Category Archives: Tennessee

Memphis, Tennessee: Elvis is Alive!

It is running of fumes that we arrive at Memphis, Tennessee; and I’m not talking about old Kia. It is us. It has been an intense whirlwind road trip for almost two weeks now, and we are really ready for a break that won’t come for another two days. I, however, am ecstatic to be staying here right next to the west bank of the Mississippi. I have always been fascinated by this river mainly because of Mark Twain’s stories. I can almost imagine Jim and Huck’s raft coming downstream.

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We ignore our fatigue and decide to explore downtown a little bit. We walk along the bank of the river enjoying a spectacular sunset. Then we walk towards historic Beale Street, which is lined up with bars, most of them featuring live music. It is a real shame we are not really in the mood for partying.

On the next day we go to the main tourist attraction in this town: Graceland. This was Elvis Presley’s home all the way from the 1950’s until the time of his death in 1977. Some of the rooms were redecorated for the tour, reflecting different eras in the life of the King of Rock and Roll. There’s also a whole building dedicated to the many awards he received as well as costumes and memorabilia. There is a meditation garden where Elvis, and well as other family members are laid to rest. Across the street there are two main attractions. One of them is the two jet planes Elvis Presley acquired in 1975. The other is the automobile museum, showcasing his extensive car collection.

After the museum we go to one of the most famous barbecue restaurants in Memphis: Central BBQ. While it is a tough comparison, I do believe the one in St. Louis was a little more tasty, but I could have taste bud fatigue at this point so don’t quote me on that.

Our last point of interest in the city is the Memphis Pyramid. It was originally conceived as an sports facility, but something about the dimensions prevented it from becoming an NBA arena. After much financial distress, the property was leased by Bass Pro Shops, where they have built the largest over the top store. The highest freestanding elevator in the United States takes you to the top of the pyramid, where they have a restaurant and an observation deck.

We depart at sunset and spend the night in Tupelo, Mississippi, very close to Elvis Presley’s birthplace. In the morning, we briefly visit the site, and then spend most of the day driving south towards the Florida panhandle.

Nashville: Music City

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In this week’s video we arrive at the Music City and enjoy Nashville’s notorious night life. The main drag is called Broadway. It begins at the Cumberland river and it goes for about a mile to the west. This is the site of all the famous honky tonk bars, and there is great live music everywhere.

In the morning we explore downtown a little bit. We pass by the Tennessee State Capitol, the Legislative Plaza, and the war memorial. Back in the broadway area we pass by the  Ryman Auditorium, often called the Mother Church of Country Music. We also enjoy a beer for breakfast and some wonderful country music at the Legends Corner. Our next stop is the Country Music Hall of Fame, and my favorite part, the guided tour of RCA Studio B, where Elvis Presley and many other great luminaries of rock n’ roll and country music recorded many hit songs. We end our day at the Centennial Park, admiring the only life size replica of the Parthenon in the world.

We left so many things unseen in this great musical city that a second date is a most. We shall return soon. The next time I want to eat some hot chicken and see the Musica fountain, which became controversial for depicting nudity. I also want to go to the Grand Ole Opry, and attend a concert in one of many acoustically perfect venues.

Until the next time thank you for following my YouTube Channel and see you on the road!

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Rock City: I Can See Seven States… Maybe

On this week’s video we visit a famous roadside attraction near Chattanooga, Tennessee called Rock City. Rock city is located on the Georgia side of the border, on top of the Lookout Mountain Ridge.

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Rock City became a tourist attraction back in the early 1930s, at the site of a community called Fairyland, founded by one Garnet Carter and his wife Frieda. These rock formations happened to be inside the Fairyland community, and it was Frieda’s idea to develop this part of the property into a great rock garden, with all kinds of plants, trails around the rocks, and statues of gnomes and other fairytale characters imported from Germany. They claim that you can see seven states from the top of the mountain: Tennessee, Kentucky, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Alabama. While on a clear day you can see the Smoky Mountains, that’s still the Tennessee side. I don’t have hard evidence of this but I have read that Kentucky, Virginia, and South Carolina are below the horizon, so the only way you could see them is if the Earth was flat.

In Rock City we also enjoy the music of Matt Downer – Old Time Traveler, an Alabama native and Chattanooga resident. He plays the fiddle, the banjo, and the guitar, and he has dedicated his career to the preservation of traditional music. He has studied the repertoire and techniques of many of the elder Tennessee, Alabama, and Georgia musicians, so he is the real deal. What a treat it is to listen to his music.

As we continue towards Nashville  we run into some trouble climbing the Cumberland Plateau , also known Monteagle Mountain. The car started overheating on the long 5% grade. While technically not a mountain, Monteagle got it’s popular culture name due to a Johnny Cash song describing this treacherous portion of the road.

Without further preamble, here’s the video.

Great American Road Trip 2016 Part 2 – Rock City: I Can See Seven States… Maybe