Ausable Chasm, August 1, 2019

Ausable Chasm, August 1, 2019
Ausable Chasm, August 1, 2019

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Graceland, Pink Palace, and The Pyramid, Part 1 - Tuesday, April 2, 2019

"Well it's one for the money, two for the show
Three to get ready, now go, cat, go
But don't you, step on my blue suede shoes
You can do anything but lay off of my blue suede shoes."

~Songwriter: Carl Perkins
Blue Suede Shoes lyrics - Copyright: Kobalt Music Publishing Ltd.

I don't know about you, but I think Elvis Presley when I hear "Blue Suede Shoes." He certainly brought that song to my generation! And today, we are going to his doorstep: Graceland.

Elvis Presley's Graceland
When Bob and I were planning our trip to Graceland, we just wanted to see the house he bought for himself and his family. We didn't need to see his airplanes or all the assorted costumes and paraphernalia associated with his performances. Something simple, like the man himself, would do.

Online, we found tickets for only the mansion tour and purchased those. It also included early admittance to the Meditation Garden.

At 8:30 a.m., we arrived at the parking lot for the Elvis Presley Complex. The security guard instructed us to drive out and head across the street for the Meditation Garden. We parked in front of the rock wall on which fans sign their names. 

It was a chilly morning and we bundled up against the wind because we had to walk up the driveway to the Meditation Garden. We passed through the famous music-note gate on the way up the drive. The security guard at the front gate gave us specific instructions to stay to the right and not go to the mansion at this time. 

Front gate at Graceland.

Wall surrounding the memorial had
beautiful stained-glass art.
Elvis Presley's final resting place.
An eternal flame at his head.
Meditation Garden
After we paid our respects, we headed to the main parking lot which was now open. 

Our tour tickets were waiting for us at Will Call. It is interesting to note that the mansion-only tours are not listed in the on-site menu of tour offerings. The on-site listing of tours started at almost double what we paid, but included other things.

The first tour group started at 9:00 a.m. and we were on it. A movie about Elvis's rise to fame began our tour to help us understand a man who started small and had a meteoric rise to stardom. The pressure on him must have been tremendous. 

After the movie, we were given iPads and headphones before we boarded the shuttle bus to take us across the street to Graceland. We fiddled around with the iPad self-tutorial so we would know how to use them when we got to the mansion.

At the door to Graceland, our guide gave us a talk about Elvis and told us the rules for our visit. Then we were free to go through the home at our own pace. 

For the first few rooms of the tour, everyone was bunched together trying to take photos in each room. Then, some of us stayed longer to learn more about each room and we spread out more.

The fabulous living room. Look at those
stained-glass peacocks!
Family photos in the living room
His parent's bedroom.
Looking up to the second floor
chandelier. No entry to the second floor.
The Presley family dining room.
Front entry stained glass.
Downstairs media room with three TVs (one for
each major network at the time).
The pool room (notice the fabric everywhere,
especially the ceiling!).
Other half of the pool room. The family spent
a lot of time here hanging out.
The Jungle Room on the main floor.
Elvis decorated the Jungle Room with pieces
that reminded him of Hawaii.
For privacy reasons and to honor the family, no tours are allowed on the second floor of the home. Next, we went outside through the carport where he kept his cars (none there now), and into another building. 

In the smokehouse was his father's office. His father managed his business affairs from here. 
Vernon Pressley's office. I think he was a
very proud papa.

For a time, Elvis used the
smokehouse as a firing range.
The back side of Graceland, a peaceful retreat
with a horse paddock and a racquetball building.
Next, our tour route went through more of the mansion which has been made into a museum. There we saw information about Elvis' family tree, where he went to high school, how much the family paid to renovate Graceland, and then how much they spent on remodeling almost every year. There are works of art that were gifted to the family, including a painting of Graceland by Thomas Kincaid.

One of the remodels included this red couch.
Elvis enjoyed law enforcement and was friends with Memphis Police and Shelby County Sheriff's departments. If he hadn't been a singer, he said he might have been a police officer.

Honorary badges.
Elvis loved his swimming pool. He and the family spent many summer days by the pool. 

In the racquetball building.
Me with the iPad and headset.
A beautiful lounge in the racquetball building.
Another view of the pool area.
Also on the property is a horse paddock and stable. Elvis loved to ride horses.

We concluded our mansion and grounds tour, and then we caught the shuttle bus back to the main compound. Both of us wanted to try the fried peanut butter and banana sandwich that Elvis made famous. 

Fried peanut butter and banana sandwiches were on our minds. We stood in line for the sandwiches in the cafe. Picture this: six people are standing in line for the sandwiches. One woman behind the counter is frantically trying to get the sandwich grill to work. At least five to eight other people are also behind the counter at different areas prepping pizzas, salads, burgers, etc. NO ONE was in line at any other counter, but none of the other workers came over to help the one person with six people waiting. She never did get the sandwich grill started up in the ten minutes we waited, so we left and went elsewhere for lunch.

After a quick stop in the gift shop for postcards, we headed out of Graceland. Our next stop will be lunch before we go to the Pink Palace Museum. Central BBQ was recommended as a good lunch spot by Dana in the Memphis Visitor Center. She also sold us tickets to The Pink Palace, Sun Studios, The Rock 'n' Soul Museum, The Cotton Museum, and Stax Records. Our days in Memphis will be full ones.

We made our way to Central BBQ that was closest to The Pink Palace Museum. It was a challenge to navigate our Ford F350 long bed through the parking lot, behind the restaurant, and then get it parked without blocking anyone in that was parked in the business next to it. But Bob did it.

At Central BBQ, you order as you go in the door and get a number. We picked a table, got our drinks, and it must have been about three minutes after that our order came out. We both got meals with two sides. I had BBQ turkey and Bob had BBQ pulled chicken. It was fast, good, and we had great service.

Our next destination today is The Pink Palace Museum. I read that on Tuesdays the Museum is free from 1:00 p.m. until close at 5:00 p.m. Perfect! We like free.

After our lunch, we had some time before 1:00 p.m., so we drove down Central Avenue. The neighborhood is high end with many beautiful mansions. Our heads were swiveling as if we were watching tennis, trying to see as many of the homes as possible.

At 1:00 p.m., we entered The Pink Palace.

To be continued in Part 2.

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