Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Memphis...Did we miss something? - Cross-Country Road Trip 7.6

Maybe we missed something, but there didn't seem to be a whole lot going on in Memphis. They do have The Blues and Elvis, but we were quite shocked to discover that almost half of the downtown area is a literal ghost town. Beale Street has the blues clubs and Graceland has all the Elvis memorabilia, but other than that, there were a bunch of run down buildings, lots of hagglers and beggars and just an overall weird vibe.

I don't want to make it sound like a horrible place - we did enjoy our stay at the Graceland RV Camp. Our temporary home on "Don't Be Cruel Lane" served us well. I had a nice morning jog with Elvis songs resonating from his prior residence and James enjoyed a tour of the Gibson Guitar Factory. And amidst the plethora of fried chicken, pork ribs and fried pickles, we did have one of the best lunches of the trip so far at a place called Automatic Slim's. I had a mouthwatering roasted vegetable salad with black bean soup that is to die for. James devoured his open-faced roast beef sandwich and we almost had a silverware duel over the last bite of our blueberry bread pudding.

Despite it being the main reason for coming to this city, we passed on the Graceland tour. Neither of us are Elvis fanatics, not to mention the basic mansion tour would have set us back $60. Instead we flipped through a Graceland picture book in one of the gift shops and got our fix. In my opinion it was a wise decision because while I like Elvis' music, I think he's pretty lucky that interior decorating wasn't his day job.

I do believe that the city is trying to improve it's image; we saw one of the guys who haggled us get arrested. If anything there is huge potential for some major redevelopment and, with all the history and culture here, I really hope that happens. As for this trip however, my experience was that Memphis is desperately holding on to what used to be instead of focusing on what is right now.

Side note: We watched a movie on the flatscreen tonight! James figured out that there is a dvd player up front that connects to the tv in back. All you have to do is turn up the volume and the surround sound makes you feel like you're in a theater!

1 comment:

  1. You reeeeealllllyyyy missed it... Memphis is classic. You know, baring the fact it is consistantly ranked in the top 5 LEAST desireable cities to live in. Great food, good music and all that southern hospitality. If you have left this town and have not decided if you are a dry rub or a wet rub pork rib kind of person, well let's just say, I feel like I don't know you any more. Graceland isn't really about being a fan of the man or his music, but rather getting a rare glimpse into what has captivated generations of white people all across this country. When is the next time you are going to get to see a living room filled with peacock stained glass and yellow sofas? Exactly...

    Brian Wilson