Day 13 – Batesville, Arkansas to Memphis, Tennessee (135 miles)

by tailored on December 2, 2011

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We had so much planned to do in Memphis and knew we had a 2 and a half hour ride to get there so we got packed and ready to go by around 7:30am.

Sounds easy right??  Those with 17 yo sons know it’s a miracle if it happens.

But we did it ;o)

We rode out of the town and headed south down route 167 with the goal of reaching Bald Knob before stretching our legs.

The scenery had again changed from yesterday with farmland on either side for the majority of that section of road.

The farms were mainly very lushes green crops and the occasional field that was completely dead, looking like they had been deserted for years.

To The Town Of Bald Knob

We reached the town of Bald Knob which was a very small, rundown looking town with a small sign at the front making it an obligatory photo for us – that’s because getting the word “Knob” into a town name is always hilarious.

Bald Knob Is Hialrious........For A 17 yo

Bald Knob Is Hilarious........For A 17 yo

We stretched our legs for a little while and then we began following signs for Memphis which was now only about 100 miles away.

We headed along Highway 64, which was a 1 lane flat highway with farmland on either side.  Pretty cruisy as we hit the Cruise Control button and cranked up the stereo.

We got to within 4 miles of Memphis and we noticed a massive increase in traffic and that we had entered swampland.

All around us were rivers running through the lushes green bushland.

Over The Mississippi

We then went onto the Hernando Desoto Bridge which took us into Memphis over the Mississippi river and across the border into Tennessee.

We rode down through the CBD and noticed that it was a lot busier than most of the other city centre’s that we had been to such as Wichita which was practically deserted.

We then headed to the outer suburbs where we planned to find somewhere to have a short stop and then have a look at the GPS to find the hotel we had planned on staying at.

We headed to Heartbreak Hotel – my review on Trip Advisor – (which, believe it or not, is at the end of Lonely Street) which was 8 miles away.  The hotel has a security checkpoint to keep the non-Elvis lovers out (I assume).

Heartbreak Hotel

Heartbreak Hotel

Next door to the hotel was a section of the Graceland tour with Elvis planes, cars, etc and the place to buy tickets for entry to Graceland.

The hotel was quite nice with an Elvis theme throughout as you’d expect, Elvis music playing in the lobby and Elvis videos and music in the bar/eating area.

24/7 Elvis

It’s was 24/7 Elvis.

Once we’d dumped our bags we headed over to the entry point for Graceland and bought a couple of tickets.

We then began walking to the main looking building but instead we were shuffled into a line where we were forced to have our photo taken infront of a fake background that had the Graceland’s logo infront of various pictures.  You feel like a complete idiot.

The line turned out to be for a shuttle bus, we were handed an audio set with headphones and drove out across Elvis Presley Boulevard to Graceland.

We got out of the bus and the staff quickly organised us with an introductory speech telling us not to touch anything and to follow the directions of the audio tour.

Graceland Tour

You then go inside and do the tour at your leisure.

For some reason I was expecting it to be a dodgy, sleazy sort of tour where they extract every last dollar from you as you go.  But it wasn’t like that at all.

It was a very cruisy, nicely put together tour that was laid back and comfortable.

Graceland was a lovely, comfortable and tasteful house (remembering it was decorated in the 1970’s).  It wasn’t as huge as I’d always assumed.

Harry enters Graceland

Harry enters Graceland

The outside buildings were nicely done with lots of Elvis memorabilia, the pool and graves.  Never knew that Elvis’ grandmother outlived Elvis and Elvis’ parents.

We then caught the tour bus back to the museum based section of Graceland.

Great Car Collection

Elvis’ car collection is well worth a look – some pretty crazy cars, motorbikes and assorted toys. including his mum’s legendary pink Cadillac.

The Pink Caddy

The Pink Caddy

We were pleased to see that Elvis had the good sense to ride a Harley Davidson Electra Glide, just like we were riding but 40 years older model.

There’s seating where you can sit and watch all of his movie roles that included his cars.

Once we reached the end of the collection we went into the gift store which sold all of his CD’s, DVD’s and tons of other memorabilia.  All if it was pretty reasonably priced.

I talked 17 yo Harry out of buying those crazy big assed Elvis glasses and we headed over to Elvis’ 2 planes.

Elvis Was Flying High

Pretty groovy planes nicely done up.

The bigger plane had everything you’d wan, including the place where the magic happens (if you didn’t get that reference you are way too childish to be reading this).

Flying High with Elvis

Flying High with Elvis

Off To Sun Studio

Then it was back on the bike and off to Sun Studio, about 5 miles away.

Sun Studio was where Elvis recorded his first song and was ‘discovered’.

A really friendly studio with a great little tour.  The guide insists you sing into the same microphone that Elvis used, so you have a nice little story to go home with.

Haz rocks it up on Elvis' microphone

Haz rocks it up on Elvis' microphone

While we were waiting for the Tour to start we had the greatest milkshake ever – the studio entrance is a little gift shop/cafe.  Very small, but super friendly place doing a great job with the punters wandering through the door.

I had a little business to do in Memphis, so met up with my guy in Sun Studio and we organised dinner for later that night.

Visited The Civil Rights Museum

Then it was off to the Civil Rights Museum situated at the Lorraine Motel (where Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated).

The motel where Martin LKuther King was assassinated

The motel where Martin Luther King was assassinated

Along all the walls there was a chronological history of civil rights in the USA, along with tons of info focusing on the violence and problems of the past and present.

Now Time For Gambling, Drinking & Smoking Cigars

It was approaching dinner time so we headed my my business mate Rudi’s house in the suburbs.

Rudi fed and watered us and we sat in his ‘Man Cave’ and watched sports Rudi was betting on whilst drinking beer and smoking cigars.  Not a bad life!

Not a bad day!

Next up we were heading for the Mississippi.

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