi River...again
The end of the day saw a beautiful sunset just down the road from our Hotel.

Sunset over Memphis on 05 January 2015
Well that's it for today, tommorrow we head to St. Louis with predicted temperatures on Wednesday (whilst we are there to be; maximum of -10 C and a minimum of -19 C.