Saturday, September 23, 2017 : From Tupelo to Memphis


Today, we have a rather short drive, 110 miles, from Tupelo to Memphis. Good thing, for we have quite a packed program in Memphis.

 

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Graceland, Elvis' house, Memphis

 

Immediately upon arriving in Memphis, we visit Graceland, Elvis' house, which is actually more a complex dedicated to the King's memory than a mere house. The visit quite logically begins with the mansion itself. We can see the first floor and basement rooms. The second floor remains off-limits.

 

We also see a few secondary buildings : Vernon, Elvis' dad's, office, where his duty was to help answer fan mail, the trophy gallery, the racketball room. The visit ends with Elvis', his parents' and his grandma's (who actually outlived him) graves.

 

Back across Elvis Presley Boulevard, we visit the collection of cars, motorbikes and various vehicles owned by the King, then the museum and the gift shops. We end up with the planes, including the Convair 880 nicknamed Lisa Marie, decorated in a highly kitschy style.

 

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Sun Studios, Memphis

 

Memphis is also the city where rock'n roll was born, and its Mecca is of course Sam Phillips' famous Sun studios. This studio (there is actually only one) hosted recording sessions by the greatest early rock'n roll stars : Roy Orbison, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins, Johnny Cash and, of course, the King himself. Next to the studio is a gift shop that sells the usual tourist paraphernalia, but also genuine singles dating back to the early times of rock'n roll.

 

Our last visit is to Lorraine Motel, where pastor Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated in 1968. This motel has now been turned into a museum dedicated to the civil rights struggle. From the street, we take pictures of room 306, where the pastor was staying during his fateful trip.

 

Tonight, we are going downtown again, to get immersed in Memphis' music, rock, blues. Beale Street, here we come !